Accessibility in the News—07/14/17.
Legal actions and policy are amplifying the need for accessibility in digital and physical environments. Accessible design is enforced by the Americans with Disabilities Act and is important for anyone and everyone to understand because of the necessity for inclusion and disability rights. Some of this week’s top stories on legal action for accessible design include a website accessibility lawsuit in Miami being settled for closed captioning rights, as well as Winn-Dixie’s lawsuit causing digital and web accessibility chatter across businesses with inaccessible websites.
Read more on accessible design, legal actions, digital accessibility, and much more below, in this week’s Accessibility in the News.
In addition to the news items featured here, be sure to check out the Resources section available in every issue. It is rich with the most recent accessibility pages, blogs, product announcements, and more.
AITN Quote of the Week
“I am different, not less.”
— Temple Grandin
National News (U.S.)
Guide dogs get to know a new voice: Alexa- Voice-controlled personal assistant helps The Seeing Eye school help the blind
Source: Amazon (Video) | Blindness/Visual Impairment, Assistive Technology, Inclusion | New Jersey
A blind person who stays at The Seeing Eye school in Morristown, NJ is only asked to pay a fraction of what it costs to train the dog that changes their life: $1 for military veterans, $150 for anyone else. The school, a nonprofit founded in 1929, covers the rest. Students get everything they need to spend a comfortable three weeks learning to work with their new guide dog. That means meals, a roundtrip plane ticket from anywhere in America, a dorm room, and – most recently – an Echo to use throughout their stay.
It was Jim Kutsch, The Seeing Eye’s CEO, who realized Amazon’s voice-controlled personal assistant could help students get through countless challenges. “Once we got an Echo at home, I put that together with the fact that we’d had so many access issues,” said Kutsch, who has been blind since he was 16. “Look, a sighted person might just glance at a timer to know there’s so many minutes left. With Echo, we can ask without having to go over and pick up a timer, push a button.”…
Toyota’s support robot helps paralyzed war veteran
July 2, 2017 | Source: News Atlas | Assistive Technology, Innovation, Inclusion, Mobility
Toyota has been developing industrial robotics since the 1970s but it wasn’t until 2004, with the announcement of its “Partner Robot” project that it started to move from the industrial and into the domestic. The company recently reached a new landmark in the project with the successful completion of the first North American in-home trial of the Human Support Robot (HSR), a bot developed to help people with a disability carry out everyday activities.
Toyota’s Partner Robot research covers five projects including a humanoid robot dexterous enough to play the violin and Robina, initially functioning as a tour guide around Toyota facilities before moving into nursing homes as an assistant robot. The most recent project is the Human Support Robot (HSR) introduced in 2012…
Dyslexia Decoded: Cedar Park native demonstrates life with dyslexia in simulation
July 6, 2017 | Source: Hill Country News | Cognitive, Education, Awareness | Texas
Cami Cox, a dyslexic student at Baylor University, says Dr. Seuss books are still a challenge. But undaunted, she will return this August as a sophomore and put in extra time to decipher college-level textbooks in her studies to become an elementary school teacher.
Cox, a Cedar Park resident, might be who Seuss had in mind when writing “things can happen and frequently do to people as brainy and footsy as you.” Due to her determination, she’s since been accepted to Baylor University and she was awarded the Girl Scouts Gold Award — the organization’s highest possible honor — for developing an engaging simulation of what it is to be dyslexic for student peers…
Access excess? MTA spending $6M to make stairless station handicapped accessible
July 7, 2017 | Source: Brooklyn Daily | Mobility, Accessible Design, Inclusion, ADA
Straphangers to MTA: We need elevators!
July 7, 2017 | Source: Brooklyn Daily | Mobility, Accessible Design, Inclusion, ADA
The state plans to make the Canarsie–Rockaway Parkway station handicapped accessible within the next few years, but straphangers and local community leaders can’t understand how the street-level L train platform isn’t already compliant for disabled riders, said one local resident who has been begging for an elevator at the treacherous Broadway Junction station nearby for years.
“How do you make that ADA compliant? It’s flat, there’s no need for an escalator there,” said Michael Ien. “I see no need for it there — there are no steps involved, it’s all ground level, you walk from one end to the other.”…
Floating wheelchairs boost beach accessibility for disabled
Five state beaches will be equipped with floating wheelchairs, thanks to a partnership between a group of physical therapy students at Franklin Pierce University and SMILE Mass. Third-year student Adrienne Olney said she met Lotte Diomede, who co-founded Small Miracles in Life Exist, during the Abilities Expo in Boston in September of last year. Olney is a doctoral student and on the board of the physical therapy association for Franklin Pierce students.
“We all wanted to do a class project. When I met Lotte, her passion just exuded. I have a 7-year-old daughter that thought the chair was really, really cool. So I spoke to Lotte a little bit and I said, ‘How many of these chairs are in New Hampshire, and she said, ‘None,’ and I was like, none? That’s not OK,” Olney said…
Houston Museum of Natural Science makes exhibits more friendly for kids with autism
July 7, 2017 | Source: ABC13 | Autism, Digital Accessibility, Inclusion, Arts/Entertainment | Texas
The Houston Museum of Natural Science is opening up a whole new world for some special kids. The museum is now making all exhibits more autism-friendly and free of sensory triggers. The plan includes a number of small but critical adjustments at nearly every exhibit.
Museum employee Sahil Patel and his team took it upon themselves to create a sensory guide for parents and their children with autism. The guide is accessible online and at the museum for parents to plan their visits. Patel said he was inspired to create the accessibility plan by his brother who has autism…
July 7, 2017 | Source: Indianapolis Business Journal | Technology, Digital Accessibility, Innovation | Indiana
Stuart Alter is the Indianapolis Museum of Art’s first director of technology strategy, a post he assumed after joining the cultural institution a year and a half ago. His position combines the roles of IT department manager and director of innovation at the IMA Lab, the museum’s decade-old center for art-based technology use and study. He has a team of 10 technologists—six working in the IMA Lab and four in the IT department.
