Accessibility in the News—07/07/17.
In this week’s City & State New York interview, the Human Rights Commission’s Ted Finkelstein said, “The simple ability to get in and out of their building, to get in and out of their bedroom, their bathroom – it’s just a life-changing event for people.” That pretty much sums up several of the stories in this week’s issue, many of which focused on mobility impairments, aging, and the simple act of getting around.
Ridesharing had mixed coverage this week. Uber is getting sued in Washington D.C. for alleged discrimination against wheelchair users. That’s while another article points out progress by them and their competitor, Lyft, in Philadelphia. In Texas, RideAustin provides free rides for low-income and uninsured people.
Could driverless cars meet transportation needs of people with disabilities? Futurism recommends autonomous vehicle manufacturers consider disability needs now, rather than attempt to retrofit inaccessible vehicles later.
Accommodating a range of disabilities is important for transportation…and for camping. A new Boy Scout troop in New England focuses on providing a true scouting experience for boys with intellectual and developmental challenges, and an Alabama camp offers a weeklong camping experience for families or individuals with disabilities.
From courthouses to homes, builders are taking a close look at accessible architecture that works for mobility impairments and other disabilities. Thanks to crowdsourcing, businesses and government organizations may soon find their accessible features noted in Google Maps.
Which brings us to digital accessibility: Again, retail websites are being called places of public accommodations that require ADA compliance, with a new class action lawsuit against a bakery’s website reported Thursday.
Read more on virtual reality, inclusive design, transportation improvements, and more below, in this week’s Accessibility in the News.
AITN Quote of the Week
“If you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism.”
— Stephen Shore
National News (U.S.)
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirms ruling on San Francisco’s alleged accessibility violations
June 30, 2017 | Source: Northern California Record | Government, Mobility Impairments, ADA, Building/Facilities Access | California
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has affirmed in part and reversed in part a decision by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California concerning San Francisco’s accessibility for those with mobility impairments. On July 17, 2007, Ivana Kirola filed a class-action complaint against the City and County of San Francisco on behalf of herself and others similarly situated. She alleged that the city had violated Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act by not making accessible the city’s public right-of-way, pools, libraries, parks and recreation facilities.
The district court ruling in favor of the city, determining that Kirola had only shown a few instances in which the city failed to meet the Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG), based largely on evidence provided by the city’s experts, having deemed Kirola’s experts not credible…
Digital Solutions in India 2017: Complex Projects Uncovered
June 30, 2017 | Source: Publishers Weekly | Digital Accessibility, Accessible Design, Innovation
Pressing deadlines, tight budgets, and complex requirements are just some of the usual issues digital solutions providers have to face as they move from sketchy project briefs to error-free deliverables. Throw in requests for accessibility standards, responsive design, and scanning of brittle archival documents, and the challenges start to mount. But these solutions providers have a whole arsenal of tools, experience, and subject matter experts to tackle the issues and offer the right solutions. Here, they select their most unique and recent projects, and illustrate the major steps taken in delivering the finished products…
Does Uber Have A Handicap When It Comes To Serving The Disabled?
July 1, 2017 | Source: Benzinga | Mobility Impairments, Transit/Transportation, Discrimination
Uber is facing yet another controversy: this time regarding the rights of disabled users. The Equal Rights Center, a nonprofit civil rights advocacy group, is suing Uber in Washington, D.C., for not adequately serving handicapped individuals, particularly those confined to wheelchairs that cannot be folded up and stored. In tests, disabled persons with non-foldable wheelchairs waited as long at 44 minutes for a ride and paid about $4 more than normal riders.
The lawsuit alleges that Uber intentionally discourages the incorporation of wheelchair-friendly vehicles in its service, therefore violating the Americans with Disabilities Act, which stipulates that no individual may be discriminated against on the basis of disability with regards to the full and equal enjoyment by transportation services. The suit also claims Uber is in violation of the D.C. Human Rights Act…
Scouting expands its accessibility
July 1, 2017 | Source: The Independent | Inclusion, Entertainment, Disability Rights
A hearty Saturday Salute goes today to everyone involved in the creation of a new Boy Scout troop in Grand Island, Troop 316, specifically for boys and young men with intellectual and developmental disabilities. When the troop was officially created and had its first activities a week ago at Camp Augustine, there were more Boy Scouts from other groups present to help than the 12 members of the new troop. This is a fantastic story of boys and adults working together to see that people with disabilities that could prevent them from participating in scouting activities are able to take part.
David Plond, Scout executive for the Overland Trails Council, is the troop’s acting scoutmaster, but last Saturday he was assisted by staff from Mosaic and Goodwill, as well as members of Grand Island’s Troop 1, Kearney’s Crew 73 and North Platte’s Troop 293. The large group enjoyed crafts, archery, shooting BB guns and a campfire for roasting marshmallows, the quintessential Boy Scout camping activity…
Autonomous Vehicles Could Change the Lives of People Who Are Most in Need
July 1, 2017 | Source: Futurism | Transit/Transportation, Travel, Innovation
Autonomous vehicles have the potential to revolutionize travel, but there is one segment of society, who have so far been overlooked, that they could greatly benefit: people with disabilities. Driverless cars, according to a report by the Ruderman Foundation “offer significant potential for reducing transportation obstacles for Americans with disabilities.”
The report is divided into subsections that make suggestions for specific disabilities. For the deaf community, it states that visual cues and instruction capabilities would be helpful. Intellectual and developmental disabilities could be provided for by creating a means of operation with minimal complexity, and caretakers for those with these disabilities could ensure their safety if tools such as GPS tracking and remotely accessible video cameras were provided…
Universal design makes homes accessible and pleasing
July 1, 2017 | Source: Las Vegas Review Journal | Universal Design, Housing, Aging
In our 40s, we’ve accepted the aches and pains that remind us we’re no longer 25. That said, the last thing we want to think about is how our health might look in our 60s and 70s, much less what living accommodations we might need to handle our changing physical abilities.
