Title V Miscellaneous Provisions:
Title V Includes: Retaliation and Coercion The Rehab Act Smoking Insurance Design Guidelines Technical Assistance Exclusions from "Disability' Attorney's Fees ADR Wilderness Areas Congress Miscellaneous Most of the Title V Sections apply to other titles of the ADA. Example: Prohibition against Retaliation and Coercion applies to employers (Title I), state and local governments (Title II) and public accommodations (Title III). Other cross title sections include: Construction - Nothing in the ADA is to be construed to apply a lesser standard than the standards applied under title V of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, including the Section 504 regulations. The ADA does not preclude or require restrictions on smoking. The ADA does not change the status of insurance underwriting. This means that preexisting condition clauses that are allowed under state laws are legal under the ADA. However, an insurance plan may not refuse to insure or limit coverage or charge a higher amount to person with a disability solely because of the disability unless the refusal, limitation or difference in cost is based on sound actuarial principles. Individuals with disabilities are not required to accept an accommodation, aid, benefit or service. Regulations by the Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board -Requires the issuance of design guidelines for Title II and Title III; Technical Assistance - Requires the Department of Justice, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Department of Transportation the Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board, and the Federal Communication Commission to develop technical assistance plans to assist covered entities to understand their responsibilities under the ADA; Transvestites, Illegal Use of Drugs, Definitions - Excludes from the term "disability" transvestites; individuals who are currently engaged in the illegal use of drugs when the covered entity acts on the basis of such use; and certain conditions such as sexual behavior disorders, kleptomania, or pyromania; Attorney's Fees - Allows the prevailing party in court actions or administrative proceedings to recover attorney's fees; Alternative Means of Dispute Resolution - Encourages the use of ADR to resolve ADA disputes. Sections of Title V that are not cross title include: Federal Wilderness Areas - Requires the National Council on Disability to study the effect that wilderness management has on the ability of individuals with disabilities to use and enjoy federal wilderness areas. It also reaffirms that nothing in the Wilderness Act prohibits people with disabilities from using wheelchairs in wilderness areas and that no agency is required to provide special treatment or accommodations or to construct facilities or modify land within wilderness areas in order to facilitate the use by people who use wheelchairs. Coverage of Congress and the Agencies of the Legislative Branch - Includes the Senate, the House of Representatives and "instrumentalities" of Congress in ADA requirements. Amendments to the Rehabilitation Act - Amends the Rehab Act to exclude from the term "individual with handicaps" people who are currently engaging in the illegal use of drugs when a covered entity acts on the basis of such use.
Disabilities: Guide to Autism
Autism is one disorder within a complex series of disorders referred to as Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs). This series of conditions create substantial impairments in one’s communication and interaction skills. Individuals with Autism may display odd behaviors or interests. They may have unusual ways of reacting, learning and paying attention to certain situations. Thinking and learning abilities of individuals with ASDs can greatly vary from severely challenged to gifted. Symptoms of ASDs can begin before the age of 3 and last throughout a person’s lifetime. ASDs occur in all ethnic, racial and socio-economic groups and are more likely to occur in males than females.
According to the Autism Society of America (ASA), Autism is a complex development disability that commonly appears within the first three years of life. It is typically a result of a neurological disorder that affects the normal functioning of the brain, resulting in poor communication and social skills. An individual with Autism may display mild to severe characteristics of the condition. They may have difficulty making eye contact, showing facial expressions or body language as they interact, seem uninterested in sharing experiences and do not have sufficient ability to create relationships with peers. People with Autism may also have difficulty with speech, may not be able to understand what others are saying, may repeat what others are saying as they cannot put together their own sentences and may lack make-believe or pretend play. Children with Autism commonly show repetitive behavior. They may show interest in certain activities or objects and play in repetitive ways. Children with Autism may require routine and have difficulty managing changes in their routine. They may spend time performing repetitive motions, such as waving their hands in front of their face.
Autism is a branch term used to describe several Pervasive Developmental Disorders, also referred to as the Autism spectrum. These disorders include Autism, Rett Syndrome, Asperger Syndrome and Childhood Disintegrative Disorder. There is no single known cause for this series of conditions as no two children with autism are alike. Research has shown that the primary suspect may be problems in genetics. Children with specific genes are more susceptible to the disorder as they effect brain development and changes how the brain communicates. Some genetic problems that cause Autism may be inherited, while others occur spontaneously. Environmental factors may also play a role in Autism. Researchers are currently exploring whether various factors, such as air pollutants and viral infections, may be a trigger for the condition. Controversy on whether or not childhood vaccines have a direct connection with Autism continues. Many believe that the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine typically given around twelve months of age is the cause of Autism in some children. No reliable studies have shown the connection to be true.
