Newsletter 2019
A note from Matt......
Matt holding a black and white baby goat while outside on a yoga mat and surrounded by more goats
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

It is our responsibility to uphold the promise of America for all people who have contributed to the social fabric of our country, and our duty to stand against injustice anywhere. 
Lucy holding a sign that says lawyer wanted must like dogs
DIG is hiring. 

Send resume and cover letter to

Looking for hard working attorney to work in a small non profit. Hours generally 9-5, no weekends unless in trial. All levels of experience welcome to apply. Looking for someone amazing!!!
Rios v. City of North Miami – Settled. Now What?
scales of justice
On June 26, 2019, Arnaldo Rios-Soto’ family resolved its case against the City of North Miami and several of this police officers stemming from the incident on July 18, 2017, where Officer Jonathon Aledda shot at Arnaldo, and hit and injured his behavioral therapist, Charles Kinsey. 
Sitting cross-legged on the street in North Miami on July 18 th , Arnaldo was exhibiting behaviors that should have been a neon sign that Arnaldo was Autistic. He was oblivious to the significance of the officers around him or Charles Kinsey lying supine on the street with his arms up; he was playing with a toy truck; he was rocking back and forth, and he was stating lines from the movie, Toy Story. After the shooting, Arnaldo was arrested and repeating talismanically, “Minnie Mouse.” During his interrogation while handcuffed, Arnaldo complicity repeated the words stated to him and agreed with the statements of the detective. 

During this entire time, it was clear to the officers (that did not shoot at Arnaldo) that something about Arnaldo was “off” but did not know how to handle the situation, or whether the behavior of Arnaldo Rios-Soto posed a danger to himself or others. Unfortunately, it is not unusual for police officers to assume that persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities pose a danger. The failure to distinguish between developmental disabilities and psychiatric conditions, and the assumption that persons with any type of neurodiverse condition are inherently dangerous, leads to dangerous situations with a risk of injury, hospitalization or imprisonment.

As a result of the incident, The City of North Miami recognized the need to fully integrate persons with disabilities, including people with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities in the City of North Miami. The City is committed to ensuring that police are not only trained in in how to recognize the behavioral needs of its residents with developmental disabilities, but also expanding community policing by having its police officers visit group homes, schools and community centers to meet and build ties with all residents.

A new research study
FSU logo three torches in the middle of a red cirlce surrounded by the words florida state university
We invite you to take part in a research study at Florida State University called Moral Decision-making among People on the Autism Spectrum . The purpose of the study is to explore how people who self-identify as on the spectrum make decisions in complex moral situations.

Participation is entirely voluntary , and you may refuse to answer any question or withdraw from the study at any time.

Participants must be between ages 18-65. Participation will take about half an hour, and you will receive a $5 Amazon gift code as a token of appreciation for contributing to the scientific process.

Your responses will be entirely anonymous . To receive compensation, follow the study to the very end, when you will be redirected to an entirely different survey unconnected to your responses. There you can enter your contact information to receive your gift. We will use this contact info only to send you your gift; we will not use it for any other purpose or share it with anyone. 


Dr. Paul Conway & Maxwell Dietz

Dr. Paul Conway,
Assistant Professor,
Florida State University,
Department of Psychology

To participate in this study, please click on or enter the following link:

DIG in the News
Out & About with DIG

Enable Project - Venture Cafe
July 25, 2019

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   
An officer giving his police dog a chew toy at the DIG Office
Roy and Officer Alex
Matt and a police dog with a chew toy at the DIG Office
Matt with Roy
Summer interns Abi James Mel Cat Daniel with Debbie and Claudia posing in front of the Camp Shriver logo after the wallet card training. The Camp Shriver logo is two hands joined at the wrists with flowers coming out of the palms
DIG Interns at a Wallet Card Training
people outside doing yoga with goats climbing on their backs
Goat Yoga
Debbie sitting outside and holding a white and brown baby goat trying to eat her hair
Debbie at Goat Yoga
Matt and two more gentlemen sitting outside on yoga mats surrounded by goats
The Animal Law leadership at Goat Yoga
Sharon Debbie and intern Stephanie in front of the welcome sign for the Annual Florida Bar Convention. The wall behind them is pink
Debbie and Sharon with intern Stephanie at the Bar Conference
Matt and a participant in the puppy pit holding one of the puppies
Caitlyn with her new forever baby
Matt holding a brown puppy
Matt at the puppy pit
A group of people in wheelchairs and without at the Center for Independent Living Election Event
CIL South Florida hosting a voter forum
Sharon and Debbie with the attendees of the ENABLE Project meeting
Enable Project meeting
Debbie and her friend at an LVW Meeting
Debbie and Melba at the League of Women Voters Brunch
Miami Inclusion Alliance
We are nearing Back to School time and many will return to college campuses. Unfortunately, the recent headlines have brought the discussion of domestic violence and sexual assault back into the news cycles. One place where dating violence and sexual assault is still a serious issue, is our college campuses. The University of Michigan’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Clinic has studied the scope of the problem of dating and domestic/sexual violence on college campuses, as well as barriers that may exist for students in accessing resources. 