Alter said partnerships with organizations such as the American Art Collaborative, an open-data initiative that includes 14 U.S. museums—are key for keeping the museum’s collections and databases up to date. Alter spoke with IBJ about upcoming projects at the IMA, community partnerships and working with museums across the nation to share in the rapid growth of museum technology…
MBTA to test new way to help blind find bus stops
July 7, 2017 | Source: Boston Globe | Blindness/Visual Impairment, Transit/Transportation, Technology
The MBTA plans to test technology to make it easier for visually impaired riders to find where to stand when waiting for one of its buses. The agency will install Bluetooth beacons on bus stop signs that can communicate via a smartphone app to tell users how close they are to the stop.
David Block-Schachter, chief technology officer at the T, said GPS software, such as Google Maps, is typically accurate at marking bus stops only within about 20 to 30 feet of the stop. “The problem we’re trying to solve is heartbreaking,” Block-Schachter said…
The W3C has overruled members’ objections and will publish its DRM for videos
EFF has appealed the W3C’s decision to make DRM for the web without protections
July 12, 2017 | Source: Boing Boing | Web Design, Technology, Digital Accessibility
It’s been nearly four months since the W3C held the most controversial vote in its decades-long history of standards-setting: a vote where accessibility groups, security experts, browser startups, public interest groups, human rights groups, archivists, research institutions and other worthies went up against trillions of dollars’ worth of corporate muscle: the world’s largest electronics, web, and content companies in a battle for the soul of the open web.
These deep-pocketed companies are faced with a conundrum. The new version of HTML5 eliminates the APIs that have historically supported DRM systems like Flash, and DRM companies are (unsurprisingly) aggressive about filing broad patents on their technology, and that makes supporting DRM on the present-day web into an expensive and complex nightmare…
Listening post at the library to discuss school seclusion rooms, accessibility on Saturday
July 7, 2017 | Source: LittleVillageMag | ADA, Education, Disability Rights, Awareness | Iowa
Iowa City Community School Board Member Phil Hemingway will be holding a listening post in Meeting Room A at the Iowa City Public Library. The session will focus on two high profile issues: the use of seclusion rooms and how the district is complying with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Seclusion rooms — also known as quiet rooms, safe rooms and timeout rooms — are used to confine students when a school staff member decides that a student may be a danger to others or is creating a significant disturbance. The rooms are only supposed to be used as a last resort, when a student’s behavior is uncontrollable…
Is your website accessible to deaf and blind people?
July 8, 2017 | Source: University World News | Digital Accessibility, Web Design, Deaf/Hearing Impaired, Blindness/Visual Impairment
After the 2016 presidential election, Marcie Lipsitt looked up the alma maters of Donald J Trump’s chief advisers and persuaded the Education Department to investigate them for illegally having websites inaccessible to people with disabilities. At the height of this year’s NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament, she similarly triggered federal scrutiny of colleges represented in the ‘Sweet Sixteen’ regional semi-finals. Morgan State University became one of her targets because she had met one of its blind students in Detroit Metropolitan Airport.
Lipsitt, a veteran disability-rights activist from Franklin, Michigan, says she regards virtually any college as an easy target, because nearly all have web pages inaccessible to people who are blind or deaf, or who have motor or cognitive disabilities. Since early last year Lipsitt has asked the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights to investigate more than 360 colleges for online violations of the Americans With Disabilities Act, which bars discriminatory practices, and the Rehabilitation Act, which requires equal access to the websites of programmes receiving a federal subsidy…
Florida agrees to make prisons more accessible for inmates with disabilities
For years, inmates with disabilities in Florida have doubly struggled to navigate its prison system, lawyers say. Inmates with hearing problems have said they were denied interpreters or hearing aids that would help them understand orders or announcements in their facilities. Inmates who are blind alleged that their canes were not replaced when broken, making it impossible to navigate the halls around them. Some with mobility problems reported that they were not allowed to have wheelchairs inside their cells or that their prosthetic limbs were confiscated, meaning they had to drag themselves around in their cells or wait in long lines for the few wheelchair-accessible showers or tables in their prisons.
The state has agreed to a major settlement with a statewide disability advocacy group to address those complaints, setting a timeline to bring its facilities into compliance with federal laws including the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Eighth Amendment…
New Law Requires Notice and Cure Period Before Commencement of MHRA Public Accommodation Litigation
July 8, 2017 | Source: JD Supra | Lawsuits/Litigation, ADA, Government, Disability Rights
In response to a growing number of “drive-by” accessibility lawsuits filed in Minnesota in recent years, and after an unsuccessful attempt to remedy the problem last year, the Minnesota legislature recently passed amendments to the Minnesota Human Rights Act (MHRA). The new legislation requires that before commencing any litigation alleging that a place of public accommodation is not in compliance with state accessibility requirements, a represented plaintiff must first provide that place of public accommodation with written notice of any alleged legal noncompliance and allow a reasonable time (at least 60 days) for the identified deficiency to be remedied.
The cure period will automatically be extended an additional 30 days if a notice recipient responds in writing that it intends to remove an architectural barrier but weather prevents it from doing so immediately. A represented plaintiff (the notice requirement does not apply to pro se litigants) may not proceed with litigation if the notice has not been provided, and remediation within the notice period can be used as an affirmative defense in the event that a plaintiff still chooses to proceed with litigation…
Pinterest head of design on accessibility through better design
July 10, 2017 | Source: Tech Crunch (Video) | Web Design, Inclusion, Accessible Design
August de los Reyes is the head of design and research at Pinterest. In this episode, he shares how a personal life event forever altered his outlook on design, what inclusive design means to him, and why diverse teams have the best shot at combatting disabilities and exclusion. According to de los Reyes, design is fundamental. He believes that design literacy should be taught in schools across the world to help instill a sense of design from an early age. This will lead to a generation of more problem-solvers…
City of Miami Settles Website Accessibility Lawsuit
July 10, 2017 | Source: WireUpdate | Lawsuits/Litigation, WCAG, Digital Accessibility, Web Design | Florida
The City of Miami and Mr. Eddie Sierra, a local disability advocate, have entered into a federal Consent Decree that guarantees the deaf and hard of hearing will now have equal access to video content on city’s website. Previously, video content was inaccessible to those with hearing disabilities because there were no closed captions. Under the consent decree, the city agreed to adopt the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0, an international standard for website accessibility, and to adhere to Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act.
