Airplane Accessibility Petition

Via United Cerebral Palsy‘s Quarterly Family Support Newsletter

Airplane Accessibility Petition

My name is Sally O’Neill. I am 17 years old. Like most girls my age, I love animals, going to the theatre with my friends on the weekend, and skiing in the winter. I dream of traveling after high school. I want to see places like Ireland, Italy, and India. Unfortunately, an accessible airplane ride is not an option for me.

I am writing this because I believe the airline industry should have to comply with the mandates of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. I have cerebral palsy. That means although I have a normal mind, I still have uncontrollable spastic limb movement. I cannot talk or hold my own body upright. I need my wheelchair to keep me in the right posture, and to restrain my arms and legs. The problem is the airline companies make all disabled people check their wheelchair with other baggage. I have visited my grandparents in Ohio and Florida many times. My parents have spent up to 7 hours trying to keep me seated between them. I don’t have the motor function to sit upright on my own. The airplane chairs are not big enough for a seat insert and do not support my upper body. When my shoulders are not in front of my hips, I go into an extension pattern. Due to my spastic limb movement, my parents have to physically restrain my arms and legs. I have strong tone, so this is not easy. None of us can eat, drink, read, or make ourselves comfortable in any other way. As I get older and bigger, each flight gets more difficult.

There are many other disabilities that have this same need for different reasons. I don’t think it makes sense that all other places open to the public are made accessible to every type of disabled person, especially transportation companies, but the airline industry is allowed to force the disabled into able-bodied standards or medical transport.  I’ve heard of an airline removing a whole row of seats to accommodate a Sumo wrestler. If they can do that for a special athlete, why can’t they do it for a person with special needs?  Have you ever wondered why you see so few people with cerebral palsy on airplanes? I think it’s because the airlines do so little to accommodate their needs to ensure their comfort. It’s discrimination. I looked up online how easy it is to remove any seat on the plane. I’m not asking for the bathrooms to be made accessible.

I am proposing that the first seat in the first row of the airplane be removable and tie downs be inserted. These tie downs are used in automobiles to keep the chair in place during crashes. They are as strong as anything on a plane.

I really believe with some small modifications airplane transportation can be made accessible to everyone. I hope you see the need and join me in this change.

Here is a proposed petition:

We petition the airline industry to better accommodate travelers who use wheelchairs.  We propose that the first seat in the first row of the airplane be removable with the capability to have tie downs inserted when needed to accommodate a wheelchair, or that the airlines develop a solution to this urgent need.

If you’d like a copy of the Petition emailed to you, please send an email to the address listed below. We’d appreciate your help in collecting signatures. The important issue here is accessibility.  There are a lot of people who cannot comfortably ride in an airplane, or who simply cannot ride at all.  We also want to collect stories of your experiences riding in an airplane.  Please call or write or send an email.  The more stories, the better.  And the more signatures, the better!

Susan Blanchard, UCP Family Support

Phone:  503-777-4166, toll-free within Oregon: 1-800-473-4581


Mail:  11731 NE Glenn Widing Drive, Portland, OR 97220

2009 Building Futures Conference – October 26 & 27

OrPTI (Oregon Parent Training and Information Center) presents the 2009 Building Futures Conference this October.

Building Futures is for anyone who has an interest in supporting individuals with disabilities as they transition from school to life. This includes Secondary Educators, Post Secondary Educators, Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors, Special Educators, therapists, counselors, service providers, job developers, and other rehabilitation specialists, and especially secondary students with disabilities and their families. Throughout the two-day event there will be presentations by regional and national experts on issues surrounding secondary transition and assistive technology. Check out the agenda here.

Scholarship information can be found here.

Adult Autism Employment Guide Now Available

autismemploymentforblogThe University of Missouri has published Adult Autism & Employment: A Guide for Vocational Rehabilitation Professionals According to their website, the document is a practical synthesis of existing literature and innovative promising practices. It includes previously unpublished insights and suggestions from a national expert on autism & employment.

To develop this resource, author Scott Standifer consulted closely with James Emmett, one of the few experts with real world experience about employment supports specifically for adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). It is a valuable tool for vocational rehabilitation professionals, employment service providers, and anyone interested in supporting the employment of adults with ASD.

