Accessibility in the News—06/02/2017.
Inclusion is a strong focus in today’s accessible world, all the way from gaming, to mapping applications. Striving to include individuals regardless of their disability is what many businesses and people have focused on in this week’s news stories: Some ways that companies are becoming more inclusive is by eliminating technology barriers. Social inclusion in elementary schools all the way to colleges is also giving our future generations the mentality and compassion to include and help others with disabilities.
Although many individuals and businesses strive to provide inclusion and accessibility for everyone, there is still a sense of discrimination that people with disabilities encounter everyday of their lives. From accessible buildings and facilities, all the way to recreational vehicles and sidewalks, the struggle of finding easy access in digital and physical worlds is still a major issue that will continue to be faced by the entire disability community for years to come.
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.
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AITN Quote of the Week
“My ability is stronger than my disability.”
— Luke Watson
National News (U.S.)
Single father creates a safe haven for children with autism to play together online
May 19, 2017 | Source: My Central Oregon | Autism, Gaming, Parenting, Inclusion
A single father quit his job to operate a Minecraft server specifically for children and adults with autism to play the popular multiplayer game with each other, and ended up creating an online community and safe haven on the internet for people with autism and their families. Stuart Duncan, 40, of Timmins, Ontario, told ABC News that he started the server, called Autcraft, in 2013, because he loved playing Minecraft with his children.
“My oldest son has autism, my youngest son does not, but all three of us love Minecraft,” Duncan told ABC News, adding that he also saw so many parents of children with autism reaching out online to try and find other people their children could play Minecraft with…
Federal Court Holds ADA Applies to AmeriServ Bank Website
May 24, 2017 | Source: Lexology | ADA, Disability, Digital Accessibility, Blindness/Visual Impairment
In the case of Frazier v. AmeriServ Financial Bank, # 17cv0031, 2017 federal district judge Arthur J. Schwab ruled that Title III of the ADA, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability, applies to AmeriServ Bank’s website. Plaintiffs Lisa Frazier, Access Now, Inc.and R. David New alleged that they are or represent blind or visually impaired individuals, that AmeriServ’s website was not designed to be accessible to blind or visually impaired persons, and therefore that AmeriServ violated Title III of the ADA which prohibits discrimination by public accommodations on the basis of disability…
Apple is proud to share its work on accessibility, and so should everyone else
May 26, 2017 | Source: iMore | Apple, Digital Accessibility, Inclusion, Assistive Technology
Apple has long been a trailblazer down the path to accessibility with such features as VoiceOver; it originated on the Mac back in 2007, and is now on every device the company makes. In recent years, Apple has been highlighting the importance of including accessibility features in new technologies and sharing its work with the world. It’s incredible, the things Apple has accomplished in working toward an inclusive and supportive range of devices that anyone and everyone can use, no matter what their level of ability is…
Chesapeake addressing accessibility of polling places after federal review
May 27, 2017 | Source: The Virginian-Pilot | Voting/Elections, ADA, Government, Mobility, Architecture | Virginia
Changes are underway at the city’s polling places after a federal review found some were inaccessible to people with disabilities. The city’s voter registrar said she doesn’t know what prompted last year’s review, but Chesapeake officials must increase accessibility as per an agreement reached early this month. “We have not had any complaints,” Mary Lynn Pinkerman said.
Issues at some of the polling places have been addressed, she said, and the other precincts have been audited by the city to make sure they’re compliant. Most remedies will be in place by the June primary, and all the work has to be done by the November election, she said…
Public’s input sought on accessibility services for the disabled in Topeka
May 28, 2017 | Source: Topeka Capital Journal | Accessible Parking, ADA, Mobility, Building/Facilities Access | Kansas
The U.S. Department of Justice says common problems with parking for people with disabilities include no access aisles, built up curb ramps to access aisles and a lack of accessible spaces. Larry Rice always took walking for granted. Then the 57-year-old Topekan found himself in a wheelchair after breaking both his legs last month in a forklift accident. Rice says the experience has opened his eyes as to how difficult being disabled can be…
New app makes maps more accessible
May 28, 2017 | Source: Illinois Homepage | Disability, Inclusion, Higher Education, Digital Accessibility, Web Application | Illinois
For most of us getting directions is as easy as opening an app. But if you have a disability, it might not be that simple. A few U of I students are trying to change that by improving campus maps. Two of the three students have disabilities themselves. That’s what inspired them to create a new web app. It’s called “Access Illinois.”
U of I is rated one of the most “disability friendly” campuses in the country. But right now, getting accessibility information online involves a lot of tabs and clicking around. The app’s web designer, Mark McCarthy, says that can make it hard to get directions; especially if you can’t use both hands…
How to Earn an “A” for Android Accessibility
May 30, 2017 | Source: Raizlabs | Android Accessibility, Digital Accessibility, ADA, Mobile Application
Having spent the last ten years or so as an avid Apple accessibility user (I’m legally blind) and iOS developer, I’m pretty happy with the current state of assistive technology when it relates to my platform of choice. Every year, more progress is made across Apple’s various universal access tools and in addition, they do a very thorough job of making it easy for app developers to support their efforts by constantly evangelizing the idea of accessibility and providing great framework support with quality documentation. In short, the accessibility story on Apple platforms is pretty complete.
