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The Disability Connection

The Disability Connection 1-877-755-5222


The Disability Connection
One Smithfield Street, 2nd Floor
Pittsburgh, PA 15222

The Disability Connection coordinates efforts to improve services to all people with disabilities in Allegheny County in order to elevate the issues of quality of life, equal opportunity and effective participation in the community.

The Disability Connection embraces the concept that a person should not be defined by his or her disability. If the physical environment were universally accessible and the community’s attitudes open and accepting, disability would cease to be a barrier to full inclusion in the community.

Disability Awareness

Disability Awareness Sensitivity Video



Voices of Our Region 
Produced by the Disability Connection Voices of Our Region is an oral documentary capturing the life, love and passion of area residents living with disabilities. Learn about both the struggles and triumphs individuals with disabilities have experienced in seeking self-determination and non-discrimination in candid, non-scripted stories of the progress made in pursuit of personal goals.

Family Resource Guide
The Disability Connection is home for the Family Resource Guide, the only comprehensive compilation of services and systems available to Allegheny County families of children ages birth-21 with developmental delays, special health care needs or disabilities. For more information, contact us by email.

Housing for People with a Disability


Allegheny Link to Aging and Disability Resources

xls.gif Licensed Personal Care Homes

pdf.gif Local Government Hosing Authorities
  • Dom Care
    Adults who cannot live independently may be matched with families who are willing to open their homes and provide a caring, residential environment. Interested people may call the Area Agency on Aging (412-350-5105).
  • Nursing Home Transitions Long-term Care Options
    Older persons and persons of all ages with disabilities can discuss the expanded range of long-term care opportunities beyond traditional nursing home care with Area Agency on Aging counselors at the AAA SeniorLine 412-350-5460.
Disability.gov - Housing

Pennsylvania Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program
Benefits older adults, and persons over 18 years of age with a disability, who meet income guidelines.

The application can be ordered online and is also available to download.

Six weeks after applying, rebate applicants can check the progress of their Property Tax/Rent Rebate application online or by phone at 1-888-PATAXES (1-888-728-2937).

Rebate check distribution begins on July 1.


Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy
ODEP's mission is to develop and influence polices and practices that increase the number and quality of employment opportunities for people with disabilities. 

ODEP's vision is a world in which people with disabilities have unlimited employment opportunities.

ODEP keeps monthly data on the employment status of people with a disability.

Survey of Employer Perspectives on the Employment of People with Disabilities

The Survey of Employer Perspectives on the Employment of People with Disabilities is the first of its magnitude, with responses representing more than 2.4 million companies nationwide. The survey reveals that a majority of large business hiring people with disabilities are discovering that costs for accommodations differ very little from those of the general employee population. Additionally, the survey showed that once an employer hires someone with a disability, they are much more likely to hire other people with disabilities.

Employment Resources

U.S. Department of Labor Publications
Includes information about finding employment, hiring individuals with disabilities, communicating with individuals with disabilities and many more useful publications. 


pdf.gif ADA Hospital Compliance Guidelines

Employment Resources

Films, Instructional Videos, Documentaries, and other media resources

Visitability Tax Credit Program

pdf.gif Social Security Commissioner: Disability Is Our Most Pressing Challenge

Web Sites of Interest

Americans with Disabilities Act : A Primer for Small Businesses

People-first Language



Person with a disability      

Cripple, crippled - the image conveyed
is of a twisted, deformed, useless body.

Disability, a general term used for functional
limitation that interferes with a person's ability,
for example, to walk, hear or lift. It may refer to
a physical, mental or sensory condition.

Handicap, handicapped person or handicapped. 

People with cerebral palsy, people with spinal
cord injuries.

Cerebral palsied, spinal cord injured, etc.
Never identify people solely by their disability.

Person who had a spinal cord injury, polio, a 
stroke, etc. or a person who has multiple 
sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, arthritis, etc.

Victim. People with disabilities do not like to be perceived as victims for the rest of their lives, long after
any victimization has occurred.

Has a disability, has a condition of (Spina Bifida, etc.),
or born without legs, etc.

Defective, defect, deformed, vegetable. These words are offensive, dehumanizing, degrading and stigmatizing. 

Deafness/hearing impairment. Deafness refers to a person who has total loss of hearing. Hearing impairment refers to a person who has a partial loss of hearing within a range from slight to severe. Hard of hearing describes a hearing-impaired person who communicates through speaking, and who usually has listening and hearing abilities adequate for ordinary telephone communication. Many hard of hearing individuals use a hearing aid.      

Deaf and Dumb is as bad as it sounds. The inability to hear or speak does not indicate intelligence. 

