IVCIL Quarterly Newsletter



Striving to Enlighten the Path and Enrich the Journey for Persons with Disabilities

   Volume 18, Issue 4, 2017


The Americans with Disabilities Act Is Under Attack in Congress

Robyn Powell with Rewire an online publication


The House Judiciary Committee is currently considering imposing significant limitations to the ADA through the passage of the ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017.


On July 26, 1990, George H.W. Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) into law, proclaiming, “Let the shameful wall of exclusion finally come tumbling down!” Although I was only 8 years old, I still remember its passage and the increased accessibility that followed.


The ADA has both literally and figuratively opened countless doors for people like me, by requiring entities that are open to the public—such as restaurants, movie theaters, hospitals, hotels, and museums—be fully accessible to people with disabilities. The ADA also requires employers, as well as public and private entities, to provide reasonable accommodations to people with disabilities and prohibits discrimination based on disability.


Of course, passage of the ADA did not make ramps and elevators magically appear; nor did it immediately halt discrimination against people with disabilities. Progress takes time, which, as a wheelchair user, I have witnessed firsthand. Indeed, for several years after the law’s passage, my parents or I would always have to call places in advance to make sure that they were wheelchair accessible. For years, the answer was “no.” But times have changed, and now I no longer feel I need to take these extra steps before leaving my home. Nearly 27 years after the passage of the ADA, I now expect that all businesses will be accessible. And that is liberating.


While we surely have much further to go, the ADA has unequivocally led to much greater inclusion and accessibility and far less discrimination. Now, however, Congress is currently considering imposing significant limitations to the ADA through the passage of the ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017 (HR 620), sponsored by Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX).


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Currently, if a person with a disability encounters an accessibility barrier at a business, they have two options: They can file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), which will investigate and decide if a violation has occurred. DOJ may enter into mediation with the person and the business, which is a low-cost approach to resolve ADA violations fairly quickly. DOJ may also sue the business on the person’s behalf. Alternatively, people with disabilities may file a lawsuit in court, bypassing DOJ altogether. The cornerstone of current enforcement options is that the violation can often be resolved swiftly.

If the ADA Education and Reform Act is passed, however, a person with a disability would be required to give a written notice to a business owner who has barriers to access. The business owner would then have 60 days to even acknowledge that there is a problem—and then another 120 days to make substantial progress toward correcting the violation. In other words, people with disabilities would be forced to wait 180 days to enforce their civil rights.


The ADA Education and Reform Act is premised on trying to curb “drive-by” ADA lawsuits: that is, frivolous lawsuits brought by attorneys alleging ADA violations. Surely, serial litigators, attorneys who simply bring lawsuits to line their pockets, must be stopped. However, these bills are not the solution.

To be fair, I vehemently oppose frivolous ADA lawsuits, where people seek to use the ADA for their own monetary gain. I cherish this law and hate hearing that some misuse it. However, it’s important to note that they are not as prevalent as some believe. An analysis of ADA lawsuits in 2016 identified just 12 individuals and one organization that have filed more than 100 lawsuits each. But frivolous lawsuits are not an ADA issue; they are a state and court problem. Indeed, ethics rules bar attorneys from bringing frivolous lawsuits. Rather than go after people with disabilities, attention should be focused on stopping these few bad attorneys.


Notably, passage of the ADA and ADA Amendments Act involved the disability community and bipartisan lawmakers working together with the business community. These “notification bills,” however, do not. Rather, they are the result of business owners and their lobbyists.


The disability community is not interested in more lawsuits; we simply want accessibility. There is no such thing as the “ADA police.” Enforcement depends on people with disabilities who know their rights to challenge violations. Filing lawsuits is timely and expensive. Finding an attorney that is knowledgeable about the ADA is very challenging. I say this because I believe it is fairly safe to assume that there are far more ADA violations occurring than we will ever hear of. As a disabled woman, I encounter violations daily.


Nevertheless, there’s a prevailing belief that ADA regulations are overly technical and most alleged violations are “minor.” The regulations concerning accessible parking spots are frequently used to demonstrate how ADA regulations are too specific. What opponents don’t understand is that the width of parking spaces matter for people with disabilities who drive, such as myself. I drive a wheelchair–accessible van. If someone parks too close, I am literally stuck because no one besides me can drive my van. This has happened to me more times than I count, leaving me stranded outside for hours, until the person returns to their car.


Throughout the years, based on a belief that the ADA is being abused and has become a money-maker, Congress has introduced a number of “notification bills.” These bills are problematic and have been strongly opposed by the disability community.