Now, based on the title of this post, I’m going to assume you, the reader, are an Android developer. At this point, you’re probably wondering why I spent an entire paragraph extolling the virtues of iOS accessibility, and the answer is simple. When it comes to accessibility, the market and mindshare belong to Apple…
Why devs shouldn’t shy away from working with online communities to aid accessibility
May 30, 2017 | Source: Gamasutra | Gaming, Disability, Inclusion, Digital Accessibility
Last week, we hosted a live roundtable with a number of accessibility experts to discuss what developers need to consider when designing games to be accessible to as many players as possible. While our panelists discussed different avenues accessibility options in games can take, one question steered the conversation to how developers can and should work with their community outside of the game itself to help make said games both playable and enjoyable for players with disabilities…
From Aging To Autism, IBM Is Eliminating Barriers To Technology
Advances in technology continue to revolutionize the way we interact with both information and each other. However, despite many great advances, individuals with disabilities have often been left out of the technology revolution. The IBM Accessibility Research group seeks to reduce or eliminate barriers to technology. Their efforts are focused on creating solutions that help individuals with disabilities (both physical and cognitive), the growing aging population, novice technology users, and people with language, learning and literacy challenges. Their goal is to enable people of all ages and abilities to live more independent, productive and meaningful lives through better access to technology.
IBM actually has a rich history of workforce diversity and technology innovation for people with disabilities for more than 100 years. In 1914, IBM hired its first disabled employee, 76 years before the Americans with Disabilities Act. In the 1940s the company hired and trained people with disabilities to replace military workers during World War II. They also provided accommodations for them as well as returning disabled veterans, three decades before the U.S. Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Some early accessibility innovations include a Braille printer, a talking typewriter, and one of the first commercially viable screen readers..
Restaurants Haven’t Lived Up to the Promise of the American Disabilities Act
May 31, 2017 | Source: The Eater | ADA, Building/Facilities Access, Discrimination, Disability Rights
Disabled people should get to eat in restaurants. That doesn’t sound like a revolutionary manifesto, but survey the long history of disability and discrimination, and it really kind of is. Thanks to decades of activism, civil rights legislation, and litigation, a person with a disability has a pretty unimpeachable legal and moral right to go into any restaurant and expect to be able to eat with relatively equal access to whatever culinary delights await. Too bad it doesn’t always work out that way.
Chloe Konicki describes herself as having low vision and being hard of hearing, or “deaf with a lowercase ‘d’.” Candace Coleman says one of her favorite pastimes is visiting restaurants. Sometimes she uses a powered wheelchair; sometimes she doesn’t. She just doesn’t want to be stressed about accommodations. “If you’re not stressed, you enjoy the food!” Gary Arnold is a Little Person — actually, he’s the president of Little People of America, but he also runs public relations for Access Living, the local shop for all things disability rights-related in Chicago..
A lesson in social inclusion blossoms on last day of school
May 31, 2017 | Source: Bradenton | Inclusion, Disability, Education | Florida
On Wednesday’s last day of school, Bashaw Elementary fifth-graders Elainna Villegas and Joshua Turner learned that despite the boundaries of their relatively small campus on Morgan Johnson Road, they could and did change the world. No telling what this pair will be saying, doing and changing in middle school. Elainna, 10, and Joshua, 11, are Bashaw’s Fifth Grade Student Council president and vice president, respectively. They and other members of the school’s thoughtful fifth-grade council came up with an idea to help socially shy students on campus by installing the clearly labeled “Buddy Bench,” where students who are feeling lonely can sit when they need friendship.
Flushed with excitement at their first experiment in social inclusion, Elainna and Joshua and the council reasoned that picnic benches with an opening for a wheelchair could impact the lives of a handful of wheelchair-bound students on campus, including 10-year-old fourth-grader Connor Dzembo, who was diagnosed with the rare progressive disease Ataxia-telangiectasia when he was 3…
The pleasure and the pain of the accessible smart home
May 31, 2017 | Source: TechCrunch | Technology, Digital Accessibility, Housing, Innovation
People like to point to 1989’s Back to the Future II as presciently showing technologies that exist today. Video conferencing, for example, was futuristic 28 years ago, but people FaceTime all the time nowadays. The film even predicted the Chicago Cubs would win a World Series, which (finally!) happened last season in seven games against Cleveland. Another advancement filmmakers got right was the idea of the smart home. In the scenes where Future Marty McFly is home, computers are greeting him when he comes through the door, helping his son change the channel on the television and cooking pizza after being told the preferred hydration level…
Comprehensive campus accessibility project underway
May 31, 2017 | Source: Vanderbilt University | Higher Education, Inclusion, Building/Facilities Access | Tennessee
Vanderbilt Facilities is in the process of examining accessibility features on campus, with the long-term goal of making indoor and outdoor areas accessible and inclusive for all members of the Vanderbilt community. The first step in this process is to critically assess and document the different accessibility features on campus.