Person who has an intellectual or 
developmental disability.

Retarded, moron, imbecile, idiot. These are offensive to people who bear the label. 

Uses wheelchair or crutches; a wheelchair user; walks with crutches. 

Confined/restricted to a wheelchair; wheelchair bound. Most people who use a wheelchair or mobility devices do not regard them as confining. They are viewed as liberating; a means of getting around. 

Able-bodied; able to walk, see, hear, etc.; people who are not disabled. 

Healthy, when used to contrast with "disabled." Healthy implies that the person with a disability is unhealthy. Many people with disabilities have excellent health. 

People who do not have a disability 

Normal. When used as the opposite of disabled, this implies that the person is abnormal. No one wants to be labeled as abnormal. 

A person who has (name of disability.) 
Example: A person who has multiple sclerosis.

Afflicted with, suffer from. Most people with disabilities do not regard themselves as afflicted or suffering continually. Afflicted: a disability is not an affliction. 

City of Pittsburgh/Allegheny County Task Force on Disabilities
The Task Force advises the Mayor and County Executive in matters of policy which impact 
people with disabilities, promotes the inclusion of people with disabilities in all aspects of
community life, promotes the meaningful employment of people with disabilities in settings of
their choosing, and advises the Mayor and County Executive of State and Federal issues which
impact upon the dignity of lives of people with disabilities in Pittsburgh and Allegheny County.


The Task Force consists of thirteen members, Appointments and terms shall be as follows:

Six Members are appointed by the Allegheny County Executive and six members are appointed
by the Mayor, City of Pittsburgh. The twelve appointed members will then select a thirteenth
member. All members will serve at the pleasure of the Allegheny County Executive and
the Mayor, City of Pittsburgh.

Appointments shall be representative of a wide variety of disability groups, with consideration of
a county geographic and ethnic balance. Appointees shall have an interest, experience and a 
demonstrated commitment to issues pertaining to disability and access. Appointments shall be
made without regard to color, race religion, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, parental
or marital status, age, ancestry and/or disability, expect that a majority of the members of the
Task Force must be individuals with disabilities.

Websites of Interest

Intellectual Disability Websites of Interest

Developmental Disabilities Website of Interest 


ADA & IT Technical Assistance Center
A comprehensive resource for information on the Americans with Disabilities Act and 
Accessible Information Technology.

Americans with Disabilities Act
Federal home page of the American's with Disability Act, with information about 
employment, the law and other resources.

Family Web 2.0
A virtual meeting place for parents of children with disabilities to exchange resource that have
been user-tested for accessibility and usefulness.

Federation of Families for Children's Mental Health
A national parent-run non-profit organization focused on the needs of children and youth
with emotional, behavioral or mental disorders and their families.

National Organization on Disability
Information for business leaders, community leaders, N.O.D partners on community 
involvement, economic participation, access to independence and inclusion of people with
disabilities in all aspects of the community.

The New Freedom Initiative 
Their online site of disability related government resources.

Pittsburgh Health Information
Designed for people who are deaf, deaf-blind and hard for hearing and for health providers and
insurers. This website provides reliable health and advocacy-related information in a format that
is accessible to all. Discussion topics change monthly.

Ragged Edge Magazine
The successor to the award-winning periodical, The Disability Rag. In the Ragged Edge, and on this
website, you'll find the best in today's writing about society's "ragged edge" issues: medical 
rationing, genetic discrimination, assisted suicide, long-term care, attendant services. We cover the
disability experience in America -- what it means to be a cripple living at the start of the 
21st century.

US Department of Justice - Disabilities 
Information about the law, resources for parents, and other guides.

US Department of Labor, Office of Disability Employment Policy
Information for and about businesses

Allegheny County

Center for Hearing & Deaf Services
Provides a wide range of services for people who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Multiple Sclerosis Service Society
Funds research, furthers education, advocates for people with disabilities, and provides a variety 
of empowering programs for the third of a million Americans who have MS and their families.

Pittsburgh Vision Services
Provides employment opportunities, prevention of blindness activities and programs and services
that promote independence for persons residing in Allegheny County who are blind
or vision-impaired.

Three Rivers Center for Independent Living 
Mission is to promote independent living for and by individuals with disabilities; to empower
people with disabilities to live self-directed, productive, and personally meaningful lives in a self-
determined setting; and to provide high quality, consumer controlled services and to advocate for
effective community change so as to enhance opportunities for people with disabilities. 

CLASS (Community Living and Support Services)
Serves people with disabilities who live in the Allegheny County area, offering programs that 
build on individual strengths and promote inclusion in the community.