Disability History & Awareness

General Information

Disability History and Awareness Weeks

The first two weeks of October are Disability History and Awareness Weeks! Section 1003.4205, Florida Statutes, entitled Disability History and Awareness Instruction, was signed into law in 2008. It requires school districts to designate the first two weeks of October as Disability History and Awareness Weeks and also promotes providing instruction for students in all public schools to expand student knowledge, understanding, and awareness of individuals with disabilities, disability history, and the disability rights movement.

Disability History and Awareness News

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted comprehensive rules governing the quality of closed captions on television to ensure that viewers who are deaf and hard of hearing have full access to television programs. The measures will also require high-quality captions on these programs when they are shown on the Internet. Learn more about The Federal Communications Commission (PDF).

The above rules on captioning quality follow the FCC's successful campaign, over a 3 year time period, to adopt multiple rules and procedures to implement the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010 (CVAA). The CVAA was enacted to ensure that people with disabilities are not left behind as digital, Internet and wireless communication technologies improve the way we communicate and watch video programming. Read more about The Federal Communications Commission.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a report earlier today on Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The new data show that the estimated number of children identified with ASD continues to rise, and pinpoint common characteristics present in those identified with ASD. This data can be used to promote early identification and policy decisions that benefit ASD children and their families. Learn more about The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

U.S. Department of Education Clarifies Schools' Obligation to Provide Equal Opportunity to Students with Disabilities to Participate in Extracurricular Athletics

The Department's Office for Civil Rights issued guidance clarifying school districts' existing legal obligations to provide equal access to extracurricular athletic activities to students with disabilities. In addition to explaining those legal obligations, the guidance urges school districts to work with community organizations to increase athletic opportunities for students with disabilities, such as opportunities outside of the existing extracurricular athletic program.

Read more about this story at http://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/us-department-education-clarifies-schools-obligation-provide-equal-opportunity-s.

Strategic Plan for Improving Management of Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act Announced

The new strategic plan provides a more comprehensive and structured approach to further improve agencies' management of the requirements of Section 508. This approach includes actions agencies need to take to (1) increase transparency, (2) strengthen accountability, and (3) improve collaboration regarding accessible EIT.

Read the memorandum on the strategic plan at http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/procurement/memo/strategic-plan-508-compliance.pdf (PDF).

Federal Charges Allege Captors Held Adults with Disabilities in Subhuman Conditions to Carry Out Social Security Fraud

Linda Weston, her daughter and three co-defendants are charged in a 196-count indictment, unsealed today, with racketeering conspiracy, murder in aid of racketeering, hate crimes, sex trafficking, kidnapping, forced human labor, theft, fraud, and other violent crimes. The indictment alleges that Weston and her associates carried out a racketeering enterprise that targeted victims with mental disabilities and as part of a scheme to steal disability payments from the victims and the Social Security system.

Read more about this story at http://www.justice.gov/usao/pae/News/2013/Jan/weston_release.htm.

Justice Department Obtains Comprehensive Agreement to Resolve Long Standing Litigation Regarding the Rights of People with Developmental Disabilities

The Justice Department announced that it recently filed in federal court a comprehensive agreement that will resolve long running litigation with the state of Tennessee originally concerning conditions of care at the former Arlington Developmental Center (ADC).

Read more at http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2013/January/13-crt-038.html.

Florida Resources

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Federal Legislation