Volume 02 | February 2018
Your monthly news & updates
A note from Matt....
2018 is the 50 th Anniversary of the Fair Housing Act.  On April 11, 1968, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Fair Housing Act into law – seven days after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The Act was passed to end housing and residential segregation, and where you live effects the opportunities that are afforded to each person in that neighborhood, from schools to jobs to medical care. Even with these protections, there are still four million instances of housing discrimination annually. For the important history of the Fair Housing Act, and the work we still need to do, please watch Seven Days, and go to fhact50.org.
Click to watch the video:
Matt standing outside of the Newseum with the capital in the background.
Our Country's Gun Issue is not Mental Health
After the murder of seventeen people at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, the debate has centered on the seemingly binary choice between restrictions on firearms, or focusing on mental health issues. As Florida spends less per person than almost all other states and US territories, funding for additional mental health services are well overdue. However, with all issues regarding disabilities, to consider all persons with mental illness as dangerous, is a stigma that will prevent treatment and wellness. Furthermore, the threat of the police having the discretion to send persons who they believe are acting abnormal to psychiatric facilities is a scary throwback to the Soviet-era use of the use of using psychiatric incarceration in Gulags to rid the streets of undesirables. 

Out and About with DIG

Supper Social Dinner
March 5, 2018, 6:30 pm
California Pizza Kitchen in Coral Gables

Jacobus tenBroek Disability Law Symposium
March 22-23, 2018
Baltimore, MD

April 24-27, 2018
Tampa, FL

GAL Disabilities Training Conference
May 2-4, 2018
Orlando, FL

Family Cafe
June 15-17, 2018
Orlando, FL

DIG in the News

Young children should not be arrested in school and sent to psychiatric hospitals BY MATTHEW DIETZ AND CARLOS J. MARTINEZ, Miami Herald February 08, 2018 http://www.miamiherald.com/opinion/op-ed/article199230039.html

Shoppers question rising number of dogs taken into South Florida grocery stores - Emotional support animals not protected in stores under ADA, Local 10 investigates, February 13, 2018 - https://www.local10.com/news/local-10-investigates/shoppers-question-rising-number-of-dogs-taken-into-south-florida-grocery-stores

House Republicans just mounted a sneak attack on disabled people’s rights

PR: Florida Hate Crime Coalition Urges Passage Of Critical Update To Hate Crime Law

Gov. Scott Appoints Four to Florida Independent Living Council

clip art of hands in fists with handcuffs on the wrists.
Op Ed: Young children should not be arrested in school and sent to psychiatric hospitals
By: Matthew Dietz and Carlos Martinez
Twenty years ago, when a 7-year-old had a temper tantrum in a public school, the school would suspend the child. The police would not be called, and it would be unthinkable to subject the child to an involuntary mental examination in a psychiatric ward of a hospital.

As time went on, and patience wore down, young children with emotional or behavioral disabilities were arrested and placed in juvenile detention facilities. Now, it is increasingly common for a police officer to remove children having tantrums from school and take them to a psychiatric hospital for examination and treatment — without their parents’ consent.

Since 2006, there has been a decrease in juvenile arrests, and a dramatic increase in involuntary examinations and commitments under the Florida Mental Health Act, otherwise called the Baker Act. From 2000 to 2016, there has been an 87 percent increase in the number of children subjected to a Baker Act proceeding, and a 76 percent increase in such proceedings against children ages 5-10.

Interpreter Hands
The Florida Association of the Deaf is pleased to announce the lawsuit brought by deaf patients against Bethesda Hospitals has been resolved.  
After almost five years, the lawsuit brought by the Florida Association (“FAD”) and individual deaf patients has been resolved amicably. Bethesda Hospitals will ensure effective communication with deaf patients. Any financial terms are confidential. 
In the lawsuit, the plaintiffs alleged that Bethesda Hospitals failed to provide effective communication for deaf patients as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act. Bethesda denied that claim. In 2011, following the passage of an updated federal regulation, Bethesda began a policy and practice of using a video remote interpreting system “VRI” to ensure effective communication with deaf patients during medical treatment. However, deaf patients alleged that the VRI often was blurry or pixelated or that they were unable to utilize the machine due to other factors such as eyesight or the positioning of the machine. 

