Accessibility in the News—1/5/18
Businesses can no longer look to Department of Justice rulemaking to provide clarity on website accessibility. In December, the DOJ officially withdrew its Advanced Notices of Proposed Rulemaking for Title III, as well as Title II website accessibility rulemaking regarding state and local government websites. This wraps up a year filled with website accessibility lawsuits filed against businesses across the country (Lifetime Fitness joined those ranks this week), as well as “drive-by” lawsuits alleging physical violations. Congress is trying to stem the latter through legislation. A teacher who was overheard making fun of a student with a disability is also the recipient of legal action. On a more positive note, a Texas university is finding that accessible course content, materials and interactions benefit all students, and Broadway is becoming more accessible.
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AITN Quote of the Week
“I choose not to place ‘DIS’, in my ability.”
― Robert M. Hensel
National News (U.S.)
A Traveler’s Top Tips for Hitting the Road when Living with Limited Mobility
December 24, 2017 | Source: EmpowHER | Mobility, Travel, Awareness
Jeanne Allen has lived with multiple sclerosis (MS) for more than 30 years and is passionate about traveling. She hasn’t let her motorized wheelchair deter her or slow her down, and she doesn’t want mobility challenges to stand in the way of anyone else with the travel bug either. In 2014, Jeanne was planning a trip and was surprised by how difficult it was to find reliable information about accessibility. “After spending hours scouring the web and making countless phone calls for anything I could find about traveling with a wheelchair, I realized I was compiling valuable information that could help others…
Where we’ve failed to live up to the promise of the Americans with Disabilities Act
December 26, 2017 | Source: WTVA
Twenty-seven years ago, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was passed, prohibiting discrimination against individuals with disabilities. I still remember standing in the Rose Garden watching President George H.W. Bush sign the bill into law. Today, as a result, people with disabilities face far fewer barriers to mobility and communication. Thanks to innovations ranging from curb cuts and Braille on ATMs to improved access to education and healthcare, people with disabilities lead more productive lives and can contribute more to our nation’s economy…
How to Protect Disability Rights in 2018
Disability rights have always been an important political issue in the United States, but in 2017, the growing profile of activist group ADAPT highlighted what’s at stake. The fight for health care is only a small part of the larger battle for full inclusion in society — something that will be under threat in 2018, thanks to Republican policies. If you’re disabled and feeling helpless — or nondisabled and wanting to work in solidarity with the disability community — there are lots of actions you can take that will make a big difference…
DOJ Officially Pulls the Plug on Regulations Already on Life Support
In a move that surprises no one, the Department of Justice (DOJ) has announced today, December 26, 2017, that it has officially withdrawn its two Advanced Notices of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) related to website accessibility: one under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) applicable to state and local governments and one under Title III applicable to private businesses open to the public. The DOJ’s purported basis for the withdrawal of these ANPRMs is to evaluate whether promulgating regulations about the accessibility of web information and services is “necessary and appropriate.”…
FCC issues final extension for video game CVAA accessibility waiver
At the request of the Electronic Software Association, the Federal Communications Commission has extended an existing waiver that temporarily makes video games exempt from the accessibility requirements set forth in the Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010. This marks the third time video games have been given temporary exemption since 2012, but the FCC says it has granted this latest extension under the understanding that this latest waiver request will be its last…
Pending legislation in Congress could address ADA ‘drive-by’ lawsuits, but business lawyers not optimistic
December 27, 2017 | Source: Cook County Record
In recent years, businesses of all sizes have been hit with spurts of lawsuits brought by lawyers seeking out often relatively small violations under disability access guidelines. And while businesses have asked lawmakers to change the rules under which such lawsuits – commonly known to many as “drive-by” suits – a Chicago lawyer is not holding out much hope of any action from Congress anytime soon. New legislation now pending in Congress, the Americans with Disabilities Act Education and Reform Act of 2017 (H.R. 620), could address the proliferation of “drive-by” lawsuits brought under the ADA…
