COVID-19 Related Information

To try to help families during this difficult time with school closures due to Covid 19, we have added a COVID-19 section to the LTF3 website.

To view the original homepage of the LTF3 website, click here.

 

Local Task Force Zoom Meeting Link

DUE TO COVID-19 WE WILL BE HOLDING THE APRIL MEETING EXCLUSIVELY ON THE ZOOM PLATFORM

The LTF3 Meetings will now be available on Zoom Meeting, so you can now access the meetings from your computer or telephone!  Thank you, Brian Welles and the Allegheny Intermediate Unit for setting this up; we appreciate your support!

Topic: Local Task Force Zoom Meeting Link
Time: This is a recurring meeting that occurs on the first Wednesday of each month
Join from PC, Mac, iOS or Android: https://paiu.zoom.us/j/199666919

Or join by phone:

+1 646 558 8656 or +1 669 900 6833 (US Toll)
Meeting ID: 199 666 919
International numbers available: https://zoom.us/u/alogmfj2

Or join from a H.323/SIP room system:

Dial: 162.255.36.11
Meeting ID: 199 666 919

If you have never used Zoom before, or will be using it on a different device, I recommend logging in at least 10-15 minutes early so you have time to troubleshoot any issues and test your settings.  I have found that some of my devices will not allow me to increase the volume enough so I can hear and I always use my laptop for that reason.  You may need to experiment with your device and earbuds/headphones/external speakers, etc. to find the right combination for you.

Also, if you are logging in from a device with a camera but don't want to be shown on-screen, just click on the video camera in the lower left corner of the screen, once you're in the meeting, so a red line appears through the camera icon.  If you are new to Zoom, you'll also want to type your name in, so we can see who is present and who you are when you are speaking.

Lastly, we ask that ALL participants MUTE themselves as soon as they enter the meeting.  Click on the microphone icon on the lower left of the screen so that a red line appears through the microphone.  Otherwise, the background noise from the open microphones will obscure what the current speaker is saying.  Zoom will give you instructions to open your mic, if you'd like to make a comment or ask a question.  You can do that by clicking on the microphone, speaking, and clicking it back off when you're done, or by holding down the space bar continuously while you speak and releasing it when you are done.

I'm sure we'll be working through some technical difficulties our first few meetings, as we'll have to experiment with the room set up, camera/microphone placement, and how we can all work smoothly together through the Zoom interface.  Please be patient with us as we try to expand our meetings to include even more families!

Thank you very much and we look forward to seeing you tomorrow at 6:30 pm, either in person or via Zoom!

Sharon Janosik & Debbie Efkeman
Co-Chairs, LTF3

Meeting START TIME CHANGE

LTF 3 

Meeting START TIME CHANGE 

6:30 PM 

After reviewing the answers to our meeting start time survey, we have decided to try out a new start time of 6:30 PM. In an effort to try to increase the membership of families and self-advocates and be respectful to agency responsibilities, we want to try this new start time.

A light dinner will be provided.

We will see how convenient this time start is over the first few months, and if need be will alter the time again. 

See you September 4, 2019 at 6:30 PM! 

-- Debbie Efkeman & Sharon Janosik

Join Us on Facebook

For related news and information, join the discussion at our Facebook Community.

Welcome to The Local Task Force on the Right to Education in Allegheny County

Welcome to our website.

PARENT ASSISTANCE LINE (412) 394-5930
A member will answer questions or provide information to the caller concerning special education issues.

IMPORTANT!
The City of Pittsburgh has its own Local Task Force. Their parent assistance hotline number is (412) 323‑3996.

OUR MISSION:
The Local Task Force serves as a resource for children with all disabilities and their families in the 42 school districts in Allegheny County.

MEETING SCHEDULE:
Meetings are held the first Wednesday of every month except July and August at the Allegheny Intermediate Unit offices at the Waterfront in Homestead from 6:30 till 8:30 p.m.

HISTORY:
The Local Task Force (LTF) system was established in 1972 as part of the Consent Decree between the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the PA Association for Retarded Citizens. The PARC Consent Decree guaranteed a free public program of education for all school-aged persons with mental retardation or thought-to-have mental retardation regardless of their intellectual functioning.