In 2011, an AARP national survey found two-thirds of those 45 and older wanted to remain in their current home as long as possible. The older the survey participants were, the more entrenched the idea of aging in place was, eventually boosting the percentage up to 90 percent. So, in the past decade, “universal design” for those wanting to age in place has become a hot term in interior design circles and even among homebuilders seeking to offer long-term solutions beyond simple single-story floorplans to buyers…
For Millions, Life Without Medicaid Services Is No Option
July 1, 2017 | Source: NY Times | Health/Medical, Mobility, Government, Discrimination
Frances Isbell has spinal muscular atrophy, a genetic disorder that has left her unable to walk or even roll over in bed. But Ms. Isbell has a personal care assistant through Medicaid, and the help allowed her to go to law school at the University of Alabama here. She will graduate next month.
She hopes to become a disability rights lawyer — “I’d love to see her on the Supreme Court someday,” her aide, Christy Robertson, said, tearing up with emotion as Ms. Isbell prepared to study for the bar exam in her apartment last week — but staying independent will be crucial to her professional future. “The point of these programs is to give people options and freedom,” said Ms. Isbell, 24, whose family lives a few hours away in Gadsden…
Austin ridesharing company to provide free trips to doctor’s office for those in need
July 3, 2017 | Source: Austin Business Journal | Health/Medical, Transit/Transportation, Inclusion | Texas
With more competition than ever in Austin’s ridesharing market, one local company is looking to provide community connections to rise above the pack by providing free rides for low-income and uninsured Travis County residents to health care providers. Ride Austin has partnered with the Community Care Collaborative to set up the service, which begins in August.
Users of the service will be able to request a ride to a doctor’s appointment or pharmacy within the network of the Community Care Collaborative, a nonprofit that helps those without the means pay for health care. It was formed in 2013 by Central Health and Seton Healthcare Family and in 2015 it had more than 80,000 people enrolled, subsidizing or completely covering outpatient, dental, behavioral health and other types of care…
Ms. Wheelchair Indiana uses platform to advocate for accessibility and safety
July 3, 2017 | Source: Indiana Daily Student | Mobility, Advocacy, Innovation | Indiana
Lesamarie Hacker speaks in a whisper. After two strokes, a car accident and surgeries on her esophagus, anything louder is difficult. But with a tiara on her head and a sash wrapped around her chest, she doesn’t need to speak much louder. As the 2017 Ms. Wheelchair Indiana and state coordinator of the state program, Hacker intends to let her voice be heard through her new platform.
“I’m very blessed and glad to be a spokesperson for those who are in need,” she said. Hacker, a lifelong Bloomington resident, spoke to the Kiwanis Club of Bloomington on Thursday about her experiences as a person living in a wheelchair and her goals for her platform of Ms. Wheelchair Indiana…
DC To Offer Bonuses To Get Wheelchair-Accessible Taxis On The Road
July 3, 2017 | Source: WAMU 88.5 | Mobility, Transit/Transportation, Advocacy, Inclusion
City regulators are trying cold hard cash in their latest attempt to get wheelchair-accessible taxis on the roads. About one-third of the city’s wheelchair-accessible vehicles sit unused in taxi company lots, despite demands from advocates.
Through Aug. 31, the D.C. Department of For-Hire Vehicles (DFHV) will reward cabbies $5 for each completed trip in a wheelchair-accessible vehicle (WAV), regardless of whether the passenger has a disability that requires use of the wheelchair ramp. The top five drivers with the highest number of evening trips will receive an additional $200 each. The idea behind the iniative is to keep the vans on the road as much as possible, upping the chances that a wheelchair user may spot one for a street hail. People with disabilities usually have to book a ride in advance via phone or app…
Hope Heals Camp provides accessible fun for campers with disabilities
July 3, 2017 | Source: WIAT | Leisure/Entertainment, Inclusion, Accessible Design
Hope Heals Camp is giving families with disabilities the chance to participate in traditional camp-like fun and receive encouragement, all in the care and comfort of a family environment. Originator Katherine Wolf says having the hope of others on her own journey inspired her work within the ministry.
“This community emerged, we couldn’t deny that,” Wolf said. “We started to think through how we could craft an experience where the family could come and the disabled children would come, or the disabled parents would bring able-bodied children.”…
Website Accessibility Update: California Federal Court Denies Hobby Lobby’s Motion to Dismiss
July 3, 2017 | Source: JD Supra | Digital Accessibility, Web Design, Lawsuits/Litigation, ADA | California
Another website accessibility decision against a retailer, this time involving Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. in the Central District of California, highlights the uncertainty of the law and of litigating such cases while courts continue to reach different conclusions.
In Gorecki v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., Case No. 2:17-cv-01131-JFW-SK (C.D. Cal. June 15, 2017), the district court denied Hobby Lobby’s motion to dismiss and held that the retailer’s website constitutes a “public accommodation” under Title III of the Americans With Disabilities Act (“ADA”). In so holding, the court noted that the website allows consumers to purchase products, search for store locations, view special pricing offers, obtain coupons, and purchase gift cards…
Madera County forming Voting Accessibility (VAAC) and Language Accessibility (LAAC) advisory
July 3, 2017 | Source: Sierra Star | Voting/Elections, Accessible Design, Inclusion | California
Madera County Clerk-Recorder and Registrar of Voters Rebecca Martinez is seeking citizens interested in serving in a volunteer capacity on a Voting Accessibility Advisory Committee and/or a Language Accessibility Advisory Committee in Madera County.
“Elections in Madera County have always been a very open, transparent and community based process,” explained Martinez. “The formation of the VAAC and LAAC will further my commitment to involving the community in the planning, preparation, administration and review of all elections.”…
The New Accessible Courthouse
July 4, 2017 | Source: Correctional News | Government, Building/Facilities Access, ADA
About 10 years ago, I became a member of the Courthouse Access Advisory Committee, an august group of architects, accessibility experts, code experts, building operators, judges, court managers and lift manufacturers. We were assembled by the U.S. Access Board to develop best practices on integrating standards issued under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) into the design of courthouses and published the final report, “Justice for All: Designing Accessible Courthouses,” in 2004.
