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Good afternoon, Mr. Chairman and distinguished Members of the Subcommittee.

I am Sandra Swift Parrino, Chairperson of the National Council on Disability. Accompanying me today are: John Gannon, Council member from Washington, D.C. John is the Chairperson of the National Council's Health Insurance Committee and Ethel Briggs, Executive Director. I am pleased to come before you today to discuss the current and future activities of the National Council and to solicit your continued support for our agency.

History was made on July 26, 1990, when President Bush signed into law the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). I would like to thank the Members of this Subcommittee under the leadership of Senator Harkin for their hard work and dedication in support of the


ADA. It is because of you, people with disabilities have now begun to live fuller lives

lives filled with independence and dignity.

National Council on Disability is proud to have recommended a comprehensive civil rights act for people with disabilities in Toward Independence, our first report to the Congress. We are also aware that the implementation of this Act will require tremendous amounts of time and energy. Sitting here before you today, I can tell you that the National Council on Disability, with your support, will continue making public policy recommendations which will impact on the lives of people with disabilities.



As you are aware, the National Council is an independent federal agency responsible for reviewing all laws, programs, and policies of the Federal Government and making such recommendations as it deems necessary to the President and the Congress. There are several federal agencies that have the responsibility for administering programs which serve children and adults with disabilities. However, the National Council on Disability is the only federal agency mandated by Congress to address, analyze, and make recommendations on all issues of public policy which affect

persons with disabilities.

The National Council is also charged with reviewing general policies and research priorities of the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research and for providing guidance to the President's Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities.

The National Council continues to shape public policy for people with disabilities in education, technology, health, of primary and secondary disabilities, education employment and


In Fiscal Year 1991, the National Council received $1.475 million to conduct its operations and activities. Fiscal Year 1992, the National Council is requesting $1.642 million to fulfill our Congressional mandate.

I would like to thank the Members of the Subcommittee for making these funds available to us, and ask for your continued support and funding of special initiatives which are identified by the National Council.

Now, I would like to highlight the accomplishments of the National Council on Disability in FY 90, our current plans for FY



During FY 1990, the National Council successfully completed a number of important initiatives which positively affected the lives of people with disabilities and their families. They are:

O The National Council on Disability supported the passage and enactment of the Americans with Disabilities Act (P.L. 101336), which we originated and developed.

O Responded to the needs and concerns of individuals with disabilities by conducting meetings, hearings and forums on issues such as: Social Security and Disincentives to Employment; The Special Problems Facing Persons with Disabilities and Families Living on Islands Away from the Mainland; Infants at Risk; Employment Tomorrow: Opportunities for People with Disabilities; Wilderness Accessibility; and



Initiated· studies on: the financing of assistive technology for individuals with disabilities;

health insurance and


and an

assessment of special education and the impact of elementary and secondary education programs and special services for children with disabilities.

O Held four Congressional mandated meetings of the National

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the reauthorization of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as



O Signed an Interagency Agreement with Indian Helath Service in order to begin to look at the unique problems of Native Americans with disabilities.

Supported the introduction of the Disabilities Prevention Act of 1990, which had been drafted by the National Council. O Began planning for the first National Conference on the Prevention of Primary and Secondary Disabilities, which is being sponsored by the National Council, the Centers for Disease Control and the Minority Health Professionals and scheduled for June of 1991 in Atlanta, Georgia.

Pursuant to its ongoing statutory mandate to establish general policy for, and review the operations of, the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR), the National Council had meetings with the Director of NIDRR to discuss the continued development of the NIDRR five-year plan and areas of concern to the National Council.

O Mandated in the 1986 Rehabilitation Amendments to establish general policies for the President's Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities, the National Council met regularly with the President's Committee to fulfill this Congressional requirement.

Participated in a wide array of interagency committees enabling the National Council to keep abreast of activities in the Federal Government, as well as keeping others informed of the National Council's activities. Membership on the


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Interagency Committee on Handicapped Research, the Federal
Agency Council, the Federal Task Force on Disability, and the
Interagency Committee on Developmental Disabilities reflect
this policy.

In order for the disability community and others to know more
about the activities of the National Council, circulation of
our newsletter FOCUS, continued to expand. The newsletter
continues to be a vehicle for communication and helps the
National Council solicit input regarding its activities and
policy development.

o The National Council's special report for 1990 will focus on the historical perspective of the Americans with Disabilities Act.


During the 1991 Fiscal Year, the National Council will continue its follow-up and monitoring activities pursuant to the Congressional mandate to assess progress made on each of the 45 legislative recommendations in its 1986 report, Toward


The National Council plans to focus on the status of the implementation of the Americans with Disabilities Act in the 1991 special report.

The National Council will continue to address its statutory responsibilities to establish general policies for the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research and the President's Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities, as well as provide recommendations and advice to the Commissioner of the Rehabilitation Services Administration.

Το assure coordination of programs and services affecting people with disabilities, the National Council will continue its participation in such initiatives as the Interagency Committee on Handicapped Research, the Federal Agency Council, the Federal Task Force on Disabled Persons, and other similar coordinating bodies.

Input from consumers is critical to the National Council's process of policy development. As in the past, input will be

solicited at consumer forums. Forums will be held on the following topics during this fiscal year: the development of a National Employment Policy for Persons with Disabilities; reauthorization of the Rehabilitation Act; Personal Assistance Services; Technology and the Funding of Assistive Devices; Health Insurance and, Wilderness Accessibility.

The National Council will continue its ongoing initiatives in such areas as: health insurance, personal assistance services, prevention, technical assistance on the Americans with Disabilities Act, employment, education and disability related research. The National Council will contract three major studies in the areas of the education of students with disabilities, health insurance, and the financing of assistive technological services and devices during this fiscal year, which is mandated by Title II of the Technology-Related Assistance for Individuals with Disabilities Act

of 1988.

We appreciate the $200,000 this Committee appropriated for the National Council to undertake technical assistance activities related to the Americans with Disabilities Act. As this Committee well knows, a law of the magnitude of this one requires a considerable and sustained technical assistance effort. As the originators of the law, we share with this Committee a special commitment to ensuring that the long overdue promises made by this law become reality in every corner of this country. Toward this end, we have initiated an activity we are calling "ADA Watch." Modeled after human rights watches now operating over the world, the "ADA Watch" will do exactly what its name implies: Watch--watch as the law is implemented--watch as persons with disabilities-watch as federal agencies issue regulations and monitor compliance with the law. We will watch and we will report what we see. We will shine a spotlight on the people affected by this law; we will keep vigil and we will report how we are progressing toward the goals of equal opportunity, full participation, independence and economic self-sufficiency for people with disabilities.

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