Give Wheelchair Vans Some Space, Damnit
December 29, 2017 | Source: The Drive
An image is going viral on Twitter about the importance of parking properly in handicap parking spaces. We all know that parking in one without the proper tag or license plate is wrong and will banish you to the very special hell with people who talk in the theater. Even if you’re fully authorized to park in such a space, it’s important to park between the lines properly, or people like Rachelle Chapman may not even be able to enter their vehicles. The photo shows Chapman, in a wheelchair, properly parked in her space, and the wheelchair ramp extended from the side of her Ford Explorer…
Mother sues school district over voicemail mocking special needs daughter
December 29, 2017 | Source: AJC
A Pennsylvania mother is suing a local school district, claiming teachers mocked her daughter, who has disabilities. “She could coal mine … She could be a good coal miner!” “She has a pretty smile. Her teeth are crooked!” “She can walk!” Those are some of the insults that were allegedly left in a voicemail on Beth Suhon’s phone. The voices on the other end allegedly are her daughter’s former Claysville Elementary School teachers. “They have no respect for children, especially children with special needs,” Suhon said…
Cubs fan who uses wheelchair sues, says Wrigley Field violates disabilities act
A 20-year-old Cubs fan who uses a wheelchair is alleging in a lawsuit that Wrigley Field renovations have eliminated or excluded some handicapped-accessible seating at the stadium in violation of federal law. David F. Cerda, who has muscular dystrophy and has used a wheelchair since age 10, says in his federal lawsuit that the Cubs owners’ $750 million renovation project removed wheelchair-accessible sections in the right-field bleachers where he had long enjoyed watching games and replaced them with a bar…
Melanie R. Cawthon- Director of disABILITYsa says it’s environments, not people, that have disabilities
January 1, 2018 | Source: San Antonio Magazine
If it wasn’t for a lingering lower back issue, Melanie Cawthon might never have found her life’s passion. The longtime San Antonian started her career in catering, but after finding the labor-intensive field too much for her back, a temp agency placed her at a nonprofit, where she found her niche in advocating for people with disabilities. Co-founder and director of disABILITYsa, Cawthon now works to ensure those with disabilities are fully integrated into the community…
Protecting digital accessibility ensures equal rights for disabled people
January 2, 2018 | Source: ABA Journal
As the world has moved online, so have disability rights. Disability community activists use social media to spread the message of equality, opportunity, justice and inclusion. Disabled people and their lawyers use the law to guarantee websites, mobile applications, kiosks and other technologies are available and accessible to everyone. If you want to know what the disability community is thinking about—and acting on—make Twitter your first stop. Find disability-related hashtags, including #CripTheVote, #AXSChat and #a11y (shorthand for accessibility)…
ICBA Negotiates Settlement with Plaintiff Group on Alleged ADA Liability
January 2, 2018 | Source: JD Supra
Numerous community banks that had received demand letters from the advocacy group Access Now alleging that their websites and mobile apps are inaccessible in violation of Title III of the Americans With Disabilities Act (the “ADA”) have now also received letters that those claims have been resolved under a settlement with the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA). The settlement releases ICBA members and non-member banks with assets of $50 billion or less from all ADA claims concerning their electronic banking services, including online banking, mobile banking, ATM services, and telephone banking…
Spark Therapeutics Sets Price Of Blindness-Treating Gene Therapy At $850,000
January 3, 2018 | Source: Forbes
A new drug, Luxturna, literally allows blind people to see. It does it by using a virus to insert new genes into patients’ eyes. This morning, Luxturna’s maker, Spark Therapeutics, is announcing the cost of this medical miracle: $425,000 per eye, or $850,000 for most patients. That figure is actually less than investors and outside experts expected. In December, the investment bank Jefferies had forecast a $1 million price. At the same time as it is announcing the wholesale price, which will be discounted in many cases and should be paid mostly by insurers and government agencies, not individuals…