Since then, I have had the honor to observe many existing courthouses and helped plan the renovation and new construction on several others. The lack of accessibility in existing courthouses is never more obvious. Meanwhile, many courts have hired accessibility experts and implemented accessibility improvements within the limitations of their buildings by adding ramps, lifts, power door operators, lowered public counters and remodeled toilet facilities…
Schools expand services for students with dyslexia
July 5, 2017 | Source: Austin American Statesman | Cognitive, Education, Inclusion | Texas
A multiyear effort to identify students with dyslexia and better provide them with tools to learn has led to nearly five times as many students receiving dyslexia intervention services in Austin schools, and 80 evaluators with specialized training to help them. In the fall, the school district will go a step further as it launches its first specialty project to serve dyslexic students at Covington Middle School in South Austin.
Until recently, Austin had identified far too few students as dyslexic — about 3 percent compared with the national estimates of 10 percent to 20 percent — leaving many without help, a common shortcoming among Texas school districts. But now Austin is touted by the state as an example other districts can look to in meeting the needs of students with dyslexia, a neurologically based reading disorder with a name that literally means “difficulty with words.”…
Website Aims For Increased Accessibility In Cincinnati
July 5, 2017 | Source: WVXU | Digital Accessibility, Web Design, Inclusion | Ohio
Two Cincinnati residents who know what a difference accessibility can make when it comes to going out to eat have created a new mobile and desktop website. The pair worked together on Access Cincinnati which shares the accessibility of restaurants and bars in downtown.
Nestor Melnyk and his co-founder Kathleen Cail have known each other for roughly 18 years. Both being parents of children with disabilities, they met when their children were infants. Melnyk says the inspiration for creating this site came down to their children and their parents who were getting older and having a harder time getting around. He said they took a wider look at the world around them and realized the things that help those with disabilities help everyone…
Apple software engineers join WebVR virtual reality accessibility group
July 5, 2017 | Source: Apple Insider | Apple, Web Design, Innovation, Digital Accessibility
A trio of Apple developers have officially joined the WebVR Community Group, a W3C-hosted community initiative that strives to deliver virtual reality experiences through basic web browsers. While not an official company endorsement of the WebVR platform, three Apple employees are now listed on the WebVR Community Group’s participants webpage, UploadVR reports.
Specifically, Brandel Zachernuk, David Singer and Dean Jackson join a cadre of web developers representing various internet services and like Google’s Chrome, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, and Mozilla’s Firefox. Developers from Intel, Facebook, Samsung and other top technology companies are also part of the working group…
Arizona Talking Book Library
July 6, 2017 | Source: Ability360 | Leisure/Entertainment, Blindness/Visual Impairment, Inclusion | Arizona
Every weekday morning at 9 a.m. the Arizona Talking Book Library feels like “Groundhog Day”– the post office drops off 2,000 returned books on tape and picks up 2,000 more headed to Arizona readers, one of the dwindling analog moments in a world going digital.
Through the mailroom doors, in the front of the house, 6 librarians work with patrons to select books tailored to their tastes. Every patron is assigned one of these librarians whom Outreach Librarian Christine Tuttle refers to as personal book sommeliers…
Google makes it easier to add and find accessibility information in Maps and Search
Google Maps is taking advantage of its large crowdsourcing aspect to make it easier to both input and find details about the accessibility of a location. In addition to this information appearing in Maps, it will also appear in Search result cards.
The Android Google Maps client now better handles inputting accessibility information about businesses and other locations. Heading to Your Contributions > Uncover missing info > Accessibility will present a map of local businesses that are missing relevant info. A card will then appear that allows users to check yes or no on such features like wheelchair accessible elevator, entrance, parking lot, restroom, and seating…
Accessible and Attractive Home Design
July 6, 2017 | Source: Ladue News | Housing, Accessible Design, Architecture, Aging
For many homeowners, the adage “home is where the heart is” still seems to ring true: A recent AARP survey showed about 70 percent of people aged 50 and older wish to stay in their homes throughout their lifetime. St. Louis-based designer remodeling firm Next Project Studio is helping homeowners do just that with universal design, a style of interior design that allows ease of mobility and access for the elderly, the disabled, children and those who could very easily find themselves with limited mobility at any time. “It appeals aesthetically to everyone and functions well for everyone,” says Dana King, lead designer at Next Project Studio.
King, who is certified in universal design through the National Association of the Remodeling Industry, sees the style as the wave of the future for home design – for people of all ages and abilities. “Universal design makes a home more accessible, but in an attractive way,” she says. “It’s not just for aging in place; it’s beautiful, functional design.”…
Uber and Lyft’s wheelchair access grows, with room to improve
Uber and Lyft have met a state directive to put a combined minimum of 70 wheelchair-accessible vehicles on Philadelphia’s roads by the end of June. Users are cheered by the move but are reporting some problems in service.
Uber and Lyft, the dominant ride-hailing apps in the city, had until June 30 to meet the requirement set by state legislation. Uber requested an extension until July 10 to report its vehicle count to the Philadelphia Parking Authority, PPA officials said, but will meet that deadline singlehandedly by putting more than 70 WAVs on the road. The company would not say exactly how many vehicles are wheelchair accessible. Lyft has had 18 WAVs operating in Philadelphia as of June 30, a spokeswoman for the company said…
WalkinVR Showcases Its VR Accessibility Software With New Videos
July 6, 2017 | Source: VRFocus | Innovation, Mobility, Inclusion, Entertainment
A couple of months ago VRFocus reported on WalkinVR, a piece of software designed to make virtual reality (VR) more accessible for those with disabilities. Recently WalkinVR released some videos showcasing how its software works. Designed to be used by anyone who needs a wheelchair, maybe bed-bound or has the use of one arm, WalkinVR supports both Oculus Rift and HTC Vive through SteamVR at present.