It is also important to dispel the myth that ADA lawsuits can be profitable for plaintiffs; that is plain wrong. When the ADA was being drafted, as a compromise between the business community and the disability community, the disability community gave up the option to obtain damages for a business’s failure to comply with the law by allowing only injunctive relief—meaning the business owner has to change their behavior—and attorneys’ fees.


Settlements or court orders that involve money damages for accessibility violations are based on state laws in a handful of states, not the ADA. Therefore, adding a notice requirement before people with disabilities can enforce their rights will do nothing to prevent businesses from being subjected to money damages. Moreover, if the accessibility violations in question are truly minor, as the proponents of these bills claim, it would not be difficult for businesses to fix the problem and resolve the issue quickly, with minimal attorneys’ fees. Hence, the issue is not an ADA one.

In addition, it’s important to recognize that the ADA includes several provisions that protect businesses from unreasonable requirements. For example, the ADA does not require any action that would cause an “undue burden” or that is “not readily achievable,” which is defined as “easily accomplished and able to be carried out without much difficulty or expense.”


Adding a notification requirement won’t make serial lawsuits go away. Instead, it simply sends the message to business owners that they don’t have to worry about complying with the ADA until they receive a letter notifying them that they are discriminating against people with disabilities. In other words, instead of complying, they can just “wait and see” if they are caught.


The imposition of a months-long “waiting period,” during which a business may continue to violate the law and deny access to people with disabilities once it has received a notice that it is violating the ADA, is simply not reasonable.

In short, the premise of bills like the ADA Education and Reform Act is that businesses should not be responsible for knowing their obligations to comply with a law that has been in effect for nearly three decades, but people with disabilities should instead be responsible not only for knowing the accessibility requirements of that law, but also for determining when a business is not in compliance and for knowing the specific requirements of the notice that they must provide.

Establishing and running a business involves compliance with numerous laws, including tax laws, property laws, health and safety laws, environmental laws, civil rights laws, and many others. Compliance with these legal obligations is part of the cost of doing business.


Business owners, and society as a whole, have had nearly 27 years to become aware of the ADA. Indeed, I would guess that every business owner knows at least one person with a disability and is at least vaguely aware that the ADA exists. Moreover, there are plenty of resources that provide information on ADA requirements to business owners. Indeed, the DOJ offers free technical assistance as well as several publicly available publications. In addition, there are ADA technical assistance centers across the country that offer information, guidance, and training on how to implement the ADA. There is simply no excuse for noncompliance at this point.


The bill is currently in the U.S. House Judiciary Committee; it has 18 co-sponsors. Never in my life as a disabled woman have I been so terrified of losing my civil rights as I am now. With the stroke of a pen, much that the disability community has fought hard for could be undone. What civil rights law will be on the chopping block next?


U.S. Judge Orders Illinois to Boost Disabled Care

Article found online Reported by Karen Pierog: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Reuters Staff


CHICAGO (Reuters) - A U.S. judge on Friday ruled that Illinois was not providing sufficient resources for the care of developmentally disabled residents and ordered the state to come up with a plan to restore services.

U.S. District Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman said Illinois, which just ended an unprecedented budget impasse, failed to provide “resources of sufficient quality, scope, and variety” to the residents, who as a result “suffered substantially” from a reduction in services in violation of a federal consent decree.

In the ruling, Johnson said she lacked the authority to order a funding increase, noted the state’s “dire financial condition,” and directed Illinois to devise a plan to address issues affecting the services and comply with the decree.

The state had argued that advocates for the disabled living outside of institutions were seeking as much as an additional $1 billion annually - an amount Illinois could not afford.

A two-year budget impasse that ballooned the state’s unpaid bill backlog to more than $15 billion ended in July when lawmakers enacted a fiscal 2018 budget over the governor’s vetoes.

That budget allocates $53.4 million for the first rate increase for developmentally disabled services since 2008. But the advocates said the funding boost was insufficient to retain workers and services.

“What (the state) comes up with will be the next step,” said Barry Taylor, vice president at Equip for Equality, one of the advocates, in a phone call.

The judge set a status hearing for Oct. 27.

Meghan Powers, a spokeswoman for the Illinois Department of Human Services, said in an email that the state was committed to providing quality services to the developmentally disabled.

“The state will continue to meet all its legal obligations and will review the court’s rulings to determine appropriate next steps,” she said.

Another U.S. judge ordered Illinois in June to substantially boost its monthly payments to Medicaid providers to ensure continued health care for poor and disabled residents covered under a separate federal consent decree. The state had owed those providers more than $3 billion.

