July 2015      
Volume 7      
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Table of Contents

A Note from Matt

DIG in the News

Wrigley Field -- Complying with ADA Accessibility

Kids Crusaders

The City of Coral Gables' Granada Golf Course

Guardianship Video

The Market You're Missing Part III

Out and About with DIG

The 25th Anniversary of the ADA

My Experience Interning at DIG

ADA Mediation Program

Casey Martin PGA Tour Accommodations

The Wallet Card Project

What Information am I supposed to report to Social Security?

Your Upward Journey

Litigation: Cruise Ship Accessibility

A Parcel of Penguins 



25th anniversary parade with people carrying an American flag and a banner and people walking and rolling down the street.   notefrommattA Note from Matt.....


So on a sunny day 25 years ago ... President George H.W. Bush stood on the South Lawn and declared a new American Independence Day.  "With today's signing of the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act," he said, "every man, woman and child with a disability can now pass through once-closed doors into a bright new era of equality, freedom and independence."  


Twenty-five years later, we come together to celebrate that groundbreaking law and all that the law has made possible.  Thanks to the ADA, the places that comprise our shared American life -- schools, workplaces, movie theaters, courthouses, buses, baseball stadiums, national parks -- they truly belong to everyone.  Millions of Americans with disabilities have had the chance to develop their talents and make their unique contributions to the world.  And thanks to them, America is stronger and more vibrant; it is a better country because of the ADA. 


That's what this law has achieved. 


Remarks of President Barak Obama on the 25th Anniversary of the ADA, July 20, 2015.



  DIG office staff wearing their ADA shirts     DIG interns and undergraduate employees wearing their ADA shirts  DIG office staff wearing their ADA shirts

diginnews clip art of a newspaper that is folded   DIG in the News 

June 26, Daily Business Review: "Florida 6 Months Ahead on Same-Sex Marriage"

June 29, Health News Florida: "Children's Medical Network Challenged"

July 13, Daily Business Review: "Disabled Cruise Passenger Claims He Was Ejected from Tender"

July 13, Palm Beach Post: "Deaf Boynton Woman May Not Get Live Interpreter During Childbirth"

July 14, Daily Business Review: "Families Challenge Children's Removal from Specialized Medical Care"

July 20, Palm Beach Post: "Deaf Woman Gives Birth Without Interpreter, Claims Video System Awful"



Wrigley Field complying with ADA Accessibility


The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires that all public facilities be accessible to people with disabilities. This applies to sports facilities, arenas, and stadiums as well. The Wrigley Field is a great example of a sports field that has made an effort to comply with ADA building regulations despite its old age. Wrigley Field was built in 1914, which means that it has different requirements regarding ADA compliance, as well as not a great deal of accessibility considerations as seen in newer buildings. However, Wrigley Field has made itself more physically accessible through two methods. First, concrete ramps were poured over existing stairs in order to accommodate people in wheelchairs. Secondly, customer service has been implemented in order to make it easier for a physically impaired person to get to their chair. Customer service representatives accompany people in wheelchairs to make sure they get to their seat easily and comfortably. The combination of these two accommodations ensures both ADA compliance and customer satisfaction.


julie Kids Crusaders Corner Kids Crusaders Logo


Welcome to this month's edition of Kids Crusaders as we celebrate the ADA, a law that went into effect 25 years ago on July 26, 1990. My son was born in April of 1991. While we knew from the day he was born we were going to be faced with challenges, we had no diagnosis and no idea what his limitations would be. It wasn't until he was 4 years old that the ADA even remotely entered my mind. Nick was diagnosed at 10 months of age with Cerebral Palsy and the first few years were spent all consumed with therapies and early intervention programs.  (click here to read more)


        Nick wearing his ADA shirt Nick and his parents wearing their ADA shirts

People running along the dirt path of the city golf course sharonThe City of Coral Gables' Granada Golf Course

By: Sharon Langer


I love to walk on Saturdays on our city of Coral Gables public golf course. It has been a destination for walkers, runners and joggers for as long as it has been built for the last 50 years.