“WalkinVR aims at giving users with physical disabilities the freedom of unlimited movement in virtual reality. The Driver enables them to rotate and move around a virtual environment without the need of lower body motion using any VR Config in SteamVR environment,” developer Grzegorz Bednarski told VRFocus…
Mayor de Blasio announces the Second Edition of the Inclusive Design Guidelines
July 6, 2017 | Source: The Architect’s Newspaper | Inclusion, Accessible Design, Government, Transit/Transportation | New York
The second edition of the Inclusive Design Guidelines (IDG)—a set of parameters that assist designers in ensuring their work is fully usable by any and all—has been announced by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.
de Blasio’s Office for People with Disabilities published the first edition seven years ago. This latest version will expand on the minimum requirements laid out in the 2010 edition, which consolidated design guidelines from around the world. The publication has also been distributed across the globe, allowing New York to be seen as a city striving to make itself accessible to all. That said, as many of those with disabilities will tell you, the city still has a long way to go, especially with regards to its transportation services. According to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), fewer than 20 percent of subway stations are accessible to all. Change is coming, albeit slowly. A 1979 lawsuit means that by 2020, 100 stations must include elevators. That still only means that less than a quarter will be wheelchair accessible…
Ensuring accessible housing with the Human Rights Commission’s Ted Finkelstein
July 6, 2017 | Source: City & State New York | Housing, Accessible Design, Inclusion | New York
Ted Finkelstein has spent years ensuring that housing providers, small businesses and employers make reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities. Finkelstein is retiring as the director of the equal access program at the New York City Human Rights Commission, and in honor of Sunday’s Disability Pride Parade, we asked him about some of the progress he’s made after 37 years on the commission, and some of the challenges that still exist for people with disabilities. The interview has been edited for clarity and brevity…
Milk Bar’s Site Isn’t Accessible To Visually Impaired, Suit Says
July 6, 2017 | Source: Law360 (Subscription) | Blindness/Visual Impairment, ADA, Discrimination, Lawsuits/Litigation | New York
Milk Bar Inc. was slapped with a proposed class action in New York federal court Wednesday alleging that the trendy Brooklyn-based bakery chain violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by failing to make its website accessible to blind and visually impaired people.
Steven Matzura’s complaint alleges that Milk Bar denies blind and visually impaired people full access to its website by not meeting widely accepted standards for making accessible sites, preventing individuals who rely on screen-reading software from finding out information like restaurant locations and hours…
Educating Companies About Accessibility in Tech for People with Disabilities
Zeeshan Khan, Founder of EnabledTech, is visually impaired. But he hasn’t always had a visual impairment. His experiences on both sides of the disabilities divide are what really drive his focus on accessibility.
Speaking to Juliette Roy at the 2016 Ability in Tech Conference in Berkeley, Zeeshan defined accessibility as “the ability for different people with different disabilities to be able to use an online or physical product. We help companies create more accessible products by connecting them to usability testers for accessibility.”…
Accessibility Dates Announced for ROMEO & JULIET
July 6, 2017 | Source: Broadway World | Deaf/Hearing Impaired, Accessible Design, Inclusion, Performing Arts
Commonwealth Shakespeare Company (CSC) is pleased to continue its Common Access Initiative as part of its 22nd season of FREE SHAKESPEARE ON THE COMMON Romeo & Juliet runs July 19 – August 6 on the Boston Common. Since its founding in 1996, CSC has offered one American Sign Language performance each season.
Since 2015, due to generous support from the Liberty Mutual Foundation, the Company has had the opportunity to meaningfully expand its disability access programming and offerings. CSC is committed to keeping theatre accessible – financially, geographically, and artistically – as well as inclusive for patrons of all abilities. In recognition of these efforts, in January 2017, CSC was awarded a prestigious UP Designation as part of the Massachusetts Cultural Council UP Inclusive Design Initiative…
Jack Fact — According to the CDC, Currently, there are 53 million American adults with a disability, over half of whom use the Internet regularly. In addition, the number of adults over the age of 65 will reach 1.5 billion by 2050.
Venice arts event increases accessibility
June 29, 2017 | Source: Audio Boom- UK | Arts/Entertainment, Blindness/Visual Impairment, Inclusion, Accessible Design | United Kingdom
The British Council will once again present a ground breaking art installation at its Pavilion, for this year’s Venice Biennale. They are also making the area more accessible for blind visitors, by providing audio description to enhance the visitor experience.
RNIB Connect Radio’s Allan Russell spoke to Emma Dexter, from the British Council, and Toby Davey, from audio description providers Vocaleyes, to learn more…(Video)
The app that will tell you out loud when your bus is coming
June 30, 2017 | Source: Daily Echo- UK | Mobile App, Transit/Transportation, Innovation, Accessible Design | United Kingdom
POOLE is being used as a testing ground for a talking app which informs people with disabilities about public transport. REACT Technologies runs the React System, which turns the readouts on real-time information signs at bus stops into spoken announcements.
It is accessed at the moment through Bluetooth or special fobs, but the company is now trying out an app for smart devices. REACT says the app makes public transport accessible for people who are visually impaired, or have cognitive or sensory impairments…
Accessibility a Concern for People With Special Needs
June 30, 2017 | Source: EMTV- Papua New Guinea | Cognitive, Voting/Elections, Discrimination | Papua New Guinea
In this year’s election, people with special needs are said to use an express line to cast their votes. In NCD, the Cheshire Disability Service ground was used to set up a polling booth for those living in the Moresby North West Electorate. However, like the rest of PNG, things did not go smoothly for them. They began setting up early, but were not able to start voting until around 11:30 a.m.
The reason for the delay was there was no candidate poster for the open candidates. Ben Tagei, was the Presiding Officer today. As Chairman of the Disability Association, it was his intention that specific polling booths for persons with disability were going to be set up in NCD’s three different electorates. (Video)…
Collaborate Bristol inspires a future of human-centric tech
June 30, 2017 | Source: Tech Spark- England | Technology, Innovation, Digital Accessibility | England
This month 200 user experience (UX) and design experts and enthusiasts sprung to life at Bristol’s creative hub the Watershed for a jam-packed day of inspirational talks from a series of local and international speakers. Covering everything from giving digital brands true personalities to improving the accessibility of the web and technology and digitising healthcare in the NHS, the event proved to be a beacon for those at the forefront of future technology, inspiring insights and visions in making technology work for all.
Amongst the speakers, conference organiser Bristol-based UX agency Nomensa‘s own Director of Accessibility, Alastair Campbell (pictured right) explored the importance of web accessibility – introducing the audience to the WCAG accessibility guidelines which define how to make your website accessible for a whole range of disabilities…
GST fails ‘Braille’ test, differently-abled taxed up to 18%
June 30, 2017 | Source: Times Now- India | Blindness/Visual Impairment, Mobility, Discrimination | India
The Goods and Service Tax (GST) is the biggest tax reform since independence and is all set to begin from July 1. But like many others, the differently abled are also trying to figure out how to deal with the increase in cost of basics after its roll out.