By October 1, 2017, the City of Miami will provide real-time closed captioning for its City Commission and Planning and Zoning Appeals Board meetings. Within six months, it will close caption all City Commission, Planning and Zoning Appeals Board meetings since January 2016. This includes all videos created during that time and posted on social media as well. Within eighteen months, the city will close caption all video content created since January 2015. The city will also adopt the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 standard for all third-party websites and applications using video…
Parking, signage most common ADA compliance issues
July 11, 2017 | Source: Pacific Daily News | ADA, Accessible Parking, Discrimination
This month, the Department of Integrated Services for Individuals with Disabilities is marking 27 years since the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act. As a federal civil rights law, the purpose of the ADA is to ensure equal rights and opportunities for people with disabilities. While Guam’s businesses have improved ADA compliance many are still unaware of requirements contained in the law, said Benito Servino, director of the Department of Integrated Services for Individuals with Disabilities. The two most common ADA violations on Guam occur in parking and signage, Servino said…
A Court Verdict Raises the Pressure for Website Accessibility
July 11, 2017 | Source: Associations Now | Digital Accessibility, Web Design, Inclusion, Litigation
If you’re serious about building an inclusive community in your association, you’re probably already paying attention to website accessibility. And if not, you should be: Numerous court cases have looked at what the law requires of site owners, and last month a vision-impaired plaintiff won the first trial on the issue. If you’re behind the curve, there are a few steps you should take now.
Why are we talking about accessibility on websites? Because of Winn-Dixie. (It’s not a new issue, admittedly, but it’s got new urgency these days.) Last month, a federal judge in Florida issued a verdict in favor of a Winn-Dixie customer who had sued the grocery chain, claiming it violated the Americans With Disabilities Act because its websites were not accessible to blind and vision-impaired users. Although there have been pretrial court rulings and settlements in previous cases, this is believed to be the first trial verdict in a website ADA lawsuit…
Large-scale, collaborative effort could help ease global hearing loss
July 11, 2017 | Source: Medical Xpress | Deaf/Hearing Impaired, Inclusion, Awareness
The percentage of people worldwide with hearing loss has been on the rise, increasing from 14 percent to 18 percent over the past 25 years. Recent data estimate half a billion people worldwide have moderate to severe hearing losses. “The trend is ever-upward, despite many efforts that have been mounted worldwide to rein in the growing burden of hearing loss,” said Blake Wilson, Ph.D., adjunct professor in the department of surgery at Duke. “Thus far, those efforts have not put a dent in the problem’s growth and so something more is needed.”
The issue is one some U.S. lawmakers have recently acknowledged. For example, a proposal introduced in the House of Representatives in March calls for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to increase accessibility to some hearing aids by allowing them to be sold over-the-counter…
Old National has a petition to support efforts to change the handicap sign
July 11, 2017 | Source: Dubois County Free Press | Awareness, Government, Disability Rights
Raising awareness to encourage lawmakers to update the Symbol of Accessibility sign from “handicapped” to “reserved,” and update the symbol. All are invited to sign the petition which can be found at www.changethesign.com.
Old National’s Abilities First Associate Resource Group launched the petition in Evansville, Indiana during Disability Employment Awareness Month in October 2016 and in Madison, Wisconsin in May 2017. In March 2017, the Indiana House of Representatives adopted House Resolution 41 in favor of studying the implementation of the new signage by a vote of 88-0…
U.S. Military Gives Out $65 Million To Develop Brain Implants That Could Treat Blindness and Deafness
July 11, 2107 | Source: Newsweek | Blindness/Visual Impairment, Deaf/Hearing Impaired, Innovation
The quest to create a real link between machines and human brains has potentially groundbreaking consequences. If high-functioning implants can be developed to link human brains with computers, people who have gone blind or deaf could possibly receive sensory information that would restore some, if not all, of their lost capabilities. Those with prosthetic limbs may be able to use them as if they were an integrated part of the body.
An agency of the U.S. military announced Monday that it was stepping up its investment and pursuit of this goal. The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) announced Monday that contracts worth a total of $65 million had been distributed to five research organizations and one company working to build brain implants that could revolutionize treatment of people who have lost one or more of their senses…
Judge calls ADA lawsuit machine a ‘carnival shell game,’ dresses down attorney
July 11, 2017 | Source: The Denver Channel | ADA, Lawsuits/Litigation, Government, Disability Rights | New Mexico
A federal judge decided that nearly 100 disability lawsuits filed in New Mexico, near carbon copies of cases filed in Colorado, were malicious and abusive. U.S. Chief Magistrate Judge Karen Molzen, citing case law, compared the cases to “shotgun litigation [that] undermines both the spirit and purpose of the [Americans with Disabilities Act].”
The lawsuits claim businesses violate provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and are thus inaccessible to people who have disabilities. Most recently, cases have hit hundreds of businesses in five states — Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah and Colorado. Nearly all of them have ties to a Phoenix-based group called Advocates for Individuals with Disabilities (AID), also known as Litigation Management and Financial Services. The group filed nearly 2,000 cases in Arizona alone in the last 18 months…
Microsoft’s New iPhone App Helps Blind People ‘See’ What’s Around Them
Microsoft has used its artificial intelligence chops to automatically add captions to your selfies and guess your age. Now, the company is applying similar tech to a more practical purpose: making everyday life easier for the visually impaired. The company’s new Seeing AI app, which is now available for the iPhone, uses the smartphone’s camera to detect and describe nearby people, text, and objects.