The City of Coral Gables recreational programs or activities, such as those offered at the golf course, play an important part in the life of our community. Through years and years of the footsteps of joggers, runners, walkers, and all types of paw-steps, a path in the grass and dirt has been worn around the golf course that allows all people to safely take your walk or run away from the traffic on the street. This past Saturday the path was filled with dogs and their owners, kids, and adults. Rather than discouraging the use of this path created by popular demand, the City of Coral Gables encourages its use by recently installed doggie pet waste stations on the path around the golf course to encourage folks to "curb their dog", planting trees around the path, and placing beautiful stone benches if you wish to sit awhile. (click here to read more)

 A tractor taking out clumps of grass from the perimeter of the city golf course    The dirt paths along the public city golf course   The pet waste station that provides plastic baggies to pet owners so they can pick up after their pet

scales of justice
 guardvideoGuardianship Video


Recently the Disabilities Independency Group partnered with the Dade County Legal Aid Society and the Statewide GAL Office to present the training "Guardianship and Guardian Advocate Training for Attorneys." The training features a distinguished panel including the Honorable Maria M. Korvick. The presentation includes identifying developmental disabilities, everything you need to know about plenary guardianship and guardian advocates, and how to interview children with disabilities. The training was approved by the Florida Bar for 3.0 Hours of CLE credit. Watch the video on the Florida Statewide GAL Program website. http://guardianadlitem.org/training-advocacy-resources/conferences-training/

And then click the link to the video: https://youtu.be/dmD0R76Oeu8.


If you are interested in volunteering please contact Sharon Langer at Sharon@justdigit.org
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Service dog using an ATM machine rachelThe Market You're Missing, Part III

By: Rachel Goldstein


For the last part of my series I am going to address how the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) applies to service animals and the responsibilities of businesses to allow service animals into their facilities. The ADA defines "service animal" as limited to a dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability and the tasks must be directly related to the person's disability. An important distinction from other federal law (such as the Fair Housing Act) is that the ADA defines service animals to include only dogs and the ADA does not consider emotional support, therapy, companion or comfort animals as service animals.(click here to read more)


outandabout clip art of a suitcase covered in travel stickersOut and About with DIG 
July 25                Miami-Dade Animal Workshop, Miami, FL  
July 30                Palm Beach CILO, 25th Anniversary Celebration, West Palm Beach, FL
August 10            Broward Children's Center - A Parcel of Penguins reading, Pompano Beach, FL
August                 FL Legal Services Webinar
Sept 11                Animal Partners Meeting
Sept 16-19           Florida Bar  Fall Meetings, Tampa, FL
Sept 24-25          Children's Legal Services (CLS) Conference, Tampa, FL
Oct 26-28            Southeastern Regional Institute on Deafness (SERID)  2015 Conference, Myrtle Beach, SC
Nov 5-7               Career Opportunities for Students with Disabilities (COSD)  16TH Annual National Conference, Rosemont, IL
Nov 18-20           OCALICON , Columbus, OH
Nov 19                Anti-Defamation League (ADL) Florida  Luncheon

Zach getting ready to give a speech. Zach The 25th Anniversary of the ADA

      By: Zachary Trautenberg   


On July 26th the Americans with Disabilities Act will be turning 25 years old. The Americans with Disabilities Act is a law designed to make the United States accessible for persons with disabilities. Originally enacted in 1990 it has been updated over the 25 year period.

The Americans with Disabilities Act is a great tool that has literally and figuratively opened many doors for persons with disabilities, but it is not perfect by any means. The biggest challenge for persons with disabilities is the fact that our abilities and inabilities are extremely unique. Each and every persons has certain strengths and weaknesses. The best accommodation for one person may not be the best accommodation for another. For example, I have recently been looking at refrigerators and many are rated accessible by the standards set in the Americans with Disabilities Act, but these refrigerators are still not accessible for me. (click here to read more)


Flyer for Miami Dade Animal Workshop

Marlon's headshot marlon My Experience Interning at DIG

By: Marlon Velez  


My experience interning at DIG is probably one of the more interesting experiences anyone from my law school class had this summer. From cases involving a sheep as an emotional support animal to cases involving young runaways trapped in the system, the ordinary daily routine at the DIG office is anything but ordinary. Because it is an advocacy group for those who have disabilities, I learned a lot about the struggles people with disabilities have and how they have to fight to get basic accommodations which seem more than reasonable; borderline necessary (i.e. an elevator for an elderly man to get to his apartment, an interpreter to translate the doctor's explanation of a medical procedure, etc.) I've seen the difference between the procedure in a federal courtroom and the procedure in a state courtroom, and began to formulate an opinion as to which one I prefer. (click here to read more)




3 arrows that say 1. your say, 2. my say, 3. compromise. mediation ADA Mediation Program

    By: Lester Langer     


OVER THE LAST SEVERAL editions of our newsletter we have discussed mediation. But did you know mediation is available under the ADA Mediation Program? This is an informal process but you have to request it after you file your complaint. Since its inception the program has mediated more than 4000 complaints with 78% being resolved successfully.


