Issues Important to People with Disabilities in Massachusetts
Each year Easter Seals polls its clients and supporters to identify the top advocacy needs for people with disabilities in Massachusetts.
Legislative Priorities for 2013
- Easter Seals will seek level funding with Assistive Technology within the
FY14 state budget.
Assistive Technology expands independence for people with severe disabilities through adaptive equipment, computers with specialized software, environmental controls and individualized training. Access to these essential services allows people with limited functional mobility to dial their telephones, control lights and appliances, manage their personal finances and contact emergency help through their computers. Assistive Technology reduces reliance on personal care attendants and family members for daily activities and prevents institutionalization in some cases.
- Easter Seals will seek to increase the commonwealth’s commitment to the employment of people with disabilities.
Numerous barriers in the community make it difficult for people with disabilities to work. The commonwealth must make this a priority and start taking action to eliminate these barriers. Through collaborative initiatives, we will support legislation and policies that promote greater employment opportunities for people with disabilities within government and business. This year we will support legislative efforts to increase employment opportunities for people with disabilities.
- Easter Seals will support legislation and regulations that provide opportunities for youth with disabilities to better understand their personal abilities, expand the possibilities they see for themselves and support their transition from school to post-school activities.
In adolescence, young men and women begin to define their self-image and how they want others to see them. It can be an especially difficult time for those with disabilities. Consequently, youth with disabilities frequently have lower self-esteem and self-confidence than their non-disabled peers, inhibiting participation in extra-curricular activities, work and other social interactions. Youth programs have proven successful in helping adolescents build self-esteem and self-confidence; however, most of these programs are not open to youth with disabilities, especially severe disabilities, because of the programs’ lack of experience and understanding of disability and the issues these young men and women face. Though our leadership program we promote activities that increase leadership opportunities for youth.
Easter Seals Massachusetts and other advocates are in support of HOUSE Bill No. 136: An Act to Increase the Commonwealth’s Compliance with Federal Law Meeting Requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act. This bill will create more employment opportunities for people with disabilities in Massachusetts than any other piece of legislation in the state. The bill will require companies who contract with the Executive Offices of the Commonwealth to commit to hiring people with disabilities and training all employees involved in hiring decisions on the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act. For more information, please go to this link: http://increasedisabledemploymentma.wikispaces.com/