Brazos Valley Center for Independent Living

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ADA25 – Texas Trailblazers Past, Present, Future

On July 26, 2015 we will be celebrating the 25th anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Texans have played and continue to play a role in implementing the vision in the ADA by integrating people with disabilities into Texas communities.
On March 3rd we will be celebrating the role that Texans played in the development, passage and implementation of the ADA. We are calling these folks “Texas Trailblazers”.
Attached please find a nomination form to recognize a Texas Trailblazer from the past, a present day Trailblazer or a future Trailblazer (under 18).
Please help us identify Texas Trailblazers by submitting the attached form.
Texas Trailblazers will be recognized at the Bob Bullock Texas History Museum, 1800 Congress Ave Austin, Texas, Austin Room 3rd Floor, 11am – 1pm.
ADA Today
ADA Tomorrow
ADA Forever

PDF Versions Here

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Able South Carolina’s young adult leadership group, EQUIP, wants you to know that individuals with disabilities go to college, drive, get married, have jobs, create art, serve others, and do everything that people without disabilities can do.  “The Same” is a video where three EQUIP leaders share their personal experiences about having a disability and advice for how they wish to be treated.  Hint: It’s the same as everyone else! #TheSame

Watch The Video

Spread the Word!

If you are an individual with a disability, we encourage you to share your own examples of how you are “The Same” on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram using the hashtag #thesame. Some examples are below:

Twitter Graphic that reads: I have a full time job and serve on a non-profit board. #TheSame

Facebook post that reads: I'm happily married! #TheSame

Let’s show the world that people with disabilities are no different than anyone else.  Join #thesame movement today!

EQUIP is funded by the SC Developmental Disabilities Council, and “The Same” was funded by the SC Independent Living Council.


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Holiday Party!



Holiday Party

TAMU Student Council for Exceptional Children

and Brazos Valley Center for Independent Living

invite you!

Who: Consumer, friends, and family of BVCIL

What: Holiday crafts, cookie decorating, food, and a

special guest

When: December 5th, 5:30-7:30pm

Where: Brazos Valley Center for Independent Living:

1869 Briarcrest, Bryan, TX. 77802


Download & print the flyer: BVCIL holiday party flyer

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tx flag


Don’t Mourn – Organize!

ADAPT of Texas will be holding our
(Grassroots Legislator Education Using A “Different Approach”)

WHEN: Wednesday, December 10th, 1:00pm – 4:00pm

WHERE: State Capitol Extension, Room E2.1002, Members Lounge

WHY: Funding for Community Services; Increase Wages/Benefits for Attendants; Accessible, Affordable, Integrated Housing; Learn how the legislature works; 25th Anniversary of the ADA

Texas 84th Legislative Session begins Tuesday, January 13, 2015


Please RSVP by December 3, 2014 at or

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2014 B/CS Local Candidate Forum


Author: Andrew Morse, Special Project Coordinator at BVCIL



On October 22, 2014 the Bryan/ College Station Chamber of Commerce, in conjunction with HEB markets and the George Bush Presidential Library, held a question and answer forum with the candidates for local government offices and the candidates for state government offices. The event was hosted by the George Bush library and broadcast live on WTAW 1620 AM and filmed for later streaming by KBTX.

The format was question and answer and each candidate was given about one minute to respond. The topics ranged from classroom size in local schools to the question of water rights at the state level. All of the candidates appeared well prepared, sincere, and knowledgeable in their responses. The event itself was very efficiently run. There was very little lag between each question and answer session and the moderator did an excellent job at holding the candidates to their time limit.

Overall, this was a very informative and enjoyable event. The questions were relevant to each office and it seemed like the candidates had enough time to relay their basic message to the public. For anyone interested in politics, seeing it on the local level is much different than it is at the national level. I would recommend anyone interested in government or politics to attend next year’s forum.


To listen or watch the forum in its entirety, click the following link:

The following is a list of candidates that participated in the forum:


Bryan School Board Place

David Stasny (Incumbent)

Roy Flores


College Station School Board Place 6

Michael Schaffer

Kimberly McAdams (Incumbent)


State House of Representatives District 14

Andrew Metscher (Democrat)

Bruce Pugh (Libertarian)


State Senate

Joel Shapiro (Democrat)

Matt Whittingham (Libertarian)


College Station City Council Place 1

Blanche Brick (Incumbent)

Gabriel Pereira


College Station City Council Place 5

Linda Harvell

Julie Schultz (Incumbent)


Bryan City Council District 4

Mike Southerland

Kyle Incardona

Andrew Morse is our Special Projects Coordinator here at BVCIL. For more information on housing or questions about the above article, call us at 979-776-5505 and we’ll get you the information you are looking for.

