Accessibility in the News—4/07/17..
Litigation due to accessibility inclusion has been a large focus in this week’s Accessibility in the News. Litigation is shown in all fields of accessibility such as digital access, and building/facility access. Some restaurants are even having lawsuits filed due to inaccessible kiosk design.
AITN Quote of the Week
“People didn’t always see a person with a disability who had to use a ramp or elevator as people who have been given unnecessary privileges. But I run into that often now. People are saying, ‘Why do we have to go to great expense for these people?”
– Major Owens
National News (U.S.)
Legoland Florida Unveils Sensory-Friendly Features for Visitors on the Autism Spectrum
3/29 | Source: The Mighty | Cognitive, Autism, Arts/Entertainment, Inclusion | Florida
To make its theme park more enjoyable for everyone, Legoland Florida is implementing a number of changes that will make the park a better place for parkgoers on the autism spectrum. Last March, the park announced it was partnering with Autism Speaks to make a number of sensory-friendly additions to its Winter Haven, Florida location. This April, as part of Autism Awareness Month, the park will unveil those new features.
Autistic visitors will now be able to take advantage of the theme park’s new “Hero Pass,” a free pass that allows those with autism and their families to skip the line at popular attractions. The park will also feature multiple quiet rooms stocked with noise-cancelling headphones, weighted blankets, sensory-friendly toys and tables where kids can play with Legos…
Rec Center investigating installation of handicapped accessible baseball/softball field
3/29 | Source: The Press and Standard | Sports/Athletics, Mobility, Inclusion | South Carolina
Colleton County Recreation Director Chris Myers and Colleton County Capital Projects and Purchasing Director John T. Stieglitz III have started the preliminary work that could lead to the construction of a handicapped accessible baseball and softball field at the ACE Basin Sports Complex — and they are looking for those who share that vision.
Former Recreation Department employee Courtney Stevenson laid the groundwork for the possibility. Stevenson, while serving as the recreation center’s concession coordinator, brought the idea to Myers’ attention. A foster parent, Stevenson learned about miracle fields and the forming of miracle leagues and researched the subject — work that included getting the facts and figures together that showed the need in Colleton County.
Her research found that the county school district had 990 students who had some kind of disability. She reasoned that the county would have at least that many disabled adults who could also benefit from the construction of a handicapped accessible ball field. When Stevenson left her county post and relocated to Florida, she left her vision of a handicapped accessible ball field in Myers’ capable hands…
Court Dismisses Website Accessibility Case as Violating Due Process, Since DOJ Still Has Not Issued Regulations
Recent court decisions from California and Florida may provide ammunition to retailers battling claims that their websites and mobile applications are inaccessible in violation of Title III of the Americans With Disabilities Act (the “ADA”). As we reported in a previous blog post, retailers and other businesses have faced a wave of such demand letters and lawsuits. Most of these claims settled quickly and confidentially.
However, a California district court recently granted Dominos Pizza’s motion to dismiss under the primary jurisdiction doctrine, which allows courts to stay or dismiss lawsuits pending the resolution of an issue by a government agency. In Robles v. Dominos Pizza LLC, U.S. Dist. Ct. North Dist. Cal. Case No. CV 16-06599 SJO, the court held it would violate Domino’s due process rights to hold that its website violates the ADA, because the Department of Justice still has not promulgated regulations defining website accessibility – despite issuing a notice of proposed rulemaking back in 2010…
SAN JOSE FIRM FILLS COURT WITH CLAIMS LOCAL DISABLED PEOPLE ARE DENIED ACCESS
3/31 | Source: Visalia Times Delta | Discrimination, Lawsuits/Litigation, ADA, Disability Rights | California
San Jose law firm has filed hundreds of lawsuits in federal court against Central Valley businesses, alleging failure to comply with Americans with Disabilities Act standards. Most recently, at least six Oval Park area businesses received notice of a suit, making them the latest defendants in an unending practice that expands at least every 18 months. Owners of the restaurants and convenient stores said they were unaware of the violations and they received no warning.
“We didn’t know anything,” said Pieaae Bangkoknoy, owner of Bangkoknoy Thai Grocery Store. “We were just handed the papers. We didn’t know what was going on.” The grocery store has been in business for 23 years and Bangkoknoy said he had no prior complaints…
SDS talks accessibility on campus
3/31 | Source: The Southend | Higher Education, Mobility, Accessible Design | Michigan
Accessibility around Wayne State’s campus is not something many might think about daily. However, students who rely on wheelchairs and walkers, or cannot use the stairs, can experience constant struggles. “It’s very important that we take a proactive approach to addressing the needs on campus so that we are an accessible university, and I am very pleased to say that when we are, we have addressed a number of needs so that we do have an accessible university,” Student Disability Services Director Randie Kruman said.
