Disability Rights

327 petitions

Update posted 13 hours ago

Petition to Nicholas Dirks, Na'ilah Nasir

Provide Communication Access for UC Berkeley's 1st Deaf Visiting Student Researcher

We the undersigned concerned undergraduates, graduate students, faculty, staff and community members around the country and the world strongly support Nancy Barker and her demands for communication, resource and educational access stated below.  Nancy, a Deaf PhD student whose primary mode of communication is American Sign Language, was invited to UC Berkeley as a Visiting Student Researcher for the 2016-17 academic year to make use of the resources on campus to analyze her data and complete her dissertation in ecological sciences and conservation.  When she arrived on campus in September 2016, however, Nancy found that the University did not have policies in place to provide her, as a Deaf Visiting Student Researcher, with the accommodations she needed.  This resulted in Nancy spending first 12 of the 15 weeks of the fall semester with no sign language interpreting services for her classes or other academic activities on campus.  Nancy was finally granted 21 hours of interpreting services per week at the beginning of the spring semester, but two weeks later, the UC Berkeley Disabled Student’s Program (DSP) cut Nancy’s services to just 8 hours per week without explanation.  Nancy now has interpreters for her classes but, DSP has refused to grant her the autonomy and flexibility to schedule interpreters as needed for her labs, meetings with professors and colleagues and to take advantage of other resources on campus.  The University has clearly been in violation of The Americans with Disabilities Act (The ADA), which requires all public accommodations, including public universities, to provide Deaf students with effective communication.  Effective communication for a Deaf student, whose primary mode of communication is American Sign Language, means providing interpreters for all critical communication on campus.   With such limited access to sign language interpreting services over the last six months, Nancy has been cut off from the resources, people and knowledge she needs to help her progress towards the completion of her dissertation.  Due to the University’s refusal to provide communication access for most of the fall semester and only limited access during spring semester, we believe it only fair for UC Berkeley to extend Nancy’s Visiting Student Researcher appointment for an additional semester so she can complete her dissertation work as originally intended.  Nancy’s financial backing, provided by her department for the 2016-17 year will soon be exhausted.  Therefore, we also believe the University should provide her with the standard financial support for Visiting Student Researchers (but that this funding should NOT come from Nancy’s department as they were not at fault for denying her access to the accommodations she needed to succeed).   We therefore DEMAND  that the UC Berkeley Administration immediately grant Nancy Barker: 1) One additional semester as a Visiting Student Researcher on campus with full financial support We demand that Nancy’s Visiting Student Research position be extended to the Fall Semester of 2017 so that she can complete her data analysis and dissertation as planned.  We demand that she also be given the standard financial backing for Visiting Student Researchers for this additional semester.  2) Full autonomous access to 30 hours of sign language interpreting services each week We demand that Barker be given a block of 30 hours of sign language interpreting services each week to attend classes, labs, lectures, meetings with faculty and colleagues and take advantage of other campus resources as needed for the remainder of the Spring 2017 semester and the entirety of the Fall 2017 semester.  We also demand that Barker be given the autonomy to schedule interpreting services directly with the interpreting agency, to expedite service provision.  3) No reprisals Finally, we demand that there be no reprisals for Nancy or any of her supporters in her campaign to gain full access to her education at UC Berkeley. 

Nancy Barker
328 supporters
Update posted 19 hours ago

Petition to LTG Kenneth R. Dahl, Commanding General, IMCOM, Thom Tillis

Don't take respite care away for military families with special needs children

The U.S. armed forces have an amazing program called the Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP). The EMFP helps families with special needs children gain access to respite care professionals. The program has helped alleviate some of the stress and strain for parenting a special needs child by allowing parents to take time to clear their minds, recharge, and be the best parents they can be for their child. But this program is now under budgetary threat. Losing access to this program would force families into the financially difficult position of relying on civilian programs and providers. But the unique circumstances of military families make relying on civilian programs and support providers that much more precarious. Sometimes, military families are living on bases in rural areas where it is difficult to find service providers for our special needs children. Additionally, military families often rotate from base to base every 3 to 5 years -- forcing a family to essentially “start-over” with each new assignment. I don’t say this to complain. This is what we sign up for and we are proud to serve our country. But our families need the support this military program provides. Budget cuts have slowly eroded the program’s availability across the armed forces for all but the most severely disabled children. And now these budget cuts are due to hit Army families in June 2017 -- despite that fact the the Army has the largest number of families with children on the autism spectrum. We are begging Congress to please not balance the budget on the backs of the families who need this respite care program the most. Please sign and share this petition. It’s important to let Congress know that military families need all the support they can get -- and military families with special needs children require this support so much more! 

