Archive for June, 2011

Not Another Survey!

David BurdsEvery so often we ask you the question, “How are we doing?” As an organization that actively embraces programs for serving people with disabilities, we need your feedback. You will find an enclosed ECNV Customer Service Survey that we are asking you to fill out and return to us (you can also download a fillable Word document from our website, complete it, and email it to with the Subject: Survey).

>> Download the survey [ Word ] now.

With this survey we are asking you, the consumer, whether or not we are doing well with our current programs and what else do you think we should be doing as a Center for Independent Living. If you are not familiar with the types of services provided by ECNV, look at question number “3” on the survey to get a glimpse of what we provide and to receive further info. go to or contact us directly.

Adding to our programs, ECNV is currently in the process of becoming an Employment Network and will thus be able to work directly with people on SSI or SSDI who are in the Ticket to Work program who are seeking employment. If you are an SSI or SSDI recipient and wish to know more about the Ticket to Work Program go to or again, contact ECNV.

In becoming an Employment Network we hope to better fulfill employment needs. With your feedback on our survey you contribute to the “consumer direction” of how we should be responding to other needs of people with disabilities.

By David Burds, ECNV Executive Director
Article from the ECNV Declaration (Summer 2011 Edition)


June 29, 2011 at 10:03 pm Leave a comment

Celebrate National Deaf-Blind Awareness Week

Helen Keller and Annie SullivanECNV celebrates National Deaf-Blind Awareness Week this week (June 26 – July 2), and we salute the memory of Helen Keller, a deaf-blind woman and early leader in the cause of disability rights, whose birthday was June 27!  Congress established National  Deaf-Blind Awareness Week, which has been celebrated since 1968, to commemorate the life and legacy of Helen Keller and to call attention to the resources, training and supports that ensure independent living and full participation in our society for over 1 million people who are deaf-blind.

Helen Keller (1880-1968) was an internationally known author and lecturer, an advisor to U.S. presidents, and a 1964 recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest honor our nation bestows on a civilian.  Justin Dart, Jr., one of the leaders of the movement toward the ADA was also a recipient of the Medal of Freedom.

Ms. Keller advocated a more just and peaceful world which would respect the human rights and dignity of all.  She was a close advisor to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and his wife, Eleanor.  Deaf-blind as a result of a childhood illness, she was a strong advocate for the education and training of people with disabilities in a time when society dismissed people with disabilities as uneducable and shut them away in asylums and other institutions.  Keller’s own life stood in stark contrast to these beliefs! 

Many people know the story of how Keller’s parents sought a way to educate their deaf-blind daughter and found Anne Sullivan, a young woman referred to them by the Perkins School for the Blind.  Through persistence and dedication, Sullivan was able to give Keller the gift of language by teaching her the manual alphabet and a tactile form of American Sign Language, and, in so doing, opened her mind to the world around her.  Keller was 7 years old.  Thereafter, Keller attended the Perkins School in Boston, Massachusetts where she learned Braille and completed high school. 

Hellen Keller at work in her studyFollowing Perkins, Keller was not satisfied with just wasting away sitting at home.  She was ambitious and bright.  She figured out that she would need a good education to make her way in the world.  With her family’s support, and that of her “teacher”, Annie Sullivan, Keller attended Radcliffe College.  In 1900, young, bright women attended Radcliffe while their male counterparts went to Harvard.  Keller was a straight “A” student, graduating cum laude from Radicliffe in 1904.  Thereafter, Keller pursued a career as an author and lecturer. 

Of course, Keller’s story was the exception and not the rule, and most people with disabilities of average means in the late 1900’s and early 20th Century had little chance to excel in the way she did.  However, her efforts and those of Annie Sullivan help change some of the prejudices and stereotypes that stood in the way of people with disabilities having lives of greater independence and dignity.

Many people have heard about Helen Keller, but few people know much about Anne Macy Sullivan.  Sullivan, who was legally blind, was born in Massachusetts to an impoverished, Irish immigrant family.  She was the eldest of 3 children.  An untreated eye infection left her with deteriorating sight at age 4.  When Annie was 8 years old, her mother died and two years later her abusive, alcoholic father abandoned the 3 children.  A family member adopted Mary, the youngest child.  Mary did not have a disability but Annie and her brother, Jimmy, who had a physical disability, were sent to an asylum, an all too common fate for children with disabilities in the 1870’s.