Mike Perez, associate vice chancellor and chief facilities officer, and Mark Petty, assistant vice chancellor of plant operations, are spearheading the project. The data collected will be represented with Geographic Information Systems (GIS) once all features have been assessed and recorded. With GIS, users will be able to view the locations and details of identified accessibility features, which will improve awareness of accessibility issues and assist individuals in navigating the campus more efficiently…
The cuts to a major disability program in Trump’s budget
June 1, 2017 | Source: CBS News | Government, Discrimination, Legislation/Policy, Health/Medical, Social Security
When Budget Director Mick Mulvaney assumed the podium in the White House briefing room last week and previewed the administration’s 2018 budget, Heather Block’s fears quickly turned to outrage. Block, a 54-year-old former international aid worker from Lewes, Delaware, listened with growing anger as Mulvaney promised to slice $72 billion from Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) over the next ten years. The cuts are among $1.74 trillion in social welfare cuts proposed by the Trump administration, a sweeping plan that could kick people like Block off a program, known as SSDI, that keeps her financially afloat.
“Where are the morals of the people going after people dealing with Stage 4 cancer?” recalled Block, who has been on disability for five years after her cancer spread to her liver and lungs. “The people I know, like me, with advanced cancer — we’ve wanted to be in the workplace, but we don’t have that ability now, so this is our income.”…
Why Are Republicans Making It Harder For Disabled Americans To Live Their Lives?
June 1, 2017 | Source: Bustle | Discrimination, Government, ADA, Disability, Accessibility
Like reproductive health care access, the environment, and immigrants’ rights, disability protections are at risk under the Trump administration. Almost 27 years after the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law by former President George H.W. Bush, a new law has been proposed that threatens to limit the protections provided by the ADA.
Under the ADA, a person with a disability currently has two choices if they encounter a barrier to accessibility at a business. They can file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice, or they can file a lawsuit in court. If they choose to follow the DOJ path, the DOJ would investigate the potential ADA violation and possibly pursue mediation procedures with the business and the person making the complaint until a low-cost solution is found. In either case, the ADA makes it much more likely that barriers to accessibility are quickly resolved…
Chris Pratt Turns Up The Volume On Questions Of Accessibility
June 1, 2017 | Source: Huffington Post | Art/Entertainment, Discrimination, Inclusion, Deaf/Hearing Impaired
Chris Pratt, pre-eminent Guardian of the Galaxy, recently posted an Instagram video in which he told viewers to turn up the volume instead of just reading the subtitles, which prompted some of his fans in the deaf/hard-of-hearing (DHOH) community to call him out as insensitive. And, faster than anyone could say I am Groot, Pratt pulled the offending video and put out a heart-felt, entirely silent apology — using American Sign Language (ASL)! He saw how his post had been perceived — which was probably not as he intended it — and he owned the oversight and apologized.
Pratt’s response — and his responsiveness — was admirable, but the fact that the incident occurred at all highlights the very reason we have a Global Accessibility Awareness Day. Far too many people forget that not everyone can hear what they do. It simply doesn’t occur to them that more than 50 million Americans are deaf or hard-of-hearing. To the extent that they think about the appearance of captions on a screen, they may think of captions as nothing more than a convenient alternative to sound while they’re working out at a noisy gym and want to catch up on the latest news. They fail to realize that they’re the unintended beneficiaries of a system that was designed to enable access to those in the DHOH community that might otherwise have no access to that news…
After Outage, Ed Department Unveils New IDEA Site
June 1, 2017 | Source: Disability Scoop | Education, Digital Accessibility, Web Design, Inclusion
Three months after a key government special education website crashed, federal officials are introducing a revamped online presence. The U.S. Department of Education launched a new website Thursday morning dedicated to housing information on the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
The updated resource, which is based on feedback from parents, educators, disability advocates and other stakeholders, offers a design that’s more consistent with the rest of the Education Department’s branding. The site features better search capabilities, enhanced accessibility and more content, the agency said…
No Barriers Youth, Wells Fargo Select 20 Teachers for Global Impact Challenge
June 1, 2017 | Source: Globe Newswire | Education, Inclusion, Disability
No Barriers Youth and Wells Fargo announced the selection of 20 middle and high school educators to serve as ambassadors for the Global Impact Challenge, a diversity and inclusion competition designed to spark the best ideas from students for building a world free of barriers, stereotypes and discrimination.
