RSA-509 - Protection & Advocacy of Individual Rights (PAIR) Program Performance Report

Oklahoma (Oklahoma Disability Law Center) - H240A150037 - FY2015

General Information

Designated Agency Identification

NameOklahoma Disability Law Center Inc.
Address2915 Classen Blvd Suite 300
Address Line 2
CityOklahoma City
StateOklahoma
Zip Code73106
E-mail Addresskayla@okdlc.org
Website Addresshttp://www.okdlc.org
Phone405-525-7755
TTY 405-525-7755
Toll-free Phone800-226-5883
Toll-free TTY800-226-5883
Fax405-525-7759
Name of P&A Executive DirectorKayla A. Bower
Name of PAIR Director/CoordinatorMelissa K. Sublett
Person to contact regarding reportQuinton Underwood
Contact Person phone405-550-1193
Ext.

Part I. Non-Case Services

A. Individual Information and Referral Services (I&R)

Multiple responses are not permitted.

1. Individuals receiving I&R within PAIR priority areas0
2. Individuals receiving I&R outside PAIR priority areas0
3. Total individuals receiving I&R (lines A1 + A2)0

B. Training Activities

1. Number of trainings presented by PAIR staff14
2. Number of individuals who attended training (approximate)893

14 conferences where 893 people were trained using the lecture method, with handouts for training on rights regarding employment, emergency and disaster awareness training, foster and adoptive parent rights and educational rights. Trainings included and question and answer periods for each topic. Educational rights topics including PBIS, restraint and seclusion, transition to employment and community living, prevention of drop outs, learning disabilities, etc. for students in public schools, their parents, therapists, teachers, attorneys, case managers (DHS, OJA), and Native American providers. The purpose of the trainings was to educate the participants about their rights and how to enforce them. Also, not included in the total number were 24 booths at various statewide conferences where ODLC handed out information about our P&A and information regarding the conference topics (i.e. education); estimated 5,063 people came to booths. The P&A had 8 television presentations which were viewed by 2, 234, 000 people and 2 newspaper articles which were distributed to 695, 016 readers.

C. Information Disseminated to the Public

1. Radio and TV appearances by PAIR staff8
2. Newspaper/magazine/journal articles2
3. PSAs/videos aired0
4. Hits on the PAIR/P&A website15,098
5. Publications/booklets/brochures disseminated10,126
6. Other (specify separately)7

Narrative

WEBSITES: http://www.okdlc.org http://www.peapods.us http://www.redlandspartners.org SOCIAL MEDIA: Facebook: Kayla Bower Facebook: Oklahoma Disability Law Center, Inc. Twitter: @okdisabilitylaw WEBSITES OF OTHER ORGANIZATIONS AND PUBLIC AGENCIES ON THE WEB BROCHURES AND HANDOUTS OF OTHER AGENCIES AND ORGANIZATIONS

Part II. Individuals Served

A. Individuals Served

Count individual once per FY. Multiple counts not permitted for lines A1 through A3.

1. Individuals still served as of October 1 (carryover from prior FY)403
2. Additional individuals served during the year271
3. Total individuals served (lines A1 + A2)674
4. Individuals w. more than 1 case opened/closed during the FY. (Do not add this number to total on line A3 above.)54

B. Individuals served as of September 30

Carryover to next FY may not exceed total on line II. A.3 above 393

C. Problem Areas/Complaints of Individuals Served

1. Architectural accessibility15
2. Employment56
3. Program access4
4. Housing80
5. Government benefits/services244
6. Transportation5
7. Education98
8. Assistive technology1
9. Voting0
10. Health care43
11. Insurance19
12. Non-government services139
13. Privacy rights3
14. Access to records2
15. Abuse24
16. Neglect2
17. Other0

D. Reasons for Closing Individual Case Files

1. Issues resolved partially or completely in individual favor294
2. Other representation found0
3. Individual withdrew complaint0
4. Appeals unsuccessful0
5. PAIR Services not needed due to individual's death, relocation etc.0
6. PAIR withdrew from case0
7. PAIR unable to take case because of lack of resources0
8. Individual case lacks legal merit0
9. Other0

Please explain

E. Intervention Strategies Used in Serving Individuals

List the highest level of intervention used by PAIR prior to closing each case file.

