Accessibility in the News—4/13/17.
Colleges and universities have been in the accessibility spotlight recently, and this issue showcases a host of initiatives and needs within that sector. Here’s some of the goings on with higher education and accessibility:
- In Cincinnati, the student body is pursuing more immediately accessible digital content for both its websites and elearning programs.
- In New York, Cornell has documented its commitment to web accessibility and continues to push for improvements.
- As part of its ongoing efforts to improve a inclusive culture through open and transparent communication, Ohio University has established an Accessibility Liaison program.
- Similarly, Georgia Southern‘s Student Disability Resource Center works with between 600 and 700 students to help with mobility, housing, employment, and other resources.
Still, there’s plenty of work to be done in fully esteeming the needs of students with disabilities. In Connecticut, construction interferes with safe and familiar routes for navigating campus grounds in a wheelchair. A speaker at New York’s Colgate University highlights the subtle—or perhaps not so subtle—lack of integrating disability in campus-wide discussions of inclusion and diversity.
Learning to embrace a diverse population that includes those with visual, auditory, mobility, and cognitive disabilities is a global issue though, and isn’t limited to higher education: Read on for more on recent court decisions on website accessibility in retail and food service industries, learn about changes in K-12 education and local government, and get the latest updates in high-tech developments to facilitate independence.
AITN Quote of the Week
“The real fear that I have for dyslexic people is not that they have to struggle with jumbled input or that they can’t spell, but that they will quit on themselves before they get out of school. Parents have to create victories whenever they can, whether it’s music, sports or art. You want your dyslexic child to be able to say: ‘Yeah, reading’s hard. But I have these other things that I can do.’”
– Stephen J. Cannell
National News (U.S.)
High-Tech Hope for the Hard of Hearing
4/03 | Source: The New Yorker | Innovation, High-Tech, Deafness/Hearing Impairment
When my mother’s mother was in her early twenties, a century ago, a suitor took her duck hunting in a rowboat on a lake near Austin, Texas, where she grew up. He steadied his shotgun by resting the barrel on her right shoulder—she was sitting in the bow—and when he fired he not only missed the duck but also permanently damaged her hearing, especially on that side. The loss became more severe as she got older, and by the time I was in college she was having serious trouble with telephones. (“I’m glad it’s not raining! ” I’d shout, for the third or fourth time, while my roommates snickered.) Her deafness probably contributed to one of her many eccentricities: ending phone conversations by suddenly hanging up…
SCOTUS Decision A Victory For Students With Disabilities
4/06 | Source: Huffington Post | Education, IDEA, SCOTUS, K-12 | New York
Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously found that a student with disabilities who makes merely “more than de minimis” educational progress has not received an appropriate education under federal law. In the case, Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District, the Supreme Court evaluated the level of educational progress guaranteed by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), clarifying and increasing protections for students with disabilities across the country.
Over 13 percent of students nationwide, and 19 percent of students attending New York City Public Schools, experience some form of disability that negatively impacts their participation within the classroom. These disabilities affect students in variety of ways, and may be academic (such as a learning disability), emotional (such as depression), or behavioral (such as a conduct disorder). As a result, students with disabilities require a wide variety of educational supports—which frequently differ from traditional educational models…
Iowa Secretary of State Equips All Counties with Tablets to Assist in ADA Compliance
Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate announced this week his office will supply tablet computers for all 99 counties to assist election officials with Americans with Disabilities Act provisions required at polling places. Pate’s office will distribute the tablets, equipped with the ADA Checklist Program application, to every auditor’s office in Iowa. A statement released Wednesday by a spokesman for Pate said “technology provided by the app will allow county auditors to more easily identify accessible polling locations in all 1,681 precincts across the state.”…
University of Cincinnati addresses changes to Accessibility Network
4/09 | Source: The News Record | Digital Accessibility, Higher Education | Ohio
On Wednesday, University of Cincinnati Student Government Speaker Jackie Mulay introduced Kimber Andrews, Assistant Director of the Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning, who discussed changes to the Accessibility Network at UC. This university-wide initiative attempts to make the school’s websites and e-learning programs more accessible to those with disabilities. Previously, when an issue would come up regarding a student with an accessibility problem, that student would report it. It would then be documented and fixed. This process was too slow and ineffectual. The Accessibility Network strives to be more proactive in the accessibility transition…
Blind leading the blind to new heights in accessibility of personal devices
4/10 | Source: Metro | Digital Accessibility, Innovation, Blindness/Visual Impairment, Braille, Assistive Technology, Training
Siri, what was life like for the blind before you? Apple Inc.’s virtual assistant might not have an answer for that question, but Ed Summers does. “It’s radically different than it was fifteen, even just ten years ago,” said Summers, the manager of accessibility and applied assistive technology at the SAS Institute, who became blind at the age of 30. Summers is among a growing number of blind developers who are providing the experiential insight for creating technology for the blind. And the inclusion of disabled developers in the field is something of a metaphor for the inclusiveness new tech provides the disabled population…
Internet inventor: Make tech accessibility better already
4/10 | Source: CNET | Innovation, Deafness/Hearing Impairment, Internet, Digital Accessibility, Assistive Technology, Personal Account
Vint Cerf is often called the “father of the internet.” Consider him a pretty stern papa. Cerf, who is hearing-impaired, played an integral part in the invention of some of the most crucial technologies of the last half century, including the internet and email. But as quickly as he’ll extol how tech can advance society, he won’t mince words about its track record accommodating people with disabilities.