SDS is a resource for students with both physical or invisible disabilities. It issued 853 accommodations to students with disabilities in the last academic year, according to its website. SDS actively helps students with physical, mental, vision and hearing disabilities…
See This Nifty EdTech Accessibility Infographic On Behalf Of Those Who Cannot
3/31 | Source: Moodle News | Digital Accessibility, Blindness/Visual Impairment, Education, Technology
In our digital lives, we witness the constant evolution of UX (user experience) and interactivity, as designers attempt to make our screen-related experience more engaging and pleasant. These benefits, unfortunately, cannot be enjoyed by everyone. About 15% of the world’s population, according to the World Health Organization, endure some form of physical disability, making simple tasks extremely difficult to perform, if not downright impossible.
In the spirit of promoting awareness about accessibility in the EdTech design and development practice, E-Learn Magazine shares an interactive infographic of the subject. It provides clear information that educates on accessibility, how EdTech can address some of the existing disabilities, and the importance of supporting efforts to promote equal opportunities to “understand, perceive, browse, interact, and contribute“, particularly on the web…
Did DelDOT hide reason for $4 million project?
3/31 | Source: Delaware Online | Transportation, Government, Building/Facilities Access, ADA | Delaware
Delaware Department of Transportation officials led by Secretary Jennifer Cohan told the public a $4 million remodel of agency headquarters is an effort to bring an old government building into compliance with standards set by the Americans with Disabilities Act. Yet multiple sources with direct knowledge of the project’s planning say that was only a slice of the truth – stating that ADA considerations did not arise until late in the process.
Contradicting the official line, they stated the multimillion-dollar remodel instead moved forward because the building was an uninviting work environment. One individual involved in planning meetings said Cohan wanted to spiff up the Dover building to appease her cadre of engineers, financial experts, planners and other staff who have dealt with years of stagnant wages…
Paralyzed Veterans of America Recognizes Virginia Governor’s Mansion for its Accessible Design
3/31 | Source: Paralyzed Veterans of America- PR Newswire | Mobility, Government, Aging, Accessible Design | Virginia
This week, Paralyzed Veterans of America (Paralyzed Veterans) announced it has awarded the 2017 Barrier-Free America Award to the Virginia Governor’s Mansion, for accessible architectural design demonstrating the importance of equal access in the built environment for all individuals with disabilities. The award will be presented in a private celebratory event on April 24.
Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe and First Lady Dorothy McAuliffe were notified earlier this year that the mansion would be honored for its accessible design. They released the following statement:…
Accessible Meetings FAQs- Important questions to ask about transportation, hotels and venue
4/1 | Source: Meetings & Conventions | Transportation, Travel, Awareness
How do you make your meetings or events accessible to all? As an informative resource for planners, the Event Service Professionals Association created Project Access: Accessible Meetings FAQs. According to ESPA president Paul Ruby, CMP, the full package is a downloadable resource that hotels, conventions centers, CVBs and other can customize with their accessibility information and branding, and provide to planners.
What follows is an adapted checklist from that longer form, offering some important to ask early in the planning process…
Mobility Mania kicks off local awareness campaign
4/1 | Source: Herald-Review | Mobility, Awareness, Building/Facilities Access | Michigan
When new businesses come to town or favorite buildings are revamped and revitalized, people get excited for their first look or visit. Yet think about those who eagerly await the opportunity to patronize a new restaurant or participate in the grand opening of a new building only to be stopped at the door because they can’t get in. This is reality for many in Grand Rapids who rely on wheelchairs to get around.
“Buildings are still being built that people can’t get in,” explained Myrna Peterson, co-chair of a local movement called Mobility Mania. Peterson and her Mobility Mania co-chair Lee Issacs are known to many throughout the Grand Rapids community as vocal advocates for those who are differently-abled…
Learning, as an adult woman, you have autism
4/2 | Source: CNN | Autism, Parenting, Health/Medical
Laura James, 47, is a successful journalist and author. She’s a wife to Tim and mother to four adult children. She likes fashion, cats and writing. She’s eloquent and quick-witted. She also has autism.
She was surprised when the idea was first suggested to her back in 2015 by a friendly nurse during a hospital stay in London. Laura was undergoing tests for Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, a rare connective tissue disorder, and returned to her hospital room exhausted, hoping to find the air conditioning on, a tuna sandwich on the table and some peace and quiet…
Button walk aims for accessibility
4/3 | Source: Campus Times | Awareness, Mobility, Advocacy, Building/Facilities Access
As part of its attempt to address accessibility on campus, the Student’s Association (SA) Government Senate Campus Services Committee held a “Button Walk” Friday. Participants walked around campus trying to find broken handicap buttons and inaccessible ramps on campus.
The Button Walk came a day after “Stories for Accessibility,” an event held by the Campus Services Committee to raise awareness of the difficulties faced by people with disabilities on a daily basis. The event was inspired, in part, by the apparent need for the accessibility of campus to be assessed…
To go above and beyond, government websites must first go back to basics
4/3 | Source: FedScoop | Government, Web Design, Digital Accessibility
A recent study by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation found that 92 percent of the most visited federal web domains fail to meet basic standards
for security, speed, accessibility and mobile-friendliness. ITIF evaluated 297 sites – all within the top 1 million websites worldwide.
