Newsletter 2019
A note from Debbie......
debbie matt and max sitting in front of a store front with a banner saying human rights campaign in the castro district of san francisco
Happy end of the summer!

Matt and I had a busy summer and I can’t believe how fast it went. We spend a quick two days in San Francisco for Matt to attend the ABA Conference and receive an award. Max, Sharon, and Lester joined us and we made sure that we had time to do a little sightseeing. One of the places we went was the Castro District. We walked the neighborhood, had breakfast at Orphan Andy’s, and walked to the top of Dolores Park. 
New Guidance on Emotional Support Animals for Air Carriers - What does it mean?

cartoon picture of muggsley and a man in an old fashioned red airplane
Almost nothing has engendered more controversy than turkeys, peacocks, and pigs on commercial aircrafts. As a result of the many passengers who choose to bring their animals on aircraft, airlines have been establishing new guidelines without oversight or guidance from the Department of Transportation and their view of enforcement of the Air Carrier Access Act of 1988, which prohibits discrimination in air travel on the basis with disability. So, the Department of Transportation has asked for comments from airlines and the disability community for appropriate standards and has issued guidance on the basis of disability in air travel. 

The general rule is that persons with disabilities are entitled to have reasonable accommodations for their disabilities when accessing air transportation. Any assistance animal must both be necessary to the person with a disability and reasonable in the scope of air travel. In total, the effects of the new guidance by the department of transportation is to provide limits on what would be reasonable, and what type of proof is required to establish necessity. 

However, like any other issue involving disability accommodation, there is no bright line for establishing what is reasonable, and it is usually a factually intensive question, depending on the needs of a particular person with a disability. As such, the Department of Transportation provides great discretion to air carriers in determining reasonableness in each circumstance. The below answers are my interpretation of the guidance and rules, and for the full text of the guidance, go to the Department of Transportation webpage .  

Congratulations Matt!
About the award: Since 1999, the American Bar Association Commission on Disability Rights has been pleased to present the Paul G. Hearne Award for Disability Rights. Each year, the award is presented to an individual or an organization/group for performing exemplary service in furthering the rights, dignity, and access to justice for people with disabilities.

Paul G. Hearne, the award’s namesake, was an activist, philanthropist, and a leader for all people with disabilities and a pioneer in advancing their cause. Hearne's tenacity, intelligence and initiative helped him create many opportunities for people with disabilities. He served as the director of Just One Break, Inc., the nation’s first private job placement agency for people with disabilities; the National Council on Disability; the Dole Foundation for Employment of People with Disabilities; the International Center for the Disabled; the Very Special Arts International Fund; and the Osteogenesis Imperfecta Foundation. The Commission awards this prestigious honor to one who carries on Hearne’s vision and life work. 

Matt's Speech: click here
matt holding a plaque and standing with kimberly kam from starbucks
Matt with Starbucks Corporate council Kimberly Kam
matt holding a plaque with bar president john stewart and past president michelle suskauer
Matt with FL Bar President John Stewart and immediate past president Michelle Suskauer
matt sitting at a table with paul rein
Matt and Paul Rein
A new research study
FSU logo three torches in the middle of a red cirlce surrounded by the words florida state university
Thank you for all of your participation, over 200 people responded.

The Study is now closed.


Dr. Paul Conway & Maxwell Dietz

Dr. Paul Conway,
Assistant Professor,
Florida State University,
Department of Psychology
DIG in the News

July 25, 2019, ABA Commission on Disability Rights, ABA honors work for disability righ t

July 23, 2019, ABA Commission on Disability Rights, 2019 Hearne Award Recipient

Out & About with DIG

ATVFL Stakeholders Meeting
August 28, 2019, 10:30am
Telephonic Meeting

Emotional Support Animals - What Fits the Bill
August 28, 2019, 12 noon

Supper Social Club
September 9, 2019
Coral Gables, FL

Deaf Rights Training
September 27, 2019
Broward County, FL
flyer for seminar on emotional support animals with a young man holding his esa duck
flyer for seminar on emotional support animals with matt and lucy the dog making a silly face
DIG In! For Equal Justice
It is that time of the year when attorneys must strive to satisfy their professional responsibility to provide pro bono service. We are hoping that this year you will
DIG in! for Equal Justice and make at least a $350.00 contribution to:

Disability Independence Group Inc.

