Disabilities Front And Center On Obama’s To-Do List
Disabilities figure prominently in the agenda posted on The White House Web site since Barack Obama became president Tuesday.
Among 24 different topics listed in the agenda — such as Iraq, energy and health care — the topic of disabilities makes the cut. Obama’s plan calls for initiatives to improve education and employment opportunities for people with disabilities, while supporting community-based living and an end to discrimination.
Autism is specifically addressed in the agenda, with a four-point plan to deal with growth in the disorder.
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Here’s a look at some of the specifics:
• Obama wants funding for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, including more funds for early intervention and universal screening. The president also wants to increase college opportunities for people with disabilities and he wants a study done looking at transition issues and higher education among this population.
• The president supports the Americans with Disabilities Act and wants more funding to enforce it.
• Obama wants to encourage employment of people with disabilities in the public and private sectors by providing resources for accommodation and promoting tax benefits already in place for employers who hire people with disabilities.
• The president supports the Community Choice Act and wants individuals with disabilities to be able to choose whether to live in nursing homes, institutions or independently within their communities.
• Obama supports more funding for autism, both to research its causes and to support diagnosis and treatment of the disorder. He wants to fully fund the Combating Autism Act. And, he supports life-long services for people with autism.
• The president wants to offer universal screening for all infants and all two-year-olds to identify autism and other disabilities early on.
Just last week Democrats in the House of Representatives unveiled their proposal for a second stimulus package (see here). The proposal, which is supported by Obama, includes funding for many of the initiatives outlined in this agenda.