Accessibility in the News—3/31/17.
This week, we doubled our accessibility news content, opening the gates for more in-depth coverage of U.S. and international news. We’ll be experimenting with this format over the next few weeks, so if you have feedback or questions, please let us know.
AITN Quote of the Week
“The worst thing about a disability is that people see it before they see you.” – Easter Seals
National News (U.S.)
Learn to Create Accessible Websites with the Principles of Universal Design
3/22 | Source: Interaction Design Foundation | Digital Accessibility, Universal Design, Accessibility Resources/Tips, Non-Profit
Accessibility is not the first item we consider when we start designing a website. It is often a hidden need that we don’t think about until something goes wrong. For example, let’s say you are in the middle of a design project and one of your test users tells you he can’t read the text on the screen. Then, you start analyzing what happened, and it turns out that he is one of the 8% of males in the world who has colour blindness—and he could not differentiate the green font from the red background. Okay, we’ll admit that we often don’t see green text on a red background, but you get the point, don’t you?
Accessibility issues can creep in throughout the project life cycle. In fact, the most expensive accessibility often come after the completion of a project. In countries with strong accessibility legislations, companies can find themselves in costly lawsuits. In general, companies and federal agencies are accountable to provide equal access to all users. Besides legal matters, accessibility can benefit your users and also improve the brand of your product. That’s why, here, we will teach you to plan for and focus your efforts to design for accessibility in the first place…
Self-Driving Cars Could Be Boon for Aged, After Initial Hurdles
3/23 | Source: NY Times | Technology, Aging, Transportation/Transit
Single, childless and 68, Steven Gold has begun to think about future mobility and independence. Although in good health, he can foresee a time when he won’t be a confident driver, if he can drive at all. While he hopes to continue to live in his suburban Detroit home, he wonders how he will be able to get to places like his doctor’s office and the supermarket if his driving becomes impaired. For Mr. Gold and other older adults, self-driving cars might be a solution.
The number of United States residents age 70 and older is projected to increase to 53.7 million in 2030, from 30.9 million in 2014, according to the Institute for Highway Safety. Nearly 16 million people 65 and older live in communities where public transportation is poor or nonexistent. That number is expected to grow rapidly as baby boomers remain outside of cities…
Roosevelt Island Park Isn’t Accessible to People with Disabilities: Lawsuit
3/24 | Source: Patch | Facilities Access, Mobility, Travel, Recreation | New York
The Four Freedoms Park on Roosevelt Island, named for the nation’s 32nd president who used a wheelchair for years, excludes people with disabilities, according to a class-action lawsuit filed this month.
Three people who use wheelchairs are the named plaintiffs in a class action lawsuit filed against the state’s parks department, the department’s commissioner, and the conservancy that runs the Four Freedoms Park, faulting the “inaccessibility” of the park. The Brooklyn Center for Independence of the Disabled is also a plaintiff. The suit, filed last week in federal court in Manhattan, accused the park’s design of creating “systemic, discriminatory exclusion of persons with mobility disabilities.”…
Federal Court in Los Angeles Dismisses Website Accessibility Claims
alOn March 20, 2017, a federal district judge in Los Angeles granted Domino’s Pizza’s motion to dismiss a website accessibility lawsuit in a ruling that raises hopes for those battling the massive wave of web accessibility litigation and arguably makes it more difficult for businesses to decide between fight or flight. Robles v. Domino’s Pizza LLC, No. CV 16-6599 SJO (SPx), U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.
The court’s decision ratified the argument—which has been rejected by other courts—that the absence of clear regulation on what it means for a website to be “accessible” violated Domino’s’ due process rights. Grounded in the due process violation, the court dismissed the action without prejudice under the primary jurisdiction doctrine, holding that the case should not be prosecuted “pending the resolution of an issue within the special competence of an administrative agency,” which, in this case, is the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ)…
Meet the Woman Who Can See with Her Ears
3/25 | Source: Wired | High Tech, Blindness/Visual Impairment | New York
The last thing twenty-one-year-old Pat Fletcher saw before the explosion was the chemical-filled steel tank beside her suddenly ballooning outward. With alarm she realized the plastic hose in her hand had grown unusually hot. Then the world flashed blindingly bright and turned a brilliant blue, the color of the flames engulfing her body.