Annie’s brother died after only 3 months in the institution, but she remained confined there for four more years.  She got out only through her own courage and resourcefulness when she approached an influential visitor to the institution and told him she wanted to go to school.  He arranged for her to attend the Perkins School.  She entered Perkins at age 14 without any previous formal education  While there, she gained Braille and print literacy, graduated high school and was her class valedictorian, and completed teacher training to prepare her to work with blind and deaf-blind students, including learning sign language.  At 21 years of age, she was referred to the Kellers, who wanted a governess and tutor for their daughter, Helen. 

Annie Sullivan, Helen Keller, and Alexander Graham BellThe rest is history!  Annie Sullivan worked with Keller throughout her school years, while she attended college, and beyond.  Annie served not only as Helen’s teacher but also as her Braille transcriber, interpreter, reader, sighted guide, and companion.  In the mean time, she also married John Macy, a famous literary critic, author and editor.  Anne Sullivan Macy was recognized for her innovative teaching techniques and was considered a leader in the field of education of deaf-blind students.  Clearly, she too was a brilliant, young woman with a disability who led the way to a better future for thousands of children with disabilities.

Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan Macy are truly two examples of early leaders in the disability rights and independent living movements.  They may not have called it “independent living” but their example and their legacy helped bring us to where we are today!  For more information about Deaf-Blind Awareness Week, contact the National Helen Keller Center at

June 28, 2011 at 3:06 pm 1 comment

Dr. Jill Biden to Join Next White House Disability Monthly Call

telephoneIn order to help keep you more informed, we are hosting monthly calls to update you on various disability issues as well as to introduce you to persons who work on disability issues in the Federal government.

This call is open to everyone, and we strongly urge and ask that you distribute this email broadly to your networks and listservs so that everyone has the opportunity to learn this valuable information.

If you received this email as a forward but would like to be added to the White House Disability Group email distribution list, please visit our website at and fill out the contact us form in the disabilities section or you can email us at and provide your full name, city, state, and organization.

We are excited to announce that Dr. Jill Biden will be speaking on our next call that will take place on Monday, June 27 at 10:30 AM Eastern. We apologize for the early time, but due to the time difference in Greece, this was necessary.

As you have heard, Dr. Biden will be leading a Presidential delegation to the Special Olympics in Athens, Greece.  Dr. Biden will be speaking on the call from Greece.

The call also will feature Lynnae Ruttledge (Commissioner of the Rehabilitation Services Administration) and Sharon Lewis (Commissioner of the Administration on Developmental Disabilities).

I would encourage you to call in about five minutes early due to the large volume of callers.

The conference call information is below.

Dial in for listeners: 800-230-1951
Title: White House Disability Call (use instead of code)
Date of Call: 06/27/2011
Start Time: 10:30 AM Eastern (dial in 5 minutes early)

This call is off the record and not for press purposes.

For live captioning, at the start time of the event, please login by clicking on the link below.

Please be respectful and only use this feature if you are deaf or hard of hearing.

Again, please distribute widely.

For those interested, you can follow the travels of the delegation through Twitter updates from Kareem Dale by following @disabilitygov ( The updates likely will begin Thursday, June 24 in the evening and last through Tuesday, June 28.

June 24, 2011 at 1:57 pm Leave a comment

ADAPT Olmstead Press Release

Institutionalization still continues today and we must fight to save all of our brothers and sisters. How many more tragic and heart-wrenching stories like “A Disabled Boy’s Death, and a System in Disarray” from the New York Times do we need to hear?




June 21, 2011


Mike Oxford, 785-224-3865
Bruce Darling, 585-370-6690
Bob Kafka, 512-431-4085

ADAPT Calls on Washington and the States to Endorse Real Medicaid Reform that Protects the Civil Rights of Seniors and People with Disabilities

June 22nd is the anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court decision in Olmstead, which applied the integration mandate of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to long term services and supports. In that decision, the Supreme Court affirmed that people with disabilities have a civil right to live in the community in the most integrated setting.