Accessibility shouldn’t be a “pixie dust” designers sprinkle on as an afterthought, he said. “It’s a crime that the most versatile device on the planet, the computer, has not adapted well to people who need help, who need assistive technology,” he said in an interview last month. “It’s almost criminal that programmers have not had their feet held to the fire to build interfaces that are accommodating for people with vision problems or hearing problems or motor problems.”…
Riding CTA legally blind can be ‘a huge pain in the ass’
4/10 | Source: Chicago Reader | Transit/Transportation, Blindness/Visual Impairment, Personal Account | Illinois
Getting around Chicago via mass transit can be frustrating for any of us, but imagine what it’s like for people who are legally blind. Visually impaired sound artist, rock musician, and recording engineer Andy Slater offered to share his experiences navigating the city on public transportation and floated some ideas to improve transportation access for folks with disabilities.
A native of Milford, Connecticut, Slater moved to town in 1994 to attend the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and now lives in Portage Park with his wife, Tressa, and their 12-year-old son, whose very rock ‘n’ roll name—yes, his real name—is Baron Vonn Slater. Andy creates “organic-electric” soundtracks and sound design especially geared toward people with visual impairments, with the goal of evoking images and colors. He also sings and plays keyboards in the acid-funk band the Velcro Lewis Group and records other acts at Frogg Mountain studio in the West Loop…
When kids with special needs get ‘A Chance To Dance,’ just watch them shine
4/10 | Source: Today | Arts/Entertainment, Community, Inclusion | North Carolina
The couple struggled with the dance steps. Ryan McWhirter needed to support his partner Cindy Shields as she twirled away from him and then curled back into his arms. But he kept grappling with it. Dance instructor, Kim Smith, pulled McWhirter, 18, aside to explain he needed support Shields, 18. As they continued to dance he said out loud, “I support.” McWhirter repeated this mantra because he has Down syndrome and he wanted to make absolutely sure that he remembered that his job was to provide support. “He was so proud and happy to take on this role,” Smith told TODAY…
Bookshare’s free ebook library making a difference for Texas students with print disabilities
4/11 | Source: Austin American Statesman | Government, Cognitive, Education | Texas
When he was six years old, Ben Cooper was diagnosed with dyslexia, a disability that can make it more difficult to interpret language and writing. For the next few years, his parents Robbi and Andrew Cooper took on the role of voicing all his reading materials.
“We used to read him all of his books,” said Robbi Cooper. “When you’re a young parent, that’s what you do, and then it was constant because he wasn’t reading on his own.” By about third grade, the family found a technological solution: Bookshare, an online library, allowed Ben to download textbooks, novels and any other reading material he needed for school at no cost…
Struggles in accessibility: how GS helps support students with disabilities
4/11 | Source: The George-Anne | ADA, Higher Education | Georgia
It has been over 25 years since the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) became law, prohibiting discrimination because of disability. Since then, there have been many strides made to make mobility less of an issue for people who use wheelchairs or scooters to go about their daily life. Here at Georgia Southern, strides have been made here as well to help students with disabilities feel more comfortable as they go to their classes, get on buses or live in a residence hall.
The ADA is an act that was passed on July 26, 1990. The goal of this law was to protect individuals who have disabilities and allow them to obtain a job, going into buildings and other things without discrimination. Examples of disabilities covered by the ADA are physical disabilities such as cerebral palsy, medical disabilities like diabetes, psychiatric disabilities like depression, learning disabilities like dyslexia, developmental disabilities like autism and finally, alcohol and drug addiction…
Creating Accessible Android Products at LinkedIn
4/11 | Source: LinkedIn | Digital Accessibility, Workforce
This post provides an overview of how I began the journey to improve accessibility in LinkedIn’s Android apps. I spent the last year leading this effort as a member of our Accessibility Team. Hopefully, this post will inspire others with ideas for how to help make your own Android applications accessible and inclusive.
