Judge gives class-action status to NYC disabilities suit | Wash. Medicaid to cover ABA therapy for children with autism | Disability advocates worry about looming funding cuts
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November 13, 2012
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Disability Update
Judge gives class-action status to NYC disabilities suit
A federal judge cited the effects of superstorm Sandy in granting class-action status to a year-old lawsuit filed after Tropical Storm Irene. The suit claims there are gaps in New York City policies to evacuate and accommodate people with disabilities during disasters. The lawsuit on behalf of the 900,000 New York City residents with disabilities asks the city to develop a plan that addresses the issue. The New York Times (free-article access for SmartBrief readers) (11/8)
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Wash. Medicaid to cover ABA therapy for children with autism
Washington will cover applied behavior analysis therapy for children with autism who are also on Medicaid. The decision by the Washington State Health Care Authority comes as part of a settlement with the Washington Autism Alliance & Advocacy of a lawsuit the advocacy group filed in April. Officials estimate 9,000 children with autism could be eligible for the service. The Spokesman-Review (Spokane, Wash.) (free content) (11/8)
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Assistive Technology
Chicago institute teaches people to use art forms as therapy
Chicago's Institute for Therapy through the Arts teaches people with disabilities to use different art forms as therapeutic tools to express themselves. Director Jenni Rock says when people come to the institute for help, therapists learn the issues they are facing in their lives and establish treatment goals that can be achieved through music, art, drama or dance. WLS-TV (Chicago) (11/8)
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Researchers help visually impaired adults "see" data through app
A group of researchers developed a camera-to-sound application to help congenitally visually impaired adults construe visual data from sound. The app uses an algorithm that offers a depiction of an object through headphones by turning images to sound. A small camera is attached to the user's head and linked to a smartphone or a computer. New Scientist/New Scientist TV blog (11/7)
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Mo. adaptive-sports league helps build strength, confidence
Adults and children with physical disabilities in St. Peters, Mo., play and train for sports ranging from swimming to soccer at The Disabled Athlete Sports Association and Paralympic Sport Club. Besides doubling as a therapy tool, the rigorous athletic training builds strength and agility, and promotes independence, players and coaches said. "I learned more in three days of playing adaptive sports than in months of clinical rehab," said the programs director, Josh Pennington, who has played rugby in his wheelchair. St. Louis Post-Dispatch (11/8)
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Coffee shop teaches students work, social skills
Students with disabilities at Rapid City Central High School in Rapid City, S.D., are learning real-world job and social skills as operators of an on-site coffee shop. Students are tasked with making the drinks, working the register and making deliveries to school staff members. "The experiences and the skills that they've gotten, I couldn't have possibly taught them in my classroom," special-education teacher Amy Heuston said. KELO-TV (Sioux Falls, S.D.) (11/4)
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UCP News
UCP urges President Obama to make disability issues a priority
After the re-election of President Barack Obama, UCP issued a statement encouraging him to address disability issues and to make accessibility, civil rights, education, Medicaid, employment and health care issues a priority during his next term. Read more.
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National Council on Disability calls on voters to share their experiences
Last week, the National Council on Disability (NCD) issued a statement asking people with disabilities who voted in the election to take a brief survey on their experience and any barriers they may have encountered while at the polls. Take the survey here. To learn more about NCD, visit their website.
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I observe the physician with the same diligence as the disease."
-- John Donne,
British poet, satirist, lawyer and cleric
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About UCP
United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) educates, advocates and provides support services to ensure a life without limits for people with a spectrum of disabilities. Together with nearly 100 affiliates, UCP has a mission to advance the independence, productivity and full citizenship of people disabilities by supporting more than 176,000 children and adults every day—one person at a time, one family at a time. UCP works to enact real change—to revolutionize care, raise standards of living and create opportunities—impacting the lives of millions living with disabilities. For more than 60 years, UCP has worked to ensure the inclusion of individuals with disabilities in every facet of society. Together, with parents and caregivers, UCP will continue to push for the social, legal and technological changes that increase accessibility and independence, allowing people with disabilities to dream their own dreams, for the next 60 years, and beyond. For more information, please visit www.ucp.org.

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