“At No Barriers, we gather people from all walks of life and inspire them to discover their full potential,” says Erik Weihenmayer, No Barriers co-founder, former middle school teacher and a world renowned adventurer who is blind. “At this year’s No Barriers Summit, we will equip teachers with the necessary tools to help students dream big and break down barriers through the Global Impact Challenge.”…
Better by Design: Making Cars That Meet the Needs of Older Drivers
June 1, 2017 | Source: Consumer Reports | Mobility, Aging, Blindness/Visual Impairment, Deaf/Hearing Impaired, Accessible Design
Newly minted car designers don’t start out with an understanding of the needs of senior drivers or others with limited mobility or declining vision. To help sensitize them, Ford makes its engineers and designers wear its Third Age Suit, which duplicates some of the limited flexibility, hearing, motion, vision, and even sense of touch that seniors can experience.
“The Third Age Suit places our engineers directly in the shoes of older drivers, helping them understand their circumstances and anticipate their needs,” says Katie Allanson, a human factors engineer in Ford’s Interactions and Ergonomics group…
Gun owners fear regulation from unlikely place: Hearing aids
June 1, 2017 | Source: Press Herald | Deaf/Hearing Impaired, Government, Legislation/Policy
A seemingly benign bill in Congress that aims to make it easier for people to afford hearing aids, and which has bipartisan support, has run afoul of a conservative gun rights group. Gun Owners of America, a roughly 1.5 million-member group says it opposes the legislation out of fear that it punishes hunters, who it seems purchase a lot of hearing enhancement devices and don’t want those products subjected to further regulation.
However, the group’s opposition is based on false information about what the bill would do and appears to have more to do with the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts, and what she represents. “In the past, antigun senators like Warren have used any pretext, however attenuated, to interfere with hunting and the exercise of Second Amendment rights,” Gun Owners of America wrote in a May 16 letter to lawmakers. “And we can only interpret this legislative initiative to be the most recent of these.”…
Disabled RV customers find few options, can customize
June 1, 2017 | Source: The Associated Press | Mobility, Disability, Travel, Discrimination, Accessible Design | Indiana
For Mark Neurohr traveling in his recreational vehicle is about enjoying life. “It is about getting out and living,” he said. “There is no sense sitting at home.” President of the Handicapped Travel Club, based in Ottawa, Illinois, with around 150 members scattered around the United States, Neurohr himself used to struggle to get around, although recently things have improved. “I am still able to get up the steps of my RV,” he said.
Mark Douglass understands the struggles that many disabled individuals face when they want to purchase an RV and hit the open road. Co-founder of the RVing Accessibility Group he travels around the country rating RV parks, campgrounds and RV units on their compliance with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act…
Jack Fact: There are 2.2 million people in the United States who have some type of disability, causing them to be confined to a wheelchair. These people face a life of daily frustrations, wanting to be active in their community, but are limited due to inaccessibility and rising costs of having a ramp built in their homes.
Turning disability into possibility
May 26, 2017 | Source: Pioneers Post- New Zealand | Accessibility, Disability, Innovation | New Zealand
“I have the most amazing job in the world!” says Minnie Baragwanath, founder and CEO of Be. Accessible in New Zealand. She will be speaking at the Social Enterprise World Forum in September and she gives us an insight into why she believes social enterprise is the way of the future. “I’m going to be speaking about the journey of Be. Accessible as a social enterprise and also why we have used this approach to develop an accessible social movement.”…
More accessible housing possible with planning
May 26, 2017 | Source: St. Catharines Standard- Canada | Mobility, Housing, Discrimination, Universal Design | Canada
Can you imagine trying to get around a regular apartment in a wheelchair? The doorways are too narrow, you can’t turn around in the bathroom, your knees won’t go under the sink in the kitchen and bathroom and the overhead kitchen cupboards are useless. And that’s just the beginning. I remember someone who had recently gone through a medical situation that put her in a wheelchair saying, “I can’t believe what you people go through!” Now she was one of “you people” and it became very clear to her why we have to do better…
It’s not hard to be accommodating- Businesses need to be aware of accessibility issues
May 27, 2017 | Source: Winnipeg Free Press – Canada | Employment/Workforce, Discrimination, Awareness | Canada
It’s tough to believe so many years have gone by since the Charter of Rights and Freedoms was signed in 1982. Section 15 of that groundbreaking document provides that, “Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law and, in particular, without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability.”