Minu is a self-driven woman in more than one way. Not letting cerebral palsy come in the way of her work, she goes all the way to office, all thanks to her automatic wheel-chair. Costing Rs 1 lakh, the chair needs maintenance every 6 months. She fears that a GST of about 5-18 percent on this service could make her mobility an expensive affair. “I got to office on my own. Without this wheelchair, my life will come to a standstill,” says the victim. (Video)…
An airline apologizes after forcing a disabled man to crawl onboard
June 30, 2017 | Source: Insider- Japan | Travel, Discrimination, Advocacy, Disability Rights | Japan
A Japanese budget airline has apologized after forcing a disabled passenger to crawl onboard a flight earlier this month. Hideto Kijima of Japan, a disabled rights activist who is paralyzed from the waist down, said Vanilla Air, a budget affiliate of All Nippon Airlines, tried to prevent him from boarding an aircraft they said was not handicap-accessible.
Kijima was traveling from the island of Amami back to his home in Osaka, and wrote on his blog that he feared he would become stuck on the island if not allowed to board the plane. Friends with whom he was traveling offered to carry him up the tarmac stairs, but airline personnel told them that this violated safety regulations. Kijima’s only option to board the plane was to crawl up the stairs on his own…
Homing in on independent living in Dundee
June 30, 2017 | Source: The Courier- Scotland | Housing, Accessible Design, Innovation | Scotland
A washing machine that cleans and irons clothes, kitchen units that lower at the touch of a button and blinds that automatically open and close to increase the chance of a good night’s sleep. But these state of the art features are all very real aspects of six pioneering homes that were launched in Dundee on Thursday to help transform the lives of people with disabilities.
Housing and care provider Blackwood has designed six innovative houses that set a new standard of accessibility, with the help of technology and modern construction. Mr Stewart said: “I’m delighted to open this development of accessible and connected homes in Dundee…
Fears disability advocacy could be ‘thrown out’ in transition to NDIS in regional NSW
June 30, 2017 | Source: ABC- Australia | Advocacy, Mobility, Travel, Discrimination | Australia
When it comes to campaigning for his rights as a person with a disability, Jeff Parker has never backed down from a fight. The 53-year-old is blind and lives with multiple sclerosis. He also has a tumour on his spine. Over the years, Mr Parker has reached out to Disability Advocacy (DA) NSW for help with everything from a compensation claim, to accessibility issues in town, to a review of his plan under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).
“With (Disability Advocacy) not being in Armidale, I don’t know who I’d turn to,” Mr Parker said. “I suppose the closest people would be in Sydney, but that’s an eight-hour drive.” For Mr Parker, travelling anywhere by road takes a lot of preparation, and can be painful. He’s one of many people in the region worried about the looming budget crunch at DA. “There’s no other services in this area that do the sort of work that Disability Advocacy does,” he said…
NDIS magazine: New Sunday Mail publication accessible to all
July 1, 2017 | Source: The Advertiser- Australia | Accessible Design, Universal Design, Digital Accessibility, Web Design | Australia
The National Disability Insurance Scheme magazine, inside your paper and at advertiser.com.au/ndis today, includes several tools that enable people with disabilities to access the product. Sunday Mail editor Andrew Holman said he was proud to present a product that used a rich set of expertise from all corners of the newsroom to create an inclusive publication. “While we are always open for further improvements, I’m proud to say the NDIS magazine has taken accessibility and inclusivity to the top of the publication’s agenda,” he said.
The 40-page magazine, right, and its online content include expert advice and first-hand case studies, housing and local government, education and employment, plus the politics behind it all. To make it more accessible, the online component is free to all and includes audio files…
Disabled fight for their rights
July 2, 2017 | Source: Newsday- Trinidad & Tobago | Discrimination, Disability Rights, Mobility | Trinidad & Tobago
Former president of the Consortium of Disability Organisations (CODO) Sharda Ramlakhan, who was diagnosed with a rare form of muscular dystrophy and uses a wheelchair, recalls going to a hospital clinic and asking a senior consultant for a test to be done. The consultant, in front of about five or six interns, responds she has no right to ask for the test and she is a “drain on society and a waste of taxpayers’ money”.
This was an example of discrimination members of the local disabled community experience, but they now have an opportunity to have their voices heard via the National Survey on Disability. The survey is an initiative by CODO and Ramlakhan is the technical adviser. She told Sunday Newsday it is the first time in this country persons with disabilities themselves can file a report to the United Nations…
New Calgary taxi service for special needs customers
A new Calgary cab service dedicated to individuals with special needs was announced Sunday. Calgary City Cabs will offer specialized service by dedicating an entire fleet of accessible vans and drivers to cater to people with special needs.
“We realized that in the city of Calgary our special needs community deserves much better service,” Naeem Chaudhry, president of Calgary City Cabs, said. Previously, Chaudhry said there had been issues with some cab drivers not picking up accessible fare because of the cost and time involved…
Inclusion Now: Accessibility begins at home
July 3, 2017 | Source: The Telegram- Canada | Inclusion, Housing, Accessible Design, Blindness/Visual Impairment | Canada
Allan Angus remembers the moment he found out he was losing his vision. “When I sat in the ophthalmologist’s office and they told me I was going to be blind, I was just in total shock. I didn’t know what to do,” he said. The diagnosis was retinitis pigmentosa, a condition that causes escalating tunnel vision. He was legally blind by age 23. It took some time, but he didn’t shelter in place. With adaptation, he returned to day-to-day living and now leads a full life.
“I spent 20 years working on, how do I help people do that?” he said. He is now a social worker with Vision Loss Rehabilitation, a division of CNIB Newfoundland and Labrador. He moved to St. John’s from Ontario in February for the opportunity…
Letter calls on minister to include education in accessibility legislation
July 3, 2017 | Source: CBC- Canada | Policy/Legislation, Education, Inclusion | Canada
A group of Manitobans wants to see schools become more accessible for people with disabilities. Barrier Free Manitoba delivered a letter to Minister of Families Scott Fielding on Friday calling for an education standard to be included in the Accessibility for Manitobans Act.