The app not only recognizes a person based on his or her face, but can also relay mood based on facial expressions, estimate a person’s proximity to the user, and describe physical characteristics. In a demo video, Seeing AI provided a description of a woman smiling by saying: “28 year old female wearing glasses looking happy.”…
Lost no more: Research finds that autistic children can learn navigation techniques
July 12, 2017 | Source: MinnPost | Autism, Education, Inclusion | Minnesota
Many people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have a hard time figuring out how to get from one place to another. This navigational challenge can be difficult, especially when a person goes somewhere for the first time. And children with ASD often have a great deal of anxiety around the idea of finding their way around a large building like a school. They worry about what they will do if they get separated from parents or teachers and have to find their way alone.
Julie Irish, an interior designer and Ph.D. graduate of the University of Minnesota’s College of Design, took that reality into account when she designed a new building for Ty Gwyn, a school for children with disabilities in Cardiff, Wales. The school, which provides services for children with severe autism, hired Irish and her team to create a space that was accessible for even the most disabled students…
Guidance on website accessibility added to AwDA resource
July 12, 2017 | Source: CDA (California Dental Association) | Digital Accessibility, Web Design, Disability Rights, Health/Medicine | California
CDA’s regulatory compliance experts are receiving calls from members who are concerned about how compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act might extend to website accessibility. Dentists have questions about whether their practice websites are compliant with AwDA and, if not, what steps they can take to bring their websites into compliance. In response to member calls and recent communication from the American Dental Association on this matter, CDA Practice Support added a section on website accessibility to its AwDA-related resource.
Available for download through the CDA Practice Support webpage (cda.org/practicesupport), “Americans with Disabilities Act and Disability Rights Laws” provides background on the federal law, guidance on complying with both federal and state physical accessibility standards, requirements for communicating with the hearing-impaired, a Q-and-A with links to additional resources and the newly added guidance on ensuring practice websites are compliant with AwDA…
RTD altering light rail trains to make them more wheelchair accessible following lawsuit
RTD is going to be making some noticeable changes to the inside of its light rail trains following a settlement with the Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition (CCDC.) The coalition sued RTD, accusing it of not being compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The suit also alleged RTD operators were not trained properly regarding ADA regulations and failed to follow regulatory instructions regarding asking non-wheelchair or mobility aid using riders to move from the wheelchair and mobility device area.
RTD denied the allegations, but still finalized a settlement with the group Monday. Over the next five years, RTD will remove a set of seats next to the current wheelchair areas on 172 light rail vehicles to make them more accessible to people using wheelchairs or mobility devices. The agency will also add more lighting. Under the settlement, RTD must ensure the next 29 light rail vehicles it adds to its service will have greater accessibility than its current fleet of vehicles. It must also provide training, and retraining, to its light rail operators and a representative from the CCDC will have an opportunity to review the training materials…
“Person first,” “person centered,” and autonomy
July 13, 2017 | Source: Baltimore Sun | Mobility, Inclusion, Disability Rights | Maryland
When I advised the staff that among other changes in the 2017 Associated Press Stylebook was a preference to avoid words like “alcoholic” and “addict,” and use constructions such as “people with addiction,” I got disbelieving pushback. But this is simply one more iteration of AP’s long-standing adoption of the “people first” language dominant in health care, social services, and education. Such language seeks to avoid categorizing people as disorders. A person is not “disabled” or—horrors, “handicapped”*—but “has a disability.”
An example: For years the AP Stylebook has advised not to say that a person is “confined to a wheelchair,” but instead “uses a wheelchair,” because, sensibly, the wheelchair enables a mobility that would otherwise be absent. So far, so good. We shouldn’t be reducing human beings to categories…
Representatives Introduce Legislation to Expand Higher Education Access for Students with Disabilities
July 13, 2017 | Source: East County Today | Legislation/Policy, Higher Education, Disability Rights, Inclusion
Today, Congressman Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11) was joined by Education and Workforce Committee Ranking Member Bobby Scott (VA-03), Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (MD-05), and Representatives James Langevin (RI-02) and Jared Huffman (CA-02) in introducing the Improving Access to Higher Education Act. This bill, which is part of the ‘Aim Higher’ initiative, would fully address the needs of students with disabilities, and would help improve college access and completion.
“This first of its kind legislation takes a comprehensive approach to providing students and institutions with improved training, greater resources, and expanded services—bringing us one step closer to ensuring that all Americans have the opportunity to earn a degree, find a job, and achieve the American Dream. I am honored to join Ranking Member Scott and my colleagues in spearheading this important effort for our students,” said Congressman DeSaulnier…
TLC Failed to Collect $5.7 Million to Help Make More Cabs Wheelchair Accessible: Audit
July 13, 2017 | Source: NBC New York | Mobility, Transit/Transportation, Discrimination | New York
A new audit by the city comptroller shows that the Taxi & Limousine Commission failed to collect nearly $6 million in surcharges aimed at making more cabs wheelchair-accessible. Of the 19,000 taxi cabs in New York City, only 13 percent are accessible to the disabled, according to Comptroller Scott Stringer. Anyone who rides in a cab pays a 30-cent surcharge to help the city make the cabs more accessible, but the TLC hasn’t collected $5.7 million of those surcharges.
“When you don’t collect the money, you are discriminating against people who need that lifeline, that ride, that opportunity,” said Stringer. Stringer says that by leaving money on the table, the TLC is making it hard to meet their own goal to make 50 percent of New York’s taxi fleet accessible by 2020…
On ‘Americans With Disabilities Act’ Anniversary, SWFL Residents Reflect on Pitfalls & Progress
July 13, 2017 | Source: WGCU News (Podcast) | ADA, Mobility, Blindness/Visual Impairment, Advocacy | Florida
It’s been 27 years since the Americans With Disabilities Act was signed into law by President George H. W. Bush. The law has helped people with disabilities live their lives through physical accessibility, public services, and working against discrimination. ADA Advocates at the Gulf Coast Center for Independent Living say much has changed for the better, but more needs to be done.
