Training Teleconference: Building an Inclusive Society
In recognition of the 20th anniversary of the passage of
the Americans with Disabilities Act
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...the Supreme Court affirmed that the ADA prohibits the segregation of individuals with disabilities. Needlessly isolating such individuals, the Court wrote, is a form of discrimination based on disabilitydiscrimination that perpetuates unwarranted assumptions about their capabilities and their worthiness to participate in community life.
The Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), enacted on
July 26, 1990, is one of our nation's most important civil rights achievements.
This critical legislation opened the door to creating a more inclusive society
by protecting the rights of people with disabilities, including psychiatric
disabilities. Among the rights it guarantees are nondiscrimination in employment
practices and state and local government programming; accessibility to public
places, including restaurants, hotels, theaters, doctors' offices, libraries,
and parks; and telephone relay services for individuals who use telecommunications
devices for deaf persons (TDD's) or similar devices. The 1999 Olmstead decision,
which found that the unjustified intentional isolation of people with disabilities
is a violation of the ADA, further reinforced the rights of individuals
with disabilities to be part of society and live full lives in the communitywith
significant impact on people with behavioral health disabilities. These accomplishments
have enhanced the social inclusion of people with disabilities within the
U.S. and also have informed international efforts to ensure civil and human
Yet even as we prepare to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the ADA and the gains made since its passage, there exist promises yet to be fulfilled.
For instance, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are more than 54 million
people with disabilities in the United States,1
the vast majority of who live in poverty and are unemployed.2
For those with psychiatric disabilities, studies consistently show a negative
relationship to socioeconomic status.3
As a result of prejudice that results from misconceptions, individuals with
behavioral health problems may be denied opportunities that define a quality
life: good jobs, safe housing, adequate health care, and social interaction.4
Attitudes and structural barriers continue to prevent from people with behavioral
health problems from becoming active participants in the labor market.5
This training will recognize the accomplishments of the ADA and explore the challenges that still remain in building a fully inclusive society. Our speakers, national disability leaders, will help participants explore questions such as:
- How do we become a more inclusive society?
- What are the rights of people with disabilities, particularly people
with psychiatric disabiltiies?
- What are the challenges posed by the assertion of these rights and what
protections are offered under the law?
- Understand the history of the ADA and its impact on people with psychiatric
- Learn about the efforts of the United States Department of Health &
Human Services (HHS) to build a collaborative network of agencies and
departments with aligned programs to deliver effective integrated services
to people with disabilities.
- Become familiar with the mental health consumer perspective on the national
and international implications of ADA and Olmstead.
- People with disabilities including current and past recipients of behavioral
health services, consumer/survivors, family members of people with disabilities,
and mental health and disability rights organizations
- Behavioral health and disability advocates
- Behavioral health and disability providers
- Other healthcare care providers
Andy J. Imparato is president and chief executive officer of the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD), the nation's largest cross-disability membership organization. He recently led a coalition of more than 200 disability, civil rights, and employer organizations to enact the ADA Amendments Act, which was signed into law on September 25, 2008.
Mr. Imparato, whose perspective is informed by his own experience with bipolar disorder, serves on the Maryland Statewide Independent Living Council and the Executive Committee of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, and he is a member of the Board of Directors of the Council for Responsible Genetics. He served as a U.S. Senate appointee to the Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Advisory Panel to the Social Security Administration chairing the committee that developed recommendations to transform the nation's largest entitlement programs to be more consistent with ADA goals. Mr. Imparato is an advisor on corporate social responsibility, consumer, disability market, equal employment opportunity, and accessibility issues to corporations including Verizon, Time Warner, AT&T, Microsoft, IBM, SAP, and Wal-Mart.
His essay on the U.S. Supreme Court's rulings relating to disability rights appears in The Rehnquist Court: Judicial Activism on the Right (H. Schwartz, ed., Hill and Wang, 2002), and he co-authored a 2003 article, "Redefining 'Disability' Discrimination: A Proposal to Restore Civil Rights Protections for All Workers," that laid the foundation for the ADA Amendments Act (14 Stan L & Pol Rev 2, 2003).
Mr. Imparato will discuss the history of the ADA, the ongoing work to implement ADA, and the work of AAPD including work involving cross-disability coalitions.
Celia Brown is a mental health advocate for the New York State Office of Mental Health Recipient Affairs and is a representative to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (CRPD). Ms. Brown is a psychiatric survivor who was instrumental in developing the first peer specialist civil service title in the country. She facilitates training and technical assistance to recipients and peer specialists in their journey of recovery. A long-time activist and leader in the psychiatric survivor movement, she serves on the board of the National Association for Rights Protection and Advocacy, was a founding member of both the National People of Color Consumer/Survivor Network and the International Network for Treatment Alternatives for Recovery, and is Board President of MindFreedom. In addition, she was the conference planner for the first Alternatives in Mental Health conference. Ms. Brown has presented nationally and internationally on topics such as self-help, peer counseling, advocacy, trauma, and cultural competency.
Ms. Brown will discuss the United Nations CRPD, which articulates basic rights of persons with disabilities and specifies the actions necessary to ensure that these basic rights are implemented.
Shawn Terrell recently joined the Office on Disability in the United States Department of Health and Human Services. He primarily works on the Community Living Initiative (CLI). The goals of the CLI are to provide opportunities for people with disabilities to live meaningful lives in the community through coordination of federal government efforts. Prior to joining the Office on Disability, Mr. Terrell was at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) where he worked on State plan amendment requests for rehabilitative services and mental health recovery policy issues. Previously, he participated in the development of several initiatives in Michigan, including developing consumer owned and operated drop-in centers and a self-direction program for adults with psychiatric disabilities. He also worked to develop wraparound, juvenile diversion, and other community based initiatives for children with serious emotional disturbances.
Mr. Terrell will discuss the federal initiative to build long-term services and supports for people with significant disabilities, including networks that will facilitate moving people from institutional settings into the community where they may lead vibrant lives.
1U.S. Census. 20th Anniversary of Americans with Disabilities Act. Accessed June 9, 2010: http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/pdf/cb10ff-13.pdf [PDF Format - 250 Kb].
2Deegan, P. (2004). "Rethinking Rehabilitation: Freedom," presented at the 20th World Congress of Rehabilitation International: Rethinking Rehabilitation. Olso, Norway.
3Costello, E.J., Compton, S.N, Keeler, G., & Angold, A. (2003). Relationships between poverty and psychopathology: A natural experiment. Journal of the American Medical Association 290(15):2023-2029.
4Corrigan, P.W. & Watson, A.C. (2002). Understanding the impact of stigma on people with mental illness. World Psychiatry 1(1):16-20.
5Stuart, H. (2006). Mental illness and employment discrimination. Current Opinion in Psychiatry 19(5):522-526.