disability

During the final presidential debate of 2019, one of the moderators posed a question about a topic that rarely gets attention on the debate stage: What steps would candidates take to help disabled people get more integrated into the workforce and their local communities?

For Andrew Yang, the question was both political and personal. His oldest son, Christopher, is on the autism spectrum.

School bus
Flickr / Creative Commons

The Ohio Department of Education (ODE) has five years to create and implement a plan providing more support and resources to students with disabilities. It's part of a tentative settlement in a class action lawsuit with advocates for children with disabilities.

The Akron Metropolitan Housing Authority says more than 20,000 families are waiting for housing assistance. A federal grant will allow it to help some of those most in need.

The Akron Metropolitan Housing Authority (AMHA) is calling the project the Mainstream Voucher Program.

AMHA has about 4,000 families with disabilities who could benefit from the program. But the half million dollar grant from the Department of Housing and Urban Development will only fund help for 80 families.

An all-gender restroom is seen at Seattle City Hall Monday, Dec. 4, 2017, in Seattle.
Elaine Thompson / Associated Press

An Ohio lawmaker is calling on the state to require more places to have adult changing tables in restrooms.

Updated Friday at 11:04 a.m. ET.

Lawmakers have called for an investigation into a troubled student loan discharge program one day after an NPR report revealed that the program — meant to erase the student debts of borrowers with significant, permanent disabilities — wasn't helping the vast majority of those who are eligible.

Aaron Westbrook, Founder of Form 5 Prosthetics, shows a 3D printer used to make artificial limbs.
Debbie Holmes / WOSU

Aaron Westbrook decided, back when he was a high school student in New Albany, that he could develop a better prosthetic arm than the one he received when he turned 14.

Social Security
Tetra Images - Flickr / Flickr

Ohioans with disabilities are limited on how much they can earn or save and still be eligible for Social Security or Medicaid. Because of that, special savings accounts through the Ohio Treasurer's Office that will allow them to save without losing benefits are gaining in popularity.

The state is increasing wages for direct support professionals who work one-on-one with people with developmental disabilities in hopes of creating more stability for families and providing a livable wage for workers.

Southwest Ohio leads the state in the number of people with developmental disabilities benefiting from tele-caregiving. That's when technology takes the place of overnight live-in caregivers who are often hard to hire and retain.

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine speaks during a public inauguration ceremony at the Ohio Statehouse, Monday, Jan. 14, 2019, in Columbus.
Ty Greenlees / AP/Dayton Daily News, Pool

Gov. Mike DeWine has appointed the state's first-ever "Americans With Disabilities Act" coordinator to establish the state as a model employer of people with disabilities.

More than 500 people gathered at the Ohio Statehouse Thursday to pressure lawmakers to boost funding for support services for those with developmental disabilities.

The event was organized by the nonprofit group Bridge to Equality, which advocates for people with developmental disabilities.

Bridge to Equality CEO Mark Schlater says thousands of disabled people rely on aides known direct service professionals, or DSPs, to live their everyday lives.

An Ohio advocacy group began distributing placards to improve communication between law enforcement and deaf or hard-of-hearing drivers. 

One weekend in February, Justin Kelley, 33, made the biggest financial commitment of his life: He paid a friend to start custom-building an airboat. He had dreamed of owning one since an early age.

"That's my level playing ground. It's my freedom," Kelley says. Onshore, he uses a walker to get around and a wheelchair at work, because he has cerebral palsy. But on an airboat on a Florida lake? "To me it's the one place that, when I'm in that seat, you don't see that walker. You don't see the chair. ... It's my escape. It's my happy place."

The hashtag #AbledsAreWeird started with a childhood memory that occurred to writer and disability rights activist Imani Barbarin: She was in her community swimming pool when a man threw her crutch into the pool to "help her swim." Naturally, the crutch sank, and she had to fetch it from under water.

Editor's Note: If you're a Walmart greeter — or know someone who is — and would like to share your story with NPR, please reach out to us at tech@npr.org.

If you ask John Combs what his biggest worry is, he'll say: "How will I feed Red?"

Red is actually white. He's a labradoodle rescue, just tall enough for Combs to pet if he reaches over the armrest of his wheelchair. Combs, 42, has cerebral palsy. He has difficulty speaking. But he has no difficulty saying the line most Americans have heard at least once: "Welcome to Walmart!"

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