No cure currently exists for Autism and treatment varies from case-to-case. Behavior and communication therapies exist to address the language, social and behavioral challenges associated with Autism. Some programs help families to better understand the condition and to reduce its symptoms. Others focus on teaching children how to communicate in social situations for more efficient interactions. While many children do not outgrow the condition, they may form the ability to function properly in society. Children with Autism often respond well to structured educational therapies. This consists of a team of specialists who work with children to develop social and communication skills through a wide range of activities. Preschool-age children who receive independent learning typically show good progress. Medications may also be prescribed to help improve the major signs of Autism. Anti-depressants may be given to treat anxiety. Anti-psychotic drugs are sometimes used for severe behavioral problems. Raising a child with Autism can be emotionally and physically draining. Parents should find a team of trusted professional to help make important decisions about the proper treatment. Take time to learn about the disorder to help you better understand how your child thinks and his or her attempts to communicate.
There are many misconceptions about individuals with Autism. Many believe that children with Autism may never be able to make eye contact. Some do make eye contact but may require several years of learning to acquire this skill. Another common myth about children with Autism is that they are unable to show affection. While affection is an emotion difficult for children with Autism to show, they may be able to create bonds with others and show affection. Contrary to popular belief, children with the condition are able to learn and many grow to lead happy and productive lives. The key is to figure out how each individual child learns and to teach them appropriately as each child is different. Autistic individuals are believed to be mentally retarded. This stereotype is untrue as mental retardation is a completely different condition than that of Autism. It is true that a large percentage, roughly 80 percent, of individuals with an Autism spectrum disorder display symptoms of mental retardation. Many children with Autism are also able to communicate verbally, while some cannot. Communication may progress slowly for children with Autism and will typically come with many challenges.
As the media shows more and more stories about the rise of Autism disorders in children, more parents are becoming concerned about their own young children. Autism is diagnosed in 1 out of every 150 American children. Understanding the causes, symptoms, risk factors and other important data about the Autism spectrum can help parents and educators when dealing with these disorders. Parents should be fully aware of the importance of early and continuous screening and surveillance of ASDs to ensure that children diagnosed with the condition are able to receive access to services as soon as possible. The sooner that a child receives intervention for Autism, the sooner they can begin to get better.
Use the resources provided below to learn more about the Autism spectrum and how you can seek treatment for children with Autism.
- Autism Fact Sheet: Complete guide to Autism, including information on common signs, diagnosis, causes, inheritance, treatment and research.
- Autism Spectrum Disorders: Facts about ASDs and the various types, including autistic disorder, Asperger syndrome and pervasive developmental disorder.
- Pervasive Developmental Disorders: Information on types of ASDs, diagnosis and treatment options of each type, and how Autism affects adults.
- Autism Information: General information on Autism, including screening, risk factors, research and clinical trials and organizations.
- What is Autism?: Article from the Autism Speaks organization that explains what signs to look for in individuals with an Autism spectrum disorder.
- Living with Autism: The Autism Society provides information and resources to families who may experience the challenges of living with someone with Autism.
- Autism is Treatable: Comprehensive information for families, educators, providers and ASD individuals about Autism.
- Kid’s Health: Guide to Autism for children, including a basic description of the condition, causes, diagnosis, treatment and what it’s like to live with autism.
- Autism: Fact sheet on the characteristics of Autism Spectrum Disorders, how school effects children with autism and tips for parents.
- Autism is Treatable: Learn about the different types of treatment options available for individuals diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder.
- The Child with Autism: Article discussing common signs of Autism seen in children under the age of twenty-four months.
- About Autism Spectrum Disorder: Guide to Autism disorders, including information on the early signs, its connection to ADHD and important facts.
- Autism Spectrum Disorders: Learn the benefits of speech-language pathology services for individuals with Autism and other interesting information.
- Neuroscience for Kids: Case study for children to help them better understand Autism, its symptoms and a look at the brain of a person with autism.
- Autism and Environmental Factors: Evidence that shows a connection between Autism, environmental factors and genetics.
- Families for Early Autism Treatment: List of frequently asked questions from parents about Autism and how to seek help.
- Autism Overview: Guide to Autism and its characteristics, such as communication, social interaction and common behavior.
- Autism/Asperger’s Syndrome: Resources that discuss the current challenges for children and adults with an Autism Spectrum Disorder, such as Asperger’s.
- Autism in Infants and Children: In-depth guide to understanding the symptoms of ASDs, how it’s diagnosed and its link to childhood vaccines.
