Advocacy Opportunity!

CRPD basics for youth

by Sue Reeves, Center for Persons with Disabilities, Utah State University

Who is Senator Hatch?

Senator Orrin Hatch is the senior senator from Utah. He has been a strong ally to individuals with disabilities since he was first elected to the United States Senate in 1976 (38 years ago, before any youth advocates were born!).Over the past several decades, Senator Hatch has been a champion of disability rights in the United States.

What has Senator Hatch done for people with disabilities?

• 1978: Senator Hatch formed the Utah Advisory Committee on Disability Issues to find out from disability advocates in Utah how disability-related legislation would affect them and their families. The Disability Advisory Committee continues to meet monthly with the Senator’s staff 36 years later to give input on important issues.

• 1990: Senator Hatch played a critical role in getting the original Americans with Disabilities Act passed.

• 2008: Senator Hatch helped pass the 2008 amendments to the ADA, which strengthened the law to improve the rights of people with disabilities to work, travel, and participate fully in our communities.

  • Most recently, Senator Hatch has:

– Voted for the Autism Cares Act to improve research, education, and supports for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD).

– Sponsored the Technology Education and Accessibility College in Higher Education (TEACH) Act to develop accessibility guidelines for instructional materials and related information technology in college settings.

– Co-sponsored the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act designed to make it easier for people with disabilities to save money and not be penalized by losing important benefits.

What is the CRPD (Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities)?

The CRPD is a treaty proposed by the United Nations.The CRPD would give people with disabilities around the world the same protections as the Americans with Disabilities Act gives to people in the United States.

Why is the CRPD important?

The CRPD is important so that American citizens with disabilities will have the same opportunities and protections when they travel in other countries that they have at home in the United States.

The United States Congress failed to pass the CRPD last year and will consider it again after the summer recess in early September. Senator Hatch is opposed to the treaty and has said he will vote no.

What can you do to help?

Let Senator Hatch know how much you appreciate all the work he’s done for people with disabilities.

Then let him know he can continue to help people with disabilities by voting yes on the CRPD!

Here’s what we’d like you to do (if you are comfortable with this idea):


Go to and like the Senator’s page.

Make a paper sign that says:

Thank you for helping #PWD, Sen. Hatch!

Have someone take a picture of you holding the sign. Upload the photo to Sen. Hatch’s Facebook page once.

Ask your friends to do this, too.

Go to (and like us if you want to!)

Every weekday (Monday through Friday) until Sept. 8 we will post something about the CRPD. Click the “share” button and add this: @SenOrrinHatch, please vote yes on #CRPD!or this: @SenOrrinHatch, please support #CRPD!or this: @SenOrrinHatch, thank you for helping #PWD! Please vote yes on #CRPD!  Mix them up to avoid looking spammy.

Ask your friends to do this, too.

If you want to do more,go to your own Facebook page and post this one time each week until Sept. 8:

Thank you, @SenOrrinHatch, for 38 years of helping people with disabilities! You championed #ADA #ABLE #TEACH and #AutismCares. Now, please, continue your legacy by voting to ratify #CRPD!

Ask your friends to do this, too.


Go to (and follow us if you want to!)

Everyweekday (Monday through Friday) we will tweet something about the CRPD. Click the “retweet” button, and add RT (for “retweet”) at the beginning of the tweet.

Ask your friends to do this, too.

If you want to do more, you can tweet each of these once per day (just copy and paste):

OpEd to @SenOrrinHatch: Do right by veterans with disabilities, ratify #crpd.

Thank you, @SenOrrinHatch, for 38 years as a champion for #PWD! #ADA #ABLE #TEACH #AutismCares. Please vote yes on #CRPD too! #utpol

Please do not exceed the recommended number of posts, shares, tweets and retweets. If you post more often, you run the risk of being blocked as a spammer.

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People First of Cache Valley – September Potluck Activity

September 2014 People First Cache Valley Flyer

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Cache Valley Employment Resource Group

Cache Valley Employment Resource Group

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Upcoming Events | Brain Injury Alliance of Utah

The Brain Injury Alliance of Utah’s annual Family and Professionals conference on October 24, 2014 in Ogden, Utah. For more information and to register, click on the link below:

Upcoming Events | Brain Injury Alliance of Utah.