Alan McQuinn, ITIF research analyst and the report’s lead author, notes, “Despite years of progress in digital government, a striking number of federal websites do not even meet many of the U.S. government’s own requirements, let alone private-sector best practices.”…
Siesta Motel LLC, Fawlty Towers Inc. alleged to have features that hinder accessibility to disabled persons
4/3 | Source: Florida Record | Building/Facilities Access, Discrimination, Travel, Lawsuits/Litigation | Florida
A disabled Broward County woman alleges she experienced discriminatory conditions at a Cocoa Beach motel. Patricia Kennedy filed a complaint on March 27 in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida against Siesta Motel LLC and Fawlty Towers Inc. citing the Americans with Disabilities Act.
According to the complaint, the plaintiff alleges that the defendants’ property has several non-compliant features that hinder accessibility to individuals with disabilities, such as doorways, grab bars, hardware, sinks and furniture…
A smarter home is a more accessible home
4/3 | Source: CNET | Housing, Accessible Design, Technology, Aging
Our second installment of Tech Enabled is all about the smart things in your home that can empower the elderly and people with disabilities. Increasingly, home is where the tech is.
Once this was the stuff of science fiction. Now we’re increasingly comfortable with the notion of controlling our doors and lights with our phone or by simply uttering a command to our Amazon Echo. A McKinsey report says that this year 29 million US homes will have some kind of connected tech. But beyond making our lives easier, this technology can have a more profound impact on the lives of people who deal with physical and mental disabilities…
Seattle may have to spend millions making sidewalks more accessible to people with disabilities
Seattle is moving toward settling a federal lawsuit that could cost millions of dollars as thousands of curb ramps are built at intersections across the city, to help make sidewalks usable for people with wheelchairs and other mobility issues. Three men with disabilities sued Seattle in 2015, alleging the city was violating the Americans with Disabilities Act because many sidewalks lack curb ramps — which make crossing the street possible in a wheelchair or scooter — and many of the existing curb ramps are not up to snuff.
Nearly three decades after the ADA became law, and despite what cities often say are the best of intentions, the courtroom has become a crucial way of forcing them into compliance. The Seattle case is among a flurry of ADA lawsuits across the country in recent years, many of which have forced cities to increase their spending on sidewalks and curb ramps by tens of millions of dollars or more…
Is your website ADA compliant?
4/3 | Source: WPTV | ADA, Digital Accessibility, Web Design, Awareness
If you think the Americans with Disabilities Act is limited to ramps and parking spaces, meet Louise Peyton. Blind since birth, she’s learned to navigate the world without sight and the world wide web is no exception. With a screen reader Louise is able to read anything online including the Wall Street Journal
“Every day I’m online reading the paper, doing something with the paper, the internet. I even read the Wall Street Journal,” Louise Peyton told us. A screen reader literally reads websites to Louise…
UW highlights Ph.D. candidate’s work on touchscreen accessibility
4/3 | Source: University of Washington | Education, Digital Accessibility, Accessible Design, Innovation | Washington
Today’s touchscreen world threatens to leave behind a lot of people with motor impairments, but iSchool Ph.D. candidate Martez Mott is working to change that with “Smart Touch.” The project aims to make touch devices intuitive and accessible to everyone, regardless of whether they touch with a finger, a palm or the back of a hand.
The University of Washington highlighted Mott’s work with “Smart Touch” and Ability-Based Design in a feature story on its home page. The story delves into Mott’s research at Provail, a local center that helps people with disabilities. The nonprofit offers computer classes, and Mott worked with eight participants, asking each to hit targets on the screen and then collecting the data…
The Coming Voting Rights Battle: Access vs. Accountability
4/4 | Source: Who.What.Why | Voting/Elections, Mobility, Inclusion, Advocacy, Accessible Design
For many years, the voting integrity community has grappled with the question of how to accommodate voters with disabilities without making elections less secure. There might finally be a solution on the horizon. One-sixth of the American electorate — over 35 million eligible voters — is disabled. For many of them, simple tasks that many of us take for granted — say, putting pen to paper — is, at best, terribly inconvenient, and, at worst, impossible.
This is why the disabled prefer direct-recording electronic voting machines (DREs), which advertise handicap-friendly features like touchscreens and audio-enabled ballots. But these machines often do not leave a paper trail, and are therefore considered less reliable by the voting-integrity community. This debate has created a rift among the advocates, forcing each side to think long and hard about how exactly to define a “fair election.”…
Changing accessible nature of city through art, Disability Arts Now engages community
4/4 | Source: The Rapidian | Arts/Entertainment, Inclusion, Accessible Design | Michigan
Launching this week, the three-year-old cultural organization DisArt, will be hosting a large symposium entitled, Disability Arts Now! World renowned academics, artists, community organizers, designers and much more, will come together and consider the current state of Disability Arts and its relation to civic access and engagement. This three-day symposium will be located at ArtPrize Hub SoundStage and organizers are inviting all Grand Rapids community members to come together and supply a voice to the conversation.