The letter was signed by 1,100 Manitobans and 59 organizations. Patrick Faulkner sits on the steering committee of Barrier Free Manitoba. He said although human rights law states that all children have the right to a quality education, in practice, there are many barriers…
Auckland Design Manual launches design tool to encourage accessibility
July 3, 2017 | Source: Voxy- New Zealand | Accessible Design, Architecture, Universal Design, Inclusion | New Zealand
The Auckland Design Manual has introduced a new tool to support architects and designers incorporate ways to cater for people of all physical abilities and stages of life when they are designing buildings and public spaces. The new Universal Design Tool is part of Auckland Council’s Auckland Design Manual website. The tool is a free online resource providing best practice design guidance with diagrams, examples and checklists to inspire universal design.
Universal design encourages people to design for human diversity and to implement design solutions that work for everyone. Elise Copeland, Auckland Council’s Principal Specialist for Universal Access says the Universal Design Tool provides tangible examples of universal design from around the Auckland region that are functional and attractive…
Wellington Zoo Achieves Be. Accessible Gold Certification
July 4, 2017 | Source: Scoop- New Zealand | Entertainment, Universal Design, Inclusion, Disability Rights | New Zealand
Wellington Zoo has had its Be. Accessible certification upgraded this year from Silver to Gold. Wellington Zoo formally received its Gold certificate from Be.Accessible’s Sandie Waddell at an event held at Wellington Zoo yesterday, coinciding with the opening of the upgraded learning space The Living Room. The event was attended by various stakeholders including Deputy Mayor Paul Eagle.
“Wellington City Council is a strong supporter of the great work Be. Accessible does with organisations like Wellington Zoo. Improvements to accessibility help to achieve a Wellington in which everyone, regardless of their needs, can enjoy all the fantastic things our city has to offer,” Councillor Eagle said…
Working Group Established to Ensure Accessibility of New National Football Stadium
July 4, 2017 | Source: Vox Online News- Gibraltar | Sports/Entertainment, Accessible Design, Inclusion | Gibraltar
Government have announced that the Minister for Equality has established a working group with the Gibraltar Football Association (GFA) and the Ministry of Equality with the aim of making the new UEFA Category 4 National Football Stadium accessible to, and inclusive of, people with disabilities.
Minster Sacramento had already had discussions on accessibility with the GFA General Secretary Mr Dennis Beiso at the outset of the announcement of the new stadium. At a formal meeting last week between the Minister for Equality, Ministry of Equality officials, the General Secretary of the GFA and the GFA’s stadium project managers, it was agreed that it would be mutually beneficial to form a working group with the principal aim of ensuring that the new National Football Stadium is properly accessible and inclusive to people with disabilities…
Legionnaires fan makes accessibility a priority
July 4, 2017 | Source: Sarnia This Week- Canada | Sports/Entertainment, Advocacy, Building/Facilities Access, Inclusion | Canada
One of the Sarnia Legionnaires’ biggest fans is making a big difference in transforming the team’s home into a much more accessible venue. Robert Christopher, a devoted fan of Sarnia’s Jr. ‘B’ hockey club, has donated time, energy and funds towards the Sarnia Arena Revitalization Project, a $1.5-million venture that aims to revitalize the arena while making the facility more accessible and attractive for attendees.
Christopher has taken a leading role in working with staff to ensure that changes made to the venerable arena meet or exceed existing Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act standards. As such, he has engaged members of the public in discussing suggestions about how to make the arena more accessible, he has spoken with councilors about some of the needs in transforming the arena and has also worked closely the city’s park and recreation department in focusing on details such as button height and door width. Christopher has also donated out of his own pocket to help transform the arena…
Inclusion Now: NL Housing minister wants more accessible units
July 4, 2017 | Source: The Telegram- Canada | Accessible Design, Autism, Inclusion, Advocacy | Canada
Sherry Gambin-Walsh began advocating for persons with disabilities when her son was still very young. Now 21, he was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder and epilepsy in pre-school. That’s when she began seeing the barriers more clearly.
In the years since, she has acted as the executive director of the Newfoundland and Labrador Association for Community Living, which focuses on helping people with intellectual disabilities and their families. She was a member of the first advisory council on the status of persons with disabilities in Newfoundland and Labrador, before becoming a politician. She is now the minister responsible for the status of persons with disabilities…
SpecialEffect – Levelling the playing field for disabled gamers
July 5, 2017 | Source: Develop- UK | Gaming, Inclusion, Universal Design, Mobility | United Kingdom
Accessibility options aren’t yet an industry standard, but can make a world of difference for disabled gamers. Aardvark Swift’s Marketing Executive Joey Relton and Programming Consultant Andy Jenkinson talked to SpecialEffect’s Projects Manager Bill Donegan about some simple solutions studios can implement to allow everyone to play their games.
When Mario Kart 8 Deluxe launched on the Nintendo Switch, no one expected the addition of a new Smart Steering feature to have quite as much impact as it did. While a handful of players claimed the mode gave an unfair advantage to those who used it, stories of children with physically disabilities who could now enjoy games on a level playing field with their friends began popping up…
Everyone has an opportunity at LiveBetter’s Accessibility Day at the McDonald’s Bathurst Ice Rink
July 5, 2017 | Source: Western Advocate- Australia | Awareness, Inclusion, Entertainment | Australia
LiveBetter Community Services partnered with Bathurst Regional Council to provide ice-skating sessions for people with a disability and their carers on Wednesday morning. The session, titled Accessibility Day, was sold out, with the McDonald’s Bathurst Ice Rink running at reduced capacity for volunteers from LiveBetter to provide a helping hand.