Since then, much has been done to educate the public, individuals and employers alike on our “rights and responsibilities.” As a result, negative social attitudes and misconceptions have been peeling away slowly. Thankfully, organizations also pay much more attention to policy development so that discrimination situations, hopefully, do not arise…
Eight tourist sites in the North East which are praised for how they cater for disabled visitors
May 27, 2017 | Source: Chronicle Live- Canada | Travel, Mobility, Building/Facilities Access, Accessible Design | Canada
These attractions have been recommended by disabled visitors and guide writers who judge them on accessibility…
‘State governments should educate people about Persons with Disabilities Act schemes’
May 27, 2017 | Source: The Indian Express- India | Government, Awareness, Education, Inclusion | India
The state governments should extensively educate people with disabilities about the advantages of Persons with Disabilities Act 2016 so that they can get the benefits of various schemes, Navreet Singh Kang, secretary to Union government in the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment said on Friday. Kang said this while chairing a regional conference at a city in which Chandigarh took part among several states and UTs…
Mada and NHRC to address rights of disabled people
May 28, 2017 | Source: The Peninsula- Qatar | Assistive Technology, Disability Rights, Awareness | Qatar
Mada Assistive Technology Center signed an MoU with the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) which aimed at working towards achieving their common objectives. The Memorandum of Understanding that was signed by Maha Al Mansouri, Mada CEO, and Mariam Abdullah Al Atiah, NHRC General Secretary, is intended to exchange experiences and highlight common concerns in the various fields related to the rights of persons with disabilities. The Memorandum of Understanding aims to work within the field of capacity building and exchange experiences to enhance joint action and enable full potential of persons with disabilities…
State government blind to Accessible India
May 28, 2017 | Source: Times of India | Government, Discrimination, Blindness/Visual Impairment, Education | India
While the central government is pushing the cause of people with disabilities, termed divyangs, and has also passed the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill last year, the state seems to have missed the message. The appointment of a blind teacher from Amreli has been cancelled, even though he passed the required examination for a job in the Cluster Resource Centre (CRC). He is running from pillar to post for the job, though according to the bill provisions, every government department should have 4% reservation for persons with disabilities…
Walk the walk on enhancing Hong Kong’s accessibility
May 29, 2017 | Source: Harbour Times- Hong Kong | Mobility, Building/Facilities Access, Universal Design, Discrimination | Hong Kong
Small sidewalks and dense populations that often find both vehicles and pedestrians dangerously competing for space, Hong Kong’s walkability definitely leaves much to be desired. Walking around in Hong Kong may prove difficult at times for the average pedestrian, but those who live with disabilities are forced to deal with much worse due to the city’s poor accessibility design.
In 2013 political commentator and writer Paul Letters published an article on SCMP titled, “Hong Kong has a long way to go on disabled rights and attitudes”. This article detailed Letters’ personal experiences with living in a wheelchair in Hong Kong. From inaccessible building designs to unhelpful and unpleasant public staff, what Letters went through on a daily basis was exhausting and humiliating, and certainly discouraging for anyone with a disability who hopes to live a comfortable life in the city…
CNIB calls for federal accessible book production strategy
May 29, 2017 | Source: Newswire- Canada | Inclusion, Universal Design, Education, Awareness, Leisure/Entertainment | Canada
As National AccessAbility Week begins, CNIB is calling on the federal government to develop a long-term plan to fund and produce more accessible books in Canada. “Thousands of new books are published in Canada each year, but as someone with sight loss, I can only access a fraction of them,” said Diane Bergeron, CNIB’s executive director of national and international affairs. “That’s not accessibility – it’s exclusion. And it has to change.”
More than three million Canadians live with a physical, visual or learning disability that could impede their ability to read standard printed materials. For these Canadians, books in accessible formats like audio, braille and electronic text represent a lifeline to literacy, and are critical to their participation in education, employment and community life…
Canada’s new accessibility laws should focus on employment, inclusive buildings, transport
Public consultations on Canada’s first national law for disabled people have identified high unemployment rates, inaccessible buildings and barriers in transportation as some of the key issues that need to be addressed. The priorities were laid out in a report, released by the federal government Monday, summarizing eight months of consultations held with Canadians from coast to coast.
It says participants wanted to see laws that would help lower stubbornly high unemployment rates for those with disabilities, reduce the number of buildings inaccessible to those with physical and intellectual disabilities, and remove accessibility barriers for the country’s air, rail, ferry and bus transportation systems…
Government of Canada shares what we learned by asking ‘What does an accessible Canada mean to you?’
May 29, 2017 | Source: Newswire- Canada | Inclusion, Government, Legislation/Policy | Canada
Thanks to the participation of thousands of Canadians, we are one step closer to a truly accessible Canada. Today, the Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities, released a report entitled, “Creating new national accessibility legislation: What we learned from Canadians.” The report summarizes the input received following Canada-wide consultations to inform the development of new planned federal accessibility legislation.
Over 6,000 people participated, both online and in-person, in the largest and most accessible consultation process on disability in Canada in the past 20 years. These consultations included 18 public meetings and 9 thematic roundtables where Canadians from across the country shared their personal stories and their challenges, successes, hopes and aspirations for a more inclusive society…
Toronto councillor suggests crackdown on misuse of disabled parking permits
May 29, 2017 | Source: Global News- Canada | Government, Accessible Parking, Disability Rights, Legislation/Policy | Canada
Toronto City Councillor Joe Mihevc says he will push to find a more stringent vetting system when it comes to the issuing of disabled parking permits. Last week, Council voted in favour of a city staff study on how to implement a new verification process which works in tandem with current provincial rules.
“We have all seen that resident who is fully able bodied take that spot and just walk away,” Mihevc told AM 640’s Tasha Kheiriddin Show. “It happens so many times that we regularly get complaints all they time especially in areas where parking is a premium.”…
Disability accessibility, acceptance and how a country community is helping James go places
May 30, 2017 | Source: ABC- Australia | Mobility, Transit/Transportation, Assistive Technology | Australia
Without a roadworthy vehicle, James Baxter-O’Shea has limited accessibility and spends much of his day sitting at home in front of a computer screen. Mr Baxter-O’Shea, 21, has Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Living in country town, he needs a safe and reliable vehicle, but the family’s current van is old and unreliable.
