August 2020, Vol. 6, No. 5
RAISE The Standard Newsletter
Raising the Standard for Young Adults with Disabilities
Technical Assistance and Resources for RSA-funded
Parent Training and Information Centers
Civil Rights: Celebrating the ADA
"Let the shameful wall of exclusion come tumbling down.”
- George H. W. Bush,
on the signing of the
ADA in 1990

This summer, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) turned 30 years old. The first generation of Americans with disabilities has grown into full adulthood under its promises and protections. In this issue of RAISE the Standard, we explore the history and the movement that helped to shape the landscape of the service system for people with disabilities, and look to the steps that young advocates can take to ensure justice and equality for future generations.
Judith Heumann
“We will no longer allow the government to oppress disabled individuals. We want the law enforced. We will accept no more discussion of segregation.”

- Judith Heumann

Imani Barbarin, disability activist
“This law not only can help disabled individuals learn about our rights, but I think also can really foster a sense of dignity and pride within disabled individuals to recognize that we are not the problem. We are not the ones that need to change. It is the society around us.”

-  Imani Barbarin, a disability activist

Listen in as NPR’s Joseph Shapiro interviews 72-year old Judith Heumann and advocate Imani Barbarin on this NPR podcast.

a pushpin character with eyes and mouth in a round icon

“But you don’t even look disabled…”

Have you ever been insulted, put down or made to feel uncomfortable because of WHO YOU ARE as a person? Has something been said in such a way that you are not even sure if you have been insulted? This is called “microaggression” and it happens all the time to people with disabilities, Black Americans, those who identify as LGBTQ, immigrants, women and other minority groups. 
Often, these comments are not meant to hurt – they are acts done with little conscious awareness of their meanings and effects.  Still, their slow accumulation over a lifetime is, in part, what defines a marginalized experience, making explanation and communication with someone who does not share this identity particularly difficult.
What do you do when you hear a microaggression? 
Let it slide or say something? When deciding to say something, you might consider one of these responses:

  • Paraphrase: “I think I heard you say…. Is that correct?”
  • Ask for clarification: “Could you say more about what you mean by that?”
  • Acknowledge the feelings behind the message: “It sounds like you are really angry about that…”
  • Express your feelings in “I” statements: “When you said that, I felt _____ and would like you to _____.”

Diane Goodman, author of Promoting Diversity and Social Justice: Educating People From Privileged Groups, developed a two-page list of statements to help people respond to microaggression.

Tools that Work icon wioth hammer and screwdriver

The Civil Rights laws and disability protections on the books today are the result of brave, determined men and women who, years before, took action to highlight injustice. Often in the form of peaceful protests, these advocates informed lawmakers and the general public about issues and problems, few outside of the disability community recognized.

Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution is a Netflix documentary about a group of teen campers with disabilities who were inspired to fight for disability civil rights and organized a grassroots activism campaign that reshaped public policy around Vocational Rehabilitation, and laid the groundwork for the ADA.


Every 10 years, the US Census counts how many people there are in the United States. This count determines how roughly $1.5 TRILLION dollars in aid get distributed to local communities, and which types of programs are funded. If you are not counted as part of the census, your state misses out.


Register to Vote. Make your voice heard.
November 2020 promises to be an important election. Voting is one way to make your voice heard on a local, state, and federal level; every vote counts! Voter registration rules vary by state.

New York State Transition Partners provides information and strategies to help young adults with disabilities and their families to access and navigate vocational rehabilitation and other public systems that can help with financial stability, meaningful employment, and post-secondary education.

The partnership is a collaboration of:

New York State Transition Partners is one of 7 RSA PTIs nationwide that provides various training and programming to youth/young adults with disabilities and their families, professionals, and other PTIs on the issues surrounding Youth Transition, the period of time between adolescence and adulthood. They are funded by the Rehabilitation Service Administration (RSA) under the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS), which is part of the US Department of Education.

group of disability activitsts pictured together in 2007
Everett Deibler was just a child when the ADA was signed into law in 1990.

“When people ask me what the ADA means to me, my answer is quite simple…the ADA means everything. While I was fortunate enough to grow up with a circle of support that helped me learn and grow, it is the ADA that provided me access to true independence.”
Collaboration • Empowerment • Capacity-building

RAISE The Standard enewsletter identifies and shares resources that the Rehabilitation Services Administration Parent Training and Information Centers (RSA-PTI) can use and share with families.
Executive Editor:
Peg Kinsell
Visit our Website:
RAISE, the National Resources for Access, Independence, Self-Advocacy and Employment is a user-centered technical assistance center that understands the needs and assets of the RSA-PTIs, coordinates efforts with the Technical Assistance provided by PTI centers and involves RSA-PTIs as key advisors and partners in all product and service development and delivery.
US Department of Education official seal
RAISE is funded by the US Department of Education to provide technical assistance to, and coordination of, the 7 PTI centers (RSA-PTIs). It represents collaboration between the nation's two Parent Technical Assistance Centers (PTACs) and the seven Regional PTIs.