The report includes:

–         In-depth descriptions of the wide range of varia­­bility among people with ASD

–         Accommodations & techniques to use during vocational rehabilitation services

–         Traditional vocational rehabilitation techniques which should be avoided

–         Possible career issues associated with ASD

–         Possible workplace accommodations useful for people with ASD

Check it out here.

Thanks to Tim Kral at ORA for the tip.

2009 Metro Area Resource Fair

resourcethumbIndependence Northwest is partnering with the three other Portland metro area brokerages, Mentor Oregon, Inclusion Inc. and The Arc Brokerage Services to bring you the 2009 Metro Area Resource Fair. There will be barbecue food, games and most importantly vendors and resources for you and your family to check out. This is a great opportunity to meet other community members and expand your knowledge of the local DD community and its resources.

A mailer has gone out to all customers of the four brokerages hosting this event.

Resource Fair Time 1:00pm to 5:00pm
Where: Kaiser Permanente Town Hall – 3704 N. Interstate Ave, Portland
BBQ Time: 2:00pm to 6:00pm
Overlook Park (directly across the street)

UCP Releases Its 2009 The Case for Inclusion State Rankings

United Cerebral Palsy released its 4th annual report on The Case for Inclusion yesterday. The report ranks all 50 States and the District of Columbia on how well they are providing community-based supports to Americans with intellectual and developmental disabilities being served by Medicaid.

Oregon ranks 20th. Our state-specific details are here.

State by state ranking:

1. Vermont
2. Arizona
3. Alaska
4. New Hampshire
5. Massachusetts
6. Michigan
7. California
8. Hawaii
9. Colorado
10. Connecticut
11. New Mexico
12. Delaware
13. Minnesota
14. New York
15. Idaho
16. Pennsylvania
17. South Carolina
18. Florida
19. Rhode Island

20. Oregon

21. New Jersey
22. Wisconsin
23. West Virginia
24. Kansas
25. Washington
26. South Dakota
27. Montana
28. Wyoming
29. Missouri
30. Oklahoma
31. Georgia
32. Maryland
33. Alabama
34. Nevada
35. Maine
36. North Carolina
37. Utah
38. Kentucky
39. Iowa
40. North Dakota
41. Virginia
42. Indiana
43. Tennessee
44. Nebraska
45. Ohio
46. Louisiana
47. Illinois
48. District of Columbia
49. Texas
50. Arkansas
51. Mississippi

From the UCP website on the 2009 report:

  • Positively, there are 1,536 fewer Americans living in large state institutions (more than 16 beds). This is a bigger drop than seen last year. However, there remain 169 large institutions (4 fewer) housing 36,175 Americans;
  • Negatively, only nine states (down from 11) report more than 2,000 residents living in large public or private institutions – California, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania & Texas;
  • Sustaining the 2008 level, 19 states, but up from 16 in 2007, have more than 80 percent of those served living in home-like settings;
  • Positively, seven states – Alaska, Arizona, Michigan, New Hampshire, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Vermont- direct more than 95 percent of all related funds to those living in the community rather than in large institutions. Colorado directs a very close 94.6% of funds;
  • Positively, five states – Idaho, Louisiana, North Carolina, Ohio and Texas – as well as the District of Columbia experienced at least a five percent increase in people served in the community (HCBS waiver).
  • Negatively, Wisconsin reduced number of people served in the community (HCBS waiver) by more than five percent;
  • Nationally, 29 states direct more than 80 percent of all related funding to those living in the community;
  • Positively, 39 states, up from 33, report having a Medicaid Buy-In program supporting individuals as they go to work and increase their earnings; and
  • In terms of rankings, in total, 15 states had a sizable change in rankings over last two years. Pennsylvania (to #16 from #29 in 2007, dropping one place from 2008) and Missouri (to #29 from #41, dropping one place from 2008) improved the most with Wyoming (to #28 from #17) and Maine (to #35 from #24) dropping the most in the rankings.