When she awoke, Pat thought she might be dreaming. The world around her was featureless and dark, as though she were lost in a gray, smoky fog. The sedatives and painkillers had something to do with it, as did the fact that her face was swathed in thick bandages. But soon a solemn doctor arrived at her bedside. And Pat learned there was something more. She had been in an industrial accident caused by a reaction between two volatile chemicals at the grenade factory where she worked. One of her eyeballs was gone; the other eye remained, but was permanently shut. Pat was lucky to be alive, the doctor told her. But there was no hope she would ever see again…
How Technology Has Helped Make Poker Accessible to Everyone
3/25 | Source: Ante Up | Digital Accessibility, Gaming, Recreation
There is nothing quite like a game of poker. What was once the stereotype of high rollers, gangsters and other rather nefarious characters, has now become a game accessible to all. On any given Friday night across the world, millions come together with friends to play this game over a few drinks, socialize and win small or large amounts of cash. The game has become such a social and well-loved one that some people do not bet with money and just play it for the sheer fun of it, and use it as an opportunity to catch up with buddies.
Its popularity has also led to it being considered a sport in its own right and fans can now follow local and international tournaments, tours, and competitions online, on television and in person. Hundreds of books have been written on the subject; how to improve your game, the psychology behind it, and its history, and more. The poker rooms in casinos are often the most popular and often provide players with a luxurious ambiance with drinks on taps to keep them well lubricated while the pressure of the game increases…
Accessibility will Be Promoted through Colonial Lake Fishing Tournament
3/25 | Source: Post & Courier | Adaptive Sports/Recreation, Facilities Access | South Carolina
For many years the waters of Colonial Lake have been an overlooked fishing treasure, only occasionally drawing attention when an angler landed a huge red drum (redfish) or flounder that had been trapped in the impoundment.
For at least one day this summer, however, it will be a hub of fishing activity when Adaptive Expeditions and Paralympic Sports Club hold the Chucktown Redfish Roundup, which promises to be the first universally accessible saltwater fishing tournament anywhere in the United States…
Court Relies on Due Process Argument to Dismiss Website Accessibility Suit
3/26 | Source: ADA Law Access | Digital Accessibility, Litigation/Lawsuits, ADA, DOJ | California
Over the past few years, a handful of law firms have filed hundreds of lawsuits – and sent many hundreds of letters threatening lawsuits – over website accessibility issues. This has been a lucrative business for these firms. Many of these suits and letters are essentially cut-and-paste jobs, and the recipients often decide to quickly settle, rather than face the uncertainties and costs of litigation. But a new decision in California may give defendants something to think about.
Last year, a plaintiff filed a lawsuit against Domino’s complaining that he could not order pizza from the company’s website using his screen reader. Domino’s argued that websites are not places of public accommodation under the ADA, but the court didn’t agree. Nevertheless, Domino’s argued that the court should dismiss or stay the action because the Department of Justice has not promulgated concrete guidance regarding the accessibility standards…
Cool Wayfinding Initiatives Make PCC a Leader in Accessibility
3/27 | Source: PCC News | Higher Education, Print Accessibility, Maps | Oregon
Visiting a new college campus can be bewildering. Even with appropriate signage it isn’t necessarily easy to navigate to parking, the enrollment office, classrooms, restrooms and other vital services. For people with disabilities or mobility issues, things can be a lot tougher. Adding to the challenge is that since voters approved the 2008 bond measure, Portland Community College has seen extensive construction or renovations at all four campuses and most of its centers, bringing with it temporary detours, closures and office moves.