Debbie and Matt sitting in the auditorium at the National Museum of African American History and Culture.
Debbie and Matt in Washington DC next to the Washington Monument.
Debbie at the FIU public interest resource fair standing in front of the banner.
DIG staff and dogs wearing heart sunglasses and holding signs for valentine's day.
Matt standing and wearing pink heart sunglasses while holding lucy the dog in his arms.
Supper Social dinner, participants sitting around a table having dinner.
Kids Crusaders Corner
Julie will be back soon.
Kids Crusaders Logo
Miami Inclusion Alliance
NPR recently highlighted sexual abuse of people with intellectual disabilities in a series entitled "Abused and Betrayed: People with Intellectual Disabilities and an Epidemic of Sexual Assault" that aired between January 8th and January 18th. Explore the "Abused and Betrayed" series on the NPR website . The series explored the epidemic of sexual abuse against people with intellectual disabilities, spoke to professionals in the field, and, most importantly, featured individuals with intellectual disabilities discussing sexual abuse from their perspectives. 

purple ribbon for Domestic Violence month with the words love shouldn't hurt written on it
If you are interested in volunteering please contact Sharon Langer at sharon@justdigit.org
Lucille's Wall
By: Lucy
DIG in the Mercedes-Benz Corporate Run

I am excited to announce that DIG will be participating in the Mercedes-Benz Corporate Run in Downtown Miami this year. Lisa Goodman and I will be putting our team together and would love to invite any of our readers to join us.

Here is information about the Mercedes-Benz Corporate Run in Downtown Miami
Date: April 26, 2018
Time: 6:45pm
Location: 301 Biscayne Blvd. Miami, FL 33132
Registration per team member: $40

We have to register by March 21, 2018. Please let us know by March 20, 2018, if you would like to join our team. Email us at: aa@justdigit.org

We are very excited!

P.S. Has anyone else noticed that Lisa’s article section has been very quiet these days!!! Hmmm…..
Matt sitting at his desk with Lucy the dog.
Like our Facebook Pages
DIG Facebook Page - General DIG information
Deaf Alice Facebook Page - Issues related to the Deaf Community

Kids Crusaders Facebook Page - Issues related to medically fragile and medically complex children and their families

Animal Partners Facebook Page - Issues related to service animals and emotional support animals
Benefits Information
Are you a SSDI or SSI beneficiary? How a Community Work Incentives Coordinator (CWIC) or benefits planner can help you?

If you receive Social Security benefits and you have a job or are looking for one, there are specially trained professionals known as Community Work Incentive Coordinators (CWIC) to help you make sense of complex employment and benefit-related issues.

For additional questions please call the TTW help line at 1-866-968-7842 / 866-833-2967 (TTY) Monday through Friday from 8:00AM - 8:00PM EST. For general inquiries, you may e-mail support@chooseworkttw.net
head shot of Lesly
The View from Here
Before the beginning of this year, I had never contacted my representatives in any branch of government. Never sent a letter or made a phone call, even though there were many times I felt compelled to do so. It was during a session at physical therapy when I decided that needed to change.

I learned, very early on in my therapy, that Medicare limits how much outpatient therapy it will cover annually. In 2018, Medicare will cover up to $2,010 worth of physical therapy and $2,010 worth of occupational therapy per year. This would mean that Medicare recipients, like me and hundreds of thousands of people end up paying out of pocket for much-needed therapy after only a few weeks of visits when their Medicare coverage caps out. This could add up to thousands of dollars for people who are already on a fixed income.

Head shot of Justine
The Wallet Card Project
The wallet card is a tool for young adults or adults to use when they come into contact with law enforcement; either a a victim, a witness, or as a potential suspect.

The wallet card will help to clarify any interaction with law enforcement so that the behavior of the person with a disability is not misinterpreted as suspicious or as criminal behavior.

The Wallet Card Project is a collaboration with DIG, CGPD, and UM-NSU CARD.
Wheels & Heels
Lorinda will be back next month.
Lorinda in front of a cabinet in her home.
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Follow us on Twitter @dislaw
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Follow us on Twitter @justdigit
Shop Amazon Smile
When you shop Amazon Smile, you can support our organization.
Supper Social Club
Join us for dinner and conversation at California Pizza Kitchen in Coral Gables.

March 5, 2018, at 6:30pm

RSVP here for March Dinner
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Dragonfly Training
Watch out for our new training program called Dragonfly.

More information coming soon.
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Follow us on Instagram
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Follow us on Instagram DisabilityIndependenceGroup
Your Upward Journey
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 a mugs, journals, etc.

Disability Independence Group | Phone: 305-669-2822 | Fax: 304-441-4181