Now the Oberon community is rallying around to raise money to buy the family a brand-new, fully accessible vehicle which Mr Baxter-O’Shea said would be a “huge difference”. “This is probably the only thing I can do at the moment, [but] I would like to get out and do things,” Mr Baxter-O’Shea said. “There are not many places in Australia I’ve actually been to and I’d like to go places.”
National AccessAbility Week celebrates diversity, inclusion and accessibility in Canada
May 30, 2017 | Source: Easter Seals- Canada | Mobility, Inclusion, Sports/Athletics, Access | Canada
This spring, the Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities announced the launch of an annual National AccessAbility Week devoted to inclusion and accessibility in Canada. From May 28 to June 3, National Accessibility Week will celebrate, promote and showcase diversity, inclusion and accessibility in this country, and highlight some of the important initiatives aimed at creating an Accessible Canada.
“Building an inclusive and accessible Canada—creating real social change—is going to take a huge collaborative effort and a significant shift in the way we approach the physical, social and attitudinal barriers that currently exist for people living with disability in this country,” says Dave Starrett, President and CEO of Easter Seals Canada. “Easter Seals is proud to be at the forefront of this shift, and we’re excited about the awareness that the new National AccessAbility Week will bring to these efforts.”…
Shopping centre signs up to a new way of communicating
May 30, 2017 | Source: Sun FM- UK | Deaf/Hearing Impaired, Leisure/Entertainment, Inclusion, Performing Arts | United Kingdom
Intu Metrocentre has demonstrated its on-going commitment to being a forward thinking, inclusive shopping and leisure centre, adapting to the needs of its visitors. Following the success of signing Santa sessions over the festive season, intu Metrocentre was keen to include a signing element in other aspects of its free calendar of children’s entertainment.
For the past 20 years shows featuring the centre’s loveable mascots, the Metrognomes, have entertained tens of thousands of children from across the north east as part of a host of free family fun on offer during the school holidays. This Easter one of Europe’s biggest shopping and leisure centres produced a day of British Sign Language interpreted shows for children with hearing impairments – the response was overwhelming and a signing day of shows looks set to be a regular feature…
Bus firms doing little to accommodate people in wheelchairs: Report
May 30, 2017 | Source: NL Times- Netherlands | Mobility, Discrimination, Transit/Transportation, Disability Rights | Netherlands
A number of bus companies in the Netherlands still don’t meet the wheelchair accessibility standard set in 2012, Trouw reports based on research by DTV Consultants. The 2012 standard states that 98 percent of all buses in the Netherlands must be accessible to disabled people. The study revealed that wheelchair bound people can’t take the bus in 8 percent of their attempts to do so, according to the newspaper…
Waterloo Region schools closer to accessibility
May 30, 2017 | Source: CBC News- Canada | Education, Accessible Design, Inclusion, Building/Facilities Access | Canada
The Waterloo Region District School Board is getting closer to making all its schools accessible. This year, the board will use $800,000 of its $9.7 million funding towards accessibility projects, Ian Gaudet, controller of facility services with the school board, told CBC K-W’s The Morning Edition host Craig Norris. There are several projects in the works this year, Gaudet said, including adding elevators and renovating washrooms at Queensmount, William G. Davis and Margaret Avenue schools. The board has made good progress towards meeting requirements of having all schools fully accessible by 2025, Gaudet said…
The new Mario Kart comes with an Accessibility surprise
May 30, 2017 | Source: The National Student- UK | Gaming/Entertainment, Inclusion, Digital Accessibility | United Kingdom
The Japanese company’s newest Switch title was received with the acclaim of both buyers and critics, but it also packed an unexpected surprise. A smart steering mode was introduced and switched on by default, helping to guide players by taking turns and avoiding going off road. While the only physically difference you’ll notice is an antenna at the back of your vehicle with a blinking light, this mode can change the entire experience of the game. For one thing, it helps ease newcomers into the world of Mario Kart while getting them accustomed to the controls of the joy-cons…
Centre to retro-fit 1707 government offices
May 30, 2017 | Source: The Hindu- India | Government, Building/Facilities Access, Mobility, Accessible Design | India
The Government of India has identified 1,707 old buildings housing its offices in 50 cities, for being retro-fitted to be disabled-friendly, said Union Secretary, Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (PwD), Navreet Kang. About 1,600 of them were inspected by the concerned agencies and a budget of over ₹20 lakh was sanctioned for the purpose by the Centre, he informed presspersons on the sidelines of ‘Accessibility Summit India’ organized at the Microsoft India Development Centre here on Tuesday…
Disability group files complaints against 40 Saskatoon restaurants