Before the ADA, people in wheelchairs weren’t guaranteed access to public spaces. The blind were not guaranteed a voting ballot in Braille, or access to their ballots by other electronic assistance. And landlords could deny potential renters based on the additional needs they may have. Modern accommodations help those with disabilities to be included in the public sphere, and more able to fully exercise their rights…
Federal accessibility law continues to evolve 27 years later
July 13, 2017 | Source: 9News (Video) | Government, Legislation/Policy, ADA
As a result of opening her self-described big mouth, Kristin Hopkins agreed to a new interview with 9NEWS Thursday. If you Google her, it might make you say things like “Oh, it’s her!” and “I can’t believe she survived that?” and quite possibly, “What the hell happened?!”
A little more than three years ago, Hopkins’ car plunged off a mountain for reasons she still doesn’t understand. She was trapped inside the car for six days before someone found her and helped her get to the hospital. She lost both her legs below the knees. Hopkins still says she doesn’t know how she made it or why, other than the simple powerful will to live. “The will to see my kids again,” she said. But that’s not the reason for a visit from 9NEWS. Hopkins wrote us an email Thursday, voicing her frustration with lack of ADA compliance by businesses and people…
Jack Fact — According to the CDC, 2.2 million people in the U.S. depend on a wheelchair for accessibility and day-to-day activities and 6.5 million people rely on canes or crutches for assistance.
University of Leicester’s new Accessibility Checker to enhance experience for disabled users
July 7, 2017 | Source: University of Leicester Press Office- UK | Higher Education, Digital Accessibility, Web Design | United Kingdom
The University of Leicester is launching a comprehensive new resource that will enhance the experience of disabled visitors on campus, including prospective and current students and staff. The University has been working with DisabledGo, a leading provider of accessibility information for disabled people in the UK, to create an online guide for students, staff and visitors.
Visitors, students and staff can use this online resource to find out about the access to all of the University’s buildings and services. You can find out where a department is located in relation to the main entrance, where car parking spaces are located, whether there are lifts to access other floors, whether a hearing loop is fitted at reception, in-depth information about accessible toilets and much more…
Youth Parliament Fight for Accessible Public Transport
July 7, 2017 | Source: Probono- Australia | Transit/Transportation, Government, Deaf/Hearing Impaired | Australia
Following a new relationship between Deaf Children Australia and YMCA, a team of deaf and hard of hearing young people have debated a bill about how public transport can be made more accessible for people with disabilities, writes Maggy Liu, a youth press gallery journalist for Youth Parliament 2017.
A team of six passionate young people from the deaf and hard of hearing community have helped secure a significant win in the fight for more accessible public transport in Victoria. Among other improvements, the self-titled Deafhood team advocated for live captioning of important information such as delays, safety messages, emergency warnings and urgent announcements on all trams, trains and stations…
Inclusion Now: Ready for work
July 7, 2017 Source- The Telegram- Canada | Inclusion, Mobility, Workforce/Employment | Canada
When Ashley Martin-Hanlon graduated from MUN in 2013, she didn’t have much luck finding work. “I spent the next year applying for anything I might be both remotely qualified and physically able to do. I knew that I wasn’t going to be able to go and pour hot coffee; it just wasn’t something I was going to be able to do,” said Martin-Hanlon, who uses a wheelchair. “But I was applying for anything and everything, like so many people my own age.”
After about a year, she learned of Easter Seals’ Horizons Skills Link program, which helps young adults who face barriers to employment gain the skills and experience they need to enter the workforce. She figured the 36-week work placement for the program would help her gain experience. She ended up getting a placement at Easter Seals House, and has been working there ever since…
Pan Am Path mapping project aims to make trail accessible for all
Anthony Lue is a cyclist and Paralympics hopeful, but this summer he is taking on a new project — biking and mapping the 85-kilometre Pan Am Path. Using a streetview camera mounted on an off-road wheelchair, Lue will be photographing and exploring the path in the initiative with AccessNow, Icon Wheelchairs and Google.
The goal is to find out which areas of it need improvement, and present data to city officials in the hopes of creating a trail that is accessible for people of all abilities. They are hoping to finish mapping in the fall, and it could take up to six months after that for Google to finalize the entire 360 map…
Inclusion Now: In the game
July 8, 2017 | Source: The Telegram- Canada | Sports/Entertainment, Inclusion, Mobility | Canada
If it wasn’t for Easter Seals NL, Melissa Day says she wouldn’t have much of a social life. But the organization’s sports and recreation programs have introduced her to a lot of people — and have given her a chance to fulfil a lifelong wish. “I’ve wanted to play sledge hockey since I was a little girl. I always wanted to try it, and I never had the chance. And then I moved here, and I got the chance,” said Day, who also plays wheelchair basketball.
Originally from Bloomfield, Bonavista Bay, Day has moved around a lot with her military family. When she moved to St. John’s a few years ago from Ontario, she said, she was “baffled” with the lack of accessibility here, but glad to see Easter Seals’ presence in the community. Now, she said, every recreational activity she takes part in is organized by Easter Seals. Without them, she doesn’t think she’d know where to start to get involved…
BillionAbles app will help find accessible places for disabled people
July 8, 2017 | Source: Indian Express | Web App, Accessible Design, Inclusion, Digital Accessibility | India
BillionAbles has announced the launch of a new app called BillionAbles, aimed at finding accessible places across India for people with disabilities. The app will be for available for Android users on Play Store from 3 PM on July 8. BillionAbles is a social startup founded by Sameer Garg, who suffered disability thanks to spinal injury about two decades ago.
According to BillionAbles, the app will serve as “India’s first Access Guide for persons with special needs.” Company’s website (www.billionables.com) lists more than a 1,000 disabled friendly places across India with over 150 verified listings from Delhi-NCR, Goa and Rajasthan…
Putrajaya planning accessible facilities guidelines for the elderly
July 9, 2017 | Source: Malay Mail- Malaysia | Aging, Building/Facilities Access, Government | Malaysia
The Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Ministry is reportedly drafting Physical Planning Guidelines for the Elderly, which aims to provide user-friendly and accessible living facilities for the elderly. Sunday Star reported the ministry saying that the guidelines will be presented to the National Council for Local Government this year, amid the country’s increasingly ageing population.
