Monthly Archives: July 2012

Medicaid and Medicair

Forty-seven years ago today, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed Medicare and Medicaid into law. His vision was to provide access to quality, affordable health care to thousands of Americans, especially to those at greatest risk of experiencing barriers to services: seniors, people with disabilities, and children.

Since then, Medicare and Medicaid have become a cornerstone of health and security for millions of Americans. Sadly, Republicans in Congress are more concerned with giving tax breaks away to millionaires and billionaires than assuring these programs are around for our children and grandchildren to enjoy.

For two years in a row now, House Republicans have introduced and passed a budget proposal that calls for extreme cuts to both Medicare and Medicaid. Cuts to these and other vital health care programs could total $2.75 trillion over the next 10 years. Cuts of this magnitude—even deeper than those proposed last year—would decimate these important health care programs, ending Medicare and Medicaid as we know them.

Despite public outcry over Republicans’ attempts to dismantle our health care programs, they continue to push for bigger and bigger cuts, while fighting to keep tax cuts for the rich. It’s up to us to make sure our Representatives know how important Medicare and Medicaid are to not only us and our families but to all Americans.

Please take a moment to send a letter to the editor of your local paper describing why these programs are important to you. Whether your grandmother relies on Medicare for her health care needs or your family friends need Medicaid to ensure their children can see the doctor—all of us have a story to tell. With Medicare and Medicaid still in the budget crosshairs, it is now more important than ever that we get our stories out to the public.

These programs are far too important to millions of Americans to be the casualty of extreme anti-government ideology. They have provided quality, affordable health coverage for millions of Americans for 47 years.

That’s why we need your voice. Show your support for Medicare and Medicaid—write a letter to the editor today and help protect Medicare and Medicaid!

Thank you for all that you do,

Amy Smoucha
Field Director
Families USA

P.S. Families USA has joined Pinterest, an online pinboard to collect and share what inspires you —follow us to get the latest graphics, Heart of Obamacare stories and much more!

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Families USA | 1201 New York Ave., NW, Suite 1100, Washington, DC 20005 |
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Companion Dogs

A new research study has been completed on autism and canine intervention
entitled, *The Impact of Canine Assistance for Children with Autism and the
Family Unit.  *The researcher/author, Diana L. Wild, Ph.D., who lives in
Midway, Utah, shared her findings with the Utah Parent Center:* **

*Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have difficulty with
attention, impulsiveness, and safety issues; consequently, specific measures
must be taken to ensure their safety. One such measure is canine
intervention, which provides children with highly trained service dogs that
can respond to their autism behaviors. The purpose of this mixed-methods
study was to determine whether a service dog, trained for children with
autism, could (a) increase safety, (b) increase social reciprocity, (c)
increase adaptive behaviors, and (d) reduce parental stress. Quantitative
data were collected via pretest and posttest scores on two standardized
assessment tests. Results revealed that the intervention group’s pre–post
gains were significantly more in *social reciprocity*. Qualitative data
found the child’s “lack of fear of danger,” which resulted in bolting and
other unsafe outcomes, was the foremost concern of all parents.  However,
once the child was tethered to the service dog, the problem was resolved.

For more information you can go to


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Autism waiver

The Autism Treatment Account Advisory Committee and the Utah Department of Health will issue a request for grant application (RFA) later this summer, after final publication of R398-15. The purpose of the RFA is to enter into contracts with qualified providers or organizations to provide services eligible under UCA 26-52 ( It is anticipated that this RFA may result in multiple contracts. Eligible providers as identified in R398-15, will be invited to submit an application for consideration. Account monies may be used to provide a child who is at least two years of age but younger than six with an autism spectrum disorder with treatments that utilize applied behavior analysis and other proven effective treatments. All services provided will include at least:

  1. Applied behavior analysis provided by or supervised by a board certified behavior analyst or a licensed psychologist with equivalent university training and supervised experience who is working toward board certification in applied behavior analysis;
  2. Willingness to collaborate with existing telehealth networks to reach children in rural and underserved areas of the state; and
  3. Methods to engage family members in the treatment process.

A review committee will evaluate applications against weighted criteria. If you are a provider and wish to receive notice when the RFA is released, please send an email to

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Call line seeks to help Utahns with disabilities

2-11 » Line plans to expand to 24/7 service.