Cultural events that engage the community are important in pursuing and enacting necessary change within our city. One way that’s accomplished is through communication and art is one of the most effective modes of communication. “Art can allow us to gain an understanding beyond our own immediate experience, that is, to know the world through the perceptions of another,” says DisArt Executive Director, Chris Smit…
How to make sure your university’s online content is accessible to all
Despite advancements in online learning technologies and platforms, accommodations to make these technologies accessible to students and faculty with disabilities are not keeping pace. Though most institutions realize they must make accessibility a priority, figuring out the best approach and identifying funding sources can be daunting. A new whitepaper from 3PlayMedia delves into some of these issues and offers guidance as universities strive to make their content as accessible as possible.
Students and faculty who are deaf or have hearing challenges, who are blind or have low vision, who are color blind, or who have physical disabilities or temporary disabilities (such as those due to injury) all require accessibility features to help them consume digital information…
Many government websites frustrate those with disabilities
4/5 | Source: American Association for the Advancement of Science | Government, Web Design, Discrimination, Digital Accessibility
Astrophysicist Wanda Diaz-Merced doesn’t need a new study to know that many U.S. government websites are not easily accessible to persons with disabilities. Diaz-Merced, who is blind, is working with NASA to make its data archive sites navigable by screen-reading programs so that she can continue studying space weather as a postdoc for the International Astronomical Union in Cape Town, South Africa.
Last month the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), a Washington, D.C., think tank, found that 42% of the 300 most popular government websites posed significant accessibility problems. The foundation assigned each website a score based on new rules that don’t take effect until January 2018 as its yardstick, so the webmasters have several months to shape up. But, “There’s a lot of room for improvement,” says ITIF’s Alan McQuinn, co-author of the report…
Lyft partners with the National Federation of the Blind to make rides more accessible
Lyft is working to make its rides more accessible. The ride-hailing company this week joined with the National Federation of the Blind for a partnership that promises to increase awareness of blind passengers’ rights, advocate for effective public policies and expand transportation options for blind passengers and those with low vision.
“Companies like Lyft are empowering blind people to live the lives we want by providing fast, convenient and affordable transportation,” National Federation of the Blind President Mark A. Riccobono said in a statement. “This empowerment can only be real and complete, however, if all blind people, including those who use guide dogs, are able to access the service when and where they need it, without fear that they will be refused service.”…
Pressure grows to make restaurant kiosks ‘disability-friendly’
4/5 | Source: Fast Casual | Food Service, Lawsuits/Litigation, Blindness/Visual Impairment, ADA
A recent lawsuit on behalf of a blind customer against Eatsa, a restaurant that uses self-order kiosks, has put the kiosk industry in the spotlight. The American Council of the Blind filed a lawsuit in late March in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York against the fast casual restaurant chain on behalf of a legally blind customer. Michael Godino said he was unable to use the self-serve kiosk in a New York CityEatsa to browse the menu, check prices, select ingredients, review his order or pay since the device was inaccessible. The lawsuit alleges Godino could not pick up his food since the food delivery system was not accessible.
Although requirements under the Americans with Disabilities Actdo not provide black-and-white specifications as to what kiosk deployers and integrators must do to comply with the law, the complaint asks the court to order Eatsa to take necessary steps to ensure compliance with ADA and state law…
Petco alleged to have a website not accessible to visually impaired
4/5 | Source: Florida Record | Blindness/Visual Impairment, Web Design, Discrimination, ADA | Florida
A blind consumer claims an animal supplies store does not have an accessible website to the visually impaired. Andres Gomez, on behalf of himself and all others similarly situated, filed a complaint on March 28 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida against Petco Animal Supplies Inc., doing business as Petco, alleging that the defendant violated the American with Disabilities Act.
According to the complaint, the plaintiff alleges that he visited the defendant’s website. However, Gomez claims the website does not properly interact with screen-reader software in a manner that will allow blind and visually impaired to enjoy the website. As a result, Gomez claims he and other visually impaired consumers suffered loss of dignity, mental anguish and other tangible injuries…
BART Accused of Systemic Disability Discrimination
4/5 | Source: Courthouse News Service | Discrimination, Transit/Transportation, Mobility | California
A class accused the Bay Area’s public transit system on Wednesday of denying disabled persons full and equal access by failing to properly maintain, repair and clean elevators “soiled” with human waste. Lead plaintiff Senior and Disability Action says the Bay Area Rapid Transit District, or BART, has for decades provided “vastly inferior” service to disabled riders.
“This class action seeks to end the systemic civil rights violations committed by the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART) against people with mobility disabilities who use wheelchairs, walkers, and other mobility aids, and who rely on elevators or escalators in order to access BART’s stations and services,” the 34-page complaint states…
Texas dentist sued in federal court for website being non-compliant with Americans with Disabilities Act
I recently received a frantic note from a very worried Dallas-area dentist. He asked, “Do you know if you or someone you know can fix my website so that it is compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) criteria? Please let me know as soon as you can because there is some litigation going on. Thank you.”