LinkedIn’s core vision is to create economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce. It is our shared sense of purpose, and it inspires the things we create. When we talk about every member of the global workforce, we are also talking about the more than one billion people in the world who have some sort of disability. This includes people who may lack fine motor control or have some sort of mobility impairment, are deaf or hard of hearing, are colorblind, have a learning disability such as dyslexia or ADHD, have seizure disorders, have low vision or are visually impaired, or are totally blind…
If your home has been renovated for a physical hardship, you may get a tax credit
The AccessAble Home Tax Credit is a Maine income tax credit that reimburses modifications that make homes more accessible for a person with a physical disability or hardship living there. Maybe you have added a ramp to the home of your elderly parent; a railing to grab onto; or just fixed flooring to get rid of any tripping hazards, you could be eligible for up to $9,000 in a tax credit. The credit is only available to applicants with an annual income of $55,000 or less. Modifications have to improve accessibility for the person who lives in the home, and have to meet federal standards and comply with building codes. To find out more details…
University Assembly Votes to Improve Web Accessibility
4/11 | Source: The Cornell Daily Sun | Higher Education, Digital Accessibility, WCAG 2.0, Section 508 | New York
The University Assembly passed a resolution confirming Cornell’s commitment to web accessibility and resolved to “set, publish and disseminate to all levels of University personnel an accessibility policy on the cornell.edu domain,” during the meeting Tuesday. “What we are looking here is a resolution to better fit Cornell’s values,” said Jeramy Kruser, Employee Assembly representative. “The objective is to get us to a point where we can actually say ‘any person, any study’ from a digital perspective.”
Kruser, who sponsored the resolution, initially hoped every university site will adhere to 85 percent of the web accessibility standards on average, as established by Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the WCAG 2.0 AA standards of the Web Accessibility Initiative…
Florida Courts Rule ADA Covers Websites With Nexus To Physical Store
4/11 | Source: JD Supra | Digital Accessibility, Lawsuits/Litigation, ADA, Title III, Food Service, Retail | Florida, Alabama, Georgia
Two Florida federal district court judges require websites to have a “nexus” to a physical location for coverage under Title III of the ADA, but a third judge requires more. The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals (which includes Florida, Alabama, and Georgia) has yet to decide whether and to what extent Title III of the ADA applies to websites of public accommodations, but recent rulings from three different federal judges in Florida do provide insight on where the judges in that circuit may draw the lines…
Olive Garden accused of having an inaccessible website to the visually impaired
4/12 | Source: Florida Record | Digital Accessibility, Food Service, Blindness/Visual Impairment, Litigation/Lawsuit | Florida
A Broward County man alleges Olive Garden’s website is not accessible to the visually impaired. Dennis Haynes filed a complaint on April 3 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida against Olive Garden Holdings LLC alleging violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. According to the complaint, the plaintiff alleges that he visited the defendant’s website but was unable to enjoy full and equal access to it because portions of the site are not readable by screen-reading software…
Online directory connects the Deaf with accessible churches
4/12 | Source: Mission Network News | Faith, Deafness/Hearing Impairment | Texas
The process of choosing a church to attend can be difficult. But for Deaf Christians, finding a church can be downright overwhelming. Just ask Jason Suhr, a Deaf believer and the National Engagement Coordinator for Deaf Bible Society. “From my personal experience, I was born into and I grew up with a Deaf family. So from the time I can remember, we always attended Deaf churches. But when I moved out of state to go to college, I didn’t know where I could find a Deaf church, or a ministry that was available to me as a Deaf person, which was frustrating. I know that my experience was like that of many Deaf people all over the country.”…
Yoland Avila has vision for accessibility
4/11 | Source: Colorado Springs Independent | Government, Politics/Elections, Blindness/Visual Impairment | Colorado
When election results rolled in shortly after 7 p.m. on April 4, Yolanda Avila stood agape and beaming amidst a throng of friends, supporters and press. She had just bagged a win in one of the nastiest municipal elections in Colorado Springs history. The new District 4 councilor, who will be sworn in on April 18, will be joined by newbies, incumbents and familiar faces who, together, make up the most progressive City Council we’ve had in decades — one likely to make impactful decisions that could reverberate for generations.
Avila’s underdog victory in the historically underserved southeast side of the city is a big deal in its own right. But, adding extra import is the fact that Avila is the first legally blind person to hold elected office in Colorado Springs. Her service animal, Puma, will be the first dog on Council, too, she jokes…
Campus Weighs in on Accessibility
4/11 | Source: The Fairfield Mirror | Higher Education, Facilities Access | Connecticut
Once construction on the Barone Campus Center began, students, faculty and staff had to change their route to the Rudolph F. Bannow Science Center and other buildings on the other side of campus. While many able-bodied students may not have had to put much effort into finding new routes to get around campus, those who are disabled were forced to adjust their travel plans.
Senior Aimee Donohue, who relies on a wheelchair to move across campus, described the impact construction had on how she moves from class to class. “One day the path I’ve been taking for three years now has changed and I have to backtrack and think of a new route,” said Donohue…
Theatre Cohort Increases Accessibility and Inclusivity Across the Delaware Valley
4/12 | Source: Broadway World | Arts/Entertainment, Inclusion, Cognitive | Delaware
People’s Light leads a cohort of six professional area theatres in expanding the availability of Relaxed Performances (RPs) in the region. The six-member cohort – Delaware Theatre Company, McCarter Theatre Center, Montgomery Theater, Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, People’s Light, and Theatre Horizon – will address accessibility and inclusivity needs by offering 10-12 Relaxed Performances over the next two years.
