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What difference do clear vision and mission statements make in disability rights work? CEO Eric Evans discusses the value and use of our updated vision and mission statements in keeping Disability Rights Nebraska's day to day work focused on the big picture.

Halloween costumes that mock mental illness can easily contribute to already existing stigma--a major barrier to treatment.

Is a former state psychiatric hospital an appropriate setting for retirement living? Case Advocate Molly Klocksin questions the imagery.

The revised Affordable Care Act (ACA) repeal plan from Senators Bill Cassidy and Lindsey Graham, which is also backed by Senators Dean Heller and Ron Johnson, would give states broad waiver authority to eliminate the ACA’s core protections for people with pre-existing health conditions. These waivers would come on top of the proposal’s elimination of the ACA’s marketplace subsidies and Medicaid expansion, its radical restructuring of the rest of the Medicaid program, and its large cuts to total federal funding for health insurance coverage.

Read Disability Rights' top six points in response to Nebraska's draft Consolidated State Plan for the Every Student Succeeds Act. This plan will be submitted to Federal Department of Education within the next week. There are concerns about how the proposed state plan addresses the needs of students with disabilities, and controversial practices like aversive behavioral interventions and seclusion and restraint.

People with disabilities in Nebraska's jails and prisons are not receiving the medical and mental health treatment they need. Staff Attorney Brian Craig argues that rehabilitation is not possible if people are denied care and denied access to programming.

“We who have been labeled mentally ill stand in unity with all the oppressed people of this society. We stand with those who experience, or have experienced, the trauma of racism, sexism, homophobia, anti-immigrantism, ableism, and all other forms of ‘othering’ people not like ourselves. We condemn the gathering of white supremacists in Charlottesville and the violence that their creed of hatred produced..."

There are countless positive and beneficial aspects of being employed that should be accessible to all people who want to work, and "reasonable accommodations" can make it possible for a person with a disability to have equal employment opportunities.

People receiving Social Security benefits CAN work - especially students - if you follow a few guidelines. Disability Rights Nebraska Attorney Mike Elsken fills you in.

CEO Eric Evans lays out the basis of the sharpened advocacy focus in our new strategic plan.

Service dogs mean freedom for many people. Guest Blogger Roxann Hamilton shares her thoughts on the many ways a canine companion provides support to a person with a disability.

With the recent attacks on disability from both the federal and state government, people with disabilities are in danger of losing their ability to live in the community. It's time for all of us to come together to address the threat.

Throughout the years, parents and their children have lobbied toy companies to make dolls that reflect a wider variety of our world’s population. Thanks to advocacy by parent groups, dolls lining the shelves of toy stores today are more likely to have different features.

The legislative session is full of both expected and unexpected twists, turns, and developments. It is the place where advocacy is preached, prized, and practiced. Senators, advocates, lobbyists, and concerned citizens propose and respond to new ideas, and much more. Public Policy Director Bradley Meurrens talks about this past legislative session.

The transition into adulthood isn't easy for anyone, including young people with disabilities. Learning self-advocacy skills can help teenagers and young adults with disabilities speak up for themselves and live the lives they envision for themselves. Administrative secretary, Tess Barnes, discusses the importance of building self-advocacy skills in Disability Rights Nebraska's most recent blog post.

People with disabilities are at grave risk of losing assistance that allows them to not only live more independently, but to participate in the classroom and receive the medical care they need in President Trump’s proposed budget plan, titled “A New Foundation for American Greatness”.

The human needs community is concerned about the massive attack the FY18 Trump Budget takes on low-income and vulnerable people. Read CHN’s Statement on the Trump Budget, “The Trump Budget: A Harsh Attack On Our Own People.”

One out of every 100 special education students was restrained by school personnel or secluded in school from his or her peers in the 2013-14 school year, presumably to quell behavior that teachers considered disruptive or dangerous.

