Newly Married RI Couple Featured in New York Times Article “A Couple Gaining Independence, and Finding a Bond”

 

Lori Sousa knew Peter Maxmean was her soul mate when they first met, and now they are showing how people with intellectual disabilities can live, work and thrive in a community…

Video by Kassie Bracken on October 4, 2014. Story by Dan Barry. Photo by Ángel Franco/The New York Times.

OLMSTEAD Celebrates 15 Year Anniversary

The 15th Anniversary of Olmstead v. LC - 'The Olmstead ruling was a critical step forward for our nation' a quote from president Barack Obama

About Olmstead

The story of the Olmstead case begins with two women, Lois Curtis and Elaine Wilson, who had mental illness and developmental disabilities, and were voluntarily admitted to the psychiatric unit in the State-run Georgia Regional Hospital. Following the women’s medical treatment there, mental health professionals stated that each was ready to move to a community-based program. However, the women remained confined in the institution, each for several years after the initial treatment was concluded. They filed suit under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) for release from the hospital.

The Decision

On June 22, 1999, the United States Supreme Court held in Olmstead v. L.C. that unjustified segregation of persons with disabilities constitutes discrimination in violation of title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The Court held that public entities must provide community-based services to persons with disabilities when:

  1. such services are appropriate;
  2. the affected persons do not oppose community-based treatment; and
  3. community-based services can be reasonably accommodated, taking into account the resources available to the public entity and the needs of others who are receiving disability services from the entity.

Olmstead Enforcement: Community Integration for Everyone

U.S. v. Rhode Island –1:14-cv-00175 – (D.R.I. 2014)

On April 8, 2014, the United States entered into the nation’s FIRST statewide settlement agreement vindicating the civil rights of individuals with disabilities who are unnecessarily segregated in sheltered workshops and facility-based day programs.

The settlement agreement with the State of Rhode Island resolves the Civil Rights Division’s January 6, 2014 findings, as part of an ADA Olmstead investigation, that the State’s day activity service system over-relies on segregated settings, including sheltered workshops and facility-based day programs, to the exclusion of integrated alternatives, such as supported employment and integrated day services.

The U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island has entered the settlement agreement as a court-enforceable Consent Decree. Click this link to read more and to see a copy of any the following documents:

  • Consent Decree – filed April 8, 2014
  • Fact Sheet about Consent Decree
  • Order Approving Consent Decree – entered April 9, 2014
  • Complaint – filed April 8, 2014
  • Letter of Findings – filed January 6, 2014
  • Press Release on Landmark Settlement Agreement – April 8, 2014
  • Remarks by Acting Assistant Attorney General Jocelyn Samuels at Press Conference Regarding Employment Services for Rhode Islanders with Disabilities – April 8, 2014
  • Faces of Olmstead – read several individuals’ stories
  • Related item: U.S. v. Rhode Island and City of Providence – 1:13-cv-00442 – (D.R.I. 2013)

Free Communications App for Emergencies

Show Me for Emergencies, an innovative, interactive app that will enhance communication between public health and emergency management personnel and volunteers and individuals with communication challenges across a variety of emergency settings.

The MA Office of Preparedness and Emergency Management has a free mobile application, Show Me for Emergencies, an innovative, interactive app that will enhance communication between public health and emergency management personnel and volunteers and individuals with communication challenges across a variety of emergency settings.
a promotional graphic for the Massachusetts Show Me for Emergencies App

The app expands upon the booklet, Show Me: A Communication Tool for Emergency Shelters, to include not only emergency shelter settings, but emergency dispensing sites, shelter in place, and evacuation scenarios as well. Within each scenario there are options to communicate information such as an individual’s preferred language, the type of emergency that’s happening, personal and medical needs, animated instructions for actions like boiling water or gathering items, etc. One of the features of the app is that once it’s downloaded to a user’s device, the app does not need internet connectivity in order to access its content.

a screenshot from the Show Me for Emergencies App showing a menu with different kinds of emergency information

screenshot from the Show Me for Emergencies app

a screenshot showing a menu in the Show Me for Emergencies App

screenshot from the Show Me for Emergencies app

Show Me for Emergencies is available to download from both the iTunes® and Google Play® stores. Click below:

download Show Me for Emergencies on the Apple App Storedownload the Show Me for Emergencies Android App on Google Play

 

For a copy of the Booklet “Show Me: A Communications Tool for Emergency Shelters” click here.