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Affordable Housing Resource Guide

afford housing

Author: Andrew Morse, Special Project Coordinator at BVCIL

The following is an Affordable Housing Resource Guide for Bryan-College Station. This guide was put together by the Housing Consortium, a group of local agencies working together to improve availability and access to affordable housing in the B/CS area. You can view the images in a higher resolution and larger format by clicking on them.


AHRG page 1


Affordable Housing Resource-singles 29-8-14_Page_2


Affordable Housing Resource-singles 29-8-14_Page_3


Affordable Housing Resource-singles 29-8-14_Page_4




Andrew Morse is our Housing and Advocacy Specialist here at BVCIL. For more information on housing or questions about the above article, call us at 979-776-5505 and we’ll get you the information you are looking for.

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White Cane Safety Day

White Cane Heart 2

White Cane Heart 2



White Cane Safety Day has been celebrated around the world on October 15 of each year since its formal declaration in the United States in 1964. The date is set aside to celebrate the achievements of people who are blind or visually impaired and the important symbol of blindness and its tool of independence, the white cane.

Even before the first formal declaration of White Cane Safety Day, the first local law regarding the right of people who are blind to travel independently with the white cane was passed in 1930 in Peoria, IL. In 1966, Dr. Jacobus tenBroek, the founder of the National Federation of the Blind, drafted the model White Cane Law, which came to be known as the Civil Rights Bill for the Blind, the Disabled, and the Otherwise Physically Handicapped. The original wording of his law contained a provision designating October 15 as White Cane Safety Day. Today there is a variant of the White Cane Law on the statute books of every state in the U.S.

In 1963, the National Federation of the Blind assembled in convention and voted to encourage governors of all fifty states to proclaim October 15 as White Cane Safety Day. In response, a joint resolution of the U.S. Congress (H.R. 753), authorizing the President of the United States to proclaim October 15 of each year as White Cane Safety Day, was signed into law the next year. Almost immediately, President Lyndon B. Johnson officially proclaimed the first White Cane Safety Day in 1964, commending those who were blind for their growing spirit of independence and their increased determination to be self-reliant. The Proclamation has continued every year since. In 2011, White Cane Safety Day was also named Blind Americans Equality Day by President Barack Obama.

The State of Texas also recognizes White Cane Safety Day each year on October 15 with a formal Proclamation signed by the Governor. Local committees and organizations across the state hold celebrations, festivals, and awareness-raising events.




Article from: Office of the Governor Rick Perry, Committee on People with Disabilities

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ADA Technical Assistance For Polling Place Access for Voters with Disabilities

U.S. Department of Justice
Civil Rights Division
Disability Rights Section

Department of Justice seal

Solutions for Five Common ADA
Access Problems at Polling Places

Voting is one of our nation’s most fundamental rights and a hallmark of our democracy. Voting in-person on Election Day is the way most Americans cast their ballot and vote, but for far too long, many voters with disabilities who use wheelchairs or other mobility devices have had difficulties getting inside polling places to vote because of architectural barriers. Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires public entities to ensure that people with disabilities can access and use their voting facilities.

This publication provides a brief discussion of physical barriers to access in five commonly found areas at polling places: parking, sidewalks and walkways, building entrances, interior hallways, and the voting area itself. It is intended to assist election officials to meet their ADA obligation to provide polling places that are accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities. To provide access to the polling place, a route into and through the polling place must be accessible to voters with disabilities. This accessible route should connect each area, from parking to the voting area and back again and should be the same route all voters take. If this is not possible and alternate routes must be used to provide access for voters with disabilities, temporary signs should direct voters to and along these alternate accessible routes.