In all, the House bill takes roughly $1 trillion over ten years out of Medicaid and subsidies to help low- and middle-income people afford decent coverage and meet high deductibles and cost-sharing charges — and uses the bulk of this money to give lavish tax cuts to the nation’s richest people instead.

Staff attorney, Michael Elsken writes about the regulations that entitle students with disabilities to transition services. He discusses the Workforce Innovation and Opportunities Act and what it means for employment opportunities for the disability community.

Community Outreach Disability Advocate Mindy Baird from our Scottsbluff office shares her experience with a pro-active, cross-agency collaboration on transportation. In that geographically broad area, a greater range of dependable transportation options will make it easier for people with disabilities in the panhandle to live a typical life.

Toys are for kids, not adults. Adults with physical or mental disabilities are still adults. Pets are one of life’s joys. And I think real pets are the best kind for all of us.

Public Policy Director, Bradley Meurrens, discusses disability rights advocates' involvement in the legislative process. Meurrens explains why it is important for citizens to reach out to their legislators and provide their perspectives on policy.

Case Advocate Karen Masterson paints a more detailed picture of the "why" and the "what" of Information and Referral.

New Kaiser Family Foundation paper contains data on how the AHCA can impact nonelderly adults with disabilities.

ADAPT is in the Rotunda of the US Capitol Building protesting Congress’ and the Trump administration’s efforts to eliminate Medicaid and Affordable Care Act protections that are critical for disabled people’s survival.

The movement to “rightsize” the operations at BSDC and its companion action to transition Bridges residents into more inclusive, community-based services are steps in the right direction.

It's not new, and it's not special: disability has been a part of American life since the country's birth, whether we realize it or not.

Sexuality plays a significant role in most peoples' lives -- including the lives of people with disabilities. Mike Chittenden, Executive Director of The Arc of Nebraska, taps into his experience as a Social/Sexual Educator to discuss physical intimacy and relationships for those who have disabilities.

Administrative secretary, Tess Barnes, discusses how her views on disability-related issues have changed after seven months of working for Disability Rights Nebraska.

Reaching outside our comfort zone to understand what life is like for another person could lead to a lifetime of friendship. Case Advocate Karen K. Masterson talks about the experiences that brought her to advocacy and the importance of natural relationships in a person's life.

In lieu of this week's blog, here's a quick snapshot of action on two bills we have been monitoring: testimony on LB 417, and a letter of support for LB 442.

Seeing your mother in restraints: Case Advocate Molly Klocksin talks about family experiences with the mental health system that led her to eventually become an advocate.

"What is it that makes people - all people - worthy of being seen, respected...?" Sharon Ohmberger contemplates the root and the "why" of advocacy.

Attorney Brian Craig examines the power that perception of a person's role in society can have, and how people with disabilities are sometimes viewed as “less than.” Although integration is something that can be addressed through the law, attitudes towards people with disabilities play an equally important part.

We are saddened by the recent news of the passing of Kathleen Hanson, advocate, Peer Support & Wellness Specialist, and member of the Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness (PAIMI) Advisory Council. In her memory, we are sharing a guest blog post she composed in 2015 about the Olmstead decision and a call for greater choice and support for Nebraskans with significant mental disabilities living in community settings.

From life in an institution to running for City Council in Wood River: Self-Advocate Lynn Redding shares a little about her advocacy journey and jumping into the political process with both feet, as told to Brad Meurrens, Public Policy Director.

"Just one caring and nurturing adult is enough, despite the difficult situations that may arise in a child’s life, to lift up that child. "

Staff Attorney Mike Elsken gives a behind-the-scenes answer to the question, "What do you do?"

In this first blog post, Disability Rights Nebraska CEO Eric Evans looks back at the origins of the P&A system and the unique elements that make it effective in protecting the rights of people with disabilities.