Twelve years later, members of Congress and state governments are trying to de-fund that right by cutting Medicaid and giving states “flexibility” to cut programs that assist people with disabilities and seniors to live in their own homes and communities.

In response to these harmful federal proposals, ADAPT is launching a campaign for real Medicaid reform that protects people’s liberty in every state of the country.

Over the next few months, ADAPT and other disability organizations are mobilizing their members to visit their Congressional and state representatives and organize events in Washington DC and every state.

“We need to remind these federal and state policy makers that de-funding Medicaid de-funds our freedom and that is not acceptable,” said Rahnee Patrick, ADAPT Organizer from Chicago.

While Congressional Democrats have vowed to protect seniors and nursing facilities, their current proposals also cut vital home and community-based services that allow seniors and people with disabilities to stay in their own homes.

“Congress and state governments need to recognize that the freedom of Americans with disabilities and seniors is a civil rights ‘entitlement’ that they shouldn’t eliminate or diminish,” said Bruce Darling, ADAPT Organizer from Rochester, NY.

The campaign will be highlighted with a rally in Washington DC on Capital Hill, Wednesday September 21st.

ADAPT and the other campaign organizers are urging disability, senior and civil rights organizations in every state to hold their own events this summer and immediately begin working to bring people with disabilities and older Americans to our nation’s capital in September.

For more information on the rally, go to ADAPT’s website at .

June 22, 2011 at 1:44 pm Leave a comment

WISE Webinar, Ticket to Work for Beneficiaries Who are Blind or Have a Visual Impairment

Young professional wheelchair user shaking handsDate: Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Time: 3:00 p.m. EDT

 Register online <>  or call 866-968-7842 or 866-833-2967 (TDD)

If you are blind or have a visual impairment, it is possible for you to work and continue receiving your disability benefits. Social Security’s Ticket to Work and other Work Incentives can provide the employment supports you need to succeed on the job. Even if you don’t meet the legal definition of blindness, you may still qualify for disability benefits if you have a visual impairment that prevents you from working. 

The June 22 national WISE webinar, Ticket to Work for Beneficiaries Who are Blind or Have a Visual Impairment, will present information about Work Incentives and supports tailored specifically to your needs. Work Incentives Planning & Assistance Projects and Employment Networks will offer information on:

* Blind Work Expenses for SSI Beneficiaries
* Impairment Related Work Expenses for SSDI Beneficiaries
* Substantial Gainful Activity if You Work
* Substantial Gainful Activity if You are Self-Employed
* Incentives for Blind or Visually Impaired Beneficiaries after age 55

June 17, 2011 at 2:45 pm Leave a comment

How to Apply for a Loudoun County Government Position

Wheelchair user working in an officeCome to an Information Session

A Human Resources Specialist will Discuss the Loudoun County Hiring Process

Thursday, June 23th, 2011
1:30 pm – 3:30 pm

Participants must arrive by 10:00 a.m.

Lake Anne
11484 Washington Plaza West, Room 110
Reston, VA 20190

Call: (703) 787-4974 to reserve your space

County of Fairfax & SkillSource

June 17, 2011 at 2:33 pm Leave a comment

Free Employment Workshop

SkillSource Group - Northern Virginia Workforce GroupAre you are applying for jobs but getting no response?
Do you want to develop your networking skills or ace your interview?

Come join us for a free Employment Workshop

June 23rd 10:15am-12:30pm

Space is limited please call to reserve your spot at 703-787-4974

Or sign in person at
Lake Anne SkillSource
11484 Washington Plaza West, Suite 110
Reston VA 20190

Resume Development, Interviewing and Networking skills

  • Learn what hiring managers are looking for in a resume
  • Learn what the employer looks for in a interview
  • Develop interview skills
  • Practice interviewing with employment coaches
  • How to develop a network and get the most out it

Bring your resume

SkillSource & Reston Interfaith

June 17, 2011 at 2:11 pm Leave a comment

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