While locating polling places in accessible facilities makes ADA compliance more likely, there may be times when that is not possible and the use of temporary measures to provide access will be necessary.

overhead view of the front of a polling place

Entrance to a polling place with the accessible route
shown from parking and drop off areas into the polling place

Temporary Measures

While permanently removing architectural barriers is preferable, this document provides some low-cost, temporary solutions that can provide temporary access for people with disabilities on Election Day.

picture of person using a wheelchair entering polling place

A person using a wheelchair enters a polling place

Temporary measures may not be suitable for every polling place that has physical barriers that block access. For example, if the only entrance door at a polling place is 29 inches wide, then propping the door open or providing a doorbell for a poll worker to open the door will still not allow a person using a wheelchair or a walker to pass through the door. If another accessible entrance is not available, the door must either be permanently modified or the polling place must be relocated to an accessible facility.

Common Problems



Many polling places provide parking for voters but the provision of accessible parking is often overlooked. Parking areas may lack accessible parking spaces with adequate access aisles and signs, or may be on a sloped surface. Also, because other entrances – not the main entrance to the building – are commonly used as entry points to the polling place, especially at large facilities such as schools, permanent accessible parking may not be close to the entrance to the voting area.

All of these barriers can prevent voters with disabilities from reaching the polling place.

image showing a person using a scooter getting out of van at a temporary van parking space marked with traffic cones to create a  parking space and access aisle

A van parked in a temporary accessible parking space
marked with traffic cones to create the access aisle
and accessible route and a temporary ramp provides access to the sidewalk

ADA Requirements

Parking provided at the polling place must meet specific minimum width requirements for spaces and access aisles so voters with mobility disabilities can get out of their car or van. Generally, the access aisle must be of at least 60 inches wide for cars and 96 inches wide for vans. Van spaces can also have an access aisle at least 60 inches if the width of the van parking space is at least 132 inches. A sign, with the International Symbol of Accessibility, must mark each accessible parking space. Van-accessible spaces must be designated as such on the sign at these spaces. If only one accessible space is provided, it must be a van-accessible space. Accessible parking spaces must be in a level area with no steep slopes and on the shortest accessible route from parking to the accessible entrance to the polling place.

Temporary Solutions

Temporary parking must be located on the most level area available and as close to the accessible entrance as possible. Traffic cones and portable signs can be used to create accessible parking spaces and access aisles.

photo of a temporary sign providing direction

Temporary sign providing direction to the area for van-accessible parking

Sidewalks and Walkways


If sidewalks and walkways are in disrepair, it can be difficult, and sometimes impossible, for a voter using a wheelchair or other mobility device to safely navigate to the polling place. Often, sidewalks and walkways are uneven, cracked, or contain potholes, gravel, dirt, or grass. Some sidewalks do not include curb ramps or, if they do, the ramped section is too narrow or steep.

Photo of a sidewalk with broken pavement, raised sections, and patches

A sidewalk with raised and broken sections is a barrier to access

ADA Requirements

Sidewalk or walkway surfaces must be at least 36 inches wide, without abrupt level changes (no level change greater than ½ inch), and the surface must be stable, firm, and slip resistant. Curb ramps should not be too steep (no steeper than 1:12).

Temporary Solutions

Temporary plates (no more than ½ inch thick) can be used to cover holes or cracks and provide a more level walkway. Ramps at least 36 inches wide, with a slope no more than 1:12, may be used to provide temporary access over curbs or onto sidewalks.



The entrance area must be level (no level change greater than ½ inch) and should not slope steeply in any one direction. All door openings must provide a minimum width of 32 inches and there must also be enough room for a person using a wheelchair to maneuver to open the door, including 18 inches of clear space beyond the latch side of the door. Additionally, the door hardware must not require tight grasping, pinching, or twisting, and the height of the door threshold must not be greater than ½ inch.

ADA Requirements

The entrance area must be level (no level change greater than ½ inch) and should not slope steeply in any one direction. All door openings must provide a minimum width of 32 inches and there must also be enough room for a person using a wheelchair to maneuver to open the door, including 18 inches of clear space beyond the latch side of the door. Additionally, the door hardware must not require tight grasping, pinching, or twisting, and the height of the door threshold must not be greater than ½ inch.

Temporary Solutions

The use of temporary ramps can provide access over steps or high thresholds. If the area in front of the door is not level or does not provide adequate maneuvering space, then the door may be propped open to allow the person using a wheelchair to enter the polling place. If one door of a double-leaf door is not wide enough, propping open the second door may provide enough clearance. In some circumstances, temporary levers or other adapters that do not require tight grasping, pinching, or twisting, may be installed over existing door hardware to provide independent access. Alternatively, a temporary doorbell or buzzer system may be used to alert a poll worker to open the door or doors for the voter.

image showing a door to a polling place being held open by staff

Entry doors to the polling place can be
propped open or opened by staff to provide access

image showing a temporary ramp installed at the entrance to a polling place

A temporary ramp with handrails and edge
protection provides access over steps



man who is blind walking with a white cane runs into a drinking fountain that is a protruding object

In many polling places, particularly those in large facilities such as schools and apartment buildings, hallways contain drinking fountains, coat racks, fire extinguishers, and other protruding objects. These objects may pose hazards to voters with vision disabilities, who may bump into them if they are not detectable by a sweep of a cane.