But a collective of staff from Disability Services, Facilities Management Services (FMS) and the Web Team is creating innovative changes that have made PCC a national leader in accessibility. And like so many advances these days, the changes are digitally based…
Library Branch Now Wheelchair Accessible
3/27 | Source: BX Times | Facilities Access, Mobility, Government | New York
Community activists scored a victory for disabled people who will now have access to a local library. The Westchester Square Library achieved partial access for people in wheelchairs and walkers with the recent installation of a chair lift and a ramp outside the building.
Disabled patrons can now reach the first floor of the library, which previously had been difficult to maneuver because of two sets of steps at the entrance to the library: one in the interior of the building, another outside the front door. Activist Louis Rocco said he advocated for the changes after several disabled residents who wanted to use the library reached out to him and the Westchester Square Civic Association, he said…
FM Alert: Guidance on International Symbol of Accessibility
3/27 | Source: Facility Executive | U.S. Access Board, International Symbol of Access, ADA, Government, Facilities Access | Washington, D.C.
The U.S. Access Board has released guidance on the International Symbol of Accessibility (ISA) to address questions that have arisen on the use of alternative symbols. Some cities and states have adopted a different symbol that was created to be more dynamic and suggestive of movement. The board’s guidance explains how use of a symbol other than the ISA impacts compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
International Symbol of Accessibility Standards issued under the ADA require that the ISA label certain accessible elements, spaces, and vehicles, including parking spaces, entrances, restrooms, and rail cars. Similar requirements are contained in standards issued under the Architectural Barriers Act (ABA) for federally funded facilities. The ISA, which is maintained by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), has served as a world-wide accessibility icon for almost 50 years…
E-tailer Fights Threat of ‘Drive-By’ ADA Lawsuit
3/27 | Source: Courthouse News | Digital Accessibility, Accessibility Litigation/Lawsuits, ADA, DOJ, Food Service | Nebraska
Drive-by lawsuits using disabled “testers” are trolling online businesses by taking advantage of ADA regulations on accessibility to the internet, a Nebraska meat distributor claims in a lawsuit against advocates for the disabled.
Omaha Steaks sued Access Now on Feb. 27 in Federal Court, seeking declaratory judgment on whether Access Now’s threatened lawsuit under the Americans with Disabilities Act is ripe. OmahaSteaks claims that Access Now files “troll-like lawsuits” and threats of suit, which include a “Confidential Settlement Agreement,” such as the one Access Now received from it in January.
Omaha Steaks, which sells meats online through omahasteaks.com, says the demand letter claimed that Access Now clients suffered “substantial access barriers” to “privacy-related information and legal terms and conditions” on omahasteaks.com…
Justices Won’t Hear LSAT Accessibility Appeal
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to take up a lawsuit by a legally blind Michigan man accusing the American Bar Association of discriminating against him by failing to provide certain disability accommodations while taking the LSAT.
The ruling leaves in place a Sixth Circuit ruling in favor of the ABA in a lawsuit by Angelo Binno, who sued the organization in 2011 after three law schools rejected him due to his low scores on the LSAT. Binno claimed it was unfair for the test…
Are Colleges Doing Enough to Make Online Videos Accessible for the Blind?
3/27 | Source: Center for Digital Education | Higher Education, CSUN, Video, Elearning
Imagine that you are blind for a moment, and consider this question: What are you missing out on when you listen to university videos? Click “play” on the video below and close your eyes for a few minutes.
Attendees of the 32nd CSUN Assistive Technology Conference in March went through this same exercise in a session taught by Terrill Thompson, a technology accessibility specialist at the University of Washington who’s worked in the accessibility field for 20 years. And they found out what you probably just discovered — the video didn’t tell them much. “We watched that video with our eyes closed and then talked about it, and obviously no one got anything out of it other than that there was good music,” he recalled…
ODOT Must Make All Curbs and Existing Ramps Wheelchair Accessible
3/27 | Source: East Oregonian | Transit/Transportation, ADA | Oregon
A U.S. District Court Judge approved a settlement Monday requiring the Oregon Department of Transportation to make all street crossings safer for people with disabilities. ODOT will have to install missing curb ramps, fix substandard ramps and upgrade crossing signals, all of which will improve safety and accessibility along highways for people with disabilities.