Reporting by Karen Pierog; Editing by Leslie Adler and Richard Chang

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


Comprehensive Prosthetics & Orthotics, Peru
by Cynthia Panizzi

In August IVCIL received a complaint regarding the door at Comprehensive Prosthetics & Orthotics being too heavy to open.  Therefore, I went and assessed the issue.  I returned to work and researched where to obtain a power door opener.  I then wrote a letter to the owner/manager making him aware of the issue and requested a power door be installed.  I included that if this is not agreeable to him, he could then install a door bell and train staff to open the door when the bell is rung.


Statistics: Illinois Disability

Information below received from Disability News: Illinois online

  • There are an estimated 1,516,000 people in the state of Illinois over the age of five who have a form of disability.
  • Approximately 283,000 people with disabilities, or 2.5% of the state's population, experience difficulties with performing activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing, or moving around inside of their homes.
  • There are around 812,000 people in the state who have a form of work disability, and 303,000 people with disabilities in Illinois who are employed.
  • Around 57,000 people with disabilities in the state are unemployed, while 413,000 are currently not in the workforce.
  • There are 22 Centers for Independent Living throughout the state of Illinois. All of us are doing activities to see more people with disabilities become employed part-time or full-time. We want your help contacting our legislators and letting them know you want them to do much more to see people with disabilities find employment and keep themselves employed.

 Please contact our local Senator Sue Rezin and urge her to change this in Illinois.

She can be reached at these contact numbers.


District office: # (815) 220-8720

Springfield office: # (217) 782-3840


Please contact our local Representative Jerry Lee Long and urge him to also change this in Illinois.

 He can be reached at these contact numbers.


District office: # Phone: (815) 510-9689

Springfield office: # (217) 782-0140





By Marla Michalak, Youth Advocate


May Teen Support Group/Social

On September 1, 2017, we held the teen social Game night in our conference room. There were 14 youth in attendance. We began the night with an impromptu game of animal charades, draw or act. Every student participated and got a chance to give their clue. There were not any that the group got stumped on and usually got the answers right away. Then the group split up into 4 different groups and played several board or card games. Some had a game in front of them, but spent more time socializing. That's what it's all about! We had popcorn, soda, snack bars and candy for a snack and the floor definitely showed that we had popcorn! Everyone said they had a great time!


Parent & Community Training News

On August 14, 2017, we held the parent/community training "Toolbox for Employment", in conjunction with SILC, presented by Marsie Frawley of Griffin-Hammis Associates & Cindi Swanson, parent of an adult with a disability. They spoke about social capital, customized employment, possible self-employment, Social Security benefits and how having earned income will affect their benefits. We had a lively discussion about benefits and our presenters were very knowledgeable. There were snacks provided and certificates of attendance were available.

Calming Clothing for Kids differs from other sensory garments on the market in the following ways:

Calming Clothing is a discreet garment that can be worn all day long underneath existing clothing for self-regulation without being obvious to others, supports a child with a feeling of security and calmness by giving a sensory touch feedback where ever the garment is snug (not tight) against the body, and presents an instant solution to Proprioception and sensory seeking children. A child with low muscle tone will benefit and gain strength in their legs from wearing Calming Clothing Tights. A girl with Rhett’s Syndrome will stop shaking and wringing when wearing Calming Clothing Tights and a Long Sleeve T-shirt. Children grow up in these therapeutic garments, which provide them with sensory feedback they would otherwise not experience. Read what parents have to say at www.calmingclothingcompany.com.


New Website for ITAC

By Lesley Gonigam


Looking for an amplified telephone? Looking for a selection site where you can test the phones? Are you in need of an application for a phone? Or do you need a cell phone amplifier?


The Illinois Telecommunications Access Corporation (ITAC) has a new website. It is a lot easier to navigate and, therefore, a lot easier to find the information for which you are looking. If you have a hard time seeing the print you can even resize the text to make it larger and easier to see. At the top of the page are the typical headings: Home, About Us, Equipment, Apply, Forms, Illinois Relay, Resources, and Contact Us. In the middle of the page are three areas that are most useful: eligibility, find the closest selection center, and events and news. The eligibility area also includes a list of phone companies that participate in the ITAC program. Your landline company must be on that list to be eligible for an amplified phone. If you need to find the closest selection center just enter your address in the white box and click on Find Closest Site. And under events and news is a very interesting article on what is happening to AT&T landlines in Illinois?


So, if you are interested in learning more about ITAC, the phones, or how to apply for a phone just do a search on www.itactty.org. It will be worth your time.