1. Technical assistance in self-advocacy1
2. Short-term assistance297
3. Investigation/monitoring1
4. Negotiation13
5. Mediation/alternative dispute resolution0
6. Administrative hearings0
7. Litigation (including class actions)0
8. Systemic/policy activities0

Part III. Statistical Information on Individuals Served

A. Age of Individuals Served as of October 1

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. 0 - 43
2. 5 - 22102
3. 23 - 59369
4. 60 - 6484
5. 65 and over116

B. Gender of Individuals Served

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Females344
2. Males330

C. Race/Ethnicity of Individuals Served

For individuals who are non-Hispanic/Latino only

1. Hispanic/Latino of any race25
2. American Indian or Alaskan Native48
3. Asian3
4. Black or African American117
5. Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander0
6. White430
7. Two or more races51
8. Race/ethnicity unknown0

D. Living Arrangements of Individuals Served

Multiple responses not permitted.

1. Independent441
2. Parental or other family home158
3. Community residential home5
4. Foster care1
5. Nursing home26
6. Public institutional living arrangement3
7. Private institutional living arrangement0
8. Jail/prison/detention center21
9. Homeless11
10. Other living arrangements8
11. Living arrangements not known0

E. Primary Disability of Individuals Served

Identify the individual's primary disability, namely the one directly related to the issues/complaints

1. Blind/visual impairment21
2. Deaf/hard of hearing10
3. Deaf-blind0
4. Orthopedic impairment292
5. Mental illness31
6. Substance abuse3
7. Mental retardation0
8. Learning disability68
9. Neurological impairment118
10. Respiratory impairment16
11. Heart/other circulatory impairment69
12. Muscular/skeletal impairment13
13. Speech impairment5
14. AIDS/HIV16
15. Traumatic brain injury1
16. Other disability11

Part IV. Systemic Activities and Litigation

A. Systemic Activities

1. Number of policies/practices changed as a result of non-litigation systemic activities16

2. Number of individuals potentially impacted by policy changes67,145

Describe your systemic activities. Be sure to include information about the policies that were changed and how these changes benefit individuals with disabilities. Include case examples of how your systemic activities impacted individuals served.