2017 Website Accessibility Lawsuit Recap: A Tough Year for Businesses
January 3, 2018 | Source: JD Supra
Seyfarth Synopsis: 2017 saw an unprecedented number of website accessibility lawsuits filed in federal and state courts, and few courts willing to grant early motions to dismiss. Plaintiffs were very busy in 2017 filing ADA Title III lawsuits alleging that public accommodations’ websites are not accessible to individuals with disabilities. Here is our brief recap of the 2017 website accessibility lawsuit numbers, major developments, and our thoughts for 2018…
Broadway Is Becoming More Accessible, Thanks to a Boost From Podcasting
January 3, 2018 | Source: Pacific Standard
In the Vineyard Theatre’s latest production, Harry Clarke, actor Billy Crudup plays a con man from the American heartland posing as two Londoners in a scheme to penetrate a well-to-do New England family. Crudup also plays nearly two dozen other characters in the one-man show. What’s special about Harry Clarke—besides the many roles Crudup effortlessly tackles within 80 minutes—is that the Vineyard is working to bring the show to people outside of its 132-seat theater…
January 3, 2018 | Source: E-Learn Magazine
The implementation of inclusive education technologies greatly benefits non-native English speaking students and teachers, while favoring different classroom learning methods. The Office of Information Technology at Texas A&M International University (TAMIU), current office of Phylis Zimmermann, Instructional Designer, is constantly busy with work and assignments. This institution’s staff is highly focused on its mission, which involves working on videos, audios and online guides intended to guarantee a more accessible education…
Attorneys with disabilities make success accessible
January 3, 2017 | Source: ABA Journal
Deepinder “Deepa” Goraya of Washington, D.C., loves her work as an advocate fighting legal battles. After all, she had her share of personal battles even before she started to practice law. Goraya was born three months premature.The incubator for her 2½-pound body pumped in too much oxygen, which caused the blood vessels behind her eyes to burst. That led to a lifetime of blindness and exposed her to inequities in the educational system. Her parents fought to keep her in neighborhood schools, while she used technology to translate her textbooks and homework to Braille or voice versions…
Life Time Fitness Hit With ADA Suit Over Website Access
January 3, 2017 | Source: Law360 (Subscription)
Law360, New York (January 3, 2018, 8:04 PM EST) — A blind man who successfully sued supermarket chain Winn-Dixie over the accessibility of its website is now targeting Miami Marathon organizer Life Time Fitness Inc. over alleged violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act involving its website. Juan Carlos Gil, a legally blind Florida resident who can only access the internet through the assistance of a screen reader, said in his complaint Wednesday that he attempted to access the marathon website several times in October only to find that it lacks the accommodations necessary to allow…
MSP offers new tech for visually impaired travelers
January 3, 2018 | Source: KARE
St. Paul International Airport is now the second airport in the nation to offer free access to new technology that helps blind and visually impaired travelers. The startup Aira, based in San Diego, helps its users navigate the world through smart glasses, an app and instant access to the eyes of a trained professional. Greg Stilson, who is blind, used the technology while navigating MSP Airport Wednesday morning. After putting on his smart glasses, he logged into his Aira app. The app connected to his glasses and he was then connected on the phone to an agent…
Jack Fact — Center for Talent Innovation (CTI) in partnership with US Business Leadership Network (USBLN) finds that in the U.S., sixty-two percent of employees with disabilities have “invisible disabilities”—people can’t tell they have a disability upon meeting them. Millennials make up 44% of employees with mental health conditions.
Wheelchair-accessible toboggan slide opens in Winnipeg
December 25, 2017 | Source: CTV News- Canada
The city of Winnipeg has opened a slide and toboggan designed to allow everyone to get in on the fun. On Friday, the city unveiled a its first wheelchair-accessible slide, which doubles as a toboggan run in the winter, at St. Vital Park in the southern part of Winnipeg. Four-time Paralympian and two-time Paralympic medalist in sledge hockey Billy Bridges took part in the slide’s inaugural run with his daughter on his lap. “Having a two-year-old daughter, tobogganing was always something I never thought I’d be able to do with her, at least consecutively more than one run at a time.”