  IVCIL IS ON FACEBOOK- Find Us and Friend Us

By Brian M. Szuda

IVCIL, via Facebook, is reaching out to everyone about what we do and how we serve people with disabilities. We have been around for 18 years now and many still don’t understand what a CIL or a Center for Independent Living does for people with disabilities. So, if you use a computer, tablet, or smart phone find IVCIL on Facebook and like us or friend us so you can have yet another way to be in contact with us. We welcome your friendship and recognize your importance to us. Also, if you do follow us or will follow us please leave us with some positive feedback and rate us, especially if you have benefited from what we do as an organization. We are always trying to update our page and keep it fresh for our friends.

Here is IVCIL’s mission statement- The Illinois Valley Center for Independent Living Strives:


1. To enlighten persons with disabilities and their families about their rights;

2. To empower them to assume maximum responsibility to realize their rights;

3. To enrich the lives of all persons in LaSalle, Bureau, Marshall, Putnam and Stark counties by working toward full inclusion for each individual in society.


As a result of illness, injury, and/or vacations, the Illinois Valley Center for Independent Living is seeking four individuals or two-person teams with a heart for helping community members as volunteer drivers for our Mobile Meals program. We have routes that are in Peru, LaSalle and Oglesby.


Mobile Meals has been in operation for 47 years and remains in great need. IVCIL is in a partnership with Illinois Valley Community Hospital, which prepares the meals daily and are picked up there. We provide meals to those who are unable to get out or go to the store or who cannot cook for themselves. Receiving Mobile Meals allows them to live at home and not have to go into a long-term institution, plus, your delivery provides important wellness checks which are also appreciated by the recipients. Our consumers receive one hot and one cold meal each day, Monday through Friday, delivered by drivers who are all volunteers who have big hearts and are very committed to this service and the people on their routes.


Drivers are usually scheduled twice a month. We are asking you to please become one of these needed and valued volunteers. Call Terri Sparling, Mobile Meals coordinator at (815) 224-3126 Ext. 220 to inquire.


University Of Illinois

At Urbana-Champaign


Research participants wanted!

Are you (or someone you know) an older adult with a
long-term mobility impairment?

Researchers at the University of Illinois are conducting an interview study that explores the everyday challenges older adults with long-term mobility impairment experience as they age.

This is a one-time study that consists of two parts: 1) questionnaires (~1 hour) and 2) an interview (~1 hour to 1.5 hours). All aspects of this study can be done remotely: the questionnaires can be completed online and the interview remotely via phone call or video call. Participants will be compensated $30 in the form of an Amazon E-code for their time.

 Participants must:

·         Be between the ages of 70-79 years

·         Self-identify:

Mobility impaired: using a mobility aid (i.e., cane, crutches, wheelchair, walker, or scooter) and having serious difficulty walking or climbing stairs (or unable to walk or climb stairs)

·         Have had the mobility impairment prior to the age of 50

·         Be fluent in English

·         Live in the United States


If you are interested in participating, contact the project coordinator: Lyndsie Koon

We look forward to hearing from you! Kind regards, Lyndsie


Lyndsie Koon, Ph.D.         HFA-Lab@illinois.edu          (217)300-5445

Institutional Review Board Approval #17373


Youth Services Events

Quarterly Teen Social/Support Group

“Fall Fun Night”

Friday, October 6, 2017 from 5-8 p.m.

At Boggio’s Orchard & Produce

This event is FREE and activities will include:

Pedal Cars * Jumping Pillow

 Petting Zoo (bring quarters to buy feed)

Hayrack Ride * Tunnel of Fun * Corn Maze

Giant Apple Tree House * Cook-out


Boggio’s will provide free apple cider and apple cider donuts.

We ask that you bring a pack of buns or bag of chips to share. We will tell you which to bring when you call to register.


There are forms which must be signed by you or your guardian before attending.

Call Marla at 815-224-3126 ext. 223 to RSVP by September 25, 2017

to receive a reasonable accommodation (Personal Assistant).


Youth Services Quarterly Parent & Community Training


"Guardianship, Alternatives, ABLE Accounts and Special Needs Trusts"


From 6-8pm on Thursday, November 16, 2017

In the IVCIL Conference Room


At this FREE workshop you will learn about Guardianship, Power of Attorney, ABLE Accounts, Special Needs Trusts for adults over 18, and future planning for children with disabilities.


Presenter: Attorney Michael F. Gulo


To RSVP call Marla Michalak at 815-224-3126 ext. 223 by November 9, 2017.


IVCIL is a United Way Member Agency.   Reasonable accommodations will be offered upon request by registration deadlines.

“Funding provided in whole or in part by the Illinois Department of Human Services”


Quarterly Training

Fall Harvest Foods


Thursday, October 12, 2017 at 10:30 a.m.