“Some litigation” is putting it mildly. This dentist was sued in federal court because his website was not compliant with the ADA. It’s costing him thousands to fight this. Also, what if the state dental board gets wind of this pending lawsuit?…
Arizona Bill Would Prevent Someone From Suing A Business Over Website Accessibility
4/6 | Source: KJZZ | Lawsuits/Litigation, Government, ADA, Web Design, Blindness/Visual Impairment | Arizona
Last year, thousands of Valley businesses were sued by a controversial disability group over minor parking violations stemming from the Americans with Disabilities Act. Now, some business groups want to make sure businesses aren’t targeted again.
There’s nothing in the ADA that requires a business to make their Websites accessible to someone who is blind or visually impaired. As Senate Bill 1406 was moving through the legislature last week, language was added that would prevent someone from suing businesses over website accessibility. It’s like a preemptive strike until the issue is resolved…
Halifax couple frustrated VIA trains too narrow for their wheelchairs
3/31 | Source: CBC News- Canada | Mobility, Transit/Transportation, Discrimination, Accessible Design | Canada
A Halifax couple who use power wheelchairs are calling on VIA Rail to make the Ocean train cars accessible to everyone. Wendy and Guy White both need power wheelchairs. The couple were hoping to travel by train to Moncton to celebrate Wendy’s mother’s 94th birthday this week, but weren’t able to do so because the door on VIA Rail’s train was too small.
White’s mother lives in Moncton. Wendy moved to Halifax from Amherst when she realized she was going to lose the use of her legs. She needed to be closer to wheelchair-accessible services. White has not seen her mother since she lost the ability to drive in 2012 and she’s saddened that they won’t be able to spend the day together…
India gets its first wheelchair accessible beach festival and it was much needed
3/31 | Source: Business Insider- India | Mobility, Accessible Design, Arts/Entertainment, Inclusion | India
For the first time ever, Goa is hosting a beach festival for the wheelchair users and it was the need of the hour. The beach festival, which will go on till April 09, will see wheelchair users enjoying the sand and sea with their kin and kith. If you are wondering how a wheelchair can be taken on sand, special wheelchairs have been designed so that people can experience the Goan beaches and more than 100 wheelchair users will get on a beach.
In this fest too, a slew of events have been planned such as Aquatic Beach Chair, Beach Bowling, Wheelchair Cricket, Kite Flying, Sand Castle Competitions, and Wheelchair Dancing. The event is being organised at Candolim beach by Umoja, an online travel platform for accessible travel, along with Disability Rights Associations of Goa and ADAPT and Drishti Life Services…
TTC: Accessibility Upgrades Coming to St Patrick Station
3/31 | Source: Urban Toronto- Canada | Transit/Transportation, Accessible Design, Inclusion, Innovation | Canada
As part of its efforts to meet the Province’s Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act of 2005, the TTC’s Easier Access Plan is in the process of improving accessibility across Toronto’s buses, streetcars, and rapid transit hubs. With a number of these projects already underway, work will start this weekend on adding new elevators to St Patrick Station on the University line.
Two elevators are being installed to serve the Downtown station; one leading down to the station concourse from street level (this one will be inside the Residences of 488 University Avenue, now under construction at the northeast corner of University and Dundas), and a second elevator connecting the concourse with platform level below…
AEMA makes adult education more accessible
3/31 | Source: European Association for the Education of Adults (EAEA)- Europe | Education, Inclusion, Accessible Design
The AEMA network’s main output is a One-Stop Information Portal that connects adult education providers, experts and disabled learners. This portal enables European adult education providers and experts to discuss and exchange practices and methodologies on accessibility. It also supports adult learners to identify adult education providers that meet their specific accessibility needs.
Adult education providers and experts on accessibility can also use the portal as a quick guide, a tool to review and improve practices, an assistant to plan the development of some key areas as well as a source of information to design policies – on internal, sectoral, regional or national level)…
Tokyo 2020 publish accessibility guidelines
3/31 | Source: Paralympic.org- Japan | Paralympics, Sports/Athletics, Inclusion, Building/Facilities Access | Japan
The Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee has published its Accessibility Guidelines which aim to ensure the Olympic and Paralympic Games in three years’ time are fully inclusive and accessible to everyone.
Developed by working closely with the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), relevant government organisations, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, relevant municipal authorities and several disability groups, the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee has formulated its Tokyo 2020 Accessibility Guidelines…
Well-meaning adaptable housing legislation in Canberra a “failure
4/1 | Source: Domain- Australia | Housing, Legislation/Policy, Discrimination | Australia
David Shearer has been working with Independent Property Group for 28 years. As director of project planning he specialises in the planning and design of new apartment and townhouse developments.
TT: Hi David, we meet again. I must say today’s topic has caught me off guard. I had never considered well-meaning adaptable housing legislation as a failure. I had always thought such a considered policy would have found its mark.
