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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.

Karen Masterson, a Case Advocate at Disability Rights Nebraska, discusses her personal experience with helping a friend navigate the services available to people with developmental disabilities in Nebraska. In her blog post, she also talks about Disability Rights Nebraska's new vision and mission statements and how they align with her own concerns about vulnerable populations.

Best practices in guardianship focus on those options that are the least restrictive. Marla Fischer Lempke from Nebraska's Office of Public Guardian examines the options and shares some resources.

Disability Rights Nebraska has joined with the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD), the Collaboration to Promote Self-Determination (CPSD) and other disability rights organizations nationwide to protest an action that can be seen as a further attempt to undermine the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Case Advocate Molly Klocksin reflects on caring for an aging relative and new resources available through the Aging & Disability Resource Center (ADRC).

“Social development” school activities, like holiday programs, are intended to promote social growth while being fun for the child. Parents can work with the school to make sure that a child with a disability has the joyful opportunity to listen for the “hooves on the rooftop” with peers, and not the frustrated stomping of adults.

Living with a disability means following a new set of rules each day. But one rule remains the same: living independently is not always about what you can and cannot do for yourself. Disability Rights Policy Intern Shanae Heard shares her thoughts on independence, dependence and adaptability.

In Part II of her blog series, Carol Countryman examines real-life experience of people with mental illness living "in the community" and contrasts it with what could be a more typical life.

Carol Countryman muses on how easy it is to fall into the trap of unconscious bias around people with mental health issues, and more positive options, in the wake of the Las Vegas shootings.

US Senator Tammy Duckworth represents the state of Illinois in the U.S. Senate. She is an Iraq War veteran and has physical disabilities as a result of her time in combat. In this article from the Washington Post, she expresses her deep concerns about the HR 620, the so-called "ADA Education & Reform Act".

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.

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