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The Results
Are In:
What Matters Most to You
1131 surveys.
41 focus groups.
36 listening sessions.
12 individual interviews with disability leaders.
7 public forums.
All over the course of six months (October 2013 to March 2014) across the state of Texas.


The reason for all
of this activity?
Because we wanted to learn what matters most to people with disabilities in their everyday lives.
So what did
we discover?
Read our latest Director's Update to find out and to learn more what we plan to do about what we learned from you.
The Rights Times
Summer 2014 Edition
A Little "Tech Support" Turns Life Around for Student with Hearing Impairment
Last month, our executive director received the following letter from the mother of a student we represented in a special education case:
7th grade photo of Gabby who was represented by DRTx in special ed case
Gabby's 7th Grade Photo
Dear Ms. Faithfull,
I would like to tell you how much your agency changed the life of my daughter, Gabrielle (Gabby). She is a student who is hearing impaired. To state that the school was resistant to giving her any support is an understatement.
Gabby was very alienated in school and was struggling academically. Her hearing impairment impacted her socially and educationally.
Thanks to your legal team, my daughter was able to get the technology in place for her to access her education as well as other services.
Her last report card was straight A's. She won the science fair at school and came in third place in the regional science festival that included many large school districts.
Most importantly, her self-esteem has grown tremendously. She is a happy child...Her life started out hard but has turned around.
I have no doubt that the work of your agency has changed the life course of my daughter. Gabby had potential that no one saw before. There are no words of thanks that adequately express what this means to all of us...
Dell, Chase Bank Attorneys Donate Services to DRTx Children's Medicaid Project

Children receiving Medicaid-funded services are, in most cases, entitled to receive all medically necessary healthcare and treatment. Federal law gives these beneficiaries the right to challenge any denials through an administrative hearing process. In Texas, this is called a "fair hearing."


Unfortunately, these beneficiaries typically must navigate this complex process without the assistance of legal counsel and with predictably poor results.


The DRTx Children's Medicaid Pro Bono Project helps children get medically necessary healthcare and enhances and improves the fair hearing system. Attorneys who participate in the project help children with disabilities receive critically-needed healthcare prescribed by their doctors.

photo of DRTx attorney gives award to Dell attorneys for pro-bono work for children
DRTx Senior Litigation Attorney Peter Hofer presents award to Dell attorneys for their outstanding work in the DRTx Children's Medicaid Pro-Bono Project


Dell's Legal Team and attorneys Maryann Overath, Martin Hernandez, Laura Robertson, and Susan Marx were recently honored with an award from DRTx for their outstanding pro-bono work on the project. Their contributions have made an important impact on many young people's lives. 


One case involved a teenage boy who sustained a spinal cord injury in an accident. He was suddenly denied approval by Medicaid for a respiratory device he had been using for three years. A Dell attorney argued at a Medicaid hearing on behalf of the boy and was able to get the device re-approved.


Attorneys at Chase Bank also recently signed on to join the project. Chase is generously using their resources, relationships and expertise to ensure that children with complex medical needs retain access to critical healthcare services so they may continue to thrive, grow, and remain in the community.
Questionable Future for Texas State Supported Living Centers
In a Settlement Agreement between the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Texas Department of Aging and Disabilities (DADS), June 6, 2014, marked the deadline for DADS to reach 100 percent compliance in 20 critical safety provision areas at all 13 Texas State Supported Living Centers (SSLCs, formerly known as State Schools). These facilities are responsible for the residential care of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
photo of DRTx staff with former client Donna
On far right: Donna, formerly a resident in a Texas SSLC, now lives happily in the community. DRTx represented Donna to help her remove her guardianship and thus allow her to move out of the facility according to Donna's personal choice.
At the time of the deadline, SSLC compliance ranged from 20.25 to 39.75 percent. To many groups including DRTx, these rates are unacceptable. Questions remain as to what next steps the DOJ will take so that the care and safety of the nearly 3,600 residents in Texas SSLCs reaches adequate standards.
Also, in a May 2014 report by a Sunset Advisory Committee on DADS, the group recommended the following: "...the State can no longer afford to support all 13 Centers. Closing the Austin SSLC and five additional centers will allow DADS to focus its efforts on improving the remaining seven SSLCs and increase the capacity of programs for people with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities living in the community."
In light of the these two new developments regarding the Texas SSLCs, DRTx remains committed to protecting the rights of the vulnerable Texas citizens who live in the facilities and to advocate for them to move to community settings with the proper supports and services.

Disability Rights Texas (formerly named Advocacy, Inc.) is a nonprofit organization that protects and advances the legal, human and service rights of Texans with a broad range of disabilities. We are designated as the protection and advocacy agency (P&A) for the state of Texas and rely in part on your generous donations to continue our work.