DS: Interesting, isn’t it? Like you, I had considered the application of this planning policy as good strategic planning – until I really thought about it, then the stats confirmed it as not just a failure, but an abysmal waste of resources that fails to find its target…
Katie Colbourne says Corner Brook needs to become more accessible
4/2 | Source: The Western Star- Canada | Mobility, Blindness/Visual Impairment, Building/Facilities Access | Canada
Katie Colbourne has said more than once that she didn’t realize how hard it was to get around Corner Brook until she became disabled. Colbourne had a stroke and brain aneurysm eight years ago that have left her partially paralyzed and legally blind.
Just over a year ago, she spoke with The Western Star about her frustrations with accessibility throughout the city. It seems not much has changed. From shopping malls to drugstores and even Corner Brook City Hall, Colbourne said, “everywhere there’s issues. It’s heartbreaking.”…
Digital push must be disability-inclusive
4/2 | Source: The Hindu- India | Inclusion, Digital Accessibility, Aging, Advocacy | India
Around 8-10% of India’s population lives with disabilities, with an equal number constituting the aged. Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) have the potential to significantly impact the lives of these groups, facilitating access of services available to them and allowing them to handle a wide range of activities independently, enhancing their social, cultural, political and economic participation. Making ICT accessible no longer remains an option but has become a necessity.
Poor accessibility due to lack of focussed information and political will has led to social exclusion of people with disabilities, exacerbating the negative impact of the existing digital divide. The new call for action of disability rights activists now is “Cause No Harm”, thus ensuring future generations are not excluded from mainstream activities due to a hostile infrastructure…
Consultation open to make public transport more accessible
4/2 | Source: govnews- Australia | Transit/Transportation, Government, Accessible Design | Australia
The federal government has invited organisations, individuals and interested parties to have their say on its new guide to improve disability access on public transport systems across Australia. The guide is titled The Whole Journey: A guide for thinking beyond compliance to create accessible public transport journeys, and has been coordinated by the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development.
Under the guide, the government plans to encourage policy makers, planners, designers, builders, certifiers and operators to ‘think beyond compliance and the physical and governance boundaries of services and infrastructure’ and ‘focus instead on people’s accessibility needs across their whole journey’. According to the Department, the federal government ‘recognised’ that 13 years after inception some parts of the Transport Standards may not be meeting the current and future needs of people with disability or provide sufficient flexibility or guidance to providers and operators in their efforts to fulfill their obligations under the Disability Discrimination Act…
Arriva aims to boost confidence of disabled travelers
4/3 | Source: Cambrian Times- UK | Travel, Transportation, Inclusion, Accessible Design | United Kingdom
RAIL operator Arriva Trains Wales is seeking to develop new partnerships across its network in an initiative aimed at making rail travel more accessible for disabled people in Ceredigion and Powys. As part of the train operators’ commitment to community inclusion, it is seeking to work closely with disabled people in Ceredigion and Powys area by arranging visits to local support groups.
The company is aiming to increase awareness of the assistance that is available at stations and on trains, how to book assistance, the facilities available at stations and on trains, the accessibility improvements being delivered at stations and the benefits of a Disabled Persons’ Railcard…
Enabling real accessibility for all
4/3 | Source: Eurotransport- UK | Transit/Transportation, Mobility, Inclusion | United Kingdom
Since 1st January 2016 it’s been a requirement that all full size single deck buses over 7.5 tonnes must be fully accessible; all double deckers from January 1st 2017. This is in order to meet Public Service Vehicle Accessibility Regulations (PSVAR) 2000, and means that the bus must have space for a wheelchair and there must be suitable safety provisions depending on whether the wheelchair is carried facing forwards or backwards.
For most buses across Europe, the safety provision is usually an anti-tipping pole for the wheelchair user to hold on to. This is obviously only of use if the wheelchair passenger is able to utilise their arms and has the strength to hold themselves, and their chair. Wheelchairs do have brakes, but these were not designed to hold both chair and passenger in place on a moving bus, therefore moving about during a journey is a constant headache for wheelchair passengers…
Blind woman highlights need for better access after Passport Canada did not help her fill out form
4/3 | Source: Global News- Canada | Blindness/Visual Impairment, Discrimination, Workforce | Canada
An Ontario woman says the federal government is letting down residents with disabilities by forbidding staff at Passport Canada from helping applicants fill out their forms. Rebecca Blaevoet of Windsor, Ont., says she learned of the policy last month when she went to have her passport renewed.
Blaevoet, who is totally blind, requested that Passport Canada staff write out her form according to the responses she provided, but was informed that doing so would . Staff offered her a braille form, which would only have allowed her to read the application rather than complete it, only to retract the offer upon realizing they did not have any in stock.
Vancouver’s disabled drivers fight for ‘basic right’ to wheelchair accessible parking in condos
4/3 | Source: Global News- Canada | Transit/Transportation, Mobility, Accessible Parking, Discrimination | Canada
When 35-year-old Yasaman Best drives back home from work, she crosses her fingers in the hopes that there will be a disabled parking spot available in her visitor parking when she arrives. But often she returns home to see vehicles parked there, some with disabled passes and some without. She is then forced to wait in her vehicle, sometimes up two hours, until her husband arrives home to let her out and park the car for her.