Via DAWG Oregon and UCP

Blanche Fischer Foundation Grant Opportunity

Blanche Fischer Foundation (BFF) is a private, nonprofit 501(c)(3) charitable organization founded through a trust established by the late Blanche Fischer, a native of Long Creek, Ore. BFF makes direct grants on behalf of individuals with physical disabilities. The aid may relate directly to the disability or may less directly foster independence. In accordance with the terms of Ms. Fischer’s bequest, the foundation does not provide assistance for mental disability.

To be considered for a BFF grant, an individual must

  • have a disability of a physical nature;
  • reside in the state of Oregon; and
  • show financial need.

Since its founding in 1981, the Blanche Fischer Foundation has awarded over $1.2 million to nearly than 2,200 individual Oregonians with physical disabilties. We have made more than 100 organizational grants during this time as well, furthering our mission.

Care to Share in Washington County

Care to Share is a Washington County based assistance program that helps individuals with emergency food, energy assistance, rent support and more. Check out their website or see below for more details.

Financial Aid

Clients facing financial crisis may apply to a special fund Care To Share maintains.   Utility – When funds are available clients may request help on a limited basis if they are facing a shut-off.   Rent – One day a month (the 3rd Thursday of each month) qualified clients may call to request assistance with rent for the following month.   We do not provide: cash, bus tickets, transportation or costs, motel room rent, or medical costs.

Back to School

Each August, Care To Share provides backpacks filled with new school supplies for at-risk children attending Beaverton School District schools.  These supplies are distributed though the school administration.

Oregon Heat

Care To Share has been given a contract with Oregon Heat to provide assistance for PGE clients to receive assistance with gas, electricity, wood, pellets and oil.   Clients must call to set an appointment and to verify eligibility.

Water Grants

Care To Share provides water assistance to low income families facing shut-offs.   These funds come to us from three different sources.   We are thankful to Tualatin Valley Water District, Clean Water Services, and City of Beaverton Water.   Without these contributions we could not provide this much needed assistance.

Help DRO (Disability Rights Oregon) Focus Its Efforts

Disability Rights Oregon (DRO) is asking community members to help determine where to focus their advocacy efforts in the coming year. Let your voice be heard by taking the survey.

From the DRO website: Disability Rights Oregon (DRO) is a nonprofit that advocates for the rights of people with disabilities. Each year DRO decides how to allocate its resources based in part on information collected through this Community Needs Survey. We recognize that the list of important issues facing individuals with disabilities is very long; however, due to limited resources DRO cannot give equal attention to every issue. This survey is a tool for you to tell us what you think are the most pressing issues facing individuals with disabilities in Oregon.

DD Co-op Summer Training Opportunities

Note: Providers for brokerages receive the Member rate.

Oregon Intervention System – General (OIS-G)

Status: Available
Date: 8/11/2009
Time: 8:30 AM – 4:30 PM (BOTH days)
Assigned Host: Riverside Training Centers
Presenter(s): Kelly Gordham, Lead OIS Trainer
Description:This is a two day training on BOTH Tuesday, August 11th AND Wednesday, August 12th.

The Oregon Intervention System© is a person-centered, non-aversive system of strategies to understand and respond to behaviors respectfully and safely, including personal physical interventions for critical or emergency risk behaviors.

Location: St. Helens ESD Office
SAINT HELENS, Oregon 97051-3008
Cost: $50/co-op member, $100/non-member. (Check or money order payable to ‘Riverside Training Center Inc.’)
If you have any questions contact:
Name: Rose Johnson
Telephone: (503) 397-1922
Mail registration form to:
Riverside Training Center
PO BOX 280
SAINT HELENS, Oregon 97051-0280
Download Registration Form (doc)
Download Registration Form (pdf)
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Autism 1

Status: Available
Date: 9/16/2009
Time: 9 AM – 1 PM
Assigned Host: Danville Services of Oregon
Presenter(s): Mike Larson
Description:Autism I is a much-in-demand class which is both highly informative about Autism Spectrum Disorders, and practical about support needs and strategies. This course is highly recommended for anyone with an interest or need to gain a good basic understanding of autism and the wide spectrum of autism disorders.
Location: East Portland Police Precinct, Community Room
737 SE 106TH AVE
PORTLAND, Oregon 97216-3197
Cost: $20/co-op member, $40/non-member. (Check or money order payable to ‘Danville Services of Oregon, LLC’)
If you have any questions contact:
Name: Liz Saufley
Telephone: (503) 228-4401
Mail registration form to:
Danville Services of Oregon

PORTLAND, Oregon 97219-5291

Download Registration Form (doc)
Download Registration Form (pdf)

Via Disability Compass

“History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.”

