New Developments in Disability Law

Digital Accessibility

As we all know, Access to Justice (ATJ) is a big area of focus for the OSB, and particularly for us in the the Disability Section. Restricted access to digital and online resources can be an ATJ problem for our clients, of course, but it can also be a problem for the members of the bar.

The link below is to an excellent interview article discussing this issue with a young lawyer who is himself blind, and dealing with these issues firsthand.
https://www.americanbar.org/content/newsletter/publications/law_practice_today_home/lpt-archives/june13/why-digital-accessibility-matters-to-the-legal-profession.html

(hat tip to Executive Committee member Bill Spiry for pointing us all in the direction of this article!)

Volunteer Opportunity!

If you’ve been looking for a way to help the next generation of lawyers hone their legal skills, consider volunteering with the upcoming National Appellate Advocacy Competition, taking place in Portland February 15-17, 2018! This year’s competition focuses on a disability  law topic- particularity how the Americans with Disabilities Act applies to law enforcement. Any attorneys can volunteer (no appellate experience required) and you can sign up to judge one or more rounds. CLE credit is available for judging.

Follow the below link to get more information about the competition, and to sign up to judge a round.

Executive Committee’s Annual Report

Each year the Bar asks our section to provide an annual report regarding our sections activities.  Below, are highlights from this the 2017 annual report:

Activities and accomplishments:  This year, the Disability Law Section focused on gathering information from our section members in order to determine what services our membership would like the section to focus on.  The section partnered with the Bar to produce and conduct a survey of the section membership regarding desired services and priorities for the section’s future.  From this survey the section determined that its membership is most interested in the section working to provide information to its members through continuing legal education and the section’s website.  To that end the section implemented a new plan to further develop the section’s website and to post material for section members on the site regularly.  Additionally, the section began the planning process for a CLE which will be held at the beginning of 2018.  Throughout 2017 the section continued to advertise and seek applicants for it’s scholarship program, recruited new members to the executive committee and section, and co-sponsored events (like BOWLIO), which align with our section’s mission.

Budget:  The section’s budget is healthy and we are operating with a surplus.

Matters pending:  Planning the section’s CLE for early 2018 is the largest matter continuing to occupy the section’s executive committee.

Recommendations for 2018:  2018 will be a great year to focus on the priorities the section identified in 2017.  These priorities include putting on a half-day CLE with web-casting services and increasing the quality and quantity of informational content posted to the section website.

A Key To Web Accessibility

Check out this article about website accessibility:

Accessibility APIs: A Key To Web Accessibility By Léonie Watson & Chaals McCathie Nevile

“Web accessibility is about people. Successful web accessibility is about anticipating the different needs of all sorts of people, understanding your fellow web users and the different ways they consume information, empathizing with them and their sense of what is convenient and what frustratingly unnecessary barriers you could help them to avoid.”

July 2016

New Guidance from the US Department of Education on Civil Rights of Students with ADHD

The US Dept. of Education issued guidance in July clarifying schools’ obligation to provide equal education opportunities under §504 of the Rehabilitation Act to students with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).  The guidance clarifies the obligation of schools to evaluate students and provide services to students with ADHD based on their individualized needs, not just based on generalizations about the condition.  The guidance also clarifies that schools should look at students who experience behavioral challenges or present as unfocused or distractible as possibly in need of ADHD accommodations, and should pursue evaluation. The Department released a “Know your Rights” document that provides a brief overview of schools’ obligations to students with ADHD. You can see this document at http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/dcl-know-rights-201607-504.pdf

To see the full DOE guidance on ADHD, go to : http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/letters/colleague-201607-504-adhd.pdf