15
   

How far do you go to accommodate disabilities?

 
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Mon 28 Mar, 2011 11:37 am
@sozobe,
sozobe wrote:

I don't think that's the most salient point, though. A lot of very important and necessary provisions of the ADA could be dismissed in that way.

"Wendy Wheelchairuser wants to be able to get into her apartment building without relying on people to carry her, 'like a regular resident,' but that ignores the fact that she isn' a regular resident. If she were, she wouldn't have a wheelchair."

Well, isn't that true? I don't think it's being dismissive to say that Wendy Wheelchairuser isn't like other residents insofar as she uses a wheelchair and they don't. That's just recognizing a distinction. And if Wendy wanted to use the stairs like everybody else, I don't think it's dismissive to remind her that she's not like everybody else, and that she would need to use the ramp. That's not making her into a second-class resident.

Stevens wants to use the regular elevator because everybody else uses that elevator -- it's not like the condo board is making her use the stairs. That's analogous to the wheelchair user who insists that the condo board hire someone to carry her up the stairs because everybody else uses the stairs, even though the building has a wheelchair ramp.
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Mon 28 Mar, 2011 11:39 am
@sozobe,
sozobe wrote:

Btw, discussion of the Edgewater peanut allergy situation here:

http://able2know.org/topic/169787-1

Thanks, I didn't see that thread. Of course, a thread titled "What Do You Think About This?" doesn't really give a lot of useful information for the casual reader.
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  3  
Reply Mon 28 Mar, 2011 11:42 am
@joefromchicago,
No, the point there is that if there ISN'T a ramp. "If she wants to be able to get into her apartment building" -- at all -- "without relying on people to carry her."

People can and do feel like second-class citizens without accommodations all the time. Try, for example, going to a doctor's appointment with your five-year-old and finding out that they decided not to provide an ASL interpreter. Oh don't worry, they say, they won't be talking about anything important. (Hmmm, what's that. That's unexpected. Well, your daughter has adkjhaoweiuipquiwagflah. I said, waoaiuofuipiwpodj. <heavy sigh> wejaudhoai!)

Saying that she just shouldn't feel that way is singularly uncompelling, to me.

However, if she doesn't actually have a disability -- if the situation with her dog falls short -- that makes a difference. I can't tell, yet.
engineer
 
  1  
Reply Mon 28 Mar, 2011 11:46 am
@sozobe,
Even if she does have a disability, I don't see that reasonable accommodation has not been made because she has to ride a different elevator and put the dog in a carrier when passing through the common areas.
sozobe
 
  2  
Reply Mon 28 Mar, 2011 11:48 am
@engineer,
If she has a disability and the service animal works by having physical contact with her, then it's removing the usefulness of the service animal.

That's the if, though. I don't know. (She says so, but she might be exaggerating.)

Interesting stuff about FHA vs ADA, thanks Butrflynet.
engineer
 
  1  
Reply Mon 28 Mar, 2011 11:52 am
@sozobe,
You're right we don't know the details. If a carrier were more like a sling worn over the body, does that meet the "contact" and "carrier" rules? I don't know how she functions in society at all if she must hold a dog constantly.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Mon 28 Mar, 2011 12:00 pm
It seems the relevant question would be whether or not reasonable medical authority has decreed that this constitutes a disability for which the particular dog is the only remedy. I find that hard to believe, but if it were so decreed by medical authority, i suppose she might have grounds for legal action.
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Mon 28 Mar, 2011 12:11 pm
@sozobe,
sozobe wrote:

No, the point there is that if there ISN'T a ramp.

But in this case there IS. You're comparing apples and oranges.
Butrflynet
 
  1  
Reply Mon 28 Mar, 2011 12:20 pm
@joefromchicago,
Joe, do you have access to PACER and the court documents?
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Mon 28 Mar, 2011 12:25 pm
@Butrflynet,
Butrflynet wrote:

Joe, do you have access to PACER and the court documents?

