FORT LEE, N.J. -- The Fort Lee Mayor & Council's Advisory Committee for Individuals with Disabilities recently had its reorganization meeting for 2016. The board identifies the needs of Fort Lee’s residents with disabilities and develops services and programs to address them.
The mission of the volunteer committee is to make it possible for individuals with disabilities to fully participate in all aspects of community life. The board was established in 1993 and has 17 members, including a council liaison, borough department heads, residents with disabilities and other interested residents of Fort Lee.
Councilman Harvey Sohmer, council liaison to the board, said: “Our board is very diverse and is a very good cross-section of the disabilities that we have in Fort Lee because we have people in all different categories. The board is always trying to educate people about the issues those with disabilities might face."
Newly appointed Committee Chair Patricia Ciccone, who is a parent of a child with Down Syndrome, said the committee's past accomplishments include “working on the improvement of the town’s physical disability issues, such as curb cuts, accessibility at stores and Braille menus at restaurants.”
The committee also helped ensure upgrades to the borough’s library were accessible. Ciccone said future goals include working with the school district to assist students who are trying to go into the workplace.
The committee also voted to select Rita Posner, the hearing daughter of a deaf family to serve as its vice chair. Posner, a psychologist, would like to see the board focus more on educating the borough’s residents with disabilities about their rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act, the law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life.
“The board would benefit from more exposure in Fort Lee about what we do and how we can assist individuals with disabilities or companions of people with disabilities,” Posner said. “It’s all about education and that’s why we need to find ways to either meet with individuals individually or in groups and explain the purpose of the ADA and how one can benefit from it."
To learn more about the committee or the Americans with Individuals Disabilities Act, call (201) 592-3500 Ext 1038, or TTY (201) 585-0476.
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