A Relaxed Performance is a live theatre experience that is inclusive for everyone. These performances invite and encourage individuals with – but are not limited to – autism, ADD, ADHD, dementia, and sensory sensitivities to all take part in the joy of theatre in a shush-free zone. Oftentimes those on the autism spectrum, individuals with other neurological differences, and their families do not attend theatre as the social cost of attending and possibly disrupting a public performance may be a barrier…
‘Is it Gabe friendly?’ A push to make the city’s restaurants more accessible
4/13 | Source: Insider Louisville | Facilities Access, Mobility, Government, ADA | Kentucky
Before heading to a new restaurant or bar, 26-year-old Moriah Dietrich said she and her friends scout out the location on Google Streetview: Are there steps? Is there accessible parking? “Is it Gabe friendly?” Dietrich said, referring to her friend, Gabe Jones, 27, who’s used a wheelchair to get around ever since a blood clot formed in his spine at the age of 14, leaving him wheelchair-bound. “We have to think about that every time we go out, and that shouldn’t even be a thought. It shouldn’t be something that even needs to be brought up. It should be: ‘Let’s go to this place, we want to go here.’ ”
All three have asked business owners or employees about accessibility and whether they’d thought about putting in a wheelchair ramp or making other changes to make the establishment more accessible. They characterized the majority of the responses as dismissive…
Ben & Jerry’s Homemade website allegedly not accessible to visually impaired, man claims
4/13 | Source: Florida Record | Digital Accessibility, Food Service, ADA, Lawsuits/Litigation | Florida
A blind Broward County man alleges he is not able to fully access the Ben & Jerry’s website. Dennis Haynes filed a complaint on April 3 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida against Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Inc. citing the Americans with Disabilities Act.
According to the complaint, the plaintiff is blind and uses screen-reader software to access websites. He alleges the defendant’s website has features that are inaccessible because it is not fully readable or compatible with the software. The plaintiff holds Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Inc. responsible because the defendant allegedly failed to comply with the ADA by not creating and maintaining an accessible website…
OHIO Accessibility Liaisons: Meet John Mollica
4/13 | Source: Ohio University | Higher Education, Inclusion | Ohio
Through on-campus events, intentional inquiry and open, honest discussion, Ohio University is changing the way the OHIO community thinks about disabilities. However, the journey towards inclusion is ongoing and the University continues to identify areas for improvement. The new Accessibility Liaisons program at Ohio University is a result of this effort.
The Accessibility Liaison program was created in September of 2016 with the intent to increase awareness and conversation around living with a disability at Ohio University. John Mollica, an OHIO fourth year student studying industrial and system engineering, was invited to be a part of the first cohort of Liaisons…
How People Are Making Easter Egg Hunts Accessible For Kids With Disabilities
4/13 | Source: Huffington Post | Innovation, Holidays, Children, Cognitive, Mobility, Blindness/Visual Impairment
Every year, many kids who celebrate Easter look forward to hunting for eggs filled with money, candy or other treats. For kids with disabilities, this fun and festive activity is not always possible, but people across the country are working to change that. Here, three people share how they’re making Easter egg hunts more inclusive.
On April 15, Sara Flynn-Reed and her friend Amy Anderson-Gibbons will hold an Easter egg hunt for kids with disabilities in Fort Smith, Arkansas. The two moms met at an event about autism, bonded over their children’s autism diagnoses and quickly became friends…
Step by Step: Designing and Building Accessible Bus Stops
4/13 | Source: Metro Magazine | Transit/Transportation, Mobility, ADA
Accessible transit stop design is based on three key elements: barrier-free design, wayfinding to help passengers reach the stop, and safety. These elements take into account the needs of all potential transit users, not just people with physical disabilities. This brief article provides an overview of the federal accessibility standards that must be met when constructing bus stops and the guidelines that improve accessibility above Americans with Disabilities Act minimum requirements. Let’s get started by taking a look at the standards and guidelines and then move on to how these requirements are implemented to construct transit stops that are both functional and pleasant for transit passengers…
Disability Accommodation in Today’s Schools
4/13 | Source: The Colgate Maroon News | Higher Education, Inclusion | New York
In a recent lecture, Professor Arlene S. Kanter discussed the importance of integrating disability into education. Kanter is a professor at Syracuse University College of Law and the founder and Director of the College of Law’s Disability Law and Policy Program. The lecture discussed the benefits of including the disabled in university education and creating an inclusive community.
Kanter discussed how, although recently passed legislation has made progress toward improving protection of the disabled, there is still a lot of work to be done. There are many stigmas associated with the disabled, particularly in the field of university education. On the Colgate webpage, disability services are not listed under the “Diversity” page. Instead, this resource is available on a separate “Disability Services” page. Kanter wants universities to include disability services as a subset of diversity on campus, instead of a completely separate topic. She discussed that college websites and brochures commonly depict different races and genders in the interest of portraying diversity, but very rarely show disabled individuals. When the websites do include them, it is limited to the pages dedicated to disability accommodations…
Is that kiosk ADA compliant? Who knows?