Lorraine Weber
34,033 supporters
Update posted 1 day ago

Petition to Mac McCutcheon, Alabama State House

Support for HB284 , Requiring Insurance Coverage for Therapy for Autism

      I am the mother of an autistic child. My son was diagnosed fairly early so we began intervention at two. I left my career in finance in order to get him to therapy and provide him with more support at home. We have insurance that provides for ABA therapy, that which has been proven to help many with autism grow into healthy, self-sustainable adults. But it didn't take me long to find out how lucky my family is. I have dedicated my time to my children, my family, and child advocacy because through this journey I have seen so many others without access to the therapy that is a necessity for individuals on the autism spectrum. HB 284 was introduced to the State House by Rep.  Jim Patterson. It's passing would mean the beginning of better treatment for and acceptance of those on the spectrum.                          Health Insurance Coverage for Autism in Alabama                                    HB 284 by Rep. Jim PattersonAutism affects 1 in 68 children (1 in 42 boys), according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy is the most commonly prescribed, evidence-based treatment for Autism Spectrum Disorder and is endorsed by the U.S. Surgeon General, American Academy of Pediatrics and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid.Alabama is one of only five states in the country that does not require insurance coverage for effective, medically-necessary treatment for Autism Spectrum Disorder, such as ABA.Why is autism insurance reform needed in Alabama?Without appropriate treatment, the societal cost over the lifetime of an individual with autism is an average of $3.2 million per person (Ganz, 2007). The estimated lifetime cost savings of providing appropriate treatment is $1 million per child (Jacobson, 1998)Proposed Legislation Requires insurance coverage for medically-necessary treatment for Autism Spectrum Disorder. Includes coverage for all fully-insured private market plans (individual, small and large group plans), and includes State EmployeesHealth Insurance Plan (SEIB) and Public Education Employees Insurance Plan (PEEHIP).                                                                                                                           ABA Therapy Providers in AlabamaThere are currently 181 Nationally Board Certified Behavior Analysts in Alabama.Cost of providing meaningful coverage for the treatment of autism in other statesForty five (45) states have enacted legislation that requires meaningful coverage or autism, including ABA. Available claims data from these states shows the average cost of coverage is less than 50 cents per member per month. After 6 years of implementation of their autism insurance law, the Missouri Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions & Professional Registration has concluded that because autism-related costs “represent just over two-tenths of one percent of overall claim costs means this law continues to have little appreciable impact on insurance premiums.”

Brittany McPike
9 supporters
Update posted 1 day ago

Petition to Bristol County DA Thomas Quinn, David Mark Appeals Division

Drop the criminal case against my autistic and intellectually disabled son

My son Brett has autism and intellectual disabilities.  After an incident at his group home, Brett was inexplicably charged with four counts,including assault. We have no idea if the group home followed his behavior plans,if they followed his transportation plans, if they gave him his medication as instructed, and if they properly disclosed the extent of his disabilities to the first responders. No investigation of the group home was ever undertaken.   Brett was taken by police car to the local er. I was finally called by the group home to notify me of the incident two hours later.  I was told by hospital staff that law enforcement wanted to 'take Brett in', meaning lock-up.  I was very scared for Brett.  They wouldn't let me see him until about 20 minutes after I arrived.  I didn't know what was happening to him or if he was still at the hospital.  I didn't know if they were going to arrest him. When I said, "no one is allowed to question him.  He's under guardianship. You need a guardian's permission.", then they finally let me in.  Brett was happy to see his mom after sitting in an er room by himself for 2 hours. Brett has already been deemed  mentally incapacitated by several judges.  He is under guardianship. The Bristol County DA Thomas Quinn insisted on prosecuting this case, irregardless of the volume of paperwork presented to him regarding Brett's inability to form intent.  A judge dismissed the charges against Brett.  Now the District Attorney is appealing on  what they claim is a procedural error.  Brett is a true innocent and can not be sent to prison or institutionalized in a house-of-horrors like Bridgewater State Hospital.   His family loves him so much.  He touches the hearts of everyone that meets him.  He volunteers(with me) to help animals.  The world needs Brett Reich in it.   Brett's mom Carrie

carrie reich
704 supporters