SCHOOL TO PRISON PIPELINE: The P&A participated in the Oklahoma Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, a committee aimed in addressing the school to prison pipeline by presenting public comment at the hearing in Oklahoma City resulted in the Committee deciding to add students with disabilities as a specific issue they will be addressing. Prior to the public comment by the P&A, children with disabilities were not a group of students the Committee was planning to focus on. DYSLEXIA: Oklahoma schools have had history of denying that dyslexia is covered as a disability under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The P&A continues to hear that dyslexia is not covered by IDEA and that they are no methodologies to address dyslexia. The P&A continued its systemic advocacy on behalf of children with dyslexia by distributing the opinion the received from the Oklahoma State Department of Education in 2014 at meetings and conferences where P&A staff presented as well as putting it on the P&A website for distribution. SERVICE ANIMALS IN SCHOOL: The P&A discovered a school district with a policy restricting the presence of all animals in school. The P&A contacted the district regarding the policy with concerns it appeared to also prohibit the use of services animals in its district. As a result, the school district changed the wording of their school policy from “no pets of any kind are allowed at any of our facilities” to “no pets of any kind (except designated service animals) are allowed at any of our facilities.” EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS: The P&A continued the relationship with the Oklahoma Department of Health and their emergency preparedness efforts in developing a statewide training and questions and answers booklet for agencies providing care during and after disasters. Last fiscal year, the training and documents were created to assist in the care of Access and Functional Needs (FAST) population and was a collaboration of multiple agencies s in the state who provide services to individuals with disabilities. This year, the workgroup started its training of agencies responsible for responding during disasters. The P&A also was in contact with both FEMA and the Oklahoma Department of Heath as a resource during the statewide flooding in Oklahoma in the Spring of 2015. The P&A was able to provide resources to FEMA regarding agencies assisting people with disabilities in Oklahoma. Due to the P&A’s involvement in the FAST workgroup, the P&A was able to contact Oklahoma Agency personnel to relay a concern regarding how a nursing facility was evacuated. As a result of the concerns expresses the emergency responders met to review and revise their policies on how to evacuate facilities during flooding. SAFETY OF SPECIAL EDUCATION STUDENTS IN HIGH SCHOOL: The P&A received a report of an unsafe environment in a local high school which resulted in a student being assaulted. The P&A addressed this safety issue with the school district personnel and as a result, the school safety officer reviewed and revised safety procedures for all students at their school to ensure that all students will be kept safe and free from potential abuse or neglect at school PBIS WORKGROUP: The P&A continues efforts on Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) which have been the focus of federal grants to Oklahoma. The P&A has continues to participate in the SDE’s workgroup on PBIS, including the merging of RTI and PBIS principles. SECONDARY TRANSITION: The P&A began a focused outreach to transition age youth and their parents. The P&A provided materials and resources at conferences where the P&A staff spoke or displayed materials to assist students to be able to successfully transition into further education, employment and independent living. RESTRAINT AND SECLUSION GUIDELINES: The P&A continues to undertake systemic activity to reduce seclusion and restraint in public schools throughout the state. Because Oklahoma still has no statutes or regulations regarding seclusion and restraint in school, the published SDE guidelines for reducing seclusion and restraint are extremely important to students. The P&A activity increases the awareness of PAIR eligible clients and their families, as well as lawmakers, of the hidden practices of restraint and seclusion. EMPLOYMENT OF INDIVIDUALS UNDER HB 1340- The P&A continued working with individuals eligible under the bill and agencies providing services to individuals covered under this bill last fiscal year after the conclusion of its individual case. The bill gives state agencies the option of waiving entrance examinations and modifying other hiring procedures for legal residents of Oklahoma who are certified as persons with disabilities under the definition established by the Office of Personnel Management. The P&A continues to inform individuals eligible under this bill of their rights and has continued discussions with state agencies on how the bill is implemented in Oklahoma. TRAINING: P&A continues training to clients, state agencies and service providers regarding rights and responsibilities of clients and self advocacy. OBA COMMITTEES: The P&A participates in Oklahoma Bar Association committees related to the juvenile justice system. The P&A also continues to work with the Oklahoma Administrative Office of the Courts to achieve accessible courthouses in Oklahoma and increase information about accessibility to the public. COURTHOUSE ACCESSIBILITY: The P&A continues to photograph the county courthouses (77 counties) so that entrance access (or lack thereof) is readily identifiable so that PAIR eligible clients and their families who want to use the court house (for hearings, jury service, serving as a witness and other public events) can do so. Pictures of each county courthouse are posted to the P&A’s Facebook account as soon as they are acquired. The P&A continues to solicit information from PAIR eligible clients about accessibility issues at their local courthouses and provided information on procedures for filing complaints for accessibility issues. FACILITIES OUTREACH: The P&A continues to visit nursing homes and other facilities where people who are eligible for PAIR live to assure that PAIR eligible clients are aware of their rights where they live and are free from abuse and neglect. TRIBAL TRAINING AND OUTREACH: The P&A continues its collaboration with the tribal community and regional training on legal rights and their enforcement. LEGISLATIVE INITIATIVE: The P&A continues monitoring of proposed legislation and activity of legislatively created task forces. The P&A continues to subscribe to a legislative reporting service to track proposed legislation by identified subject matter and reviews bill status, meetings and analysis throughout the legislative session. The P&A prepared a report that can be shared with PAIR eligible clients. The P&A is in a better position to inform clients of the significance of proposed legislation. RTI/EDUCATIONAL EVALUATIONS: The P&A continued its investigation into the school districts’ implementation (or lack thereof) of RTI as a means of identifying learning disabilities. This year, Oklahoma was to started retaining third graders who could not read at grade level under Oklahoma’s Reading Sufficiency Act. Because approximately 20% of all students likely have a specific learning disability (i.e. dyslexia), the P&A is concerned about the failure to identify this learning disability and respond with research-based interventions so that children with unidentified learning disabilities are not automatically retained.