LiveBetter support leader Clare Plunkett said the event was about providing opportunities for people with disabilities. “We’re giving everyone with a disability a chance to enjoy the Bathurst Winter Festival in a safe environment,” she said…
Joint Accessibility Advisory Committee holding public consultations
July 5, 2017 | Source: Niagara This Week- Canada | Government, Arts/Entertainment, Inclusion, Accessible Design | Canada
It’s a program that’s helped break down barriers and make six municipalities in Niagara more accessible over the past five years and now, the JAAC is seeking the public’s input over what to do with the next five. As part of a mandated government process under Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) the Joint Accessibility Advisory Committee is holding consultations in Grimsby, Lincoln, West Lincoln, Pelham, Thorold and Niagara-on-the-Lake. “We want to hear from the public at large,” said Donna Herrington, a JAAC member. “We’re really just open to hearing about what’s happening in their town.”
Herrington says that over the past five years, the JAAC has been instrumental in phasing in accessibility technology on websites for those with visual disabilities, facilitating training for town staff and working to retrofit and ensure new builds in each municipality is accommodating to a wide variety of needs. The committee has audited over 89 buildings across all six municipalities, and has provided input on projects in Grimsby like waterfront developments and construction on Winston Road…
‘It’s not accessible’: Map at new Toronto park with braille printed on flat board
July 5, 2017 | Source: Global News- Canada | Blindness/Visual Impairment, Discrimination, Accessible Design, Leisure/Entertainment | Canada
Walking into the new Trillium Park, visitors will be greeted by a map highlighting the trail’s attractions in both writing and braille for people who are visually impaired. But if you look a little closer – and touch the map – visitors to the downtown Toronto park realize it is printed on a flat board and the braille is useless for those who need it.
Rhonda Underhill-Gray is legally blind and said when she visited Trillium Park, she couldn’t help but laugh at sign. “This is just a blank canvas to me,” she said…
Seaton Tramway to become a fully accessible site
July 6, 2017 | Source: East Devon 24- UK | Digital Accessibility, Web Design, Inclusion, Accessible Design | United Kingdom
Seaton Tramway has signed up to help empower people with disabilities. The popular visitor attraction has joined other sites in the South West working under the Heritage Ability Scheme to build a greater understanding of the barriers experienced by disabled and deaf people.
The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has awarded a grant of £527,000 to support heritage sites in becoming more accessible. There are 18 sites in the South West currently taking part, eight of which are located in Devon including Seaton Jurassic and Seaton Wetlands. This scheme is delivered by charity, Living Options Devon, which was set up in 1990, and of which 80 per cent of Trustees and volunteers, and over 50 per cent of staff have disabilities or are deaf…
Widening the opportunities for accessible travel
July 6, 2017 | Source: TTG Media- India | Travel, Accessible Design, Mobility, Deaf/Hearing Impaired | India
India isn’t the easiest country for travellers with accessibility needs to navigate, but with an intrepid spirit and a canny Travel Counsellor, Nadia Clarke, who was born with cerebral palsy, went on a Golden Triangle adventure. When 24-year-old inspirational speaker and blogger Nadia attended the Travel Counsellors 2016 conference, it set in motion a series of events that would help to challenge the boundaries of accessible travel in India.
Clarke, who was born with cerebral palsy and is profoundly deaf, relies on a wheelchair for mobility and speech-assisted software for communication. Despite what some may see as limitations, Clarke has not let her disabilities get in the way of her passion for exploration. With trips to Hong Kong, Singapore, Europe and Australia already under her belt, Clarke told the 1,500-strong audience what it was really like travelling as a person with accessibility needs…
bmobile and PAVI promote smartphone accessibility for persons with visual impairment
July 6, 2017 | Source: Trinidad News- Trinidad and Tobago | Blindness/Visual Impairment, Digital Accessibility, Mobile Accessibility, Inclusion | Trinidad and Tobago
Most people today cannot comprehend life without their devices as more and more daily routines depend on the connection to the world of digital information while “on the go” by way of smartphones and other mobile devices. For persons with visual impairment, many of whom were not born blind, this is an inconvenient reality. Unknown to many however, this does not need to be the case. Smartphone technology is universally recognised as modern tools which improve efficiency and effectiveness in the day-to-day lives of persons of all walks of life. The same is true for all users with visual disability. As a matter of fact, the average smartphone offers accessibility options which can make a visually impaired individual a lot more efficient when using a smartphone than someone who can see just fine.
To ensure that such valuable information does not remain unknown, as well as to enable greater inclusion for persons with visual impairment, Bmobile partnered with Persons Associated with Visual Impairment (PAVI), to educate the public on the many available functions that most smartphones have built in and which enable greater accessibility for persons with disabilities…
Council calls on disability community for help
July 6, 2017 | Source: Scoop- New Zealand | Government, Building/Facilities Access, Inclusion, Accessible Design | New Zealand
Hutt City Council is seeking expert advice on how to make the city a more welcoming place for people living with disability. It is calling on people with a lived experience of disability to consider applying for a place on a soon-to-be established Accessibility and Inclusiveness Advisory Group. The group will advise councillors on issues that directly impact the disability community such as accessibility and usability of Council services and facilities, access to public transport and outdoor spaces and how to make getting around the city easier. The group will play a central role in implementing and achieving the outcomes outlined in Council’s Accessibility and Inclusiveness Plan 2017-2027.
Hutt City Council Divisional Manager Strategy and Planning Wendy Moore says the group will provide a fresh and important perspective around the design and implementation of services, facilities and infrastructure. It is estimated 24 per cent of Kiwis identity themselves as being disabled, translating to around 24,400 people in Lower Hutt. This proportion jumps to 59 per cent for those aged 65 or over. Maori and Pacific people have higher than average disability rates…
‘Let’s start a movement, #InclusionNow’
July 6, 2017 | Source: The Telegram- Canada | Inclusion, Building/Facilities Access, Awareness | Canada
A diverse crowd gathered at the Easter Seals Centre on Wednesday evening to discuss inclusion for persons with disabilities. Topics ranged from inclusion in the workplace and in grocery stores, to more accessible washrooms for people who have an inflammatory bowel disease. Paul Walsh, board president of the Coalition of Persons with Disabilities NL, says his biggest challenge with inclusion when it comes to his disability is things other people simply overlook.