“It will guide government agencies, local authorities, developers, private companies and non-governmental organisations in preparing settlements and facilities for senior citizens,” the ministry was quoted saying the Sunday edition of The Star. “The guidelines are expected to be presented to the National Council for Local Government this year…
No wheelchair-accessible Uber fleet coming for Ottawa
July 9, 2017 | Source: CBC Canada | Transit/Transportation, Mobility, Discrimination | Canada
Accessibility advocates are angry that the City of Ottawa is not making Uber provide accessible rides, the way other municipalities have, going instead with a “voluntary surcharge” system. In Toronto, any private transportation company with more than 500 vehicles — such as Uber — must provide accessible rides at the same rates and within the same wait-times as its non-accessible service. But some people are saying Ottawa’s lack of accessible Ubers puts the city far behind.
“That’s not good enough,” said Catherine Gardner, the former chair of the accessibility advisory committee of the surcharge plan. “We should have the same access.”…
Disability awareness campaign launched at intu Lakeside
July 9, 2017 | Source: Your Thurrock- UK | Awareness, Legislation/Policy, Disability Rights | United Kingdom
A new campaign is calling for more retail and hospitality businesses to offer awareness training to their in-store staff so they can better meet the needs of the 11 million people in the UK with rights under disability legislation. Purple, a social enterprise that works with both disabled people and the business community to promote opportunities around disability has launched ‘Help Me Spend My Money’ campaign to encourage more retail and hospitality businesses to ensure they are providing the same level of service to all their customers. They are also calling on them to join the government’s Disability Confident scheme which promotes the employment of disabled workers.
The campaign has been backed by leading shopping centre owner intu and launched at intu Lakeside in Thurrock yesterday. intu has been introducing a range of measures at its popular shopping and leisure destinations across the UK over the last two years to make sure they meet the needs of disabled shoppers. This includes introducing specialist training for staff to support those with autism and blindness…
Top 5 accessible cities for wheelchair users
July 10, 2017 | Source: Disability Horizons- UK | Mobility, Accessible Design, Building/Facilities Access | United Kingdom
With the sunny weather and summer well and truly on its way, it’s time to start planning your holiday. So to help you prepare, we’ve asked Susie, who runs wheelchair travel reviews and resources website wheelchairworld.org, to give us a run down the top five accessible cities to visit if you use a wheelchair. We all know that even though, in many countries, accessibility is the law, the implementation of it can be inconsistent and weak. It means that accessibility is often only granted to a few government buildings.
While some countries have good overall levels of accessibility – the UK and US are examples – accessibility in one place does not guarantee that there will be the same standard of accessibility in the next place in that country. For example, if you visit the Catalonia region in Spain you will find great accessible cities, such as Barcelona and Valencia. But this is not a blanket guarantee for all cities throughout Spain…
Focus: Feds can improve accessibility legislation
July 10, 2017 | Source: Law Times | Legislation/Policy, Advocacy, Government | Canada
The federal government should learn from Ontario’s mistakes when it comes to accessibility legislation, according to advocates who practise in the burgeoning area of disability law. Ontario became the first Canadian province to pass a law on the subject in 2005, when the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act set standards designed to remove barriers for disabled people in the realms of employment, goods, services, buildings and more within two decades.
Manitoba passed its own version in 2013, while Nova Scotia’s Accessibility Act received Royal Assent just this spring. Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government pledged to follow suit following its election victory in 2015, when the prime minister instructed former Paralympic swimmer Carla Qualtrough, his minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities, to draw up a federal law following nationwide consultations…
Berth too high, platform too far: It’s time to refashion Indian Railways into a disabled friendly network
July 11, 2017 | Source: The Times of India | Inclusion, Transit/Transportation, Mobility | India
Life for persons with disabilities is not easy in any case. It becomes even more difficult when the environment is unsympathetic to their needs. Recent cases of wheelchair-bound para-athlete Suvarna Raj and 100% blind Vaibhav Shukla bring this out very vividly.
If Indian Railways (IR) had made a sincere effort to provide equal access to persons with disability as they are required to do by the 22-year-old Disabilities Act then Suvarna would not have had to sleep on the floor of the compartment and Vaibhav would not have missed his entrance examination at Delhi University. IR could not provide Suvarna with a lower berth leaving her with no option but to sleep on the floor of the compartment and Vaibhav had to miss his train because no one would open the door of the compartment reserved for persons with disabilities…
TTC looks to boost cash for cabs to keep up with soaring Wheel-Trans usage
July 10, 2017 | Source: The Star | Mobility, Transit/Transportation, Inclusion
The familiar red and white colours of TTC buses and streetcars have come to symbolize public transit in Toronto. But for transit users with accessibility issues, it’s increasingly likely that the vehicle that picks them up doesn’t carry the colours of the TTC, but the livery of a private taxi company.
For years Wheel-Trans, the TTC’s paratransit service, has hired cabs to supplement its fleet of accessible buses. But as demand for Wheel-Trans has soared thanks to expanded eligibility criteria and an aging population, the company is contracting more taxis than ever. In 2013 Wheel-Trans carried 2.8 million passengers, with about 63 per cent of them travelling in cabs, and 37 per cent of them in TTC-operated accessible Wheel-Trans buses…
Cateys 2017: Accessibility Award, Todsworthy Farm Holidays
Todsworthy Farm Holidays’ owner, Jonathan Pellow, knows first-hand what it’s like to stay away from home with accessibility needs, having been left paralysed from the chest down by an accident in 1996. The experience, he says, “totally changed my attitude and views to my business and drove me to convert two traditional barns on the farm into self-catering cottages, suitably designed for people with disabilities”.