B. Litigation/Class Actions

1. Number of individuals potentially impacted by changes as a result of PAIR litigation/class action efforts0
2. Number of individuals named in class actions0

Describe your litigation/class action activities. Explain how individuals with disabilities benefited from your litigation activities. Be sure to include case examples that demonstrate the impact of your litigation.

Part V. PAIR'S Priorities and Objectives

A. Priorities and Objectives for the Fiscal Year Covered by this Report

For each of your PAIR program priorities for the fiscal year covered by this report, please:

  1. Identify and describe priority.
  2. Identify the need, issue or barrier addressed by this priority.
  3. Identify and describe indicators PAIR used to determine successful outcome of activities pursued under this priority.
  4. Explain whether pursuing this priority involved collaborative efforts by other entities. If so, describe this collaboration.
  5. Provide the number of cases handled under the priority. Indicate how many of these, if any, were class actions.
  6. Provide at least one case summary that demonstrates the impact of the priority.

STATEMENT OF PRIORITY 1: Improve access to appropriate services for persons with disabilities, including but not limited to, employment, housing, transportation, income, medical care, education and vocational training. NEED TO BE ADDRESSED: Need to live productive lives free of discrimination based on disability DESCRIPTION OF ACTIVITIES TO BE CARRIED OUT UNDER PRIORITY: provide representation to enforce anti-discrimination statutes, including education; coordinate complaints with federal and state agencies that enforce anti-discrimination statutes; provide representation to clients to achieve income and medical benefits or referral to appropriate, available attorneys; provide representation to clients who face systemic, physical barriers and exclusion based on disability; provide legal advice and counseling to develop and implement self-advocacy for individuals with disabilities, including maintenance of websites, listservs and social media; improve skills for mediation and other remedies to promote inclusion in the least restrictive environment CASE SUMMARY 1. The P&A was contacted by a husband and wife, both who had disabilities. They contacted the P&A about their apartment. They told the P&A they moved their apartment complex about three months prior with the understanding that the landlord would build a ramp on the front of the apartment which would allow the husband, who uses a wheelchair, to be able to enter and exit the apartment. However, since they moved in, the landlord had refused to build the ramp for them. They had also asked the landlord if he would allow them, at their own expense, to build a ramp from the front porch to the sidewalk and the landlord had refused that request as well. When they called the P&A they were concerned that if there were an emergency, such as a fire, the husband would not be able to exit the apartment. They were also concerned because about a month after moving into the apartment, the husband fell off the porch while in his wheelchair which required him to have stitches. The couple was very concerned that the husband might experience further and more serious injury if there were not allowed to have a ramp into their apartment. They explained that the steps currently leading out of the apartment are in disrepair and potentially dangerous for anyone to use and they did not have any wheelchair access from the parking lot to the sidewalk leading to their apartment. The P&A contacted the landlord and explained that the Fair Housing Act prohibits housing providers from discriminating against residents because of their disability or the disability of anyone associated with them and from treating persons with disabilities less favorably than others because of their disability. The P&A also explained the Fair Housing Act makes it unlawful for any person to refuse “to permit, at the expense of the person with the disability, reasonable modifications of existing premises occupied or to be occupied by such person if such modifications may be necessary to afford such person full enjoyment of the premises”. The P&A explained to the landlord that the Fair Housing Act required the landlord to allow the P&A’s client to make structural modification to the apartment at their own expense, it does not require the landlord to pay for the structural modifications. As a result of the P&As intervention, the landlord allowed the P&A’s client to build a ramp into their apartment and the landlord put in a curb cut from the parking lot to the sidewalk. After the successful result achieved by the P&A, the P&A’s client was able to secure an agency to build the ramp into their apartment at no expense to them. 2. The P&A was contacted by a parent of a child who she suspected had dyslexia. The parent was concerned because her son was not doing well in school. She had requested the school test him to see if he had dyslexia. The school told the mother the school did not test for dyslexia. The P&A contacted the school district to relay the