This past year, the Disability Law Center worked to promote the fundamental rights of all people with disabilities to live and work in the communities of their own choosing. We fought against abuse and neglect and for access to services. We worked with school districts and service providers to ensure that the rights of people with disabilities were respected and maintained. Most importantly, we went up against those who tried to limit opportunities for people with disabilities and sought to eliminate barriers and create a pathway to possibilities.
Over the past 12 months DLC’s systemic work has resulted in several victories. Here is a sample of the work that we accomplished this year.
Hulu and advocates from the American Council of the Blind (ACB) and Bay State Council of the Blind (BSCB) reached a settlement agreement to increase the accessibility of Hulu’s streaming service to individuals who are blind or have low vision. Disability Rights Advocates (DRA), a non-profit disability rights legal center, and Disability Law Center, Inc. (DLC), the Massachusetts Protection and Advocacy agency, represented ACB, BSCB, Kim Charlson, and Brian Charlson in these negotiations with Hulu. As a result of this settlement, Hulu will undertake efforts to make its website and software applications accessible via screen readers and will provide audio description tracks for streaming content where possible.
DLC’s abuse and neglect investigation at Tri-County Schools (TCS) in Easthampton, Massachusetts, found TCS staff engaged in abuse by repeatedly using excessive force in restraints and engaging in improper time-out and disciplinary practices. The school chose to close its doors for approximately a year to reassess and reopen the school’s operation with a focus on a trauma-informed care model. In support of this decision, DLC sought a remedial plan from TCS to address DLC’s findings.
Disability Law Center has worked for years with Monty’s guardian and treatment team to create an appropriate course of treatment, including discharge planning. Monty is living in a locked psychiatric unit and is Deaf and has cognitive impairments. Monty’s communication is limited and his behavior and physical health can be volatile. DLC negotiated for government agencies to partner and reach out to vendors to design and create a specialized community placement for Monty. In the meantime, Monty is thriving and enjoys community trips and much more freedom throughout the hospital. Monty’s physical health has also dramatically improved and the team continues to work together to design appropriate next steps for him.
I am proud of what we have accomplished this year.
As the New Year approaches, I promise that our organization will continue to promote the fundamental rights of all people with disabilities to participate fully and equally in the social and economic life of Massachusetts. The work that we do takes an extraordinary amount of resources on a daily basis. In order to increase our efforts we are going to need your help. Please consider making an end-of-year donation to DLC.
There is no other organization in Massachusetts that does what we do. If you believe in our mission, then please join DLC in advancing the rights of people with disabilities across every segment of our society.
I hope that I can count on you!
Disability Law Center
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