4/13 | Source: ATM Marketplace | Digital Accessibility, ADA, Lawsuits/Litigation
The Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits discriminating against people with disabilities and requires businesses to ensure such individuals have equal access to goods, services and information. When ADA regulators released new rules in 2010, however, the agency did not give extensive specifications for making equipment accessible to the disabled in most use cases. As a result, manufacturers of self-serve devices such as kiosks have not had clear guidelines for meeting ADA requirements.
This lack of clarity has led to more than a few instances in which people with disabilities have encountered problems trying to use self-serve kiosks. Several have filed lawsuits, claiming that the devices did not meet ADA requirements…
New Audio Description Working Group to improve accessibility
4/06 | Source: Commonwealth of Australia | Audio Description, Blindness/Visual Impairment, Video/Performance | Australia
The Turnbull Government has announced the formation of an Audio Description Working Group to examine options for increasing the availability of audio description services in Australia, following the ABC’s recent trial on iview. Audio description is a verbal commentary that complements the underlying soundtrack of a television program, film, DVD or live performance. It aims to assist people who are blind or vision impaired…
‘We have laws, policies for the disabled –but implementation is missing’
4/07 | Source: TechRadar | Awareness, Policies/Legislation | India
Have we reached the right level of awareness on the challenged community in India today? In a country like India, there can’t be right level for a very long time to come but its like a glass half full or half empty. But there is much more awareness and sensitisation than before but I still think there is a long road ahead of us.
What’s the current state of disabled-friendly measures in India from a policy perspective? We have fairly good legal architecture. We got the new law recently called the Rights of Person with Disabilities Act of 2016. There are many other policies and laws as well like the right to education. What is missing is the implementation aspect of it, that is where the country is found to be wanting…
Sunshine Story: Disabled holidayers ride the waves at Goa’s Candolim Beach
4/07 | Source: Mid-Day | Sports/Entertainment, Mobility, Innovation | India
Riding the waves on a Goa beach just became doable for disabled holidayers at the ongoing #BeachFest2017. The fest, which runs till April 9, was put together by UMOJA, an online travel platform for ‘people with accessibility needs’. The festival has shown that beach holidays for wheelchair users can be more than just staring at the ocean from a distance.
UMOJA partnered with Mumbai firm FerroEquip to bring imported floating wheelchairs to the festival, thus bringing in the accessibility dimension to the festival. Larger wheels also allow users to manoevre on the sand and venture into the waters, riding the waves with only some assistance…
A targeted approach needed for accessible housing
4/08 | Source: North Queensland Register | Housing, Facilities Access, Mobility | Australia
David Shearer has been working with Independent Property Group for 28 years and is the company’s director of project planning. This is part two of a two-part discussion.
TT: Last week you mentioned that you are not aware of an accessible apartment Independent has sold that was adapted or configured to suit the needs of a someone with accessibility or mobility issues who actually needs it…
Accessible Bath: Getting Started
4/08 | Source: Bath: Hacked | Mobility, Government, Innovation, Awareness | United Kingdom
In 2017 we are running a project called “Accessible Bath”. Our goal is to map the accessibility of public locations in the centre of Bath. In this post we explain what we’re hoping to achieve and give you some pointers about how you can help. From an accessibility perspective, Bath is a challenging city. As a heritage city we have a unique architecture that can make life difficult for people in wheelchairs or with mobility issues. Many of these issues have been highlighted in a recent accessibility audit of the cities public spaces. But we don’t have a great picture of which shops, restaurants and other amenities are accessible to wheelchair users…
Mada Center launches e-Accessibility programme
4/08 | Source: The Peninsula- Qatar and Gulf Times | Digital Accessibility | Qatar
MADA Assistive Technology Centre launched e-Accessibility programme in coordination with government bodies. The project includes training web developers and designers, audits of the e-accessibility of government websites and putting in place remedial steps as part of a comprehensive consultation process. Mada has worked to implement the policy by offering a series of services, including audits, consultations and training. These efforts have been carried out to fulfill center’s goal of empowering people with disabilities and elderly through greater access to information and communication technology…
Around 2,000 people sign wheelchair petition
4/09 | Source: The Times of India | Mobility, Advocacy, Travel/Tourism | India
Close to 2,000 people have signed a petition started online demanding that beaches in Goa be made wheelchair accessible. The movement started after an online petition, demanding that a beach be made inclusive for all, received thousands of signatures in Australia and convinced local authorities to roll out accessible beach mats on Burleigh beach. The campaign launched in India suggests that the solution required is neither new or expensive nor complex. Accessible beach mats will enable wheelchair users to experience the beach along with their family and friends…
Campaign promotes accessible city spaces in Christchurch
4/09 | Source: Stuff | Transit/Transportation, Facilities Access, Mobility | New Zealand
For disability advocate Ruth Jones, having an accessible space allows her to be active in the city she calls home. As chairwoman of the Earthquake Disability Leadership Group (EDLG), Jones has named iwi partnership Te Putahitanga on Show Place, delicatessen and butchery Traiteur of Merivale, Station One cafe in Papanui and the Sudima Hotel at Christchurch Airport as Christchurch’s most accessible spaces.