I'm not sure. Probably. That's something the secretary knows about. I'm more of a big-picture kind of guy.
0 Replies
 
Mame
 
  1  
Reply Mon 28 Mar, 2011 12:51 pm
I think the point is that the association has accommodated her to a great degree. Stretching the rules for one person of out how many, and merely asking she use other entrances and lifts. Big deal. How she feels about it is irrelevant. Some people are always going to find something to complain about. It's all in the attitude - she should be grateful and appreciative of their efforts instead of bitching about how she feels, which is totally up to her.
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Mon 28 Mar, 2011 01:08 pm
@Mame,
I don't feel that using a different elevator should be a problem - that is a way to accomodate all. Unless of course, it was that the service elevator is unsafe or it is in a much more difficult location to get to.

The carrying the dog in public areas - not sure - I guess it truly depends if it causes that much of a problem for the woman as in she has to be touching the little guy consistently. Even so, I would have to imagine there has to be some compromise in that as well.
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Mon 28 Mar, 2011 01:11 pm
@Mame,
Mame wrote:
I think the point is that the association has accommodated her to a great degree.


what have they done? have they modified the building in some way?
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Mon 28 Mar, 2011 01:15 pm
@ehBeth,
The've allowed her to keep her dog - no one else is allowed a pet.
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Mon 28 Mar, 2011 01:28 pm
@ehBeth,
ehBeth wrote:
Does Illinois allow for no-pet buildings?

Sure. There are plenty of no-pets buildings around here.
0 Replies
 
Mame
 
  1  
Reply Mon 28 Mar, 2011 05:08 pm
@ehBeth,
No, they haven't modified the building, but they have let one person in their NO DOG building not only have a dog, but wander around with it at will, despite it being in a carrier. They probably have to deal with complaints from other residents, either that they should be able to have a dog (or cat), too, or that they are allergic, or that this is supposed to be a dog-free building.

As a former Strata Agent working with condos and condo councils, I would have been getting the majority of these calls, letters, faxes, and emails, and it wouldn't have made me happy. So... they are willing to help her out... she should STFU and take what she's been given. If she'd been with a less accommodating council, she could have been told to get out.

The article didn't say whether she asked permission before she brought the dog in, whether there had been any complaints (does it bark, for example?), has there been a flea problem, etc.

When it comes to court, I'd be mighty interested to see the facts... what her doctor 'prescribed', her particular ailments and why having this dog suddenly seems to help (did her other two dogs help? did she get worse when he got rid of them?), and what the prevailing so-called expert opinions are on this matter, in her particular case.

But whether animals have been proven to help or not, she clearly thinks they do and she should be thankful she has been accommodated as much as she has thus far. I think she sounds like a whiny, ungrateful, self-absorbed little beyotch. Imagine the precarious state she'd be in if they'd refused and she sued and it took 2 years to get before the courts!
sozobe
 
  2  
Reply Mon 28 Mar, 2011 05:46 pm
@Mame,
Mame wrote:
If she'd been with a less accommodating council, she could have been told to get out.


I'm not sure if they legally could if she has a disability, though. I think that's part of the point with the FHA stuff.

And part of the point that I keep coming back to is I can't tell if she really has a disability.

If she's a flaky person who is trying to take advantage of the ADA/ FHA because she a) wanted to live someplace, with her dog, that doesn't allow dogs and then b) didn't want to deal with a carrier and/or c) is a drama queen looking for ways to make drama and/or money, then I hope the book is thrown at her.

But, if she's a person with a genuinely severe anxiety disorder who needs to have her dog nearby for medical reasons to be able to function (and I can see that possibility, but, again, I don't know), then I don't think this is ridiculous.

The condo guy already said that if she was blind and it was a guide dog, that would be fine. So the issue is, which category is she in? Blind-person-with-a-guide-dog territory (disabled) or flakey-drama queen? (I wonder if it would have made a difference if her service dog was a big black lab instead of a toy spaniel?)