ADA Requirements

Wall-mounted objects located between 27 inches and 80 inches above the floor may not protrude or stick out from the wall more than 4 inches.

Temporary Solutions

Place traffic cones or other cane-detectable barriers, such as planters or portable railings, at or under protruding objects. Cane-detectable barriers can also be placed to re-direct voters with vision disabilities around or away from the protruding object. An alternate pedestrian route that does not include the protruding object, if available, may be appropriate.

image showing several wall-mounted objects mounted so they are not protruding objects and a man using a white cane using the base of the wall as a shoreline

A voter who is blind walks along a corridor with wall-mounted objects
that are not protruding objects because they do not protrude
more than 4 inches from the wall,
are mounted above 80 inches or are recessed into an alcove

Voting Areas


Voting often occurs in a small room or area within a building, with little space at the check-in tables and voting machines, making it difficult for voters with mobility disabilities to move through the voting area and cast their ballots. In winter months or during the rainy season, election officials may use cardboard, plastic floor coverings, tarps, or mats to cover the floor. These coverings can make it difficult to navigate and can easily become trip hazards for voters with disabilities and others.

ADA Requirements

There must be a minimum 36 inch wide route in and through the voting area. There also must be enough clear floor space in at least one voting station or booth to allow a voter using a wheelchair or other mobility device to approach, maneuver, and leave the voting station. Floor surfaces must be stable, firm, and slip resistant.

Temporary Solutions

Arrange check-in tables and voting stations to provide an accessible path for the voter to go from the check-in table to the voting station and out again. At least one voting station should provide at least 30 x 48 inches of clear floor space to allow a voter using a wheelchair or other mobility device to maneuver. All floor coverings, such as cardboard or plastic sheets, should be removed or firmly affixed to the floor to provide a stable and slip-resistant floor.

image showing a woman using a power wheelchair pulling up to an accessible voting machine

An accessible voting station with clear floor space

view of a polling place showing accessible route and turning space.

Overhead view of the polling place showing
the accessible route and maneuvering spaces
for voters who use mobility devices

Voting Access: Where to Start

To provide temporary access to voters with disabilities, election officials should always keep in mind the accessible route into and through the polling place. Understanding how all voters arrive at the polls, park or drop people off, move through the facility and the voting area, and back out again will help identify physical barriers that will need to be remediated. Using the tools discussed in this document can provide temporary access and will ensure that voters with disabilities can fully participate in the election process.

Voting Access: Some Useful Resources

This document provides guidance on providing temporary access to polling places. Election officials should note that the ADA requires jurisdictions to select polling sites that are accessible or can be made accessible for elections. The ADA title II regulation and the ADA Standards for Accessible Design set out what makes a facility accessible and should be used to determine the level of accessibility at each facility being used or considered for use as a polling place. Election officials should consult the Justice Department’s ADA Checklist for Polling Places for more detailed guidance on how to assess whether a polling place is fully accessible to voters with disabilities or if barriers can be removed.

The Checklist, title II regulation, and the ADA Standards are available at

In addition, election officials should consult the Department’s 7-page publication on the rights of voters with disabilities, The Americans with Disabilities Act and Other Federal Laws Protecting the Rights of Voters with Disabilities, also available at


You can go to the following link to fill out a survey that will allow Disability Rights Texas to know if your polling place is accessible:
Accessible Polling Survey

For More Information

For information about the ADA, please visit our website or call our toll-free number.

ADA Information Line
800-514-0301 (Voice) and 800-514-0383 (TTY)
24 hours a day to order publications by mail.
Monday – Wednesday, F
9:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.,
Th 12:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. (Eastern Time) to speak with an ADA Specialist.  All calls are confidential.

ADA Website

To receive e-mail notifications when new ADA information is available, visit the ADA Website’s home page and click the link near the lower right corner of the page.

October 9, 2014

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