“For me it means I can come into a workplace. It means I can go to my local butcher and get the meat for the day or the week and that there are no barriers for me to do that. Practically for me, I can enter spaces and be part of that community.”…
With portable ramps and wheelchairs Trivandrum Central becomes India’s first disabled-friendly railway station
4/10 | Source: Times of India | Transit/Transportation, Mobility | India
Travelling by train for the disabled could often be a nightmare. Mumbai-based paraplegic and model Virali Modi agrees as she narrates the horrors she had to face while being ‘helped’ by porters to board the train. “I’ve been groped and manhandled by porters. On three occasions I was molested by them in Mumbai station. I was left humiliated and all I could do was cry. The railways treat the disabled as a piece of luggage. This needs to stop!” went the 25-year-old’s online petition #MyTrainToo, seeking the Railway Ministry to provide adequate facilities at railway stations and in trains for the disabled.
Her call, which gathered the support of over 1.5 lakh petitioners, was heeded a month ago as the Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu announced that the ministry is committed to making 500 stations across the country disabled-friendly. And Trivandrum Central, by procuring portable ramps and foldable wheel chairs, has been the first railway station in India to implement the initiative…
Learn the secret to make air travel truly accessible
4/10 | Source: Reduced Mobility Rights | Transit/Transportation, Travel | United Kingdom
When talking about accessible air travel we often focus on building and airplane accessibility. While this is important, it is far from enough to make air travel an experience for all. Airlines and airports are not abstract entities; they are companies made and run by people. Like in every hierarchical structure, it is crucial the top is in cultural sync with the rest of the organization. Is this always the case? Not always, it would seem. British Airways Chairman and CEO is an example that comes to mind…
UITP voices concerns over latest European Accessibility Act discussions
4/10 | Source: Eurotransport | Government, Policy/Legislation | United Kingdom
On Tuesday 11 April 2017, the Transport and Tourism Committee of the European Parliament will adopt its opinion on the so-called European Accessibility Act. According to the UITP (the International Association of Public Transport), the current discussions related to the Act should aim at finding realistic requirements making sure the whole initiative is a success, but the UITP is worried about the potential negative impact on the accessibility objectives of the latest compromise.
A press release from the UITP states: ‘Even though there is no EU requirement at present, the public transport sector has already integrated accessibility in its development. While new public transport lines and stations, or those undergoing major refurbishments, are made to be accessible for all, the oldest networks, sometimes older than 100 years, need appropriate consideration and planning. Where needed, alternative solutions, such as human assistance, accessible surface transport or dedicated private transport services, are in place in most Member States.’…
Mohawk College making media more accessible
4/10 | Source: Hamilton News | Digital Accessibility, Higher Education, Accessibility Training | Canada
Mohawk College is offering a new postgraduate certificate course aimed at helping media and businesses improve the way they get their message to people with visual, hearing and language barriers. “It’s probably the first of its kind in Canada that we’re aware of” said Jennifer Curry-Jahnke, co-ordinator of the Accessible Media Production program that begins at the Fennell campus in September.
The 16-week mostly online program will teach journalists, executives and other content creators how to shape their information in a way to make it accessible to people with vision or hearing challenges who may use screen-reading software, including closed captioning, described captioning and accessible word documents to assist them. The first class of up to 25 students will also get tips on how to write for people whose first language is not English and learn about the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act…
Getting on board for accessible transport
4/11 | Source: The Standard | Transit/Transportation, Mobility | Australia
There is still plenty of work to do to make the region’s public transport more accessible for people of all abilities, a south-west advocate says. Warrnambool’s Merrilyn Reid is urging elderly travellers and those with a disability to speak up when they faced problems on the region’s trains, buses and taxis.