- What is Autism?: Learn how common Autism is, warning signs, recommended readings and quick facts about the spectrum of conditions.
Veteran’s Guide To Benefits for Service Related Disabilities
The word veteran holds special meaning for many. Derived from the Latin word vetus, which signifies that something is old, a veteran is someone who has experience in a certain field or area. Veterans that have served in the U.S. military are worthy of our respect as they have placed their lives on the line to defend the freedoms our country holds dear. When veterans return from service and face disabilities, they need community support and help more than ever. From government programs to the appreciation of those they encounter during their daily routine, veterans must know and feel in a tangible way, that they are appreciated, respected, and important.
House bound Pension
A pension consists of a monetary benefit that is paid to veterans that served during wartime, who are disabled, those that have little income, and those who are aged 65-years and over. Those who have extreme or severe disabilities may qualify for what is known as a house bound pension. A house bound pension is money that is paid in addition to the regularly monthly pension. Another benefit often paid to veterans with disabilities is the Aid and Attendance or A&A pension. It is important to understand that a veteran may not receive both an A&A and house bound pension simultaneously.
- VA Aid, Attendance, and Housebound Allowance: the U.S. Social Security Department looks at VA House bound pension.
- An Evaluation of the Veterans Administration House bound, Aid, and Attendance Allowance Program: The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services evaluates the V.A. Homebound pension.
- Improved Pension: A Beginner’s Guide: The American Veterans Institute provided a PDF guide for Veterans seeking aid, including house bound pensions.
- Pensions: Mecklenburg County, North Carolina discusses house bound pensions and other veterans’ benefits.
Aid and Attendance Benefit
Aid and Attendance benefits are distributed in addition to a regular monthly pension to those that qualify. Some conditions that render a veteran eligible for Aid and Attendance benefits include when a disability requires a veteran obtain assistance to perform daily living chores, if the veteran is bedridden or requires the services of a convalescence home, if the veteran lives in or is a patient at a nursing home, and if the veteran is blind. Check with your local veteran’s administration office to determine whether you qualify.
- VA Aid and Attendance A&A and house bound Pension Benefits: The U.S. Army discusses benefits for House bound Veterans.
- What are Aid & Attendance and Housebound Benefits: Placer County California Veteran’s Services looks at Aid and Attendance Benefits.
- Disability Pension with Aid and Attendance Checklist: Access Kent discusses documents that veterans will need when applying for Aid and Attendance.
- Veterans Benefits: Jackson County, Oregon discusses various benefits available to veterans.
Benefits for Spouses and Dependents of Veterans
Benefits for spouses and dependents of veterans vary and there are multiple benefits available. Those who have lost a spouse may qualify for a death pension, survivor’s and dependents’ educational assistance, medical, home loans, dependency indemnity compensation, bereavement counseling, life insurance, financial counseling, burial flags and burial benefits a spouse should consider upon the death of the veteran. Additionally, there is the TRICARE dental program, the GI Bill, a death gratuity and more. Spouses and dependents will need to fill out the necessary forms in order to determine eligibility.
- Dependents and Survivors: Office of Veterans Affairs in the District of Columbia looks at benefits for veteran’s spouses and dependents.
- State Benefits for Veterans & Dependents: Nebraska government site discusses benefits for veterans’ dependents and spouses.
- Survivor and Dependent Benefits: Cumberland County, North Carolina examines benefits veteran’s survivors.
- Survivor Benefits including Partners: The Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs looks at dependent’s benefits and includes information for military veteran’s partners.
Long Term Care
Those who have severe disabilities may find that it is difficult to take care of their daily needs. If this occurs, the veteran may need to arrange for their long-term care. Long-term care programs may include a nursing home, hospice, and more. There are different requirements that must be met in order to qualify for long-term care benefits. Current income level combined with the degree of disability will determine approval.
- Veterans Benefits and Long Term Care: Medicare discusses paying for long-term care for veterans benefits.
- What is Long Term Care: Health Care.gov looks at long-term care.
- Paying for Long Term Care: National Clearinghouse for Long Term Care looks at ways to pay for LTC.
- Veterans Centers: Oklahoma.gov examines long-term care on their official website.
State Veterans Homes
State Veterans homes are designed to ensure that veterans have a place to live when they can no longer take care of themselves. There are admission requirements that must be met, and the homes are only open to veterans that have been honorably discharged. Additionally, veterans will need to have established residency in the state where the home is locate in order to be eligible.
- National Association of State Veterans Homes: National service with state finder that allows veterans to find homes.
- Pennsylvania’s State Veterans Homes: Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs.
- State Veterans Homes: Washington State program for state veteran’s homes.