The renovations were undertaken while maintaining the original character and features of the cottages, with underfloor heating, the widening of doors and en suite wet rooms all installed sympathetically. Folding shower seats are included under the shower as well as a wheeled shower chair that can be manoeuvered from the bed to the shower area. The showerhead can be used from sitting to standing positions and handrails are located at suitable places for those who may be ambulant…
As A Disabled Person I Experience Loneliness Every Day
July 11, 2017 | Source: Huffington Post- UK | Discrimination, Disability Rights, Awareness | United Kingdom
Research launched today, by the national disability charity Sense, reveals that disabled people in the UK are still being marginalised by negative public attitudes – with a quarter (26%) of Brits admitting that they have avoided conversations with disabled people.
Only half (52%) of those responding to the study believed that they had much in common with disabled people; whilst ‘fear of causing offence’ (30%), ‘feeling uncomfortable’ (20%) or ‘not knowing what to talk about’ (17%) with disabled people were the most commonly cited reasons for avoiding conversations. The research coincides with a new report published by Sense and the ‘Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness’, that highlights the scale and impact of loneliness on disabled people – with one in two (53%) disabled people regularly experiencing loneliness…
STAR, AiE partner on accessible ticketing guide
The Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers (STAR) in the UK has published an industry-first guide to accessible ticketing, advising on best practice for selling tickets to disabled and deaf customers. The guide, Making ticket sales accessible for disabled customers, was commissioned by STAR and written by disability consultancy Nimbus, with input from Attitude is everything. It highlights ways in which ticket agencies can better serve disabled customers, and also addresses the legal and operational considerations around accessible ticketing.
STAR chief executive Jonathan Brown comments: “This guide’s purpose is simple: There needs to be better equal access to online ticketing and organisations need to be considering how they do it, not whether they do it…
Technology can save lives, not just improve them
July 11, 2017 | Source: The Guardian- UK | Technology, Awards/Recognition, Innovation | United Kingdom
With so much coverage about the dark underbelly of the internet and how many of our technological advances have been hijacked for nefarious activities – whether it’s our computers having the potential to spy on us, Russian hackers interfering with democratic elections or our hospitals’ IT systems being hacked – it was a relief to be asked to judge this year’s AbilityNet Tech4Good awards. As the name suggests, these awards showcase the people and organisations using technology to make the world a better place. And I’m pleased to report that there are many amazing tech entrepreneurs working across the globe to create a brighter digital future.
Among the winners in the eight categories who were announced yesterday, are Bristol Braille Technology, the winner of the accessibility award. The social enterprise has created an affordable braille electronic reader, designed with, by and for blind people. Unlike existing readers which can only display a single line of text, Bristol Braille’s device can show a full page of words and numbers. This means users can deliver speeches, use spreadsheets easily and read music notation, scientific and mathematical formulas. Currently being trialled in Britain, Ireland and the US, the social enterprise hopes to launch the device later this year or early 2018 for around £600–£800…
Reviewing BS8300 and its importance for accessibility
July 12, 2017 | Source: Planning & Building Control Today- UK | Accessible Design, Building/Facilities Access, Inclusion | United Kingdom
About Access sheds light on amendments to BS8300 and explains why the review is the ideal opportunity to set the highest standards for accessibility. The leading authority on setting standards to protect British consumers is inviting the public to have their say on a key sector, and the opportunity should not be passed up lightly. BSI Group is reviewing BS8300, which gives recommendations for the design of the external built environment and is therefore of fundamental importance regarding improving accessibility.
Its provisions are purely for guidance, and there are no penalties for failure to adopt them. But in the event of a claim for discrimination, a business which can demonstrate adherence to the standards set by BS8300 will be on more solid ground than one which cannot. The new version of BS8300 is likely to take effect late this year or early in 2018, and the draft is open for public consultation until 13 August on the website at https://drafts.bsigroup.com…
Signly museum app for deaf visitors scoops accessibility award
July 12, 2017 | Source: Blooloop- UK | Web App, Deaf/Hearing Impaired, Awards/Recognition, Digital Accessibility | United Kingdom
Signly, an app that gives deaf museum visitors access to information in British Sign Language has won a prestigious accessibility award. Signly was developed in collaboration with the Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre, in Buckinghamshire. Users point their smartphone at the displays and exhibits around the museum to see information in BSL.
The idea earned the Jodi Award 2017 – given to the best uses of digital technology to improve accessibility in museums, galleries and libraries. Previous winners include the Canadian Museum for Human Rights – which integrated digital sign language displays and audio description into all exhibits – as well as producing touch screens that could be controlled using tactile and voice commands…
New women’s refuge: first in Penrith to be fully accessible
July 12, 2017 | Source: The Daily Telegraph- Australia | Mobility, Accessible Design, Inclusion | Australia
Penrith’s new women’s refuge, The Haven, will be unparalleled in the region. It will be modelled on the wheelchair-accessible The Sanctuary, also run by Women’s Community Shelters, and potentially be wired to a police station when it opens at the end of this year.
Penrith’s only Housing NSW-owned refuge, where services are provided by West Connect Domestic Violence Services (WCDVS), has never been wheelchair friendly. This is at a time when Penrith local government area reports the second-highest number of domestic (assault) incidents in NSW and when research shows women with a disability are 37.3 per cent more at risk of family and domestic violence than their peers…
Ed Sheeran’s disabled fans struggle to get tour tickets after spending up to seven hours on hold
Ticketmaster celebrated “its busiest day ever” on Saturday after fans clamoured to buy tickets for Ed Sheeran’s 2018 stadium tour. However, many disabled customers struggled to get tickets after experiencing up to seven hours of hold time, recorded messages and disconnected phone lines while trying to use the accessibility phone line.
Sarah-Jane Bird, 29, from Essex, called in excess of 300 times on Saturday before managing to secure tickets to the Wembley leg of Sheeran’s tour after a 50-minute wait on Monday. “I started calling at 10am when the lines opened, and as expected it was very busy, but once the call connected, there was a recorded message which went on for around two minutes before informing me there was nobody to take the call, and to try again later,” Bird told The Telegraph…
Sport and disability: making sport accessible to all
July 12, 2017 | Source: ABC Radio National-Australian Broadcasting Corporation (Podcast) | Sports/Athletics, Inclusion, Accessible Design | Australia
All children should have the support to enjoy and be included in sport. Sport is incredibly important for the development of children, socially as well as physically, but many children with a disability or special need miss out.