“People don’t realise that they can complain and the more people who complain and make a noise, that’s a way to get things done,” she said. “A lot of people won’t stand up for themselves, they won’t argue…If they’re told ‘no you can’t’ they will stay home.”…
Britons! Ask the W3C to protect disabled access, security research, archiving and innovation from DRM
4/11 | Source: Boing Boing | W3C, Digital Accessibility, Awareness/Advocacy | United Kingdom
With two days to go until the close of the World Wide Web Consortium members’ poll on finalising DRM and publishing it as an official web standard, the UK Open Rights Group is asking Britons to write to the Consortium and its founder, Tim Berners-Lee, to advocate for a much-needed, modest compromise that would protect the open web from the world’s bizarre, awful, overreaching DRM laws. Around the world, DRM is protected by “anti-circumvention” rules that indiscriminately ban bypassing digital locks, even for legitimate purposes, such as adapting technology to help people with disabilities participate in the web…
Accessibility goes global as AiE inspires Nordics
4/11 | Source: IQ- UK | Travel, Arts/Culture, Awareness/Advocacy | United Kingdom
The government of Norway has granted 1.1 million kr (US$127,500) to the Norwegian Live Music Association (NKA) to boost accessibility to cultural events for disabled people, modelled on the work of Attitude is Everything in the UK. The funding, delivered via Budfir to NKA’s Accessibility of Culture Norway (Tilgjengelighet Kultur-Norge) project, aims to raise awareness of the needs of disabled people at live events, make venues more accessible and improve disabled participation and experience. It will be put towards recruiting new members for the project, training and mentoring venue staff and supporting promoters in their efforts to offer better accessibility for events…
Human Rights Commission calls STM’s lack of handicapped accessibility “poor service”
4/11 | Source: CTV | Disability Rights, Awareness/Advocacy, Transit/Transportation, Mobility | Canada
A group fighting for the rights of disabled Montrealers is criticizing a recent ruling by the Quebec Commission of Human Rights that said the STM’s lack of accessibility for the handicapped was not discrimination. The complaint, filed by 17 people with disabilities in 2011, alleged that there was a lack of accessible metro stations and that many of the city’s buses lacked working ramps. A decision was finally handed down in January, saying that the while the STM had offered poor service, it was not a human rights violation. Linda Gauthier, president of disabled rights group RAPLIQ, said she still believes she, and others who suffer from disabilities, were the subject of discrimination…
Breaking swimming records against all odds
4/12 | Source: Navhind Times | Sports, Personal Account | India
The 30-year-old, Mohammad Shams Aalam Shaikh, a paraplegic swimmer is an inspiration to many people fighting against all the odds. He recently achieved success in swimming 8 kilometres in the sea along the Sinquerim-Baga-Candolim belt in 4 hours and 4 minutes at the first-ever wheelchair accessible beach festival held at Candolim. In conversation with NT BUZZ, Shaikh expresses his views on the importance of accessibility at public places, about his love for sports and a lot more.
“When life gives you lemons, make lemonade,” this quirky idiom actually fits the life of Chennai based paraplegic swimmer Mohammad Shams Aalam Shaikh, who was a mechanical engineer by profession, a black-belt holder in karate with over 54 medals to his credit, including international gold medals. But Shaikh’s life changed after he was diagnosed with a benign tumour in his spine in 2010, that rendered his lower body paralysed and in spite of this, Shaikh has been brave enough to pursue his passion for sports. In February 2017, he had also participated in the 1st Universal Shotokan Karate Union (USKU) Asian Championship held in Goa under the differently abled category for which he won a gold medal…
Stop Gap gears up for spring push
4/12 | Source: Cambridge Times | Awareness/Advocacy, Higher Education, Mobility | Canada
Proponents of Stop Gap ramps in Cambridge got together with architecture students from the University of Waterloo at the Bridge in downtown Galt to raise awareness for the cause on Saturday, April 8. Architecture students hosted an art exhibition to show off different designs they had come up with for the ramps, which help people with strollers, walkers and mobility issues gain access to local businesses.
“These ramps are going to open so many doors for us,” said Sherri Roberts, chair of Cambridge’s Accessibility Advisory Committee. To date, just one ramp has been installed and four others are ordered for area businesses, but Roberts’ group hopes to ramp up the orders and their production in the coming weeks…
‘Not enough being done for dyslexic farmers and crofters’
4/12 | Source: The Press & Journal | Cognitive, Awareness/Advocacy, Government, Business, Digital Accessibility | Scotland
A long-standing campaigner for dyslexic farmers’ rights has accused government and industry organisations of not doing enough to help dyslexic farmers and crofters. According to Sandy McCreath, who runs a sheep farm on the outskirts of Wigtown in Dumfries and Galloway, pledges by organisations to improve access for dyslexic producers have resulted in very little change. Mr McCreath, who is dyslexic himself, said he previously took part in a study into the accessibility of the government’s farm payments IT system, which found it was completely unsuitable for use by dyslexic farmers…
Move to make city highlights more accessible for disabled tourists
4/12 | Source: Herald Live | Travel/Tourism, Transit/Transportation, Inclusion, Government | South Africa
The Nelson Mandela Bay municipality is on a mission to make the city more disabled-friendly by improving accessibility to all tourism hotspots. Raising awareness about the struggle of disabled people, the metro has trained tour guides to be sensitive to the needs of those with disabilities and avoid marginalising them. There are about 100 000 disabled people in the Bay. The municipality, with the East Cape Parks and Tourism Agency, hosted a workshop at Kwantu Towers yesterday to raise awareness about the need to accommodate disabled tourists. Guides from Port Elizabeth companies attended the workshop, which looked at ways to communicate and physically prepare their businesses for disabled customers…
Qatar 2022 volunteer programme to include people with disabilities
4/12 | Source: The Peninsula | Sports, Inclusion | Qatar
The Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC) has taken the first step towards the integration of people with disabilities in the Volunteer Programme of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, by organising the first ever Accessibility Forum workshop to identify the training requirements and opportunities for a truly diverse volunteer workforce. Qatari Paralympic silver medallists, Abdulrahman Abdulqader and Sara Masoud, were among the attendees. They shared their experiences, which will inform the Qatar Football Family’s volunteer capacity-building strategy that is currently being formulated and see the first ever FIFA World Cup™ in the Middle East as a catalyst to make the country more accessible…
‘Despite being unable to see, programming allows me to do and create many things independently’
4/12 | Source: MilTech | Workplace, Blindness/Visual Impairment, Personal Account | Philippines
“For people with special needs like me, the digital world is an avenue for us to be able to lead a fulfilling life,” said Rhea Guntalilib, a 28-year-old programmer at Smart Communications Inc. 10 years ago, Rhea was diagnosed with Systemic Lupus Erythematosu (SLE). Then 17, she was going to nursing school and excited about making a difference in others’ lives. All these changed when she completely lost her sight to the disease.