parents concerns and talked to the school administration about the coverage of dyslexia under IDEA. As a result of the P&A’s intervention, the school district agreed to test the student to see if he did have dyslexia. The school’s testing revealed he did have dyslexia and they agreed to provide the supports and services necessary for him to be successful in school. STATEMENT OF PRIORITY 2: Monitor facilities, state agencies and other service providers that provide or supervise services for persons with disabilities to: eliminate abuse and neglect; improve access to appropriate services and improve quality of services NEED TO BE ADDRESSED: Need to be free of abuse and neglect DESCRIPTION OF ACTIVITIES TO BE CARRIED OUT UNDER PRIORITY: compliment activities of the PAIMI program to improve community mental health services in Oklahoma and the efforts of the PADD program to improve community services for people with developmental disabilities; provide representation to residents of nursing homes and facilities to protect them from abuse and neglect and to access needed assistive technology services; coordinate with Long Term Care Ombudsman, Adult/Child Protective Services and enforcement agencies for facilities. CASE SUMMARY: The P&A was contacted by a 51 year old prison inmate regarding their lack of medical care. The client told the P&A his hip has been grinding continuously for the past two years and because of that his left leg is two inches shorter than his right leg, which caused him a lot of pain. He explained to the P&A that the Oklahoma Department of Corrections (DOC) medical doctor had told him the only thing that will fix his condition is a hip replacement but that the DOC no longer pays for hip replacements. The person told the P&A that he had also requested special shoes to help with his medical issues and we are told the doctor has repeatedly told him that he cannot get special shoes and to “stop asking”. The P&A contacted the warden about the client’s concerns and requested they provide appropriate medical care and necessary medical supplies. As a result of the P&A intervention, the P&A’s client was provided appropriate treatment and was provided the special shoes which he had been requesting. Because of the P&A intervention the client was also no longer at risk of continued injury to his leg and hip and was alleviated of the constant pain he was experiencing. STATEMENT OF PRIORITY 3: Respond to issues and needs identified by groups who advocate on behalf of individuals with disabilities NEED TO BE ADDRESSED: Groups identify needs of their members with disabilities and seek relief to systemic issues. Often issues arise that could not be anticipated at the time priorities and objectives were developed. The P&A will be responsive, when appropriate, to these situations, as well as continue efforts on identified systemic issues. DESCRIPTION OF ACTIVITIES TO BE CARRIED OUT UNDER PRIORITY: The P&A will continue to participate in task forces and advisory committees on disability-related issues. The P&A will work with the federally funded parent training and information center (Oklahoma Parents Center), the Office of Disability Concerns, the P&A will continue to focus its activities on educational issues of tribal members and other organizations which focus on the concerns of their members with disabilities. CASE SUMMARY: The P&A works collaboratively with Decoding Dyslexia Oklahoma (DDOK), a grassroots movement driven by OK families concerned with the limited access to educational interventions for dyslexia. They are a group made up of parents of children who are dyslexic who encourage parents. The P&A has provided information and training to DDOK groups around the state, as well has have accepted individual cases referred to them by DDOK. As a result of this collaboration, the P&A has successfully handled numerous cases referred to the P&A by Decoding Dyslexia and is starting to see a positive impact on how schools are treating children with dyslexia. The P&A worked with the Oklahoma State Department of Health and other disability agencies to develop a training program (Functional Access Support Team) to provided disability awareness and support to agencies active during disasters, such as the American Red Cross. The FAST presented its first training this fiscal year for agencies responsible for responding during disasters. The P&A continues to enhance its collaborative relationship with the federally funded parent training and information center known as Oklahoma Parents Center (OPC). The P&A and OPC conducted joint trainings, coordinate case handling and collaborated on systemic issues. During the fiscal year, the P&A and OPC worked collaboratively on educational cases for PAIR eligible clients.

B. Priorities and Objectives for the Current Fiscal Year

Please include a statement of priorities and objectives for the current fiscal year (the fiscal year succeeding that covered by this report), which should contain the following information:

  1. a statement of each prioirty;
  2. the need addressed by each priority; and;
  3. a description of the activities to be carried out under each priority.