This will satisfy your responsibility and help us continue to: 

Guaranty the rights of all persons with disabilities equal opportunity to live in the community by educating and advocating for their rights.

Fight discrimination in employment against persons with disabilities, and work with employers and governments to ensure that persons with disabilities have adequate job opportunities.

Ensure that persons with disabilities have safe interactions with law enforcement through The WALLET CARD PROJECT .  This is DIG’s signature efforts in conjunction with police departments to heighten the awareness and communication between law enforcement and people with disabilities.  

Your $350.00 or more contribution will satisfy The Florida Bar Rules of Professional Responsibility to provide pro bono legal services.

Please make you tax deductible donation using this link ,

or mail a check to: 
Disability Independence Group Inc.
2990 SW 35 Avenue  
Miami, FL 33133   
sharon standing with edith osman
Sharon Langer and Edith Osman
unite miami students with the city of miami police at a training with DIG staff
Unite Miami students and Ctiy of Miami Police
debbie camilo and catalyst staff at the venture cafe holding a sign about the enable project.
Enable Project at Venture Cafe
summer interns daniel me stephanie and james standing with debbie and matt and lucy in the conference room
DIG summer interns
sam birthday party with sam debbie lucy matt and yare in the conference room with a birthday cake with blue frosting and candles
Happy 21st birthday Sam!
debbie matt and michael sitting at a table having lunch
Debbie and Matt having lunch with the new ED of DRF
collage of four pictures from supper social club at california pizza kitchen
Supper Social Club in August. Congratulations to our raffle winners, Heath and Jansil.
Miami Inclusion Alliance
Domestic Violence in the Deaf Community is a serious problem and one that is rarely discussed amongst domestic violence advocates. The number of Deaf individuals in the United States range from 1 to 140 individuals out of 1,000 (Galludet Research Institute - Accessing Safety Initiative, 2008), though determining a number is complicated based on varying definitions of deafness. Data from Rochester Institute of Technology indicates Deaf and hard of hearing individuals are 1.5 times more likely to be victims of relationship violence.

While exact numbers vary, what we do know is that Deaf victims of domestic violence often face unique circumstances that make their pathway to safety more difficult. Here are some examples:
Information can travel fast in the Deaf community, compromising confidentiality and victim safety.
Law enforcement and shelters are often not skilled at communicating with Deaf victims and don’t have interpreters.

Abusive partners take away communication devices.

Abusive partners give false information to the victim to make them believe they have no options.
Victims are often isolated from family, friends, services and resources.

Financial abuse is prevalent, as many who are Deaf received SSI as support and abusers take control of the checks.

The Miami Inclusion Alliance is now working to address these unique barriers and challenges and eliminate them in our community. This effort will include, education, new resources and a most importantly, recognition that we have much work to do in this area. 
The View from Here
Head shot of Justine
Justine will be back soon.
Kids Crusaders
Kids Crusaders Logo
Julie will be back soon.
Lucille's Wall
Lucy with a sign in her mouth that says all guests must be approved by the dog.
Do You Have Pet Insurance  

Pet Insurance; it is an item that is better to have and not need, than to need and not have.

Did you know there is pet insurance? Well, there is and it can be a great help when you do need it. Like humans, insurance is useful in covering the basic to even the most dangerous needs to take care of. You just never know when your dog may need it.

 Getting stuck with outrageous emergency vet bills are never easy. Not being able to afford basic shots to keep your furry friend healthy. Your dog just broke their leg jumping off of high places, or it just swallowed a valuable but dangerous object if it gets stuck, or it bit into a poisonous toad. None of these situations I would ever wish upon your pets but these are some of the situations that can commonly occur and you can elevate stress know you have pet insurance to cover your dog.

 The best time to get pet insurance is when the dog is at its youngest as most companies will not cover pre-existing conditions. Some companies will not cover certain breeds, as well as, common conditions that occur in certain breeds. Make sure to read through the policies and find out if the breed of your dog is or is not accepted as well as what conditions are included or excluded. But, most companies will take all breeds, all ages, and are accepted in a majority of pet hospitals.
One of the main companies I have heard my own clients use is Trupanion. They accept all dog breeds and ages. Trupanion will take care of any condition as long as it was not pre-existing when applying for insurance. This is why I say to get at their youngest. You can adjust your payment plan and deductible with this company to work best for you.
 Another choice is a wellness plan. Though it isn’t pet insurance that you can use at any veterinary clinic, Banfield is a well-known company name with locations all around the United States. As long as you have an account with them you can go to any Banfield near you at the time even if you are not in your local state.