- Alabama State Veterans Home Program: Alabama Department of Veterans Affairs discusses their state veterans’ home program.
For More Assistance
Those in need of further assistance will find that the United States Department of Veterans Affairs is a great place to begin looking for help. You may look up each Veterans Affairs office by state or territory in the links below. Those with questions regarding VA Benefits may contact their local office or call the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs at 1-800-827-1000. Beneficiaries in receipt of Pension Benefits with questions may call 1-800-294-6380 for assistance.
Children With Disabilities: What You Need to Know About Epilepsy & Seizures
When a doctor diagnoses a child with epilepsy, it is a frightening experience for the both the parents and the child. Part of this fear lies in not fully understanding epilepsy, seizures, or the affect that it will have on the child’s life and the family as a whole. A part of coping with epilepsy is researching to learn as much about the condition as possible. This includes learning about the causes of epilepsy, the different types of epilepsy, and how to take the necessary precautions to avoid injury and lessen the number of potential seizures.
What is Epilepsy?
Epilepsy is a neurological disorder of the brain that can affect both children and adults. It is also known as a seizure disorder because reoccurring seizures are its defining and most recognizable characteristic. This condition is considered chronic because of its long-lasting and recurrent nature. Epilepsy occurs more frequently than one might imagine, with nearly 500 new diagnoses being made daily and up to 150,000 people diagnosed yearly in the United States alone. Of these new cases, 30 percent are children. It is estimated that there are some three million people diagnosed in the United States, with 300,000 of that number under the age of 15 years.
- Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy (CURE): What is Epilepsy
- University of Illinois Extension: Youth With Special Needs
- National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke: What is Epilepsy?
What are Seizures?
A seizure is an incident that occurs as a result of an electrical discharge in, or decreased blood flow to, parts of the brain. When this discharge occurs, it disrupts the routine and normal functions of the brain. This may result in a loss of consciousness, convulsions or other involuntary movements. When seizures occur frequently, they are seen as an indication of possible epilepsy.
There are several different types of seizures that fall under one of two categories – generalized or partial. They can also be either convulsive or non-convulsive. A generalized seizure is one in which there is an electrical discharge in both sides, or halves, of the brain. One type of convulsive seizure is known as a tonic-clonic or grand mal seizure. It is characterized by an initial stiffening of the body, followed by jerking and shaking, an expulsion of vocal noises, and even incontinence. A person suffering from this type of seizure may also be at risk of biting his tongue or even dislocating bones. Another generalized convulsive seizure is known as a myoclonic seizure, in which the arms and legs experience repetitive jerking movements. Absence, or petit mal, seizures occur in children as young as four years old and as old as 12. This type of seizure is characterized by staring while maintaining normal posture. It lasts for approximately 30 seconds and the child does not remember the episode happening. This is also a type of generalized seizure that is non-convulsive.
Partial seizures, also known as focal seizures, occur when there is an electrical discharge in one half of the brain. These types of seizures may be divided into two sub-types called simple or complex partial. A simple partial seizure is one that shows symptoms that correlates with the location of the abnormal activity in the brain. It may affect muscle movement, smell or taste, vision, or even emotions. Complex partial seizures last between 30 seconds and two minutes and typically begin within the temporal lobe of the brain. This is a non-convulsive seizure in which the child may stare or make movements that serve no real purpose, such as rubbing hands together or walking in circles. Children who experience this type of event are not aware of what they are doing and will not have any memory of it occurring.
- The New York times Health Guide: Seizures
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Seizure Disorders
- Ohio State Medical University: Epilepsy and Seizures
Causes of Epilepsy:
When a parent discovers that his child has epilepsy, it isn’t uncommon to search for the cause of the condition. This can be easy to ascertain in some cases, while in other cases it may be difficult or impossible to determine and the cause may remain unknown. Common causes of epilepsy in children include head injuries, an infection in the brain, or abnormal development of the brain. Children with brain tumors may also develop epilepsy.
- Stanford School of Medicine: What Causes Epilepsy
- NYU Langone Medical Center: Epilepsy and Children/Causes
- Cedars-Sinai: Epilepsy Causes and Risk Factors
Causes of Seizures:
There are numerous potential causes of seizures. Many of these causes are the same as what causes epilepsy. This may include head injury, infections, and the brain receiving insufficient levels of oxygen. Other conditions that may result in a child having a seizure include congenital abnormalities, illness, high fever, medications, or trauma at birth.
