DRTx client, GabbyA Little “Tech Support” for Student with Hearing Impairment

Gabby, a middle schooler with a hearing impairment, was very alienated in the classroom and was struggling academically. Due to lack of access to the assistive technology that was needed to fully participate in school, Gabby was negatively impacted both socially and educationally.

DRTx represented Gabby in a special education case and was able to gain access to the technology and support she needed from her school. Gabby’s mother expressed gratitude to DRTx in a letter following our advocacy intervention, “Thanks to your legal team, my daughter was able to get the technology in place for her to access her education as well as other services.”

Her mother reported that Gabby’s last report card following DRTx’s representation had straight A’s. Gabby also won the school science fair, and came in third place in the regional science festival. Most importantly, her mother added, Gabby’s self-esteem had grown tremendously. Her mother has no doubt that DRTx’s work changed the life course of her daughter.

DRTx is dedicated to helping create integrated classrooms where students with disabilities learn alongside students without disabilities. To learn more about the special education rights of students and parents, visit our education page.

 

DRTx Defends Rights of Iraqi War Hero with Service DogAdan and his dog Bootz

Adan Gallegos is a decorated veteran who served in the U.S. Army in Iraq. As a result of intense combat and exposure to an explosion, Gallegos returned home at the age of 22 with unseen disabilities of depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. He has a service animal named Bootz to remind him to take medication, alert him when someone approaches from behind, and assist him with other tasks related to his disabilities.

One day Gallegos and Bootz entered a mattress store in San Antonio. He informed the owner that his dog was a trained service animal. Nonetheless, the owner of the store yelled and swore at Gallegos and demanded that he and Bootz leave immediately.

DRTx filed a federal lawsuit on Adan Gallegos’ behalf against the store, and following extensive news coverage, a public outcry against the store on social media, the parties negotiated and reached a settlement.

“This Iraqi War Hero defended our country, and we’re honored to have been able to defend his rights as veteran with a disability,” said a DRTx attorney who worked on the case.

The war hero went on to work closely with lawmakers on the successful passage of a new Texas law ensuring that people who use service animals will have access for their animals in all Texas establishments. His dog Bootz even co-signed the bill into law with his paw print.

Check out our legal tip video on the Rights and Responsibilities of Service Animal Owners for more information.

 

Advocacy for Woman Who is Deaf Leads to System-Wide ChangeDRTx client Lillian and her daughter

Lillian Gallow is deaf and requires the use of ASL interpreters for effective communication. At an important hearing, Houston Housing Authority (HHA) failed to provide a qualified interpreter for her and instead used her young daughter which led to a miscommunication that terminated her housing voucher, and she was ultimately served with an eviction notice.

Gallow contacted DRTx who filed a housing discrimination complaint with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) on her behalf, and DRTx successfully resolved the matter.

The housing authority offered Gallow another hearing in which they provided an interpreter at HHA’s expense. DRTx’s representation at the new hearing led to Ms. Gallow’s housing assistance being reinstated and back rent being paid by HHA to her landlord. The eviction was dismissed, and accommodations were made and implemented to ensure that Ms. Gallow will receive effective communication in future dealings with the HHA.

The settlement also brought systemic changes in HHA’s effective communication and interpreter policies. HHA is now required to inform employees of its policy to provide interpreter services to individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing, and to inform new voucher holders of their right to request reasonable accommodations, including interpreters. HHA also promised to only use qualified interpreters in the future.

“Our hope is that the systemic changes made to HHA’s effective communication and interpreter policies because of the settlement in this case will prevent future occurrences of similar situations,” indicated DRTx Attorney Christopher McGreal. Informational handouts and helpful links on housing are available on our housing resource page.