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During Mental Health Awareness Month, Staff Attorney Amy Miller writes a timely blog post centered around this year's theme: You Are Not Alone. The piece covers COVID-19 and it's impact on mental health, as well as Disability Rights Nebraska's continual advocacy for people with mental illnesses.

While a "digital divide" within educational settings was not created by COVID-19, the pandemic has clearly highlighted its existence. In a brief exploration of the "digital divide," Staff Attorney Michael Elsken looks at its impacts, as well as potential options for addressing the divide. He concludes that, because there is no one-size-fits-all approach to "fixing" the "digital divide," continual open discourse between families and schools is key when working toward truly accessible education.

Staff attorney Madison Wurtele connected with Kim Davis, an advocacy specialist for the Nebraska Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (NCDHH), to discuss barriers to communication and accessibility.

In our newest blog post, Representative Payee Reviewer Nikki Evans talks about how TikTok's ADHD community has helped her embrace her truest self.

Disability Rights Nebraska has taken a major step toward cultivating a more inclusive, accessible online environment. With our recent implementation of the Recite Me assistive toolbar, our website visitors now have the ability to customize the way they interact with and view our website content.

Case Advocate Molly Klocksin discusses how COVID-19 has changed how Disability Rights Nebraska monitors facilities in the state. Further, Molly provides updates on the significant shortcomings in care for people living in congregated settings, which were uncovered in our November 2020 "A Widening Divide" report.

As you line up to get a COVID-19 vaccination, you might observe physical or other barriers that would make obtaining the vaccine harder for friends, family members, and neighbors with disabilities. You can help by being our “eyes and ears” on the ground.

People with mobility disabilities who encountered inaccessible Amtrak stations can begin submitting claims for monetary compensation. Claims must be submitted by May 29, 2021.

Nebraska's 107th Legislature is in full-swing! We'll be releasing our bill chart in the coming weeks. In the meantime, watch this video to catch up on some of our highlights from the 106th Legislature (2019-2020).

Disability Rights Nebraska released a report today outlining significant failures to provide for the needs of Nebraskans with disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

This video provides a quick look at Disability Rights Nebraska's "A Widening Divide" report, which details how Nebraskans with disabilities have been left behind during COVID-19.

Each year, Disability Rights Nebraska works in conjunction with other advocacy organizations to provide public policy internship opportunities for people with disabilities. It’s a great way to gain skills that support you in making a positive difference in how Nebraskans with disabilities are treated, seen, and included in our communities.

Disability Rights Nebraska has participated in Give to Lincoln for several years. Michael Elsken, Disability Rights Staff Attorney, encourages people to participate in Give to Lincoln and lets you see how your contribution really impacts students with disabilities and their families.

Disability Rights Nebraska Board Member and Mental Illness Advisory Council Member, Paulissa Kipp, describes life with a mental illness. In her blog article, Paulissa outlines some common symptoms and potential causes of mental illnesses.

Our guest vlogger is China Dixon. China explores the definition of "essential" and brings home the point that everyone contributes in their own way and nobody is disposable.

The 2020 Census is coming to a mailbox or location near you! The decennial census occurs once every ten years and provides every person in the United States with the perfect opportunity to make a difference in their state and local communities. Case Advocate, Karen Masterson, provides information about the census and how its results can benefit Nebraskans.

Disability Rights Nebraska recently submitted comments on the proposed changes in rules for Continuing Disability Reviews for people who are on SSDI and/or SSI. The proposed changes would modify the process and increase the frequency of Continuing Disability Reviews. In the comments, we detail how the porposed changes would only serve to increase the burden placed on the beneficiary, providers, and the State of Nebraska.

Community Engagement Director Sharon Ohmberger looks at how people, ideas and conditions grow toward becoming accepted, and then expected.

Communications Director, Sharon Ohmberger, discusses Al Condeluci's presentation on Social Capital. In addition to explaining the concept of Social Capital, Sharon identifies key takeaways from the presentation, including the importance of relationships and Al's suggestions for helping others to build social capital.

Molly Klocksin, case advocate, discusses the systemic change Disability Rights Nebraska's monitoring work can initiate. Specifically, Molly details the impact that one Lincoln Regional Center resident's lawsuit will have on the facility's operating procedures.

As Nebraska's Protection and Advocacy agency, one of our highest priorities is monitoring places where people with disabilities live and work. Case advocate, Molly Klocksin, discusses the importance of these monitoring visits and how they benefit people with disabilities.

According to the most recent available data reported from U.S. Department of Education, approximately 124,500 students across the nation were physically restrained, mechanically restrained, or secluded during the 2015–16 school year. Public Policy Director Brad Meurrens offers tips to increase both parents' awareness and students' safety.

Four top tips on navigating special education services in the new school year from Staff Attorney Michael Elsken and Case Advocate Karen Masterson.

Public Policy internships with Disability Rights Nebraska expose the interns to a variety of disability-related policy issues and to provide student interns with unique opportunities to be directly involved in (and gain a little experience with) public policy advocacy.

When you're trying to secure an assistive technology device, and you have multiple insurers (Medicare, Medicaid, private insurance), it's best to make sure everyone is on board before you make the purchase. Mike Elsken tells how to avoid some of the pitfalls.

The cost of hearing aids and/or cochlear implants counts for a huge, repeated expense that can reach upwards of $4000 annually. Most insurance companies need not even provide coverage of hearing aids. Public Policy Intern Olivia Versaw brings these issues to light as the Legislature evaluates the merits of a bill to change that situation.