May 30, 2017 | Source: CBC- Canada | Mobility, Discrimination, Blindness/Visual Impairment, Building Design/Architecture | Canada
When heading out for dinner, the first thing you may think about is what’s on the menu. But is the menu available in braille? Can a wheelchair fit in the washroom or even make it through the front door? This month, members of Barrier Free Saskatchewan filed complaints with the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission against 40 Saskatoon restaurants they say are falling short when it comes to accessibility. “Visually impaired people in this city may for the first time be going into a washroom in a facility and don’t know whether or not it meets accessibility standards,” said Len Boser on CBC Radio’s Saskatoon Morning…
Empowering persons with disabilities
May 30, 2017 | Source: State Times- India | Disability Rights, Legislation/Policy, Education, Inclusion | India
The change in the name of the Department of Disability Affairs to the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities soon after the NDA assumed power was to send the message that ’empowerment’ would be the key to the policies and programmes for the disabled and that a separate department meant this sector would receive focused attention it deserved . A numbers of campaigns and schemes have been launched during the last 2 to 3 year towards creating disabled friendly environment in every sphere whether it is accessibility, education , providing assistive aides and appliance or empowering persons with disabilities through skills and providing employment…
Empowering the differently-abled
May 30, 2017 | Source: The Hans- India | Accessible Design, Inclusion, Education, Innovation | India
Microsoft Corporation India along with Sarthak Educational Trust organised the first ever ‘Accessibility Summit’ at the premises of Microsoft Hyderabad to empower differently-abled people. As a part of it, various representatives from the government and technology innovators shared the new ideas and solutions to accelerate disability inclusion in India. The one-day summit witnessed various group discussions, panel discussions, and talks of disabled people from all over the country…
Accessible workplace helps disabled workers, firms alike
May 30, 2017 | Source: Financial Express- Bangladesh | Employment/Workforce, Inclusion, Businesses | Bangladesh
Accessible workplace for persons with disability can significantly increase business while reducing transaction cost, speakers said on Tuesday. More than 90 companies employ disable people, they said, calling upon garment factories to adopt inclusive business policy and recruit more persons with disability to bring them into the mainstream economy. “We have realised that through charity approach, inclusion and business needs can’t be addressed and are convinced that accessible workplace for persons with disability would significantly increase business while reducing cost of doing business,” Inamul Haq Khan, managing director of Ananta Group, said…
Brock Students Get A First Person Taste
May 30, 2017 | Source: Kawartha Media Group- Canada | Education, Inclusion, Awareness, Disability | Canada
Students at Brock High School got a new perspective in accessibility as they took part in the Accessibility Challenge. Students were challenged to complete a series of tasks inside and outside the school from a different perspective, whether it was from the seat of a wheelchair, behind a walker, or with earplugs or Vaseline-covered goggles to simulate hearing and vision impairment respectively. “To get some appreciation of what people with a disability have to deal with in their day-to-day life,” Brock Township mayor John Grant told the students of the challenge, which took place Monday…
Mada certifies MoFA website as accessible for the disabled
May 31, 2017 | Source: Gulf Times- Qatar | Awards/Recognition, Web Design, Digital Accessibility | Qatar
Mada Assistive Technology Centre has awarded its e-Accessibility certification to Qatar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) as the latter’s website is now accessible to Persons with Disabilities, allows for ease of use and follows the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 (WCAG 2.0 AA). This step “helps unlock potentials for Persons with Disabilities and empowers them in all aspects of their lives”, according to a press statement.
The partnership is part of Mada’s “efforts to promote and activate e-Accessibility policies based on the centre’s belief that Persons with Disabilities have the right to access digital content”. Also, this is one of the most important provisions of the UN Convention when it comes to the rights of Persons with Disabilities, and “one of the pillars of the national policy that focuses on digital accessibility”, the statement notes…
Government of Canada helps make workplaces and communities more accessible through call for proposals
May 31, 2017 | Source: CNW- Canada | Inclusion, Employment/Workplace, Government, Access | Canada
During National AccessAbility Week, as we celebrate, highlight and promote inclusion and accessibility across Canada, we are especially aware of how greatly society benefits when all Canadians can participate equally in their workplaces and communities. To help achieve a more accessible Canada, the Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities, invited businesses, community organizations and other eligible recipients to apply for funding through the 2017 Enabling Accessibility Fund (EAF) Call for Proposals.