“My life literally turned upside down. I could no longer do the things I loved doing,” she said, describing herself as having been an active teen who loved the outdoors. “Adjustment and acceptance did not come easy. But thanks to support from my family and friends and the opportunities technology offers, I was able to embrace my new normal.”…
Rights of refugees and migrants with disabilities must be priority in new global action plan – UN experts
4/12 | Source: UN News Centre | Policy, Government, Disability Rights, Awareness/Advocacy, Health/Medical | United Nations
Accessible social and health services, with dedicated human and financial resources must be addressed and made available for persons with disabilities in the new global framework on refugees and migrants, a group of United Nations human rights experts have urged, as UN-led intergovernmental talks on the issue are set to launch consultation in 2018.
The framework, entitled Global Compact for Migration will set out a range of principles and commitments among governments to enhance coordination on international migration and is due to be adopted in 2018. The Compact is one of the key outcomes of last year’s UN Summit on Refugees and Migrants…
Accessibility Information and Blogs
- AccessWorks is a data base of people with disabilities of all kinds from all over the world. You can remotely test your web sites or applications to find out how usable they are in the real world of people who browse with assistive technology.
- The AccessWorks database is available through UserZoom or Loop11 remote usability testing platforms.
- Accessibility grant program open to cities and towns- Massachusetts Office on Disability Americans with Disabilities Act Improvement Grant Program
- ARIA alert support- The Paciello Group
- Is MOODLE Compatible with Section 508?
- Grace and Frankie: Vibrators Open Door to Universal Design- Lainey Feingold
- OPINION: NC State is failing students with disabilities: From the perspective of an ally
- University works to accommodate disabled students
- Did You Know…Federal District Court Dismisses Website Accessibility Claims Because Of Lack Of Due Process
- Reps from Kennedy Center, Steppenwolf, NY Deaf Theatre and More Slated for TDF’s Accessibility Symposium
- Comparing WCAG and Section 508
- Albuquerque Public Schools
- Office of the Government Chief Information Officer- Hong Kong (OGCIO) and Web Accessibility Recognition Scheme
- Apple Accessibility Support
- Apple Watch Accessibility Support
- CT Communications
- Olympia School District
- Universal Design for Learning in Higher Education
- Houston Grand Opera
- Shenandoah University
- University of South Alabama
- Great Western Bank
- Washington Trust Bank
- VOYA Financial
- Visit Denver
Accessibility Announcements and Products
- San Diego Blind Stockers Club
- Come along to celebrate the launch of Sheffield Teaching Hospitals new Accessibility Checker!
- Members Sought for Municipal Accessibility Advisory Committee
- Braille Prescription Labels
- Audible Prescription Reader
- Stop Gap Foundation
- Federal grant targets wheelchair-accessible fishing pier in Chippewa Falls
- Request to build accessibility ramp denied by strata president
- Yale Study: Home Health Accessibility Varies Greatly Nationwide
- MERIL wins award for website accessibility
- Benetech Receives Google Impact Challenge Award to Expand Bookshare’s Global Reach
- National Ability Center
- Forum to provide update on progress to accessibility
- London Underground trains to be modified to improve accessibility
- Paralyzed Former Driver Sam Schmidt Will Race Mario Andretti
- Jonathan’s Dream Reimagined Playground Celebrates Groundbreaking
- SIGN & SING Presents 2nd Annual Concert at Symphony Space for NY Opera Fest
- Easter Seals Assistive Technology FAQ (ATFAQ)
- Anniversary Trip – Neighborhoods, Hotels, Accessibility
- Mozilla- WAVE Accessibility Extension 1.0.4
- Subway wheelchair accessibility for tourist
- docs – Which accessibility standard is Bootstrap 4 following? WCAG 2.0 A, AA or AAA?
- Accessibility (screen reader): ion-loading – the user gets no feedback about the loading process
- Accessibility on the Metro for persons with limited mobility
- Better Accessibility options are needed for HubSpot Apps
- Modal accessibility – maybe missing aria-modal attribute
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.