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Utah Assistive Technology Program Newsletter

Read the most recent edition of the Utah Assistive Technology Program newsletter here. This edition includes information on IEP’s and assistive technology, communication assistive technology for early intervention, and a family guide to assistive technology and transition.

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Feds Clarify Obligations To Kids With Autism – Disability Scoop

Federal officials are telling states that they must cover therapies like Applied Behavior Analysis for children with autism. Read more by clicking the link below.

Feds Clarify Obligations To Kids With Autism – Disability Scoop.

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What Direction Should We Take Next?

Grassroots Advocacy Partnership began conducting surveys over the late spring and early summer to find out which issues are the most important to our members, what kind of content you would like to see on our website and Facebook page, and how well you feel we are advocating for people with disabilities. The surveys have been given at GAP meetings around the state. We have since put the survey in electronic form. It is only 10 questions long, takes less than 5 minutes to complete, and is completely anonymous. Would you please help us by completing the survey and sharing the link with anyone you believe might be interested? To participate, please click on the link below:

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DSPD Launches New Phone Line


We are pleased to announce the launching of the 1-844-275-3773 phone number for Division of Services for People with Disabilities. This number went into affect August 2, 2014.

DSPD offers services and supports across the State. The new 1-844-275-3773 (1-844-ask-dspd) will link existing numbers into the same centralized system as an “auto attendant.” The new centralized system will simplify the various numbers needed for specific DSPD areas. However, all previous numbers and individual contact numbers will remain the same and you are welcome to continue their use if you prefer.

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US Senator Mike Lee to Host Town Hall Meeting in Logan

United States Senator Mike Lee will be hosting a town all meeting in Logan on Tuesday, August 19th from 7 – 8:30 pm at Mount Logan Middle School (875 North 200 East, Logan). Come learn about what Senator Lee is doing to support people with disabilities!

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Celebrating the 15th Anniversary of the Olmstead Decision

 Celebrating the 15th Anniversary of the Olmstead Decision

On June 21 people from the disability community gathered to  join in a celebratory event recognizing the 15th anniversary  of the 1999 Supreme Court Decision Olmstead v. L.C. and E.W. affirming the right of individuals with disabilities to live in their communities, thus rejecting the right for states to enforce institutionalization and eliminate segregation.  The event was held at Jordan River Trailhead Park in West Valley.

The celebration consisted of pizza, cake and speakers addressing the significance of the Olmstead Act and people sharing their personal stories of the positive impact the Olmstead decision has brought to their lives!

The story of the Olmstead case begins with two Woman, Lois Curtis and Elaine Wilson, who has mental illness and developmental disabilities, and were voluntarily admitted to the psychiatric unit in the   State-run Georgia Regional Hospital.  Following the women’s medical treatment there, mental health professionals stated that each was ready to move to a community-based program.  However, the women remained confined in the institution, each for several years after the initial treatment was concluded.  They filed suit under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) for release from the hospital.

On June 22, 1999, the United States Supreme Court held in Olmstead v. L.C. that unjustified segregation of persons with disabilities constitutes discrimination in violation of title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act.  The Court held that public entities must provide community-based services to   persons with disabilities when (1) such services are appropriate; (2) the affected persons do not oppose community-based treatment; and (3) community-based services can be reasonably accommodated, taking into account the resources available to public entity and the needs of others who are receiving disability services from the entity.

The Supreme Court explained that its holdings “reflect two evident judgments.”  First, “institutional placement of persons who can handle and benefit from community settings perpetuates unwarranted assumptions that persona so isolated are incapable of or unworthy of participating in community life.”  Second, “confinement in an institution severely diminishes the everyday life activities of individuals, including family relations, social contact, work options, economic independence, educational advancement, and cultural enrichment.”

This decision has affected thousands of people with disabilities lives for the better.  It is a triumph for human dignity a civil rights victory.  An event worth taking time to reflect on and celebrate!


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