Today the LTF system supports all school-aged persons with all disabilities and their families.

MEMBERSHIP:
The Local Task Force on the Right to Education is open to:

  • PARENTS
  • PROFESSIONALS
  • EDUCATORS
  • AGENCY REPRESENTATIVES

Under the Consent Decree, parents must make up 51% of the membership.

OTHER SERVICES PROVIDED

  • Cyclical Monitorings

School districts are audited by the Bureau of Special Education every 5 years. The LTF provides information to the chairperson of the cyclical monitoring team. This information can be commendations or issues and concerns which have been brought to the task force’s attention.

  • Parent Satisfaction Survey

Local Task Forces can initiate a process with school districts to have the school districts disseminate the Parent Satisfaction Survey developed by the 29 Local Task Forces throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.  Although not mandatory, the school districts can benefit from receiving feedback from the families of sons and daughters who have IEPs. This survey could be done any year except in the school year when the district is involved in their Cyclical Monitoring or Indicator 13 training.  Families can make this request to our Local Task Force 3 through the Parent Assistance Line or in person at one of the 10 public meetings held from September through June.

Living Beyond the Walls of the Institution

JULY 22

Learning from Our History: Living Beyond the Walls of the Institution

This event is part of Disability Pride Virtual PA 2020
Celebrating the Anniversary of the ADA
–30 years in 30 days–

A facilitated virtual discussion about the obstacles to living beyond the walls of institutionalized settings, current issues in community-based services, and what the future might hold.


Date: Wednesday, July 22, 2020
Time: 4:30 - 6:00 pm
Facilitator: Guy Caruso, Western Coordinator, Institute on Disabilities at Temple University

Invited participants include:

  • Brenda Dare, self-advocate, Independent Living Project Manager for Transitional Paths to Independent Living
  • Jamie Ray-Leonetti, Associate Director of Policy, Institute on Disabilities at Temple University
  • Debbie Robinson, Executive Director for Speaking for Ourselves
  • Nancy Thaler, former Deputy Secretary for the Pennsylvania Office of Developmental Programs

Before the discussion, view one or more of the videos that will help frame our discussion.
  • From Wrongs to Rights (2013 / 8 minutes)
    tells the story of early 1970s activism in Western Pennsylvania that exposed the use of cages at Polk institution and led to the firing of the superintendent. The activism created momentum for the movement to de-institutionalize. 
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=16&v=Xhvbc55L89I&feature=emb_logo
  • i go home (2016 / 56 minutes)
    recounts the history of barring children with intellectual disability from public schools and advising parents to send them to institutions. A late-1960s Philadelphia television news expose' shed light on deplorable conditions inside the walls of Pennhurst institution and motivated the public to demand change. 
    https://video.witf.org/video/witf-i-go-home/
  • Valuing Lives: Wolf Wolfensberger and the Principle of Normalization (2015 / 57 minutes)
    explores the principle of “normalization”—a revolutionary idea in human services in the 1970s that challenged long-held assumptions about people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and became the framework for human service. The historic shift in thinking was made popular by iconoclastic professor Wolf Wolfensberger. 
    https://vimeo.com/160372828
    Password: wolfdoc

Videos will be available on the Disability Pride Virtual PA website:
https://www.disabilitypridephiladelphia.org/disability-pride-virtual-pa-calendar/learning-from-history-and-the-ada-beyond-the-walls-of-the-institution
June 27 through July 26


To attend this and other events

throughout the 30-day celebration, visit Disability
pride Virtual PA 2020 complete schedule of events, visit

https://www.disabilitypridephiladelphia.org/disability-pride-virtual-pa-calendar?view=calendar&month=07-2020

Captioning and ASL interpretation will be provided.

FOR INFORMATION
tel: 412-204-7199
email: info@wpdhac.org


This event is sponsored by the
Western Pennsylvania Disability History and Action Consortium,
Institute on Disabilities at Temple University,
Pennhurst Memorial & Preservation Alliance,
and ADA 30 Pittsburgh and Allegheny County
 
Institute on Disabilities at Temple University
College of Education
1755 N. 13th Street  Student Center 411S
Philadelphia, PA 19122   

Institute on Disabilities Newsletter - Summer 2020

From Temple University Institute on Disabilities.