High street chains exposed on trip out with disabled person
A charity has warned that disabled people are being let down by high street retailers – and Sky News witnessed the problems they face first-hand during a shopping trip with a terror attack victim. A survey by Scope revealed that three quarters of disabled people and their families had left a shop or business because it did not properly cater for them. This is despite it being a legal requirement that reasonable adjustments are made to premises to make them accessible for disabled shoppers…
Just 1% of Yorkshire’s countryside is truly accessible to the disabled
Yorkshire Water and a Huddersfield community group have been recognised for its efforts to open up access to the countryside for people with disabilities. The move comes as it is revealed that less than 1% of the countryside access in Yorkshire can be deemed truly accessible to the disabled. Yorkshire Water, the second-largest landowner in Yorkshire, was presented with the Good Access Scheme award by the Harrogate-based charity Open Country which promotes access to the countryside for people with physical and mental disabilities…
Digital Library For All
December 27, 2017 | Source: UN Web TV- The United Nations- Argentina (Video)
Through funding provided by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), and in collaboration with Argentinian publishers, Tiflolibros, a digital library for the blind, has produced 800 educational books in Spanish. The books are for individuals who are blind or print disabled. Accessing books for the visually impaired was facilitated by the Marrakesh Treaty adopted in June 2013. Argentina was one of the States that adopted it…
The Overlooked: Bringing Accessibility To Legally Blind Photographers
December 28, 2018 | Source: HuffPost- UK
I’m sitting here icing the side of my eye from an injury, musing over another rejection from a vanity publication, and trying to massage the bruising from both. I am a photographer. I’m also legally blind (and the aforementioned injury resulted from a blind spot in my vision that caused me to hit the side of an open cabinet door). There have been plenty of articles written about the rigid standards in the fashion and beauty industry – but probably not enough – be that lack of diversity in size, height, race and a sort of boys only club that still persists…
Are Derby’s shops and restaurants disabled-friendly? A wheelchair user found out
December 28, 2017 | Source: Derby Telegraph- UK
Across the UK there are more two million adults of working age who are disabled, with hundreds in Derby. But just how disabled-friendly and wheelchair-accessible is Derby city centre? Derby Telegraph reporter Shannyn Quinn went into the city with two disabled men. One, Martin Austin, 39, uses crutches to walk. The other is Joe Brummitt, 22, who has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair. The aim was to find out which places were the most accessible and which they said disabled people should avoid…
The World Health Organisation/World Bank report on disability worldwide states that over a billion people, about 15 percent of the world’s population, are living with some form of disability and that the majority of this population lives in developing nations such as Nepal, where necessary supports and services are at a minimum, if they exist at all. People with disabilities living in rural areas are among the poorest segments of the population; they are highly marginalised and lack access to services…
Long-sought new accessibility law coming in 2018, but what will it look like?
December 29, 2017 | Source: The Guardian- Canada
Canadians with disabilities have their sights firmly set on 2018 when the federal government is expected to usher in long-sought legislation designed to increase accessibility nationwide. The governing Liberals have promised to create a bill that would remove barriers in federally regulated sectors such as banking, interprovincial transportation, telecommunications and government-run services such as Canada Post. But what will the expected legislation look like and what will it accomplish? People close to the process weighed in…
Special Report: Are We Geared Up For New Disability Law?
December 29, 2017 | Source: Bahamas Tribune- Bahamas
When the fire alarm sounded at one of the country’s busiest government facilities scores of employees frantically rushed to exit the building. Behind them they left one colleague, Tamara, terrified as she anguished how she was going to get to safety on her own. It was only when the staff all gathered safely outside, one person realized Tamara had not joined them and returned to lead her out of the building. Tamara, not her real name, could not make it out on her own because she is disabled…
Transit accessibility for all remains a dream unfulfilled across Canada
December 29, 2017 | Source: The Globe and Mail- Canada
There’s a pair of elevators to nowhere at one of the busiest subway stations in Montreal. Get off the train at Place Bonaventure and it’s 36 stairs up to the next level. The elevators are there for riders who can’t do that walk, but they go only from the train platform to the ticket-booth area, one level up. It’s a long walk and many more stairs from there to the street. The station has been like this for eight years, a jarring reminder of how much of the system is off-limits to those unable to walk…
Restaurant accessibility for all!