STATEMENT OF PRIORITY 1: Improve access to appropriate services for persons with disabilities, including but not limited to, employment, housing, transportation, income, medical care, education and vocational training. NEED TO BE ADDRESSED: Need to live productive lives free of discrimination based on disability DESCRIPTION OF ACTIVITIES TO BE CARRIED OUT UNDER PRIORITY: provide representation to enforce anti-discrimination statutes, including education; coordinate complaints with federal and state agencies that enforce anti-discrimination statutes; provide representation to clients to achieve income and medical benefits or referral to appropriate, available attorneys; provide representation to clients who face systemic, physical barriers and exclusion based on disability; provide legal advice and counseling to develop and implement self-advocacy for individuals with disabilities, including maintenance of websites, listservs and social media; improve skills for mediation and other remedies to promote inclusion in the least restrictive environment STATEMENT OF PRIORITY 2: Monitor facilities, state agencies and other service providers that provide or supervise services for persons with disabilities to: eliminate abuse and neglect; improve access to appropriate services and improve quality of services NEED TO BE ADDRESSED: Need to be free of abuse and neglect DESCRIPTION OF ACTIVITIES TO BE CARRIED OUT UNDER PRIORITY: compliment activities of the PAIMI program to improve community mental health services in Oklahoma and the efforts of the PADD program to improve community services for people with developmental disabilities; provide representation to residents of nursing homes and facilities to protect them from abuse and neglect and to access needed assistive technology services; coordinate with Long Term Care Ombudsman, Adult/Child Protective Services and enforcement agencies for facilities. STATEMENT OF PRIORITY 3: Respond to issues and needs identified by groups who advocate on behalf of individuals with disabilities NEED TO BE ADDRESSED: Groups identify needs of their members with disabilities and seek relief to systemic issues. Often issues arise that could not be anticipated at the time priorities and objectives were developed. The P&A will be responsive, when appropriate, to these situations, as well as continue efforts on identified systemic issues. DESCRIPTION OF ACTIVITIES TO BE CARRIED OUT UNDER PRIORITY: The P&A will continue to participate in task forces and advisory committees on disability-related issues. The P&A will work with the federally funded parent training and information center (Oklahoma Parents Center), the Office of Disability Concerns and other organizations which focus on the concerns of their members with disabilities.

Part VI. Narrative

At a minimum, you must include all of the information requested. You may include any other information, not otherwise collected on this reporting form that would be helpful in describing the extent of PAIR activities during the prior fiscal year. Please limit the narrative portion of this report, including attachments, to 20 pages or less.

The narrative should contain the following information. The instructions for this form outline the information that should be contained in each section.

  1. Sources of funds received and expended
  2. Budget for the fiscal year covered by this report
  3. Description of PAIR staff (duties and person-years)
  4. Involvement with advisory boards (if any)
  5. Grievances filed under the grievance procedure
  6. Coordination with the Client Assistance Program (CAP) and the State long-term care program, if these programs are not part of the P&A agency

Sources of funding for the PAIR program is the federal grant from RSA. Description of PAIR staff: Executive Director: responsible for implementing the policies of the Board of Directors and for managing the day-to-day activities of the program Program Manager: responsible for implementing program requirements Attorneys (5): responsible for rendition of legal services Advocates (5): responsible for rendition of advocacy services under supervision of attorneys Secretaries (2): responsible for support services to attorneys and advocates The PAIR Advisory Council coordinated its activities with the PADD and PAIMI Advisory Councils to provide direction to the Board of Directors on development of priorities and objectives. Grievances: There were no grievances filed under the P&A written grievance procedure, which is posted on websites of the P&A and distributed to individual clients. The P&A coordinates its activities with the Client Assistance Program (CAP) by accepting referrals from the Office of Disability Concerns when those matters are not covered within the CAP responsibility and by participating jointly on systemic projects. The P&A coordinates with the State long-term care program by accepting referrals for persons who are not covered by their program and by sending them referrals of persons who are covered by their program.

Certification

Signed?Yes
Signed ByKayla A. Bower
TitleExecutive Director
Signed Date12/31/2015