Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

Rehab Reauthorized

Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

Rehab Reauthorized

Article excerpt

The long-awaited reauthorization of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 is now complete. Through an unprecedented process of consensus building, the reauthorization culminated during the waning days of the 101st Congress and was put to bed in late September. As with most legislation, there is bad news and good news.

The bad news is that we are still a long way from the consumer-driven system we set out to build. Systems as large and entrenched as the rehabilitation system are difficult to change. Well-meaning people often view the world in completely different ways, and the world of rehabilitation is no exception.

The good news is that a lot of positive consumer-supportive mechanisms have been built into the bill, such as the formation of a statewide, consumer-based advisory committee with sweeping new abilities for input and the placement of assistive technology front and center throughout the bill. Most importantly, persons with disabilities, their parents and family members now have a real presence in the bill. Title VIII of the new bill itemizes a series of new training initiatives. Among them is the training of persons with disabilities, their parents, family members, advocates and other authorized representatives. …

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