Joe, you're missing my point, and I accept that I didn't make it well (I confused the issue by making an analogy that wasn't sufficiently separate from the situation at hand). To back up, you said:

joefromchicago wrote:
Actually, the condo board has made an effort to accommodate her disability. It's a no-pets building, yet it is allowing Stevens to keep a dog, so that's already a pretty big concession. But I agree that the property manager probably thinks that Stevens doesn't need the dog by her side all the time. As for using the service elevators, that makes sense. Stevens, however, wants to have her dog on a leash and use the regular elevators "like a regular resident," but that ignores the fact that she isn't a regular resident. If she were, she wouldn't have a dog.


I don't think this is either here nor there. The fact that she is not a regular resident doesn't mean that, if she is in fact disabled, she shouldn't get "reasonable accommodations" to allow her to function as close to possible as a regular resident. The fact that the condo board made AN effort doesn't mean that is necessarily an adequate effort. (If I go to a doctor's appointment and ask for an interpreter, and their response is to bring in the doctor's nephew, who has taken one high school ASL class is there to fulfill his volunteer hours for graduation, they have made AN effort.)

People with disabilities do often feel like second class citizens, and do often wish they could feel like a regular (resident/ student/ worker/ patient/ etc.) The ADA is partly about providing those opportunities. Giving people in wheelchair access to places they didn't used to have access to. Bringing people with cerebral palsy out of institutions. Allowing blind people to use guide dogs in situations where dogs are not usually allowed.

So,is she in the blind person with a guide dog category? Dunno.
sozobe
 
  2  
Reply Mon 28 Mar, 2011 06:12 pm
@sozobe,
sozobe wrote:
The condo guy already said that if she was blind and it was a guide dog, that would be fine.


Correction, he didn't say that explicitly. It seemed to be an implication here:

Quote:
"It's a matter of perception of what's unfair," Armenio said during an interview outside the two-tower complex. "She's not blind."


He does seem to be saying that she's NOT in the blind-with-a-guide-dog category. I don't think that's really his decision to make. (To again analogize: since I lipread well and speak fairly normally, medical professionals often question whether I actually need an interpreter. This despite the fact that I can't hear a thing. But while I do small talk well, medical terminology -- which is both atypical and very precise [I don't want to give my daughter two tablespoons of medicine instead of two teaspoons] -- is a different story.)
0 Replies
 
Mame
 
  1  
Reply Mon 28 Mar, 2011 06:30 pm
@sozobe,
You know what's got me wondering now? If this dog thing is really just passive-aggressive behaviour on a personal level . Her husband got rid of her other two dogs and now she's developed this 'condition' or 'whatever it is' that she is only calmed when she is touching her dog Smile I bet it sleeps with her - I mean, them. Wonder what the hubby has to say about all this Smile
joefromchicago
 
  2  
Reply Mon 28 Mar, 2011 06:42 pm
@sozobe,
sozobe wrote:
The fact that she is not a regular resident doesn't mean that, if she is in fact disabled, she shouldn't get "reasonable accommodations" to allow her to function as close to possible as a regular resident. The fact that the condo board made AN effort doesn't mean that is necessarily an adequate effort.

Sounds to me like the condo board made a pretty sizable effort.

But let's suppose that one of the building's residents is deathly afraid of dogs -- so afraid, in fact, that any proximity to a dog causes him to go into a panic attack. And he specifically chose to live in the building because of its no-pets policy. Now, Ms. Stevens wants to walk her dog on a leash in the building's common areas because if she's not near her dog, she gets panic attacks. So who gets accommodated?

sozobe wrote:
People with disabilities do often feel like second class citizens, and do often wish they could feel like a regular (resident/ student/ worker/ patient/ etc.)

No doubt, and I'm sure if the condo board forced Ms. Stevens to crawl through a doggie door to get into and out of the building, that would clearly be treating her like a second-class resident. But her chief gripe seems to be that she has to use the service elevator. That's hardly making her wear a red letter D on her chest. Remember, the accommodation need only be reasonable.
 

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