All Play is a program that has been rolled out by Deakin University and the AFL, providing support for children with autism and cerebral palsy to join their local Auskick teams. The program is now being extended to support children join dance classes and it is hoped other sports and extra curricula activities will follow…
Disability and sport: how a little exercise can have a big impact
July 13, 2017 | Source: Disability Horizon- UK | Sports/Athletics, Mobility, Inclusion | United Kingdom
If you’re disabled, exercise can make a big difference to your life, and help to minimise some of the physical difficulties you experience. That’s why we’ve spoken to Yvonne Jacobs, a fitness coach that specialises in helping disabled people, for her top tips on how to get involved in fitness and sports if you’re disabled.
Statistics show that people with disabilities are far less likely to take part in regular sport or physical activity than their non-disabled peers. But disabled people have so much to gain from regular physical activity. It can help to minimise issues experienced in day-to-day life, including:…
All-access pass for accessibility at Jazz Fest
July 13, 2017 | Source: The Coast- Canada | Performing Arts, Mobility, Inclusion, Building/Facilities Access | Canada
For the first time in its 30-year history, the Halifax Jazz Festival will be 100 percent accessible, thanks in part to the work of local activist and former professional bassist Paul Vienneau. For Vienneau, who has been using a wheelchair since 1991, these changes have been years in the making.
Vienneau performed at the Jazz Festival multiple times between 1989 and 2014. After his injury, he found himself unable to attend certain shows because they were held in buildings with no wheelchair access. He contacted the festival to ask them to consider fully accessible venues, but received no response…
Disabled people important voting bloc, parties warned
July 13, 2017 | Source: Newstalk ZB- New Zealand | Voting/Elections, Disability Rights, Legislation/Policy | New Zealand
Disability rights are set to be an election issue, a forum has warned. The Disabled Person’s Assembly grilled politicians at their Wellington election forum last night, putting questions to each party on accessibility in education, housing and income support.
Doctor Esther Woodbury, the National Policy Manager of the Disabled Persons Assembly, said given people with disabilities make up 24% of the electorate, it could be an important voting bloc. She said she was “definitely hoping that disabled people and their families and communities will take policies into account when they’re voting this year.” Housing was a major topic, with parties asked where they stood on regulation requiring a quarter of new builds to be accessible to people with disabilities…
Accessibility Blogs & Information
- What Businesses Need to Know When Defending Against ADA Lawsuits
- Celebrating Bravery and Camaraderie Through Golf- The Simpson Club
- Braille: The Ticket to Freedom and Independence- National Braille Press
- Quadriplegic Drives 2016 Corvette Z06- Jay Leno’s Garage (Video)
- Amherst College- Accessible Documents
- Connecticut Tech Act Project (CTTAP)
- Making Ticket Sales Accessible For Disabled Customers A Best Practice Guide- PDF
- Inclusivity Through Accessibility
- Web Accessibility: Solving basic, inaccessibility features
- Five Minute Accessibility: Links and Hypertext
- Online Testing Resources – Web Accessibility
- Online Resources – Web Accessibility
- Print Resources – Web Accessibility
- Accessibility features in PDFs
- Inclusion Now: ‘I wrote one letter’
- Opinion: With the number of older residents growing, Berkeley must design for their well-being
- Make WordPress Accessible- Help needed from accessibility experts with the development of Gutenberg
- The goal of accessibility legislation- Government of Canada- Federal Accessibility Legislation – Technical analysis report
- Accessibility issues and barriers: What should the legislation address?- Government of Canada- Federal Accessibility Legislation – Technical analysis report
- Miami Jewish Health
- Township of Dorion
- European Ombudsman
- University of Toronto: Transportation Department- Barrier Free (Accessible) Parking
- British Ecological Society
- St. Joseph Health Section 504 Notice of Program Accessibility
- Town of Chapel Hill
Accessibility Announcements & Products
- BrailleNote Touch 32 braille notetaker / tablet
- New accessibility resources at Dollywood’s Splash Country
- Inclusive Design Patterns by Heydon Pickering (Hardcover Print + eBook)
- The OrCam MyEye helps visually impaired people read and identify things
- Update on Manchester United stadium accessibility plans
- Built In a UPenn Dorm, ThirdEye Helps the Visually Impaired ‘See’
- Piero Wins Fourth Annual CommonBond Social Impact Award
- Angular Material: New Component Dev Kit & initial version of data-table
- Savaria Announces Resignation of Director and Appointment of New Director
- CDBG funds could help improve handicap accessibility in Memphis
- Amazon’s Alexa Beats Google Assistant in Skills Acquired in Past Months
- Shunsuke Hayashi Improves Accessibility in Digital Design
- Sharon Selectmen support newest Town Hall design
- Using text-to-speech for accessibility
- Total Access of New England Joins Lifeway Mobility
- Public Information Meeting for the Symphony Station Accessibility Project
- Emergency Information Accessibility Rules for Second-Screen Devices – Compliance Deadline
- West Launches SchoolMessenger Accessibility Resource Center to Help Schools Better Understand and Improve Website Accessibility
- Data Conversion Laboratory’s 508 Services Enables Those With Blindness, Low Vision or Other Disabilities to Better Interact With Digital Content
Accessibility Q&A & Tips
- Opinions: Wheelchair accessibility from King’s Wharf?
- Light boxes and Accessibility
- TPG Bookmarklets for testing accessibility
- Drupal accessibility
- August 3rd: Creating Styles and Tags and Mapping Styles to Tags
- Do JAWS, ZoomText, and MAGic work with the Windows 10 Creators update?
- Microsoft Accessibility Feedback
- Accessibility Customization
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.