By Julia Lyon

| The Salt Lake Tribune

Utahns with a disability can now turn to one help line for questions on everything from food assistance to transportation needs.

The statewide service line, 2-11, has taken over calls for the Access Utah Network, which was formerly a separate call line for disabilities questions.

Do you need help?

The 2-11 line is open 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. Callers can receive help with food, housing, disabilities and many other needs.

“It will allow them to have that one-stop shop to think about all sorts of needs they may have and to help us anticipate needs they may not be thinking of,” said Amy Bosworth, the 2-11 director.

Run by United Way of Salt Lake, the 2-11 line receives more than 110,000 calls annually and plans to expand to 24 hours a day, seven days a week within the next year. Operators direct callers, who are often low-income Utahns, to resources for food, housing, clothing and more.

Because many disabled residents also have low incomes, the line’s goal is to offer help with a broad array of needs in addition to answering disabilities questions.

But people of all incomes are welcome to call with questions.

Access Utah Network formerly received several hundred calls per month. 2-11 hopes to see those numbers grow under its stewardship.

“We are dedicated to making sure the disabilities community feels comfortable with our services,” Bosworth said.

To help make that happen, the former manager of the disabilities information referral line is helping to train 2-11 operators. Access Utah Network lost state funding, leading to the call line change.

People are often looking for information on accessible housing, how to remodel properties and financial assistance.

“2-11 might be one of the first calls after their significant other is disabled from an accident,” said Mark Smith, the disability information specialist from Access Utah who is now helping with training.

Sometimes the unfortunate answer to a question is that there aren’t services available to help an individual, explained Smith, who has a spinal cord injury. But that’s still important news to relay, he said, so a hunt for alternative help can start.


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Help Protect Disability Programs – Call to End Tax Cuts for the Top 2 Percent | The Arc | Action Center

The U.S. House of Representatives will vote as early as Wednesday, August 1 on whether to renew the tax cuts that were enacted in 2001 and 2003 during the presidency of George W. Bush.  Please tell your Representative in the House to end these tax cuts for the top 2 percent of taxpayers.  As we fight to protect the Medicaid lifeline, it’s time to end tax cuts for those who need them the least.  Just last week, the U.S. Senate acted and passed a bill to end these tax breaks for the top 2 percent.

A fair tax system will help ensure that revenue is raised to pay for critical disability services and supports.  This starts by allowing the tax breaks that were intended to be temporary to expire as scheduled for the top 2 percent.  Our nation must also make critical investments that create and sustain jobs while taking a balanced approach to addressing America’s fiscal challenges.

What disability advocates should know about the current tax cuts:

  • Allowing the tax cuts to expire for the top 2 percent – those households making over $250,000 a year – would generate about $1 trillion.  But if these special tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans continue, it will be harder to protect important disability programs, like Medicaid, Social Security, housing, education, and employment, from deep cuts and reduce the deficit.
  • A person who earns $1 million a year gets an average tax break of about $143,000, while a person making $50,000 gets an average tax break of only about $1,000, and an individual earning $15,000 only gets an average tax break of $323.

Take Action

Call your Representative toll free 888-744-9958.

If you need to know who your Representative is, insert your zip code here.

What to say:

  • Please allow the current tax cuts to expire for the top 2 percent—those making more than $250,000 a year.
  • Please oppose any extension of the tax cuts – even a temporary one –  for the top 2 percent.
  • It’s time for the wealthiest Americans to pay their fair share so that we can protect disability programs, like Medicaid, which is a lifeline to people with disabilities and their families.

Click below to see the original source (The Arc) website.

Help Protect Disability Programs – Call to End Tax Cuts for the Top 2 Percent | The Arc | Action Center.

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Autism NOW Webinar: We’ve Got the Power! | Autism NOW Center

July 31, 2012
12:00 pmto2:00 pm

In this time of rapid change and challenges, people with autism and other developmental disabilities and their families becoming engaged in the political process has never been more important.

Autism NOW is hosting a webinar on Tuesday, July 31, 2012 from 12:00pm – 2:00pm Mountain time. This webinar describes “We’ve Got The Power!”, The Arc’s latest campaign to strengthen the voice of people with disabilities as active participants in the political process and in their communities. Join us to discover more about this campaign as well as voter registration, education, engagement and mobilization. Register by clicking on the link below.