Jonathon Pittman wrote a simple paper for a school assignment at the College of the North Atlantic about his troubles with accessibility around the city, which inspired the “Inclusion Now” series by The Telegram. “Everyday frustrations started building up,” said Pittman. “Every person should have access to simple things, like products on a shelf at the grocery store. I realized that if nobody speaks up about these issues, nothing will ever get done.”…
Accolade for Olivier Lacoua
July 6, 2017 | Source: Scoop- New Zealand | Inclusion, Blindness/Visual Impairment, Awards/Recognition | New Zealand
Commitment, inclusion, community and leadership are just some of the words that describe Wellington accessibility champion Olivier Lacoua, about to head south to manage the Novotel Christchurch Airport hotel opening in February 2018. Olivier, General Manager of CQ Hotels Wellington from 2010 to June 2017, is proof that it’s good business to be socially responsible and inclusive. There were 50 staff when he started at the hotel. Now, there are more than 80 staff.
Over his seven years at the helm, he’s introduced numerous accessible activities such as menus in braille and in New Zealand Sign Language; a lowered check-in desk; an accessible hotel information pack; and i-Beacon for visually impaired guests. Staff are also encouraged to learn New Zealand Sign Language. With nine fully accessible hotel rooms, the hotel is recognised as the most accessible hotel in New Zealand and the first accommodation facility to achieve a gold rating by Be. Accessible in 2011…
Collaborate Bristol: UX event encourages creatives to design with purpose
July 6, 2017 | Source: Econsultancy- UK | Accessible Design, Inclusion, Awareness | United Kingdom
Digital thought leaders descended upon Bristol recently to hear ground-breaking talks at one of the UK’s leading UX and design conferences, Collaborate Bristol. Despite having a variety of ideas about, and approaches to, ‘collaboration’, speakers were clear in their view that the design and the creative process should be done with purpose, not mindlessly or to adhere to a particular checklist.
Collaborate Bristol perspectives not only covered online design but also reviewed collaboration within complete brand design and ideology. The first speaker of the day, Lisa Campana, Head of Design at MOO, addressed the power of personality for a brand and put forward the idea that in the eyes of your customer, user experience and brand experience is the same thing, yet brands treat them as separate entities. In order to fully achieve brand consistency, Lisa argued that all elements of a business must stay on the same page and communicate as a unit…
European Parliament makes reading materials more accessible to blind and visually impaired people
July 6, 2017 | Source: Brussels Times- Belgium | Government, Blindness/Visual Impairment, Accessible Design | Belgium
Blind, visually-impaired and other reading-impaired people will soon have easier access to Braille-printed or adapted typography and audio books. On Thursday, the European Parliament approved the previously agreed exception to copyright. According to some estimates, the European Union is home to more than 30 million blind and partially blind people. Of all the books that are published, only 7 to 20% are available in a format that is accessible to them…
Accessibility Blogs & Information
- The Impact: Software for Social Good- Benetech’s interview with Elise Livingston, Program Manager, Office Graphics, at Microsoft about the amazing work the Office team is doing around accessibility.
- Let’s Talk Teaching: Get your accessibility on(line)- Illinois State University- Podcast
- New book chapter: Accessible online learning- The Paciello Group
- We test out a new Accessibility MOOC: Inclusive Online Course Design
- Free Online Accessibility Assessment Tools- UCLA Committee on Disability
- AbleGamers’ Player Panels Initiative empowers disabled gamers & AbleGamers Announces ‘Player Panels’ for Gamers with Disabilities
- PyeongChang 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games Accessibility Standards Maual- PDF
- Hope Heals Camp
- Building a map for everyone- Google
- Slides: WordCamp Europe — Selfish Accessibility- The Paciello Group
- Sex And Inaccessible Queer Venues- Huffington Post UK
- Creating a barrier-free world one wooden ramp at a time
- Accessibility is a shared responsibility from the start
- Web Accessibility Matters – Even if ADA Section 508 Doesn’t Apply to Your Website
- Accessibility: Who tweets about it and what hashtags do they use
- Letter of the law versus spirit of the law
- The Presidential Precinct
- Matariki Network of Universities
- Biola University
- School District of Prairie Farm
- Bell County Expo Center
- United States Navy
- Office of Accommodation and Accessibility Services- Metropolitan College of New York
- Schoolcraft College
- University of Otago
- Pennichuck Corporation
- Austin Peay State University
- Michigan State University
- Office Accessibility Center – Resources for people with disabilities
- UW-Madison – IT Policy Activity, July 2017- Web Accessibility, Policy & Procedures
- Holland Patent Central School District
- The 23rd International Conference on Historical Linguistics
- Manheim Central School District
- Boots & Hearts
Accessibility Announcements & Products
- For new beta website, Massachusetts governor asks community for guidance
- ICC releases update to building accessibility standard
- A New Digital Inclusion Portal by G3ict!
- Wheelchair Ramp Experts Amramp to Exhibit at 2017 CMSA Conference
- Disability accessibility GPS map location simple icons in color rounded square frames on white background
- Ade Adepitan and Elle Exxe open new Isle of Wight riding centre
- This group is using a 360-camera to map Toronto’s accessibility on the Pan Am Path & AccessNow, Icon & Google Team Up for Trails & Parks Accessibility Initiative
- City of Lawton rolls out new mobile-friendly website
- Amersham station to become step-free as part of £200 million investment into making London Underground accessible
- Advocates for disabled lobby for greater accessibility at new KCI terminal
- New accessible housing projects flooded with applicants
- City investing in infrastructure and accessibility with $12 million budget
- Tube accessibility programme quickens pace
- Tatum’s Treehouse accessible children’s playground design heads to county Parks Commission
- United States Assistive Technologies for Visual Impairment Market 2017 & Assistive Technologies for Visual Impairment Market 2017: Comprehensive Research Including Top Companies, Latest Trends and Challenges Forecast by 2022
- How To Control Your Media Volume By Default- Video and Text
Accessibility Q&A & Tips
- Example Rule Implementation Score for All Pages in a Website- Functional Accessibility Evaluator 2.0
- CKEditor Accessibility Auditor
- Text Accessibility typed on retro typewriter
- Accessibility: fix aria-hidden without value
- Accessibility of videos embedded as web objects
- Accessibility Features
- Review SelectWoo accessibility
- Accessible in-game chat overview
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.