The View from Here
Head shot of Justine
Justine will be back soon.
logo for the 29th anniversary of the ADA
Celebrating the ADA

On July 26 th, 1990, George H.W. Bush signed into law the Americans with Disabilities Act. Since its passing twenty-nine years ago, the ADA has committed the United States to eliminating discrimination against persons with disabilities. From independent living to economic self-sufficiency and more, the purpose of the ADA was and is to create a nation in which persons with disabilities have equal opportunities.

As the 29 th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act quickly approaches, the ADA National Network has put together events and social media campaigns to celebrate the groundbreaking legislature. The events range from podcasts to webinars.

On July 3 rd, the ADA National Network recorded a podcast with the Honorable Tom Harkin, former Senator, Congressman, veteran, author, attorney, and a chief sponsor of the ADA. The podcast includes a recording and a transcript to follow along as well. The ADA National Network has also provided two webinars, one occurred on July 16 th and the other on July 23 rd. The first webinar is titled “ADA Anniversary Update: 29 Years Burning Down the Road”. The second webinar is titled “Reflections of the ADA: Past, Present, and Future”. Both webinars discuss the ADA’s positive impacts on the rights of persons with disabilities.

Moreover, a social media campaign was launched on Facebook and Twitter. The ADA National Networks asks that anyone who wants to participate posts a video or written piece that shares your story or what is possible thanks to the ADA. Using the hashtag #ThanksToTheADA, post your content to or to twitter by tagging @ADANational.

Not only is the ADA National Network remembering the success of the ADA but also the president who signed it into law. In remembrance of George H.W. Bush since his passing in 2018, the ADA National Network has created heartfelt and touching videos.

For more information or where to access the podcasts and webinars you can go to
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.
Miami-Dade County Pet Friendly Hurricane Shelters

Hurricane season running from the beginning of June to the end of November is upon us, and we Floridian’s may love to stand our grounds and try to weather the storm. Unfortunately the storm can sometimes beat us and with it we are force to take our pride back for the safety of our family. For many of us our family can also comprises of a cat, dog, small animal, and a combination of the few.

Miami-Dade county has become increasing pet friendly especially knowing many people would rather stay home than leave their pets. The rules aren’t as strict as I had presumed them to be:

Simply put Four pets per household. They must be under control at all times and watched by one member of the household. This means leash, crates, cages; use what you know helps keep your pet under control and out of harms way. They will even take aggressive animals that can be controlled by their owners; muzzles or calming aids.

Of course your pet must have all the required vaccinations and proof of paper work when going to a shelter and for dogs and cats they must have valid Miami-Dade Rabies vaccines and tag present. You must also bring all supplies need to take care of your pet for the time being: food, water, bed, bedding, etc..

I always hope and pray that we never get another hurricane again but they are natural to our side of the country. It is always best to be safe and prepared. Please be sure to buy cages and crates for your pets and put them in storage. You do not want to be trapped with out one when hurricane season comes as people flood into the pet stores at the last minute to buy every single one. I would also buy a bag of dog food and put it in a container for the summer as a back up. Make sure to buy extra water for you and your pets as well.

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.
The Wallet Card Project Visits Camp Shriver
Thank you to the City of Miami Parks Department, The Sandra DeLucca Developmental Center, and the City of Miami Police Department for all of their help making this a successful event.
A student with a disability outside practicing using his wallet card with two officers
A student with a disability outside practicing using her wallet card with an officer
Claudia and summer intern Daniel outside posing for a picture with an officer and students with disabilities after the wallet card training
Claudia supervising an interaction outside between a student with a disability and an officer during a wallet card training
A student with a disability outside practicing using his wallet card with an officer
Summer Interns Cat and James outside posing with an officer and students with disabilities after the wallet card training
Wheels & Heels
Lorinda in front of a cabinet in her home.
Life and Success with SMA
Life as a person with a disability, especially one like spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), guarantees the need for a fairly high level of confidence, clear direction and more than average critical thinking skills. Whether its navigating transportation to and from work, managing personal care assistants to get you ready for the day, or medaling through a plethora of seemingly never ending legal and medical documents, days seem short and the light at the end of the tunnel far away. Yet, being successful is not only possible but worth the energy to achieve.
The first question to ask oneself is: How do I define success?  Someone without a disability may define success by how much money is in their bank account or how many dates they have on the weekend. With SMA those things are important, but not least not until your caretaker situation is in order. A good friend of mine, and well-known Psychologist Danielle Sheypuk, believes that when you have a disability, Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs is modified. In the traditional sense, Maslow’s theory states that at the basis of homeostasis is our need for shelter, food, air, water, etc. In her opinion (which I couldn’t agree with more) for individuals with disabilities who depend on others to accomplish activities of daily living - personal care assistants are the number one, baseline need before anything else can function. I’ve found that navigating personal care assistants and getting the help I need organized and smooth functioning is the number one key to life and success with SMA.

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 - August 2019
California Pizza Kitchen, 300 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables, FL 33134

08/05/19 6:30pm - 08/05/19 8:30pm

I'll be there!
I can't make it
Benefits Information
head shot of Lesly
Employment support for people with disabilities
If you are disabled and you are pursuing employment, you are not alone. You can find many agencies providing employment support and help you to reach your vocational goal.


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.

Help us grow, take our survey
Educational Information
head of stephanie langer holding a business file and wearing a black and white polkadot shirt.
educational support flyer that lists prices for consultations school meetings and legal representation
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).