ODOT will prioritize missing curb ramps and existing ramps that have too steep of slopes, a lip at the bottom of the ramp, or ramps with insufficient space for a wheelchair to turn…
Mom Says TSA Agents at DFW Airport Traumatized Son with ‘Horrifying’ Security Check
3/27 | Source: Dallas News | Travel, TSA, Airlines | Texas
A mother who asked TSA agents at DFW International Airport for alternative screening for her son with special needs said they were “treated like dogs” and forced to miss a flight during an extensive security check, according to her Facebook post that has since gone viral.
But the Transportation Security Administration said in a prepared statement that it followed approved procedures to “resolve an alarm of the passenger’s laptop.”…
IRS Will Provide $5,000 Tax Credit for Accessible Websites
3/28 | Source: Crossroads Today | Digital Accessibility, Taxes, IRS, Section 508 | Washington, D.C.
The Bureau of Internet Accessibility (BIA) is reporting that due to recent federal changes in website accessibility requirements, small businesses could be eligible for a $5,000 tax credit. The changes under IRS Code Section 44, Disabled Access Credit, indicate that small businesses can qualify for the tax credit by increasing their website accessibility and making other accommodations to make their business more accessible for persons with disabilities.
BIA notes that the tax credit available should, in some cases, cover the efforts businesses make to comply with Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended (29 U.S.C. § 794 (d)). Originally enacted in 1998 by the United States Congress to cover federal agencies and then broadened in January 2017 to cover any organization that receives federal funding or does business with the government, the act requires agencies to make their electronic and information technology accessible to people with disabilities. All federal agencies and companies with whom they do business must be compliant with these rules no later than January 2018…
Court Dismisses Website Accessibility Suit over Lack of Connection to Store
3/28 | Source: ADA Law Access | Digital Accessibility, Accessibility Litigation/Lawsuits, ADA, DOJ, Retail | Florida
As we noted earlier this week, a handful of law firms have filed hundreds of lawsuits – and sent many hundreds of letters threatening lawsuits – over website accessibility issues. This has been a lucrative business for these firms. Many of these suits and letters are essentially cut-and-paste jobs, and the recipients often decide to quickly settle, rather than face the uncertainties and costs of litigation. But a new decision in Florida may give defendants something to think about.
A plaintiff filed a lawsuit against Bang and Olufsen in Florida, alleging that the retailer violated the ADA because its website is not compatible with screen reader software. The sole issue before the court was whether the website was a place of public accommodation, subject to the ADA…
Request for Comments: Proposed Guidelines on Accessibility of Digital Content
3/28 | Source: Learning Disabilities Association of America | Cognitive/Learning Disabilities, WCAG 2.1, Learning, Education | Pennsylvania
LDA has been asked by the Cognitive Task Force (COGA) of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) to respond to its request for comments on the accessibility of digital content by individuals with learning disabilities. (This includes how someone with a learning disability accesses information or may take a test via a computer.)
You are encouraged to share this request with other individuals (including parents, students, educators, and adults with learning disabilities) or groups who have insights into the needs of people with cognitive and learning disabilities. Comments may be submitted by individuals or groups and are due Friday, March 31, 2017…
Handicapped Oyster Lover Settles Casino, Restaurant Lawsuits
3/29 | Source: Sun Herald | Facilities Access, Food Service, Litigation/Lawsuits, Mobility, ADA | Mississippi
Hope Elly, an Alabama resident who says she loves to visit the Mississippi Coast, has settled federal lawsuits filed against Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Biloxi and Half Shell Oyster House Biloxi over claims that handicapped access is limited. The cases, filed in U.S. District Court, have been settled on undisclosed terms. Elly still has a lawsuit pending against IP Casino Resort in Biloxi over handicapped access, with the court record indicating a settlement conference is scheduled for April 24.