Canadians with disabilities face challenges every day which prevent them from participating fully in their communities and the economy. Through programs such as the EAF, the Government of Canada is committed to reducing these accessibility barriers and ensuring that everyone has equal access and opportunity…
Creating accessible video games
May 31, 2017 | Source: Moose Jaw Times-Herald- Canada | Gaming, Blindness/Visual Impairment, Inclusion, Accessible Design, Innovation | Canada
Four local Sask. Polytech students develop a game for kids with visual impairment. As kids, Joshua Couse, Amanda Braun, Tim Trott and Subin Jacob loved playing video games. However, they said they understood that kids with visual impairment don’t have as easy access to video games. Now as students at Saskatchewan Polytechnic Moose Jaw campus ready to graduate in June, they decided to create a virtual reality (VR) game for kids with visual impairment as part of their final project. The group contacted the Canadian Institute for the Blind (CNIB) in Regina and got an immediate response. Thus, Project Virtual Reality for Everyone (VIREO) was born…
Canadian Transportation Agency issues What We Heard Summary Report on accessible transportation
June 1, 2017 | Source: Newswire- Canada | Transit/Transportation, Legislation/Policy, Disability Rights | Canada
As part of the Regulatory Modernization Initiative, the Canadian Transportation Agency has issued a What We Heard Summary Report for its first phase of consultations on accessible transportation. The report highlights the key points that have emerged so far, such as the need for a clear, relevant and comprehensive set of rules for all modes of transport, and for those rules to be expressed in mandatory regulations rather than voluntary codes. The accessibility needs of Canadians are varied and are increasing as the population ages and the percentage of Canadians with disabilities continues to grow. In a recent Government of Canada consultation on creating new national accessibility legislation, participants ranked transportation as third among key areas of focus for the Government of Canada…
Accessibility Blogs and Information
- Leaders in Learning Podcast – ELS Speaker Kevin Gumienny on Accessible E-Learning
- Texas Department of Information Resources- EIR Accessibility Tools, Training, and Related Resources
- Game Accessibility: An Epic Primer
- Ensuring Accessibility for All of Pinellas County
- Accessible Conference Guide
- Eyes-Free Academy
- What Persons With Disability In India Really Need (Definitely Not Your Charity)
- Improving Accessibility of Summer Blockbusters- American Council of the Blind
- End Excess-A-ride by using accessible taxis instead
- United Way- An accessible city for everyone
- Are Doctors or Hospitals Required to Provide LIVE Interpreters for Deaf Patients?
- The Government of Ontario Accessibility in Education Survey
- Find out how EdgeHTML 15 has improved web accessibility with Windows 10 Creators Update
- Microsoft’s Introduction to Disability and Accessibility- Video
- Court approves wheelchair accessibility class-action suit against transit agencies, Montreal
- The Paciello Group- Accessibility and the self-organizing team
- The Consumer Caution Corner: Telecommunications access for people with disabilities
- City’s Multi-year Accessibility Plan- Toronto Accessibility Plan Update – Public Consultation Opportunities
- Reader Letter: Long-term strategy needed for accessible books
- Funding: Enabling Accessibility in Workplaces and Communities – Canada
- The Government of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region
- SP Energy Networks
- Durham College
- Mesquite ISD
- NHS Information Governance Toolkit
- Tampere Hall
- Houston Grand Opera
- Care Quality Commission
- Watford Football Club
- Phantom of the Opera
- College of Staten Island The City University of New York
- Gas Networks Ireland
- Morrow County School District
- Selkirk College
Accessibility Announcements and Products
- $7.5 million MBTA project starting at Mansfield rail station
- New Report Offers Fresh Perspective on Making Accessibility Accommodations for People with Disabilities
- The most complete map on Verona’s accessibility
- The 9th Annual Excellence In Cultural Access Awards To Be Held On June 22
- Transit walkway accessibility improvements benefit thousands at Sea-Tac Airport
- National AccessAbility Week
- MobilityWorks Celebrates Twenty Year Anniversary as Accessible Van Provider and Commercial Vehicle Manufacturer
- Fort Smith parks director seeks input on accessibility
- Burlington celebrates National Access Awareness Week
- Durham College Alumnus Wins Provincial Accessibility Award
- Microsoft details accessibility improvements in EdgeHTML 15 with Windows 10 Creators Update
- Call for polling stations to be more accessible to disabled and elderly
- 4th edition of CSA B651-12 Accessible Design for the Built Environment
- Volunteers, Police Officers make former Milford police officer’s house handicap accessible
- Redfield boy helps add accessible door to Ronald McDonald House
- National Access Week launches in Peterborough with inaugural Accessibility Champion Awards
- City Celebrates Accessibility Through the Years
- Rick Hansen Foundation announces winners of 2017 | Accessible Cities Award
- Inclusivity and accessibility- Videophones introduced at Purdue Northwest Hammond Campus
- Accessibility learning session to ‘shift perspective’ announced
- Flying Blind, LLC
Accessibility Q&A and Tips
- “Wheelchair accessibility”- Review of National Museum of Australia
- Cloak & Dagger exploits Android accessibility, overlay features
- Drupal- Accessibility suggestion
- Accessibility improvements in EdgeHTML 15 with Windows 10 Creators Update
- Maid Of the Mist accessibility
- Drupal Accessibility : Close popover when ESC is pressed
- Test Auto Accessibility Detection in the Editor
- Add “Improved keyboard accessibility” setting
- “Good icebreaker for meeting new people/Good for Wheelchair Accessibility”
- Cloud9 Accessibility
- Hotels in Rhodes with wheelchair accessibility
- Polling station lacked accessibility
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.