Complaints under tile II (state and local government services) and title III (public accommodations) can be mediated. There is NO COST to either party and it is not necessary to have an attorney. However as we have discussed previously it would be in your best interest at least to consult with an attorney or retain one to navigate the law and the process. (click here to read more)


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Casey Martin in a golf cart. casey Casey Martin PGA Tour Accommodations


The ADA has had an overarching impact on all aspects of life, including competitive sports. Casey Martin, a professional golfer, highlighted the true impact of the ADA in the sports world in 2001 when he won his lawsuit against the PGA tour under the Americans with Disabilities Act. The PGA Tour, the main organizer of professional golf tours in the United States, required the golfers to walk between shots in the third round of competition. Martin, who has a circulatory condition which affects his right leg, was unable to adhere to this rule, and therefore requested a golf cart as an accommodation for all rounds of the game. Through the ADA's stipulations of accessibility and inclusion, the Supreme Court ruled for Martin in a 7-2 decision. This court ruling demonstrated the importance of complying to the ADA by providing reasonable accommodations for disabled athletes while still playing a fair game.


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Jon Kent, Dr. Diane Adreon, Alex Kent, Debbie Dietz (standing) and Lt. Barta and Haley Moss (sitting).  The crew and actors for the 2nd Wallet Card video. walletcard   The Wallet Card Project


Go to our website to watch the video and sign up for a wallet card:  http://www.justdigit.org/wallet-cards/ 



Six month update on The Wallet Card Project

By: Monica Sabates

We are proud to say that the Wallet Card Project has been successfully in motion for 6 months! As a progress update, we used our statistics to make charts that diagram exactly where our wallet cards have been reWorld map that shows each continent and how many wallet cards went to eachquested and sent to. As of June 30, 2015, we have made a total of 1,392 cards. A large portion of the wallet cards were sent to participants in Florida, however, the wallet card project has reached every state in the United States except Hawaii. Additionally, the wallet card project has gained international participation, with three walletMap of the United States with the percentage of wallet cards written on top of each region cards being sent to Australia and two to Canada. We are excited to see the wallet card project expand into more countries and garner continued participation in the U.S. Please send us any anecdotal stories you have about your wallet card to info@justdigit.org.


       Pie chart that shows what percentage of wallet cards went to each region of the United States



lesly What Information am I supposed to report to Social Security?
head shot of Lesly Quin
The answer depends on the type of benefits you receive. The SSI program involves a lot more reporting than the Social Security Title II disability programs like SSDI because the SSI program has strict rules about how much income and resources beneficiaries can have. Below is a chart that provides general direction about what beneficiaries need to report to Social Security. Keep in mind that for the SSI program, these reporting requirements apply not only to the SSI eligible individual, but also to the parents of SSI recipients under 18 and to the spouses of SSI eligible individuals. (click here to read more) 
A basket of colored chocolate medallions and 3 chocolate hand that say I love you in ASL.

Logo for the fair housing video series.   

Please click 


The cover of the book Your Upward Journey by Patricia Bochi     Head shot of Patricia Bochi. She is in front of a boat that is in the water.
In a nutshell, Your Upward Journey: It Is Easier Than You Think!, is a three-part project (book, self-help seminars and merchandise sale). I intend to promote the book through self-help seminars and sale of merchandise, such as mugs, journals etc.

 The website is:  www.yourupwardjourney.com                                 Facebook and Twitter: Your Upward Journey

Matt H. with cruise staff trying to get on the tender.   litigation Litigation: Cruise Ship Accommodations

By: Matthew Dietz 



Twenty years ago, accessible cruising was an impossibility. Notwithstanding that a cruise ship - a resort at sea - was the ideal vacation with everything at one's fingertips -- for a person with a disability it was just impossible. There were no accessible rooms, no accessible bathrooms, public rooms on different levels without any access. To get out onto the deck, into cabins, or into any bathrooms, most cruise ships had three inch high thresholds (called combings), and the rare times when ramps were available, the ramps were too steep for a person in a wheelchair. Certain types of wheelchairs were not allowed on ships, the blind were required to have "companions", and the deaf did not get interpreters. (click here to read more)

penuins A colored drawing of an open box with 3 small penguins surrounded by stuffing.
A Parcel of Penguins
If you already have a t-shirt please post a picture of you wearing the t-shirt on our Kids Crusaders Facebook Page.
Matt F. wearing a penguins t-shirt and holding a copy of the book.    Red Skeleton wearing a penguins t-shirt and holding a copy of the book.
For more information about DIG and to find out how you can be involved, please call or email our executive director, Debbie Dietz at 305-669-2822 or  debbie@justdigit.org. 

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