Text taken from the Partners in Time website:

Partners in Time is a self-study course that explores society’s treatment of people with developmental disabilities from ancient times until today.

The history of people with disabilities is a powerful story of discrimination, segregation, abuse, ignorance, silence and good intentions that brought bad results. The mistakes, successes and actions of earlier generations have shaped the world we live in, who we are, our values and views of how people with developmental disabilities are allowed to work, learn, live and participate in their communities.

It is up to each generation to decide what to do with their knowledge of the past…whether to learn from these experiences to change the future or ignore these lessons and continue on the same path. This course has been created to help you understand the complex history of people with developmental disabilities. In this course, you will:

Checkmark Learn how people with disabilities lived, learned and worked from ancient times to the present.
Checkmark Recognize ways in which history repeats itself and how those abuses continue today under new names.
Checkmark Connect early glimmers of progress with current initiatives.
Checkmark Learn about some of the people throughout time whose efforts changed the course of history for people with developmental disabilities.
Checkmark Explore recent progress and celebrate the groundbreaking efforts that are creating a more just, inclusive society.
Checkmark Apply these lessons to create a vision for a future that embraces all people, regardless of ability.

Click here to start the course.

Emergency Preparedness – Are You Ready?

readynowThe folks at OHSU have created a comprehensive emergency preparedness booklet for people with developmental disabilities called Ready Now.  It walks you step-by-step through different emergency situations and helps you plan ahead to be ready in the event of an emergency. The booklet includes checklists for supplies, emergency contacts and more.

This is a great resource for customers, parents, providers and families. You’re sure to learn something you didn’t know and walk away with the tools you  need to be prepared for an emergency. Check it out online here.

Thanks to Cynthia Owens for the tip.

Disability is Natural

The Disability is Natural web site is brought to you by Kathie Snow and BraveHeart Press, Kathie’s family-owned small business.

The mission of the site is to encourage new ways of thinking about developmental disabilities, in the belief that changes in our attitudes and actions can help create a society where all children and adults with developmental disabilities have opportunities to live the lives of their dreams, included in all areas of life.

As a parent, author, and trainer, Kathie challenges conventional wisdom and promotes new attitudes, new actions, and common sense in the disability arena. Since 1991, she’s presented hundreds of seminars at conferences and meetings across the United States and Canada. Her first book, Disability is Natural: Revolutionary Common Sense for Raising Successful Children with Disabilities, was published in 2001, and is now in its second edition. It’s a ground-breaking manual for change that’s used by parents, professionals, teachers, and several universities. Kathie launched this website in 2001, along with a variety of products that promote positive attitudes and perceptions about disability, including the one-of-a-kind “Disability is Natural” DVD. She’s written hundreds of articles, many of which are included in her second book, 101 Reproducible Articles for a New Disability Paradigm. She’s currently working on her next book on the inclusion of people with disabilities in community activities, like churches/synagogues, recreational activities, and other ordinary environments.

Washington County Resource Fair

Washington County Developmental Disabilities Services presents its annual Resource Fair. This is an opportunity to folks to lear more about services available and network with agencies serving Washington County. In 2007, over 50 exhibitors and 1,000 families and individuals attended the resource fair.

WHEN: Thursday, October 16th from 11am to 4pm

WHERE: Cedar Hills Crossing Mall – 3205 SW Cedar Hills Boulevard in Beaverton

Independence Northwest will be presenting along with MENTOR and SDRI.

BROKERAGE NEWS: The 10% Increase

This spring, the Department of Human Services announced its intention to increase (in most cases) the amount of money Customers of Support Services can receive. Starting October 1st, 2008, the majority of Brokerage Customers statewide will see a 10% increase in the amount of money they have available to them. This amount will be prorated, depending on when you plan begins. (For example, if your plan year is December through November, you will receive an increase starting in the month of October and it will prorated until your plan ends in November).

