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RTC: Rural - ADA 25: Reflecting on Inclusion

rural institute staff celebrating ADA 25The Americans with Disabilities Act turned 25 on July 26th.  Communities, organizations and individuals across the country have been celebrating this important milestone in the months and weeks leading up to the anniversary.  But while the ADA has made great strides toward full inclusion of people with disabilities in all areas of life, there is still much work to be done.

For example, the “built environment” is one easy way to see how far we’ve come since passage of the ADA.  Take a look at your own community and the places you frequent.  Where are the accessible entrances?  Are they on the front of the building or tucked around back?  New buildings, such as the one pictured at right, often feature universally accessible front entrances that allow everyone access through the main entrance.  This is one example of full inclusion in the built environment.

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RTC: Rural - Centers for Independent Living in Your Community

man in wheelchair with friendsCenters for Independent Living (CILs) are non-profit, community-based organizations that provide peer support, information and referral services, advocacy, independent living skills training, and transition youth services for people with disabilities. CILs are developed and operated by people with disabilities and provide services in accordance with the tenets of Independent Living philosophy that emphasize consumer choice and control.  CIL services are flexible and responsive to the changing needs of their consumers, serving individuals across the lifespan, across disability and across gender and race.  Centers for Independent Living across the country offer activities, classes and opportunities to develop lasting, supportive friendships that help reduce feelings of isolation and encourage participation in the broader community.

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RTC:Rural - WIOA Anniversary-July 2015

young man workingstk212419rke 300x300The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) was signed into law on July 22, 2014, and is an amendment to the Workforce Investment Act of 1998. A large federal legislative bill that encompasses The Rehabilitation Act of 1973, WIOA authorizes the formula grant programs for vocational rehabilitation, supported employment, client assistance, and Independent Living.

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RTC: Rural - Americans with Disabilities Act Turns 25 on July 26th

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) turns 25 on July 26th.  The ADA, a civil rights law passed in 1990, “prohibits discrimination in all areas of public life, including jobs, schools, transportation, and all public and private places that are open to the general public” (ADA National Network).  But, while the law is nearly 25 years old, there is still much work to be done to ensure people with disabilities are able to fully access all areas of community life.

In order to keep the Americans with Disabilities Act at the forefront of public policy and to emphasize its importance not only to people with disabilities but to everyone interested in civil rights, celebrations are happening all across the country with the ADA Legacy Bus Tour.

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Featured Program: MonTECH Equipment Recycling Program

The MonTECH Equipment Recycling Program (MERP) is a Reuse – Recycling program dedicated to improving the health and accessibility of each person’s home/work/play environments by facilitating the passing of durable medical equipment from those people who no longer need their equipment to those people most in need. The program works with the Pass It On Center at a national level to foster improvements in assistive technology (AT) reuse. 

The goal is to create and nurture a statewide network of small loan closets that will help Montanans access the equipment they need when they need it and close to their home.  Many of these loan closets exist already, but MERP is working to create a network to “get the word out” from the MonTECH website.

Although inventory varies over time, the most frequently recycled previously-used equipment has included:

  • Wheelchairs and some scooters
  • Bath chairs and commode seats/ toilet riser seats
  • Variety of older pediatric equipment such as gait trainers, Tumbleforms, etc.
  • Adult adjustable canes, crutches, front-wheeled walkers

Continue reading about MERP