December 29, 2017 | Source: Guelph Today- Canada
I think I’m dreaming. There’s a restaurant that is big, beautiful and old. It has been restored to its original charm, architecturally stunning with massive wooden floor boards; huge vaulted ceilings; intricate limestone walls; sparkling chandeliers; a fireplace in every room on every level – and – it’s totally accessible to all. Definitely dreaming. Enter the AODA – Accessibility of Ontarians with Disabilities Act. The AODA became law on June 13, 2005. The three main components of the act to benefit all Ontarians are developing, implementing and enforcing accessibility standards…
Over 200 new wheelchair accessible taxis added to the fleet in 2017
December 30, 2017 | Source: thejournal.ie- Ireland
The number of wheelchair accessible taxis has increased significantly since the start of the year, with more than 200 new licences for these vehicles added to the fleet as a direct result of government grants. The National Transport Authority (NTA) issues grants each year to help taxi drivers with the cost of wheelchair accessible vehicles with an aim to ensuring a good supply all across the country. In total there were 588 applications to the grant scheme, from every county except Longford…
What will Canada’s new accessibility law in 2018 look like?
December 30, 2017 | Source: Toronto Star- Canada
Canadians with disabilities have their sights set on 2018, when the federal government is expected to usher in long-sought legislation designed to increase accessibility nationwide. The governing Liberals have promised to create a bill that would remove barriers in federally regulated sectors such as banking, interprovincial transportation, telecommunications and government-run services such as Canada Post. But what will the expected legislation look like and what will it accomplish?…
Health + Tech | Telemedicine bonus – Opportunity to broaden access to healthcare for the disabled
December 31, 2017 | Source: Jamaica Gleaner- Jamaica
Universal access to health has been the buzz phrase for a few years now. When we think of this concept, we tend to think mostly of financial access, but it is much more than that. Our system is currently skewed to providing financial access to health, which, in itself, is very important as it can be a great barrier to health-seeking behaviour. We have been tackling the financial barrier with the no-user-fees policy and moved even further along with the recent signing of the consultancy agreement to begin work on the National Health Insurance Plan…
Disability rights get a judicial boost
January 1, 2018 | Source: The New Indian Express- India
The disability rights movement received momentous judicial support on December 15. The Supreme Court pronounced two major judgments concerning the higher education and accessibility rights of persons with disabilities (PWDs). These judgments have also come at a strategic time; India has completed 10 years of ratifying the United Nations Convention on Persons with Disabilities and we just celebrated the anniversary of the Rights of the Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016, which came into effect on 27 December 2016…
Accessibility Blogs and Information
- Section 508 Resources
- Leading the way for accessibility
- 4 Web Accessibility Best Practices
- The Pulse: Accessibility and Translation (Podcast)
- New Year, New Web Accessibility News
- What is the perfect theme park attraction?
- No ADA Web Accessibility Regs? No Excuses
- Composites for aging and disabled populations
- How to Add Captions to Video for Accessibility
- Top 10 disabled celebrities from across the world
- WebAIM- Screen Reader User Survey #7 Results
- #NoSightNoLimits Our Favorite Stories This Year
- In Kiosk ADA News – U.S. Access Board Meeting
- Ensuring Accessible Video- University of Minnesota
- EEOC Affirmative Action Rules Address Obligations
- OTC Hearing Aids: Balancing Safety and Accessibility
- New York City Subways A Hurdle For Disabled Riders (Podcast)
- Why coaching is massively beneficial for disabled people
- Quadriplegic film not ‘wheelchair accessible’ at city cinema
- Healthy Aging: Where do you want to live when you’re 85?
- ADA Accessibility Compliance for College and University Websites
- Accessibility Awareness- Let’s make the internet accessible to everyone
- Letter: National Parks’ climate action plans haven’t disappeared; the format is being upgraded
- About the Update of the Section 508 Standards and Section 255 Guidelines for Information and Communication Technology
- Visa Canada
- SUNY Ulster
- Park Group Plc
- REI Systems
- City of Margate
- Kitchen Collection
- Camelback Resort
- Insomniac Holdings
- Lundbeck Canada Inc.