NEWSLETTER

The Institute on Disabilities
at Temple University

Issue 1
Summer 2020

Hello…and Welcome!

Welcome to the first quarterly newsletter for the Institute on Disabilities at Temple University, College of Education. Our goal is to keep our friends and colleagues up to date with what is happening at the Institute and pass on any important information for and about people with disabilities, their families and those who support them.

We hope that you enjoy the newsletter.

Sign up to join our contact list and let us know what you’d like to read about in future. Click on this link to our form.

Institute Adapts During COVID-19

Continuing and Improving its Work for and with People with Disabilities

Beginning on March 17, 2020 the Institute began to conduct all work remotely, in accordance with the guidelines set forth by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Our existing programs adapted, and in response to needs, we introduced new programs and provided important resources.

Here are some highlights:

  • The Institute created and maintained a list of resources focusing on sites for guidance, information, assistance and personal well-being.
  • TechOWL - Technology for Our Whole Lives, the Assistive Technology program of the Institute, launched a new program called Connect With Tech which collects used devices such as iPads, tablets and smart phones, and ships to Pennsylvanians with disabilities who use them for communication, especially during quarantine. Read more about Connect With Tech.
  • 7th Annual Disability and Change Symposium – Combating Implicit Bias: Employment This annual event is a one-day, interdisciplinary conference focusing on cultural equity and disability. Originally scheduled as an in-person event for March, we had to re-envision and transform it into an online mini-course, available at any time. To date, more than 5000 people have accessed the course modules. Read more on the Disability and Change Symposium webpage.

A complete story about how the Institute responded to the COVID-19 crisis is available on the news section of our website: Institute Adapts during COVID-19

Institute Names Interim Executive Director

On March 7, 2020, Sally Gould-Taylor, PhD began her tenure as Interim Executive Director of the Institute on Disabilities at Temple University, College of Education. Having served as both the Associate Director of the Institute and as its Director of Research and Evaluation, Dr. Gould-Taylor is uniquely qualified to guide the Institute into a new era.
 
During the transition, Sally is working closely with the Dean and Deputy Dean of the College of Education on all decisions concerning the Institute's operations and is leading the Institute through this important change.
Sally holds a PhD in Urban Education with a focus on Anthropology of Education. Her work builds from community driven Participatory Action Research in diverse fields of human services, disability and education. Additionally, she has taught at Temple University for ten years.
"I am looking forward to working with the Institute's dedicated staff, and our University and community partners, to sustain the extraordinary work we have accomplished over the past four decades," Sally said. "We will continue to build on our shared vision where ALL people are respected and lead self-determined lives."

Sally’s predecessor, Celia S. Feinstein, announced in September 2019 that she would be stepping down as Executive Director, but remaining at the Institute to manage several key projects. (Read Celia’s announcement)

Policy Spotlight

Hospital “no visitor” policies cannot discriminate against people with disabilities

Pennsylvania policy  

On April 27, 2020, the Pennsylvania Secretary of Health, issued a revised, statewide hospital visitor policy. As a member of the PA Coalition for Inclusive Community, the Institute on Disabilities at Temple University, joined other Pennsylvania disability organizations to raise concerns about this policy because:

  • A person with an intellectual disability or significant communication need has a right to participate in decision making and communication about their care. This right must not be restricted simply because a person needs assistance from a support professional or family member, and;
  • Individuals and families needing care should not have to “hospital shop” in order to find a Pennsylvania hospital that will grant access to a support person in these situations. 

The April 27 policy left the decision as to whether a support person will be allowed to the discretion of the medical staff. Pennsylvanians with disabilities and families argued this remained inadequate for several reasons:

  • The right to cognitive, communication or other support because of a disability is protected by various anti-discrimination laws including the Americans with Disabilities Act and, in many cases, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Under these statutes, access to support is a reasonable accommodation;
  • In most instances, the medical staff charged with deciding if a support person is necessary in the hospital have no previous experience with the person and the impact of their disability.
  • Medical staff may lack any experience with disability at all.