In addition, providers of support services will also have an opportunity to reconsider their current rates. The State of Oregon Department of Human Services has published a new set of rate ranges; the top level of these rates has been increased by 10% as well.

We’re in the midst of implementing the 10% change. Whether you are a customer or a provider, check out our website for updates on the process.

John O’Brien Training Opportunity

The Oregon Training Series on Direct Supports will be sponsoring an exceptional opportunity on January 30th, 2009. Acclaimed author, trainer and advocate John O’Brien will be making a rare Oregon appearance and we urge you to take advantage of this opportunity. To view the flier, click here.

John O’Brien has been in the forefront of thinking and creating precedent setting innovations that helped create full lives for people with disability labels the world over. In addition to developing many of the planning systems used internationally, training thousands of facilitators and human service workers, he is a writer with enormous insight and sensitivity. The training will bring to life John’s new book “Making A Difference, A Guidebook for Person Centered Direct Support.”

This isn’t OCDS’ only opportunity. Visit their website for a number of excellent trainings on disability over the coming months.

Thanks to Cynthia Owens.

ARTICLE: People With Disabilities Are Leaving Stimulus Money on the Table

The IRS reports that more than 5 million retirees, people with disabilities and disabled veterans who are eligible to receive a tax rebate under the $152 billion economic stimulus package have failed to take the steps necessary to get their checks.

Social Security recipients (including beneficiaries receiving Social Security Disability Income) and disabled veterans who earned at least $3,000 in qualified benefits, earned income, or both, may be eligible to receive an economic stimulus payment of up to $300 per person or $600 per couple.

But there is a catch. In order to receive an economic stimulus payment, eligible beneficiaries or veterans must file a 2007 income tax return, even if they are not required to file because their income is below the filing threshold. Since many low-income people with disabilities, along with retirees, have not filed a tax return in many years, they may not be aware that they are eligible to receive a stimulus payment. Most people in this situation will be able to file a Form 1040A, with only a few lines filled, in order to meet the filing requirement. This can be done up until October 15, 2008.

People with disabilities have more good news regarding the stimulus payments. Although SSI payments do not count towards the $3,000 annual income requirement for receipt of a stimulus payment, many SSI beneficiaries also receive SSDI benefits which do count. The Social Security Administration (SSA) has issued instructions explaining that the stimulus payments do not count as income in determining SSI eligibility and will not count as a resource for two months following the month in which they are received. (See earlier Special Needs Answers article.)

For more information on the stimulus payments and what income tax forms to file, go to or call 1-800-829-1040.

For a recent article in USA Today detailing the IRS’s efforts to reach out to seniors and veterans with disabilities, click here.

For state fact sheets on unclaimed stimulus payments, click here.

Via Academy of Special Needs Planners. Thanks to Washington County Developmental Disabilities Program for the info.

RESOURCE: Looking For Resources? Respite Providers? Check Out Disability Compass

Disability Compass provides information on services, products, and special health care resources for people with disabilities, their families and their supporters.

There’s a Respite Provider search and a comprehensive listing of agencies and individuals serving the disability community. We have partnered with Disability Compass in the first year of our operations and highly recommend this resource.

RESOURCE: Connect with Others at Disaboom was founded by Dr. J. Glen House, a physician specializing in physical medicine and rehabilitation who is also a quadriplegic. His firsthand knowledge of the challenges faced by individuals with disabilities and those whose lives they touch has driven the mission: to create the first comprehensive, evolving source of information, insight, and personal engagement for the disability community.

Check it out here.

RESOURCE: Next Time You’re Looking for Resources, Don’t Forget to Check Out 211

People looking for help in Portland and its surrounding communities often do not know where to begin. Locating such basic resources as food, shelter, employment, or health care may mean calling dozens of phone numbers, then struggling through a maze of agencies and services to make the right connections. 211info is built on a quarter-century history of restoring dignity to people’s lives by providing comprehensive information and referral service in this region.

Check out 211 here.