- Pediatric Clinics of North America: Seizures in Children (.pdf)
- Chicago Medical Center: Epilepsy and Seizures
- University of Rochester Medical Center: Seizures and Epilepsy in Children
Characteristics of Epilepsy:
It may be easy to assume that everyone who has a seizure is also epileptic. Epilepsy and seizures are not, however, necessarily the same thing. What makes seizures potentially different from epilepsy is the number of times that they occur. A doctor may diagnose a child with epilepsy when he has more than one, or repeated seizures. This suggests that the condition is chronic. When a child only has a single seizure and no history of them, it may be a result of other conditions, such as a high fever or injury. Common symptoms associated with epilepsy include staring, convulsions, or displaying behavior that seems random or involuntary. Some epileptic children may experience what is called an aura before having a seizure. This aura may be manifest as a complaint of an unusual odor or changes in mood.
Certain types of epilepsy are more common in children than in adults. This includes absence epilepsy, juvenile myoclonic epilepsy, and benign rolandic epilepsy. As the name suggests, absence epilepsy is associated with absence seizures. In the teenage years, a child may develop juvenile myoclonic epilepsy, which is associated with myoclonic seizures that may eventually evolve into tonic-clonic seizures. Benign rolandic epilepsy occurs most often in children between the ages of four and 10. A child with this type of epilepsy may experience tonic-clonic seizures or facial twitching that occurs at night, along with difficulty speaking.
- Mayo Clinic: Epilepsy Symptoms
- Rush University Medical Center: Epilepsy
- Cleveland Clinic: Epilepsy Symptoms
Diagnosing a Child with Epilepsy
Whenever a child has a seizure for the first time, he should be taken to the emergency department at the nearest medical facility. As much information about the surrounding conditions should be taken to the appointment in order to help the doctor accurately make a diagnosis. Emergency help should also be sought when a child’s seizure lasts longer than two minutes. To help assess whether the child has epilepsy, the doctor will run a series of tests after obtaining a medical history from the family. These tests will include blood work, an electroencephalogram (EEG), and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The EEG is meant to measures the amount of electrical activity that goes on inside of the brain. The MRI takes an image of the brain and can reveal if there are any scars or other abnormalities that may be causing the seizures. The results of these tests, along with an assessment of the symptoms will help the doctor to make a diagnosis.
- University of Washington: Epilepsy – Diagnosis
- Medline Plus: Epilepsy
- Dartmouth Medical School: Epilepsy and Seizure Disorder Resource Guide for Parents PDF
What Precautions Should I Take?
When a child is diagnosed with epilepsy, the parents or legal guardians must make certain adjustments to provide a safe environment for their charge. These precautions will help to reduce the chances of injury in the event of a sudden seizure. In the home, examine all of the furniture and remove any item that has the potential to shatter, such as tables with glass tops. Use padding on sharp edges to avoid unnecessary injury, should the child fall and bump his head. Put all sharp instruments and objects away or out of reach. Make the bathroom safe by placing non-skid mats in the tub and padding the fixtures. Older children should be encouraged to take showers and replace any potentially breakable shower doors with plastic or other shatterproof materials. To avoid the risk of drowning, smaller children should never be left alone while in the bathtub. In homes with a fireplace, never leave children unattended when it is in use, and remove all fireplace implements to a safe location. Keep stairs blocked off as much as possible to prevent children from falling down. Children with controlled epilepsy may still ride a bicycle, however they should wear protective gear at all times and never bike alone. In addition to having a safe home and play environment, the child should also be given a medical alert bracelet. Wearing a medical bracelet will help to inform others of his condition, in the event that there is an epileptic episode around people who are unfamiliar with his condition.
- Canadian Epilepsy Alliance: A Guide for Parents – Epilepsy (.pdf)
- Columbia Comprehensive Epilepsy Center: Seizure Precautions
- WebMD: Epilepsy and Home Safety
What to do if a Child is Having a Seizure:
It is important for parents and guardians to know how to react when a child is having a seizure. Although there may be a sense of helplessness until it stops, it is necessary to understand what should and should not be done during an actual episode. The first step is to mitigate the risk of injury by moving any objects that can be knocked over or that may have sharp edges. If the child is standing, help him to lie down if possible, placing a pillow or other soft item beneath the head. Once the child is lying down, remove his glasses, loosen any snug or overly tight clothing, and turn him to his side to prevent choking from saliva. Step away at this time and do not attempt to hold him down, as this may also cause injury. Whenever possible, time the length of the seizure. This is important for several reasons. If the child has never had a seizure, the doctor will need to know how long the episode lasted. Knowing the duration of the seizure is also a way of knowing when to call emergency services, which should be done if it lasts for longer than two to five minutes.
- Emory University School of Medicine: First Aid for Seizures
- Children’s Hospital Boston: Seizures
- Sleep Foundation: Epilepsy and Sleep
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