Autism NOW Webinar: We’ve Got the Power! | Autism NOW Center.

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iSTAR Research Team is Looking for Participants…

The Autism Council of Utah is assisting iSTAR in finding 4 families – boys grades 4-8 – in regular ed – with an autism diagnosis to participate in a study.

iSTAR research team is conducting a educational technology workshop using Google SketchUp for youth with ASD in early August. This will be a unique opportunity for youth and their families to participate in a skill development workshop for individuals with ASD to enhance potential skills sets using industry and gold standard software tools. We are RECRUITING families right now and although we try to maintain modest class size – we are trying to reach out and be inclusive for the community and can try to accommodate those families who like to be involved in these opportunities.

If you are interested, please click on the link to contact the Autism Council of Utah

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UsICD Call to Action

Even More Calls to All 50 States Needed!



 Thank you, thank you, thank you for making calls and recruiting your friends and family to help. We have another day to make sure that our senators know that ratification of the CRPD is important to our community.



Update! We’ve added a twist to today’s outreach: Dick Thornburgh, former U.S. Attorney General, and C. Boyden Gray, former White House Counsel to President George H.W. Bush, have written a letter supporting the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and explaining why the opposition arguments are erroneous and false.



We want every senator to have a copy of this letter before Thursday’s markup.  Let your senators know that these respected attorneys who were with us during the ADA’s creation, stand again with the US disability community in favor of the CRPD.  You can access the letter here.



Remember, there’s a vote scheduled for Thursday, July 26th!



Markup of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and a vote in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is rescheduled for the ADA Anniversary: Thursday, July 26th at 9:30 am


If you are outside of DC, you can watch here. If you are in DC be sure to attend in Senate Office Building Dirksen G-50.  


Take Action! Don’t let the opposition drown the voices of the disability community.


Please call and email your Senators and tell them to vote for the CRPD treaty. Call them as many times a day as you can until the treaty is passed. Make sure they get the Thornburgh/Gray letter. Recruit your friends and families to call. Please forward this email to your network of friends.
Message (by phone): The message is simple “I am a constituent of your state and I want the Senator to support the CRPD – this is important to the disability community! I have a letter that the Senator needs to see. How can I get it to your office?” 
Message (by email using email contact forms):  I am a consituent of your state and I want the Senator to support the CRPD – this is important to the disability community. It’s important that the Senator see a letter supporting the CRPD from Dick Thornburgh, former U.S. Attorney General, and C. Boyden Gray, former White House Counsel to President George H.W. Bush. Please click and print the letter:  
Contacts: The Capitol Switchboard number is (202) 224-3121.  Ask to be connected to your Senator’s office. Call both Senators!


For More Information about the CRPD visit USICD’s website.



email : Webview.

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Blogging LIVE from Institute of Special Education Advocacy

Wrightslaw is blogging live fron the Institute of Special Education Advocacy. Click on the link below to join the live blog and see today’s schedule.

Blogging LIVE from Institute of Special Education Advocacy.

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U.S. Senator Mike Lee’s office to visit the Basin!

July 31, 2012
9:30 amto11:30 am
1:00 pmto3:00 pm
August 1, 2012
10:00 amto12:00 pm
1:00 pmto3:00 pm
August 2, 2012
10:00 amto12:00 pm
1:00 pmto3:00 pm

U.S. Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah)’s representatives will be visiting the Uintah Basin while Lee is in Washington, D.C. The visits are set from July 31 to Aug 2.
July 31 9:30 a.m. Tabiona Town Hall conference room, 38048 W. 3800 N. Tabiona
Also at 1:00 p.m. At Roosevelt City Hall councils chambers, 255 S. State St., Roosevelt

Aug 1 10 a.m. Naples City Hall council chambers, 1420 E. 2850 S. Naples
Also at 1 p.m. Uintah County Building commission chambers 147 E. Main St., Vernal

Aug 2 10 a.m. Daggett County Courthouse commission chambers, 95 N. 1rst West, Manilla
Also 1 p.m. Spirit Lake Lodge dining room, Daggett County

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