On May 23, 2020, the PA statewide visitor policy was revised to include a statement to ensure compliance with state and federal laws including the Americans with Disabilities Act. As a result, Pennsylvanians with disabilities may bring a support person into the hospital if needed. 

What is the current policy in Pennsylvania?

Read about the current policy on this PA Department of Health webpage: Guidance on Hospitals' Responses To COVID-19

Federal policy

On June 9, 2020, the Federal Office of Civil Rights (OCR) at the U.S Department of Health and Human Services announced a resolution on hospital visitor policies. This Resolution was a response to a federal complaint filed by the Center for Public Representation alleging that strict “no visitor” policies discriminate against people with disabilities in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

What are some key points of the Resolution?

  • People with disabilities must be allowed a support professional or family member to accompany them in the hospital as a reasonable accommodation.
  • Hospitals must take steps to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 transmission to support professionals or family support who need to enter the hospital with a person with a disability to ensure equal access to healthcare and/or effective communication. 

Where can I learn more?

You can read the full text of the press release and Resolution here: Federal Civil Rights Resolution Makes Clear Hospital Visitor Policies Nationwide Must Accommodate Patients with Disabilities During COVID-19 Pandemic
 

New Initiatives:
Communicating and Collecting

COVID-19 Vocabulary Board 

Early on during the quarantine, the TechOWL team created a core vocabulary board with icons added in response to the COVID-19 crisis. Vocabulary boards are generally used by people who are unable to communicate in a traditional manner. The board can be used to communicate health issues, food needs, fears and wants. It is available for download online, and a limited number of printed and laminated ones are available. Learn more: COVID-19 vocabulary board.

Story Collecting and Disseminating

Collecting and disseminating stories of people with disabilities and their families is always important, but during the COVID-19 crisis, it is essential. We need to understand the impact that this crisis has on people with disabilities to how to best manage through future events.

  • The Institute's Media Arts & Culture (MAC) program was awarded a short-term grant by the Independence Public Media Foundation to collect stories about living with disability in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis. The Institute will assemble a cohort of community partners who can elicit stories from people who represent the intersectionality of the disability community. The stories will live on the Institute's website and excerpts will be shared on social media. Independence Public Media will also share the stories with media outlets across the region in an effort to increase awareness and support advocacy efforts.
  • The Institute is partnering with Short Edition to collect stories from people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. During this time of social distancing, the strategy of the story collection had to change. Writing professionals will work with people with disabilities to compose narratives, poems and even drawings. The stories will be added to, and dispensed by, a story kiosk in center city Philadelphia. The story kiosk has been adapted to accommodate touchless interaction and will be moved throughout the city in the coming months.
  • The Institute’s Person Directed Services (PDS) project has collected stories about using PDS—how users feel about it; success stories, challenges, etc. Stories, photos and videos are on the Institute website and are actively shared on social media.  Find the stories on our website: Person Directed Services: Stories
  • Finally, the Institute created a unique social media campaign – #SaluteYourSupports – that provides an opportunity for people with disabilities to recognize their support professionals who continue to be active partners even through a quarantine. These Support Service Professionals, Direct Support Professionals and Personal Care Attendants work to ensure that people with disabilities successfully accomplish the tasks of daily life.

Western Corner

The Institute’s mission extends across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and as such, we maintain a satellite office in Pittsburgh. As Western Coordinator, Guy Caruso, PhD, manages all activities in the region, in addition to his work with Pennsylvania's ODP Independent Monitoring for Quality Program.

In his role as an advocate and teacher, Guy has taken an active role in the ADA 30th Year Planning Group, hosted by the Pittsburgh-based FISA Foundation. This group has worked with the Pittsburgh Port Authority to facilitate the wrapping of two city buses with the ADA logo in recognition of the anniversary. In addition, Guy is a part of the Western PA Disability History and Action Consortium and will lead a panel discussion as part of the Disability Pride Virtual PA 2020, a 30-day recognition of the 30th anniversary of the ADA passing.