- Stafford Public Schools
- Victim Services Toronto
- Poplar Public School District
- Tel Aviv Hotel Association
- Indianola Community Schools
- May-Port CG School District 14
- Oxford Academy Central School District
- UK Government National Archives
- MassHealth Accessibility Resources for Providers
- Central Oregon Community College
- National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
- Northwestern Connecticut Community College
- University at Albany, State University of New York
Accessibility Announcements & Products
- PreMark Accessibility Markings
- Affordable Accessible A-Frame Cabin
- Brothers’ Keepers: Accessibility for All
- Beyond Barriers has joined Lifeway Mobility!!
- Gaming addiction classified as disorder by WHO
- Samsung beefs up accessibility for 2018 premium TVs
- Senate Passes Bill for Phone-Friendly Federal Websites & Congress requires mobile-friendly websites
- Some Things About Tech Were Good in 2017. No, Really.
- SignAll Reveals the Future of Deaf Accessibility at CES 2018!
- 9 CEOs’ Top Priorities For 2018 In Tech, Business, And Society
- Microsoft Tackles IDE Accessibility With Visual Studio Extension
- Climate change plans for national parks get taken down from website
- FlipBuilder Announces the Release of Flip PDF Page Turning Software
- Enable Makeathon finalists to develop accessibility solutions for disabled
- MobilityWorks acquires North Carolina-based Accessible Mobility Center
- Deaf Poetry, Percussion, And New Music Combine In The Universal Drum
- Wheelchair-Accessible Nature Trail Completed at Academy Learning Center
- Kernock Cottages review: Introducing Cornwall’s truly accessible holiday homes
- Kickstarter funding has begun for a new hotel bed accessibility device for the disabled.
- Microsoft CEO Nadella Says AI Chatbot Ruuh Changing the Lives of Handloom Weavers in India
- Access Elevator Offers Stair Lifts in Pittsburgh PA to Meet Every Accessibility Challenge Across the USA
- Australian Startup Sofihub Is Using Artificial Intelligence and More To Give Seniors Freedom and Independence
Accessibility Q&A & Tips
- Publishing Flow accessibility
- Microsoft Accessibility Feedback
- Improving the Accessibility of 24 ways
- Functional Accessibility Evaluator (FAE)
- Wikipedia: Manual of Style/Accessibility
- Joomla 4 accessibility support: Tech for the humanity
- Twitter lets you describe your pics for the visually impaired
- Microsoft Announces Office January Update in Preview on iOS
- New Office Insider Preview build for iOS adds Mobile View and more
- How to Change the Appearance of Subtitles & Captions on Your iPhone
- Samsung’s experimental C-Lab projects include portable private speaker, accessibility gadgets
- Eye tracking within Windows 10’s Fall Creators Update is an assistive technology with potential
- In ARIA, what is the difference in how JAWS treats role=”applications” and role=”document”?
Microassist Digital Accessibility Services
Our digital and web accessibility services cover
- Accessible Elearning Development — Does your online training reach all learners, whether they’re your employees, resellers, students? Let us help you design effective, engaging training that works for everyone.
- Accessible Website and Application Development — An inaccessible website or application is increasingly seen as violating the ADA. Let’s talk about creating an online presence that reaches all your customers and reduces your litigation risk.
- Audit and Testing Services — A thorough accessibility audit against recognized accessibility standards will show you where you may be under-serving your customers and putting your organization at risk.
- Accessible Document Services — Digital assets such as Microsoft Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, PowerPoint presentations, PDFs, and audio and video files need to be accessible to individuals with disabilities, too. We can help you establish creation processes or remediate historical documents so that they meet accessibility standards and are usable by people with disabilities.
- Remediation Services — Whether for a time-sensitive response to a legal action, or for proactive remediation, we can fix what doesn’t meet accessibility standards.
- Accessibility Training — Contact us to get your teams introduced and informed about accessibility best practices.
Please contact us for any questions you have about our accessibility services and how we might support your organization.
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.
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