Staff Attorney Stephany Pleasant Maness tells why LB 553 fails to achieve its purpose and will likely make it harder for both landlords and tenants with disabilities to navigate assistance animal law.  

Over the years, the use of seclusion and restraint in schools across the United States has drawn plenty of attention. Federal data indicates more than 122,000 students nationwide were secluded or restrained in the 2015-2016 school year and students with disabilities represent 12% of the student population. Nationally, they represent 71% of students who were restrained and 66% of those students who were secluded. Recently, there has been movement at the federal level to better understand and reduce the use of restraint and seclusion. Locally, however, a Nebraska state senator has proposed a bill, Legislative Bill 147, that leans the opposite direction.

Guest Blogger Suzanne McDonald explores what inclusion means to the includers and the included through the lens of her son's flag football team.

“Home” and “community” represent a lot more than just words for most people who live in Nebraska. Your talents and creativity can help increase community inclusion through expanding the available settings, connections, relationships, opportunities, and choices for all people who want to live in the community.

Disability Rights Nebraska provides training and consultation to five independently-operated Citizen Advocacy offices throughout the state of Nebraska. These offices serve the purpose of creating one-to-one matches between ordinary citizens and vulnerable individuals in their communities who have a disability. At this year’s Citizen Advocacy Retreat, Al Condeluci, CEO of Community Living and Support Services, presented on the concept of Social Capital. North Platte Citizen Advocacy coordinator, Don Kurre, agreed to write a guest blog about his takeaways from Al Condeluci’s presentation.

Molly Klocksin, Case Advocate and intrepid Poll Worker, talks about the range of options available to making voting more accessible, just in time for Nebraska's upcoming General Elections on November 6, 2018.

October is National Disability Employment Month and we welcome Guest Blogger Sarah Chapin from Nebraska VR to tell us more about the services they provide to help people with disabilities find and keep good jobs. 

Parent and advocate Kristen Larsen shares some great advice on the importance of self-advocacy skills for your child and offers many ways to incorporate skill-development into the family's daily routines.

This week's blog includes tips and timelines from Case Advocate (and seasoned poll worker) Molly Klocksin to make sure you have the opportunity to cast your vote this year, and beyond.

With the start of the school year, parents of children with disabilities might have new questions regarding assistive technology devices that could benefit their students in the classroom. Kristi Berst, the Education Program Coordinator at the Assistive Technology Partnership (ATP), discusses some of the services provided by the ATP - Education program amid recent structural changes. Kristi also provides useful information on how to access ATP - Education's services.

Disability Rights Nebraska is encouraged by recent news indicating Nebraska is moving forward with its Olmstead Plan, and recognizes the Developmental Disabilities Planning Council for their instrumental support in funding the process. Why is Olmstead important and how does it affect real people? Read more in this blog post.

Every child probably attends a new school at some time in his or her life, but for children with disabilities, the regular discomfort of that situation can combine with their disability to make the “new” status even more difficult. Although it may never be possible to totally eliminate the rough ride, there are things that can be done to smooth out some of the bumps.

Guest blogger Paulissa Kipp clarifies Assertive Rights and their importance in self-determination for people with disabilities.

"Complete Streets" aims to increase safety for pedestrians in the Panhandle and is working with members of the local disability community to determine the effectiveness of the changes they are making.

Disability Rights Nebraska is introducing the Lay Advocacy model for Inclusive Education in Nebraska. The program is rooted in the premise that, when students with disabilities are viewed through the same lens as those without, they are provided the same opportunities to make friends with classmates, participate in school activities, and thrive in their school communities.

Non-stop action in the legislature this session with senators introducing 469 new bills and 236 new legislative resolutions this session. Disability Rights Nebraska worked with allies and advocates to bring about legislative policy change for persons with disabilities in Nebraska and worked with senators to develop language on disability-related bills.

In an average week, nursing facilities in the United States administer antipsychotic drugs to over 179,000 people who do not have diagnoses for which the drugs are approved. The drugs are often given without free and informed consent. The drugs’ use as a chemical restraint—for staff convenience or to discipline or punish a resident—could constitute abuse under domestic law and cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment under international law.

Extended school year services (ESY) can be a great support to help students with disabilities retain what they learned throughout the previous school year.

In the near future, SSDI beneficiaries who live within a handful of Nebraska counties might receive a mailing inviting them to participate in the Promoting Opportunity Demonstration. In our most recent blog post, staff attorney, Michael Elsken, explains the new demonstration and what it means for eligible SSDI beneficiaries.

Did you know that Nebraska has the highest voter participation rate among persons with disabilities in the United States? How'd we get there and how do we keep it up?

When a business is inaccessible, it does not just impact the individual with the disability. Denying access to a person with a disability means that those who are with the individual have to choose whether to abandon their companion or not visit the place of business.

Disability Rights Board Member Michael Warner shares his thoughts on how LB 968 would immensely improve not only the quality of a person's work viability and options, but the overall quality of life of people with disabilities.

Between now and the beginning of April, if you are on Medicare, you may be receiving a new “red-white-and-blue” Medicare card. Staff Attorney Michael Elsken tells what to expect and why and how to protect your information.

LR 296 comes up for hearing at Noon today, Feb. 21, 2018. The resolution, sponsored by Senator Lynn Walz, would appoint a special committee to study the conditions and treatment of individuals with mental illness within State-Licensed Care Facilities.

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