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First Published Friday, 16 January 2009

Obama & Team

Fwd:


Disability Groups Send Recommendations to Obama


Dear President-elect Obama,


Congratulations on capturing the hearts, minds, and hopes of our nation! As
grassroots, community-based, consumer-controlled disability organizations,
which collectively represent over 50 million Americans with the full
spectrum of disabilities, we look forward to working with you and your
administration to make cost-effective policy changes to enhance the lives of
and restore the civil liberties Americans with disabilities.


Attached you will find nine summaries of the top policy issues facing
Americans with disabilities. Taking action on your commitment and these
policy measures will not only benefit citizens with disabilities, our
nation’s wounded warriors, and the ever-growing aging population, it will
benefit all Americans and save our government millions of dollars as
individuals with disabilities become full participants in society.


They include:


· * **Employment<http://jfactivist. typepad.com/ jfactivist/ 2009/01/disabili ty-groups- send-transition- team-education- policy-recommend ations.html>
:* Reversing the persistently high percentages of people with disabilities
who are not working but are ready, willing and able to work;



<http://jfactivist. typepad.com/ jfactivist/ 2009/01/disabili ty-groups- send-transition- team-education- policy-recommend ations.html>
*Education:<http://jfactivist. typepad.com/ jfactivist/ 2009/01/disabili ty-groups- send-transition- team-education- policy-recommend ations-1. html>
*Increasing access and opportunities for physical activity, and improving
quality;


· *Health
Care<http://jfactivist. typepad.com/ jfactivist/ 2009/01/disabili ty-groups- send-transition- team-healthcare- policy-recommend ations.html>
:* Improving access and decreasing disparities and inequities;


· * **Home and Community-based Services
(HCBS):<http://jfactivist. typepad.com/ jfactivist/ 2009/01/disabili ty-groups- send-transition- team-hcbs- policy-recommend ations.html>
*Promoting effective community-based services as alternatives to costly
nursing homes and other institutions and increase the FMAP to states;


· *Disability
Research<http://jfactivist. typepad.com/ jfactivist/ 2009/01/disabili ty-groups- send-transition- team-disability- research- policy-recommend ations.html>
: *Promoting a quality of life and participation- based research agenda;


· *Civil
Rights<http://jfactivist. typepad.com/ jfactivist/ 2009/01/disabili ty-groups- send-transition- team-civil- rights-recommend ations.html>
*: Reinvigorating civil rights enforcement, extending access requirements to
new technologies, and continuing to restore protections stripped away by
hostile courts;


· *Human
Rights<http://jfactivist. typepad.com/ jfactivist/ 2009/01/disabili ty-groups- send-transition- team-human- rights-recommend ations.html>
:* Protecting human rights of individuals with disabilities at home and
abroad;


· *Emergency Preparedness, Response and Recovery
Needs:<http://jfactivist. typepad.com/ jfactivist/ 2009/01/disabili ty-groups- send-transition- team-emergency- preparedness- recommendations. html>
*Planning, coordinating, and providing resources to support people with
disabilities before, during, and after a crisis; and**


· *Genetic Science and
Technology:<http://jfactivist. typepad.com/ jfactivist/ 2009/01/disabili ty-groups- send-transition- team-genetic- science-and- technology- policy-recommend ations.html>
*Promoting ethical use of new technologies.


Like you, we stand and sit on the shoulders of so many who have come before
us. As our nation approaches the 20th anniversary of the Americans with
Disabilities Act in 2010, we embrace the disability rights principle,
“Nothing About Us, Without Us.” For too long others claimed the need to
speak for us, but no other group – professionals or relatives – speak for *
us*.


Additionally, we urge you to embrace the fundamental principles for
sustainable change, which are essential elements to building healthy,
resilient, empowered communities. As you move forward with deliberate speed
and consideration, we urge your administration to:


· Provide oversight of federal agency public policy, regulatory, and
enforcement actions, and collaborate with consumer and community-based
disability organizations as partners to better serve the ever-expanding
population of more than 50 million Americans with disabilities;


· Hire qualified professionals with disabilities, who have expertise
in policy areas, throughout the administration, including a Special
Assistant to the President on Disability Policy;


· Include individuals with disabilities in policy formation in all
areas addressed by the administration, and integrate representatives of our
community on all advisory boards of all major agencies;


· Provide services that serve people with disabilities across the
life span, from cradle to grave, and all those with increased needs for
health care, health promotion, and long-term services and community-based
supports;


· Incorporate consumer-directed services and include consumers in
policy development;


· Embrace the disability experience as part of culturally competent
policy and diversity at all levels of planning, policy formulation,
implementation, and evaluation; and


· Focus on “universal design” as a cost-effective innovative way to
enhance the quality of life and level of participation of all Americans in
community life and incorporate it into infrastructure changes in the
economic stimulus package so we upgrade the infrastructure for all to use;


Thank you for your support of the need for the federal government to be
“diligent about making sure the states enforce the rights affirmed by the
Olmstead decision.” Enabling people with disabilities to live independently
in their own homes and communities, rather than being forced into costly
Medicaid-funded nursing homes and other institutions will ensure civil
liberties, enhance the quality of life and full participation of all
Americans by creating stronger, sustainable communities of inclusion and
acceptance to honor the 10th Anniversary of the Olmstead decision.


As a community of individuals with disabilities, we ask for nothing more
than what other Americans expect and already have. We seek inclusion. We
seek a voice for the disability rights message in the change you create. As
you create more jobs for Americans, include jobs for Americans with
disabilities. As you improve education for America’s students, include
students with disabilities. As you improve the healthcare system, include
the healthcare needs of individuals with disabilities. As you restore civil
rights to Americans, include the civil rights of individuals with
disabilities. To paraphrase your now immortal words, – We are not a nation
of disabled and non-disabled Americans. We are the United States of America.


We stand ready to work with you and look forward to an opportunity to
discuss our priorities with you personally in the coming months.


Sincerely,


American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD)


Access Living


American Disabled for Attendant Programs Today (ADAPT)


Autistic Self Advocacy Network


Boston Center for Independent Living (BCIL)


California Foundation for Independent Living Centers (CFILC)


Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF)


Generations Ahead


Little People of America


Metro-West Center for Independent Living (MWCIL)


National Association of the Deaf (NAD)


National Coalition for Disability Rights (NCDR)


National Coalition of Mental Health Consumer Survivor Organizations


National Council on Independent Living (NCIL)


National Empowerment Center* *


*National Federation of the Blind (NFB)*


Self Advocates Becoming Empowered (SABE)


Special Olympics


Texas State Independent Living Council (TX SILC)


World Institute on Disability (WID)

For Policy Recommendations on each policy issue click links above



Ari Ne’eman
President
The Autistic Self Advocacy Network
1660 L Street, NW, Suite 700
Washington, DC 20036
http://www.autistic advocacy. org
732.763.5530



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