Please see insert for details.           


Please RSVP by Friday, October 6th by calling IVCIL at 815-224-3126 (V or TTY).

When calling to RSVP please let us know if you need an accommodation.

IVCIL Socials

Join the staff for a pleasant time of fellowship and dining! 5:00 p.m. start time.

Call Lesley to confirm attendance at 815-224-3126 ext. 214 or email at ad@ivcil.com.


Wednesday, October 18, 2017--- The Pizza House, 1702 4th St., Peru, IL


Tuesday, November 7, 2017--- Verucchi’s Ristorante, 600 N. Greenwood St., Spring Valley, IL


Wednesday, December 6, 2017--- Christmas Party at Senica’s Oak Ridge, 658 U.S. Hwy. 6, LaSalle, IL.                Time: 5:30 p.m. Note the change in time.


January---No Social


Wednesday, February 14, 2018---Denny’s, 343 Civic Rd., LaSalle, IL


Wednesday, March 14, 2018---El Zarape’s Mexican American Restaurant, 1246 13th Ave., Mendota, IL


Wednesday, April 11, 2018---Wise Guys Bar and Grill, 2205 N. Main St., Princeton, IL

Come help Lesley celebrate her birthday!


 Learn How to Thrive-Not Just Survive!

By Lesley Gonigam

 Take Charge of Your Health is a 6-week program offered by IVCIL staff, in conjunction with AgeOptions, which provides support and encouragement from others living with ongoing health conditions just like you. Participants and facilitators meet weekly for two and a half hours. Workshops are led by facilitators who have professional or personal experience with ongoing health conditions. Learn new information and tools to help you manage your health, such as:


  1. Find out how healthy eating can improve your condition
  2. Create an exercise program that works for you
  3. Learn ways to improve communication with your family, friends, and healthcare providers
  4. Develop your own weekly goals to help you manage your condition
  5. Learn problem-solving strategies to help cope with pain, fatigue and frustration
  6. Gain support and encouragement from others living with ongoing health conditions

Sign up or refer a friend, family member, or neighbor to a workshop in our area today! For more information call IVCIL at 815-224-3126 or call AgeOptions at 800-699-9043 or visit www.ilpathwaystohealth.org

Join Us for University of Illinois Presentation

Topic: Fall Harvest Foods
:  18 Gunia Dr., LaSalle

Date & Time: Thursday, October 12, 2017, 10:30 a.m.

To Register: Call 815-224-3126 by Friday, October 6


Request for Volunteers


The Illinois Valley Center for Independent Living (IVCIL) in LaSalle is actively searching for persons who are willing to volunteer to assist with office duties such as filing, database entry, in preparing mailings, answering the phone, etc.  Volunteers will have the opportunity to create their own schedule of times to volunteer.  One requirement necessary to fulfill before joining the IVCIL Volunteer Program is to attend an orientation with the Volunteer Coordinator.  For more information and to schedule a volunteer orientation, please call IVCIL at (815)224-3126 (V or TTY) or 1-800-822-3246 (V or TTY) during the business hours of 8:30 am-4:30 pm and ask for Cynthia.


Personal Assistant Management Training

By Sally Revell


Due to issues that have been happening with various Personal Assistant Consumers, we are offering Personal Assistant Management Training again. It seems that many consumers are having issues finding back-up Personal Assistants, which are required by the Department of Rehabilitation Services. Also, not using the Service Plan, understanding the transportation policies, and generally allowing different times that they have not agreed to has been a big problem. Please call and talk to me about a new Personal Assistant Management Training. Call Sally at 815-224-3126. I will be glad to talk this over with you and work out a convenient time.

  Senior Health Insurance Program

By Sally Revel


It’s that time again- Get yourself on the SHIP!!!!!

IVCIL is now offering the Senior Health Insurance Program, or SHIP, counseling. SHIP is a free statewide health insurance counseling service for Medicare beneficiaries and their caregivers.

Fall open enrollment goes from October 15, 2017 thru December 7, 2017. This is the time you can check your supplements and Part D policies and make sure all your medications and services are covered.

Please give Sally a call at 815-224-3126 to set up an appointment to have your benefit check-up. IVCIL offers a trained certified SHIP Counselor

Free of Charge.


Call Sally at 815-224-3126 for all your Medicare or Medicaid needs.


 IVCIL Thanks the following individuals, families, and businesses for their

donations and /or memberships…


July - August 2017




Ruth Dunlap

Betty Fry





James Hardie Building Products

Machinery Maintenance, Inc.