Without accessible parking, Best, who became paraplegic 15 years ago in a car crash, doesn’t have enough space to fully open her driver’s side door to assemble and disassemble her wheelchair beside her vehicle…
The STM Has an Accessibility Problem
4/3 | Source: The Link- Canada | Transit/Transportation, Accessible Parking, Discrimination | Canada
Sure, there are cities that have it far worse than we do, and the STM is continuously making strides to improve. In spite of this, there are still issues with public transit—issues that are more serious than they might seem at first glance.
For many, public transit isn’t just an option, or the thing you use when you don’t want to think about parking. It’s our only way to get around this city. I’m disabled. I can’t drive. And a lot of people are in similar situations. When it comes to transit, our disabilities aren’t the thing stopping us…
Accessible online video – a plea to Government and Australian broadcasters
4/3 | Source: Access iQ- Australia | Digital Accessibility, Government, Inclusion, Awareness | Australia
It’s a ritual in my home that every Monday night my wife and I get our weekly news and current affairs fix on the ABC by watching Four Corners and then Media Watch. One of the things I really enjoy about Media Watch is that it looks at some of the misinformation that turns up in the media and its likely impact on how people understand important issues. So it was with some irony that a few weeks ago Media Watch had a segment about the failings of Media Watch itself when it came to the provision of closed captions on the ABC iview catch-up TV service.
Apparently when Media Watch was put on iview that week, the Media Watch captions were mixed up with another show which not only led to confusion, but the displaying of some very coarse language without warnings. While on the surface this issue is humorous, the saga of getting accessible video onto the public broadcaster continues to be a challenging one. With recently announced job cuts and a reallocation of ABC funds, it’s a good time to consider how the provision of accessible video in Australia is going and why we still haven’t reached the quality or availability of countries like the US and the UK…
Quebec offers funds to improve accessibility
4/4 | Source: REMI Network- Canada | Government, Building/Facilities Access, Inclusion, Accessible Design | Canada
The Quebec government will provide funds to improve accessibility in buildings that predate current code standards. A new incentive program announced last week in the 2017-18 provincial budget will dispense subsidies, to a maximum of $15,000, for upgrades to commercial buildings or community centres. Another $5 million will be directed to tourist attractions and accommodations.
The Société d’habitation du Québec will oversee the first program, which has a target to fund approximately 160 projects per year over a five-year period. Applicants can secure up to 75 per cent of the cost of implementing barrier-free design standards that ease access into and out of buildings. The $11-million provincial fund could also be used to top up similar incentives that the cities of Montréal and Trois-Rivères now offer, but recipients would be limited to a total of $15,000 from the combined sources…
GO GEORGE website can now talk to you!
4/4 | Source: R News- Africa | Digital Accessibility, Web Design, Inclusion, Blindness/Visual Impairment | Africa
As part of the quest to be as user-friendly and accessible to all members of the public as possible, GO GEORGE has now installed the ReadSpeaker application on their website, www.gogeorge.org.za. This special feature supplies clear audio reading of website content by the click of a button that appears next to all the English items. The service does not include any other indigenous languages. The user can customise the feature in terms of reading speed, text-highlighting options and volume, and also has an option to download the item as an mp3 file.
ReadSpeaker is compatible with screen-reading software and other accessibility tools used by people with limited vision. However, it has a wider application than just for people with generally accepted visual impairments, as it provides enhanced access to people that do not have high literacy skills too…
Ontario Supporting Accessibility Innovation for Business
4/4 | Source: Government of Ontario- Canada | Innovation, Government, Inclusion, Businesses | Canada
Government Partnering with OCAD to Improve Accessibility for Consumers with Disabilities. Ontario is helping businesses and organizations better understand the needs of people with disabilities, while supporting them with new ideas to make their products and services more accessible.
The government is partnering with OCAD University’s Inclusive Design Research Centre to deliver the BIG IDeA, a collaborative pilot program that celebrates successes and promotes innovations in accessibility. The program features:…
This Cafe Is Staffed Entirely By Deaf People
4/4 | Source: Huffington Post- Nicaragua | Deaf/Hearing Impaired, Inclusion, Workforce/Employment, Food Service | Nicaragua
When we walked into the cafe, we were greeted by a waitress who smiled, held out a menu, and pointed to a table. It’s only when we asked for “una mesa para seis,” or a table for six, that we realized something was a bit different: The waitress glanced at our group and held up six fingers. That’s because she ? and all the other staff ? are deaf.