Senior Disability Rights Nebraska Attorney Dianne DeLair appointed to serve on Advisory Council for Nebraska's Office of Public Guardian. She will be representing the perspective of professionals who work with individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

On November 16th, Disability Rights Advocates recognized Dr. Michael Argenyi and his legal team for their victory in Argenyi's case against Creighton University. Dianne DeLair, an attorney at Disability Rights Nebraska, was among the five members of Argenyi's legal team who were presented with Disability Rights Advocates' Eagle Award for their work on this groundbreaking case. As a deaf student at Creighton University School of Medicine, Argenyi was denied accommodations essential to his educational success. After a 5-year legal battle, Dr. Argenyi and his team won this case, which resulted in Argenyi's graduation from Creighton University and set a trailblazing precedent for future cases. To learn more about this year's Eagle Award recipients and Argenyi's case, visit the "Read More" link below.

Andrew R. Webb is an Equal Justice Works fellow at Equip for Equality sponsored by McDermott Will & Emery LLP in Chicago, IL. He provides educational materials and legal representation to Illinois residents with disabilities. He helps them access health care and services and appeals insurance providers’ denials when necessary. He just happens to be blind. Webb said most people in the general public know of so few blind people that he sometimes has to teach people how capable a blind person can be. He said he enjoys that role.

An article in the Star Tribune introduces us to Noah McCourt, a 22-year-old man with autism, who is running for City Council in Waconia, Minnesota. His opponents question his ability to hold an elected office, but his supporters rave about McCourt's knowledgeability and passion for his community. McCourt is also receiving support from Randy Maluchnik, Carver County Commissioner, and Jason Schellack, director of the Autism Advocacy and Law Center in Minneapolis. Although he has never met McCourt, Schellack says his candidacy should be seen as "more of an inspiration." No matter the outcome of the election, McCourt's candidacy is opening up opportunites for other leaders with disabilities and redefining diversity in politics.

Over half of the world's 65 million children with disabilities are out of school due to the current state of education financing. Children with disabilities are disproportionately affected by this underfunding, as they are usually not targeted directly by donations and other humanitarian efforts. The recent #CostingEquity report by the International Disability and Development Consortium (IDDC) extensively details the current financing of inclusive education and the benefits of funding this effort. Additionally, the IDDC's report provides recommendations to donors and government officials that aim to reduce the discrepancy between educational opportunities for children with and without disabilities . Follow the "Read More" button to access the IDDC's website for a link to the full report and related resources.

Betsy Poor Bear talks about the origins of wastunkala and issues an invitation to the Scottsbluff Lakota Center fundraiser to benefit the work of Disability Rights Nebraska. It will take place October 13, 2016 at Noon at the Lakota Lutheran Center, 1200 East Overland, Scottsbluff NE. For more information see the Event Calendar on our website under "How to Help" --> "Get Involved" or call 1-308-633-1352.

New ride hailing companies making their way into town haven't come without issues. A disability rights Texas attorney filed two lawsuits Wednesday against Get Me and Fare for discriminating against those who are visually impaired. He says the companies have refused to make their ridesharing phone apps accessible to riders who use text-to-speech software.

An article written by Brian Craig, a staff attorney at Disability Rights Nebraska, was recently published in the September/October 2016 issue of The Nebraska Lawyer magazine. Brian's article, "A Confusion of Roles: The Attorney-Guardian Conflict," provides professional insight on ethical concerns pertaining to attorney-guardians. In the article, Brian explores issues with the roles of these individuals, including inevitable conflicts of interest and unreasonable attorney-guardian fees in Nebraska, among other considerations. Disability Rights Nebraska is proud to be represented by staff members like Brian who truly care about and continually advocate for the rights of people with disabilities.

Legislative Aide Claudia Lindley tells how disability rights advocacy became an important part of her life.

Today, The AVID Prison Project of Disability Rights Washington released a report on the segregation of inmates with mental illness. The report is titled: Locked Up and Locked Down, and AVID attorney Anna Guy wrote the report. Disability Rights Washington would like to thank all of the P&As that contributed case examples to this report. Over 20 state examples are included in the report.

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