FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Barry C. Taylor, Legal Advocacy Director
Stacy Yusim, Training Institute Manager
(312) 341-0022, (800) 537-2632 or
TTY (800) 610-2779
Public Information Director
Free Training Seminars on Disability Rights
Now Offered at Equip for Equality's Loop Location
CHICAGO (Feb. 17, 2003) -- For the first time, Equip for Equality's Training Institute on Disability Rights will offer a series of free training seminars in March and April for people with disabilities and their families on a variety of issues, including employment rights, special education rights (in English and Spanish), adult guardianship, the rights of people who are deaf and hard of hearing, and Social Security benefits, at the agency's centrally located Loop offices, 11 E. Adams, Suite 1200. Scholarships to attend are provided by a grant from the Illinois Department of Human Services.
"This educational program is all about helping people with disabilities advocate for themselves and becoming more independent and empowered in the process," says Zena Naiditch, President and CEO of Equip for Equality. "By offering these trainings on site at our Chicago office, we hope to reach a new constituency of people with disabilities and their families who will find us more accessible."
Geared for a diverse audience of people with physical and mental disabilities and family members, the two-hour seminars are limited to an enrollment of 15. Each participant will receive a reference handbook (available in alternative formats and Spanish), which covers the seminar topic in detail and includes a resource guide, as well as certificate of completion. Upon request, a sign language interpreter will be present. Advance registration for all seminars is required.
"Since 1996, EFE has trained more than 15,000 people with disabilities and their family members through Training Institute seminars co-sponsored by local consumer and parent organizations, service providers, schools and government agencies, "says Barry Taylor, Equip for Equality's Legal Advocacy Director. "By offering on-site training, we are supplementing an already successful program."
Following are Training Institute seminars scheduled at Equip for Equality's Chicago headquarters during March and April:
Understanding Your Employment Rights - The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Other Laws will be offered from 1:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. and 5 p.m. - 7 p.m., Tuesday, March 4, for people with physical disabilities (mobility impairments). For people with non-apparent (hidden) disabilities such as epilepsy, diabetes and mental illness, the ADA training will take place from 1:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. and 5 p.m. - 7 p.m., Monday, March 10.
Participants, whether seeking work or currently employed, will learn how to handle disability-related questions on applications or for interviews, how to request reasonable accommodations for a job and how to document situations that may be in violation of the ADA.
Accommodating the Needs of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Individuals Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Other Laws, intended primarily for people who are deaf or hard of hearing, will be held from 5 p.m. - 7 p.m., Monday, March 24. It will be conducted in American Sign Language.
Learn about the rights of deaf and hard of hearing people under the ADA and other laws. The seminar will answer questions about circumstances under which interpreters must be provided - including job interviews, where visual alert systems are required, employer's discretion to hire deaf or hard of hearing people and requirements for installing TTY systems.
Guardianship of Adults with Disabilities and Less Restrictive Alternatives: Your Legal Rights is open to anyone with a disability and will be offered from 3:30 p.m. - 5 p.m., Monday, March 17. This seminar discusses how an individual's life might change with the appointment of a guardian, actions for challenging the appointment of a guardian, and alternatives to guardianship that take into account individual preferences and abilities.
What Family Members Need to Know About Guardianship and Less Restrictive Alternatives is open to family and friends of people with disabilities and will be offered from 5 p.m. - 7 p.m., Tuesday, March 25. This seminar covers the different types of guardianships available, the duties and responsibilities of a guardian, and alternatives to guardianship such as Durable Powers of Attorney.
Social Security Benefits Under SSI, SSDI and Ticket to Work, open to anyone with a disability who receives Social Security benefits, will be offered from 2 p.m. - 4 p.m., Wednesday, March 7.
Participants will be informed about their right to work and still receive Social Security benefits, the Ticket to Work program, benefits planning and other programs.
What Family Members Need to Know About Their Child's Special Education Rights (in English and Spanish) will be offered from 3 p.m. - 5 p.m., Monday, April 21, 5 p.m. - 7 p.m., and Tuesday, April 22, in English, and 4 p.m. - 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, April 23, in Spanish.
Participants will learn about the rights of all students to a free and appropriate education, the rights of parents (or guardians) to participate in the decision-making process and methods for monitoring progress. Also to be discussed are a child's right to be educated in the least restrictive educational setting, to receive assistive technology devices and services necessary for learning, legal options for resolving a conflict with the school, and advocacy strategies and techniques.
The U.S. Supreme Court and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) will be offered from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., Monday, April 7, and is geared for disability rights advocates, peer counselors and anyone with a disability who has previously attended one ADA training or has comparable knowledge.
Interpretations of the ADA by the Supreme Court since its passage in 1990 have and continue to impact the lives of people with disabilities. Specific decisions and their applicability will be discussed.
"It is important to point out that anyone who has an immediate, personal concern about disability rights should call Equip for Equality and ask to speak with a member of our self-advocacy staff," says Stacy Yusim, EFE's Training Institute Manager. "A one-on-one assessment of the problem might be of more value than waiting to attend a training seminar."
Last year, the Training Institute expanded into a separate program of Equip for Equality with its own dedicated staff through the generous support of the Chicago Community Trust, the Polk Bros. Foundation and the Lloyd A. Fry Foundation. Conducting the trainings are EFE staff members Senior Advocate Kevin Irvine, Senior Attorney Howard Rosenblum and Consuelo Puente, Manager of EFE's Latino Outreach and Advocacy Project.
Equip for Equality is a private, not-for-profit entity designated by the Governor to administer the federal Protection and Advocacy System for safeguarding the rights of people with physical and mental disabilities in Illinois. It is the only comprehensive statewide advocacy organization providing self-advocacy assistance, legal services, disability rights education, public policy advocacy and abuse investigation.
To register for the March and April Training Institute seminars, and to request an accommodation, seminar materials in an accessible format or a different training, contact Kevin Irvine at Equip for Equality at 312-341-0022, ext. 7321, 800-537-2632 or TTY 800-610-2779.