Last month, The Huffington Post visited Café de las Sonrisas (“Smiles Cafe”) in Granada. The business only employs people who are deaf, from the waiters to the cooks. “My goal is for this cafe to be a mirror for other businesses to lose their fear of hiring people with disabilities,” founder Antonio Prieto Buñuel ? who is from Spain, and goes by “Tio Antonio,” or “Uncle Antonio” ? told HuffPost. (Our conversation took place in Spanish.)…
Festival du Voyageur to upgrade Fort Gibraltar accessibility
4/4 | Source: Metro News-Canada | Mobility, Travel, Inclusion, Building/Facilities Access | Canada
Doing right by those with mobility challenges might not be cheap, but in this day and age it’s really the only option — especially on cultural sites and public venues. Lori Ross, chairperson of the Independent Living Resource Centre, was recently at Fort Gibraltar in Winnipeg for a retirement party.
In La Maison du Bourgeois, a historic two-storey building that now hosts various events, Ross — who uses an electric wheelchair — was impressed that it “happened to be accessible.” There’s even an elevator, which is necessary for the building to remain in accordance with the Accessibility for Manitobans Act…
#WePlayTogether: Changing perceptions, accessibility
4/6 | Source: Paralympic.org- Germany | Paralympics, Sports/Athletics, Inclusion | Germany
The Paralympic Games have become the world’s number one sporting event for driving social inclusion. Their transformational impact reaches far beyond the track, field, pool and courts and into the lives of millions of citizens, with and without impairments, across the globe. Bid cities have increasingly recognised the value of making facilities accessible for all. Whether you are a wheelchair user, an amputee, a person with a visual or intellectual impairment or even a parent with a pushchair, Games cities are now easier to get around for everyone.
Sustainable cities and communities have become one of the key legacies of hosting a Paralympic Games. Like the sporting action, accessibility makes a real and long lasting impact on peoples’ lives. However, most Games organisers do not stop at making Games venues barrier free…
Accessibility Information & Blogs
- The University of Texas at Austin Division of Diversity and Community Engagement (DDCE)
- Accessibility Conformance Testing (ACT) Rules Format 1.0- W3C First Public Working Draft
- Latest advances in accessibility include Project Torino, updates to OneNote and new Copilot for Xbox One (Microsoft Accessibility Blog)
- Websites, Kiosks, and Other Self-Service Equipment in Franchising: Legal Pitfalls Posed by Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act- Seyfarth Shaw
- Website Accessibility Under the ADA, A New Federal Court Ruling Helps Banks- Duane Morris
- Now What?: ADA’s Website Accessibility Guidelines May Take Longer than Anticipated- Haynsworth Sinkler Boyd
- ABA, State Associations Continue Focus on ADA Website Issues- ABA Banking Journal
- Two Federal Courts Dismiss ADA Website Accessibility Claim- JD Supra
- Accessibility Test- Dribble
- The Secret Lobotomy of Rosemary Kennedy
- Nonprofit Alliance Weeks at the Capitol 2017
- DES MOINES, Iowa- County auditors to get tablets to check for accessible polling places
- Royal Pharmaceutical Society
- The Public Relations Society of America
- Tarrant County College
- NHS Department of Health- UK
- Coronado Unified School District
- Georgetown University Campus ADA Map
- Michigan State University
- Mohonasen Central School District
- Science Mag- American Association for the Advancement of Science
- Harvard University
- NFU Mutual
- AstraZeneca Canada
- Pita Pit
- The Office of the Government Chief Information Officer (OGCIO)- The Government of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region
Accessibility Announcements & Products
- Apple Highlights Autism Acceptance Month Through App Store, Retail Field Trips
- Changes to our website… and county elections coming up
- Capti Voice Awarded EdTech Digest’s 2017 Award for Best Special Needs Solution
- Mobility123 Solves Home Mobility Issues Using Stair Lifts and Other Products
- Quicken Loans Arena Gets Accessibility Certification
- Beach improvements and audible signals helping Bracebridge accessibility
- Aging in place- Join us for Brain Games
- Accessibility Working Group Survey- City of Victoria BC
- Google updates Material Design Guidelines, releases color tool for creating palettes and testing accessibility
- Google Outs New Tools To Aid Material Design Compliance
- Captioning Prioritization
- Accessibility in Victoria, BC
- docs – examples page – update html semantic for accessibility purpose- GitHub
- Will JAWS, ZoomText, and MAGic work with the Windows 10 Creators
- Solving the cross-platform emoji problem- Emojificiate is a server-side implementation of web-accessible emoji written in Python.
- “Wheelchair Accessibility Excellent”
Additional Accessibility Information
Digital Accessibility Digest
One of our three industry blogs, Microassist’s Digital Accessibility Digest is the “umbrella” for much of our accessibility content. It features commentary, guidance, curated news, and event information.
Accessibility in the News is a regular feature of the Digital Accessibility Digest. To receive Accessibility in the News first (before it hits our website!), please subscribe below for our email version. As a bonus, the newsletter version also includes information on upcoming training and resources.
Microassist Accessibility Services
Outlining a host of accessibility-related services, Microassist Accessibility Services: Barrier-Free Digital Development, provides background on Microassist expertise and the various offerings available for digital content and platforms. Services cover accessible elearning, website, and application development, audit and remediation services, and accessibility testing across various formats.
Please contact us for any questions you have about our accessibility services and how we might support your organization.