“Learning from Our History: Living Beyond the Wall of the Institution” will address three films, two of which Guy and the Institute played a major role in producing.

“From Wrongs to Rights,” which explores Western Pennsylvania advocacy that exposed issues in the Commonwealth’s institutions and “Valuing Lives: Wolf Wolfensberger and the Principle of Normalization” which profiles the academic who influenced disability policy and practice through his development of normalization and social role validation.

CONTACT US
Email: IOD@temple.edu                    Tel: 215-204-1356

Institute on Disabilities at Temple University
College of Education
1755 N. 13th Street  Student Center 411S
Philadelphia, PA 19122   








Capitol Insider: Your Action Needed!

From The Arc:

The Arc's Public Policy  |  Action Center  |  Donate

It's Time for the Senate to Act!

#WeAreEssential:

Tell Congress to Include the Disability Community in COVID-19 Relief Bills

TAKE ACTION NOW


Major Events Ahead

Senate Action Needed on Developing A Fourth Coronavirus Package

The Senate must act to pass legislation that includes the critical needs of people with disabilities, their families, and the direct support professional (DSP) workforce in a new coronavirus package. In May, the House passed its fourth coronavirus package, the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act (H.R.6800), with a vote of 208-199. The Senate will begin negotiations on their fourth coronavirus package when it returns from recess on July 20.

The Arc's priorities for the fourth package include:

  • Increased federal funding for home and community based services (HCBS) under Medicaid
  • Increased access to personal protective equipment (PPE) for DSPs
  • Expanded eligibility for economic impact payments to adult dependents and another round of payments
  • Paid leave eligibility for family caregivers of adults with disabilities, including siblings and grandparents

See The Arc’s July 7 update here. We urge you to contact your Senators here.


Major Recent Events

House Subcommittee Approves FY 2021 L-HHS-Ed Funding Bill

On July 7, the House Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (L-HHS-ED) approved its funding bill for fiscal year (FY) 2021. Most of The Arc’s priority programs received level funding or small increases. Programs receiving significant increases include Lifespan Respite Care Act (63.7%), State Grants to Remove Barriers to Voting (13.4%), and Special Olympics Education Programs (24.5%). Funding levels for The Arc’s priority programs can be found here. The full committee will mark up the bill on July 13.

House Subcommittee Approves FY 2021 T-HUD Funding Bill

On July 8, the House Appropriations Committee's Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing, Urban Development, and Related Agencies approved its funding bill for FY 2021. The bill includes $227 million for Section 811 Supportive Housing for Persons with Disabilities, $310 million for Section 811 mainstream vouchers, and an increase in funding for several other affordable housing priorities. Additionally, the bill would prevent some discriminatory actions that would hurt access to affordable, accessible housing for people with disabilities and other protected categories. A summary of the bill can be found here. The full committee will mark up the bill on July 14.


Announcements

Report Shows Most States Are Not Meeting IDEA Obligations

The U.S. Department of Education found that only 21 states deserved the “meets requirements” designation with regard to Part B for the 2018-2019 school year. Twenty-seven states and the District of Columbia were placed into the “needs assistance” category. Two states were placed in the “needs intervention” category. The findings come from an annual mandatory assessment of state compliance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The ratings are based on how well states meet their obligations to serve students with disabilities ages 3 to 21.

GAO Releases Report of School Shootings

On July 9, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report titled “Characteristics of School Shootings." As mentioned in the report, the Commission on School Safety recommended rescission of the Education Department’s “Rethink School Discipline” guidance. The report found no empirical research examining the relationship between school discipline and school shootings.

Week of July 13 Is National Disability Voter Registration Week

This week is National Disability Voter Registration Week. The Arc has developed resources in plain language and Spanish including a disability voter guide and other resources. Learn more about exercising your right to vote at https://thearc.org/vote/ and https://www.aapd.com/advocacy/voting/.


The Arc

For people with intellectual and developmental disabilities

The Arc promotes and protects the human rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and actively supports their full inclusion and participation in the community throughout their lifetimes.

The Arc of the United States

1825 K Street NW, Suite 1200, Washington, DC 20006





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