LSA-DN Weekly Update

Disability Network News
Friday, August 16, 2019


Lutheran Services in America Blog: LSA-DN a Leader in Disability Policy and Advocacy

By Bill Kallestad, Vice President of Programs and Services at Lutheran Services in Iowa

This week, I returned to work at Lutheran Services in Iowa (LSI), reinvigorated and re-energized after spending three days with colleagues and friends at the Lutheran Services in America-Disability Network’s (LSA-DN) Summer Meeting from August 7–9. When I agreed three years ago to serve as the Treasurer, then Convener of LSA-DN, I knew that I was committing to a lot of work on top of an already very full schedule at LSI. But I did so, knowing that LSA-DN is a unique network that has provided so much value to its member organizations, including LSI.

More from Lutheran Services in America

Webinar Series: Accreditation

Lutheran Services in America is pleased to announce our fall webinar series on accreditation featuring all three major accreditation organizations. Calendar invitations to all three are linked below. Click to add each webinar to your Outlook calendar.

If your organization is not currently accredited, or if you are interested in exploring your accreditation options, join us for this webinar series

Please contact Sheila Weber at or 202-499-5824 if you have any questions.

More from Lutheran Services in America


Psychiatrists Considering Change To Intellectual Disability Criteria

A proposed revision to the diagnostic criteria for intellectual disability is prompting concerns about underdiagnosis and a loss of services and legal protections for people with the condition.

The American Psychiatric Association, or APA, is considering altering the entry for intellectual disability in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-5, or DSM-5. Often called the bible of psychiatry, psychiatrists, researchers, insurers and others rely on the manual to determine what symptoms are worthy of a diagnosis.

More from Disability Scoop

Disability not a barrier: At a time of low unemployment, employers tap a new talent pool

After not working for eight years because of a visual disability, Samantha Reeves, speaks with palpable pride of the day in April when she officially became an Oklahoma state employee.

“It’s changed my life,'' says Reeves, 30, who secured a position with the Department of Rehabilitation's Career Planning Center through Galt, a foundation that helps people with disabilities find jobs.

"The only time I ever got out of my house was to go to the doctor, and you can’t imagine what that does to someone’s mood,'' she says. Working "provided the opportunity to let my strengths actually shine so people get to know the real me, and not just see my disability.’’

More from USA Today


Pennsylvania will close two state centers for intellectually disabled

The state's Department of Human Services will close two of four remaining state centers for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, Polk State Center in Venango County and White Haven State Center in Luzerne County.

The closure process will take about three years, state officials said in announcing the move Tuesday.

More from Pittsburgh Post Gazette

Kids And Adults With Autism Flying Easier In Pittsburgh, With Airport's Help

Pittsburgh International Airport recently opened a suite of "sensory rooms" inside its airside terminal to help travelers on the autism spectrum decompress from the stress of flying. It's one of a handful of airports internationally that have made changes to be more accommodating to people with special needs.

The 1,500-square-foot space in Pittsburgh is quiet, muting the hustle and bustle from the terminal. Designed with input from people who have autism, it features soft furniture and whimsical lighting features, including colorful bubble towers and multiple soundproof rooms.

More from NPR

Research & Reports

Changes to “Public Charge” Inadmissibility Rule: Implications for Health and Health Coverage

In August 2019, the Trump Administration announced a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) final rule to make changes to “public charge” policies that govern how the use of public benefits may affect individuals’ ability to enter the U.S. or adjust to legal permanent resident (LPR) status (i.e., obtain a “green card”). . . . This fact sheet provides an overview of the proposed rule and its implications for health and health coverage of immigrant families.

More from Kaiser Family Foundation

Resources, Opinions & Opportunities

'Sesame Street' Under Fire For PSAs About Autism That Add 'Further Stigma'

An advocacy group has ended its partnership with “Sesame Street” after it ran new public service announcements featuring Julia, the show’s first autistic character.

On Monday, the Autistic Self Advocacy Network announced its decision to cut ties with the educational show, adding that it “condemns” “Sesame Street’s” decision to further stigmatize autistic children and adults. That’s because the PSAs direct parents to resources from Autism Speaks, a controversial nonprofit that autistic people have criticized for years over its messaging.

More from Huffington Post

Upcoming Events

2020 LSA-DN Winter Meeting
January 26-29, 2020
Atlantic Beach, FL


For more information on our topic specific work groups, please email Dania Douglas at

  • Policy & Advocacy Team
  • Culture and Engagement Workgroup
  • Administrative Cost Survey Working Group

Keep in Touch

Bill Kallestad

Lisa Morgan

Dania Douglas 
Director of Public Policy
LSA Disability Network
Lutheran Services in America