 Pet insurance is growing much like the pet industry itself. Even your own personal insurance company might have their own pet insurance that you can add onto your plan. So give your company a call and see what they can do for your furry loved one.

You never know when you’re going to need pet insurance but it is better to have it and not need than need and not have it. Be safe, be prepared, and enjoy your happy healthy furry pal.

K. de Boehmler
The Wallet Card Project
the wallet card words in a diamond shape blue figure
The wallet card is a tool to be used by a teenager or an adult with a disability. Currently, we have developed cards for persons with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) or Intellectual Disabilities.
Wheels & Heels
Lorinda in front of a cabinet in her home.
Lorinda will be back soon

black rectangle box outlined with a yellow line and the words Supper social club in the box in white
We are having a raffle this month.

Everyone that attends will be entered into the raffle.

Raffle prizes.
supper social club flyer with dates for august september october november and december the flyer is red yellow and black
Supper Social Club - September 2019
California Pizza Kitchen, 300 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables, FL 33134

09/09/19 6:30pm - 09/09/19 8:30pm

I'll be there!
I can't make it
Benefits Information
head shot of Lesly
Ticket to work and WIPA what that means?
Many working aged individuals with disabilities (ages 18-64) are not working. The reasons vary, but for some it’s a fear of “If I start working, will my benefits be taken away from me?” The truth is:  No.  People with disabilities can work without losing their financial security or health care benefits. There are many programs available that make it possible to still collect benefits while working. Here is a brief overview of a few programs available.

Once you begin working, WIPA projects can also provide information and support to help you make a successful transition to work and financial independence. Working with a WIPA project is often a first step for beneficiaries who want to go to work. 
WIPA project from South Florida is serving SSA beneficiaries from Broward, Miami Dade, Monroe, Charlotte, Lee, Hendry and Collier counties.

Contact your local WIPA project at the CIL of the Keys 305 453 3491 

ATV Florida!
Join one of our new standing committees

ATVFL Outreach Committee – this committee will meet regularly to discuss planning and execution of ATVFL’s outreach efforts and related collaboration to counties and supervisors’ offices (our first phase of these efforts are underway and in draft format); this includes working to set up and build awareness of events such as poll worker education, equipment demonstrations, town halls and panel discussions with election officials, recruitment of poll workers with disabilities, voter education, et cetera.

ATVFL Candidate Engagement Committee – this committee will meet as appropriate to discuss approaches and opportunities to engage candidates for office at all levels of government (federal, state, county, and municipal) on the necessity of disability inclusion in voting/elections issues, but also on issues of importance to the disability community; this will include the possibility of structuring candidate questionnaires, organizing candidate forums, assisting others in the state hosting candidate events to make those events adequately accessible, compiling resources and information regarding website accessibility for distribution to the parties and campaigns, et cetera.

ATVFL Voter Engagement Committee – this committee will meet to discuss ways to increase voter participation and turnout within the disability community at multiple levels, including consideration of GOTV (Get Out the Vote) activities and efforts, planning for National Disability Voter Registration Week as well as National Voter Registration Week, and other needed avenues to ensure inclusion of a disability voting/elections presence in the state within other GOTV efforts underway.
Educational Information
head of stephanie langer holding a business file and wearing a black and white polkadot shirt.
Florida passed a sweeping new law in the wake of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting. On February 14, 2018, there was a school shooting in Parkland Florida killing 17 and wounding 17 others. This tragic event created two movements, one by the students to pass reasonable gun control laws and one by the parents to put more guns into public schools. The parents won. On March 9, 2018, Florida passed the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act. This new law required all public schools in Florida to have an armed law enforcement officers on campus, upgrade security measures like metal detectors, bulletproof glass, steel doors, camera systems, communication systems and upgrade locks. Each school was also required to have threat assessment teams in each school along with an expansion of mental health services and mandatory safety drills. The law also put into place a red flag type law that allowed law enforcement to petition a court for a “risk protection order” to remove guns from a home if someone was violent or mentally ill.  

Your Upward Journey
The cover of the book Your Upward Journey by Patricia Bochi
In a nutshell, Your Upward Journey:

It is Easier Than You Think!, is a three-part project (book, self-help seminars and merchandise sale).