Bob Taylor, an owner of Half Shell, said the Biloxi restaurant will be making some changes over the next few weeks. The hostess stand is being lowered, for example, and some bathroom fixtures, such as the grab bar, are being moved to meet specifications in the Americans with Disabilities Act, the basis for Elly’s lawsuits…
Blindness Changes ‘Saved by the Bell’ Star’s View of Life
3/29 | Source: MSN | Blindness/Visual Impairment, Personal Account
Isaac Lidsky has led an extraordinary life – but he claims that of all the amazing experiences along his path, “In many ways, one of the greatest things that ever happened to me was going blind.”
Isaac had a career as a child actor, culminating when he landed the role of Barton “Weasel” Wyzell on “Saved by the Bell: The New Class” — he calls it “a life changing experience.” He went on to study math and computer science at Harvard, graduating at age 19, then law school, after which he clerked for two Supreme Court justices…
Good Accessibility News for NYC Students
3/29 | Source: AM New York | Mobility, ADA, Education, K-12, Facilities and Digital Accessibility | New York
Students in wheelchairs need to know whether a school’s bathroom door is wide enough. A disabled parent needs to know whether she can get to the auditorium for a parent-teacher association meeting. Students with hearing, vision or speaking difficulties should know whether there’s technology, signage and books for them. Soon, they’ll finally have that information.
The NYC Department of Education is surveying every high school — a process that later will be done in middle and elementary schools — to determine which buildings are accessible to people with physical disabilities. The surveys will involve nearly 60 criteria. If they are done well, students and parents should be able to find out which schools meet their needs…
New York Has a Great Subway, if You’re Not in a Wheelchair
3/29 | Source: NY Times | Transportation/Transit, Mobility, Personal Account | New York
Nearly eight years ago, on a bright summer morning in Manhattan, I was walking through Central Park when an enormous rotted tree branch snapped and fell on my head.
What came next was a remarkable turn of events that saved my life. First, a doctor out for a morning jog saw me lying unconscious, and used a pair of jeans he dug out of my backpack to slow the bleeding until an ambulance came. I was treated at the intensive care unit at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital and underwent rehabilitation at Helen Hayes Hospital in Rockland County, where a skilled medical team worked tirelessly for more than a month treating injuries to my head, lungs and spine. And over the next six months, nonstop support from loved ones and expert rehabilitative care helped me recover much of what I had lost…
Verizon Must Face Bias Claim from Blind Analyst
3/29 | Source: Courthouse News Service | Discrimination, Litigation/Lawsuits, Blindness/Visual Impairment, Jobs/Employment | California
A federal judge refused to dismiss a lawsuit accusing Verizon Wireless of firing an experienced web analyst after his first day on the job because he is blind. U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White granted only part of Verizon’s motion for summary judgment Monday, and ordered it to enter an alternative dispute resolution proceeding with Nicaise Dogbo.
In his original August 2015 lawsuit in Contra Costa County Court, Dogbo claimed that Verizon “humiliated and demeaned” him on his first day on the job after it discovered he is blind, and then fired him for it…
Making Graphics Accessible to the Visually Impaired
3/29 | Source: GCN | Government, Digital Accessibility, Blindness/Visual Impairment
Keeping up with her peers can sometimes be a challenge for Amy Bower, a senior scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution who is legally blind. To understand the graphs she works with on a constant basis, Bower has relied largely on the assistance of a sighted person as her own vision has diminished over the past two decades.
But she’s been beta testing the SAS Graphics Accelerator, a new web browser extension that is helping her regain independence at work. The tool monitors graphs in webpages, and when it finds one created with another SAS solution, it alerts a vision-impaired user via an earcon, a piano sound in this case. Users can then hear a description of the graph to find out basic information, such as what type of graph it is and its title…
Colorado Businesses Continue to Face “Drive By” Lawsuits over ADA Accessibility
3/29 | Source: JD Supra | Facilities Access, Accessibility Litigation/Lawsuits, ADA | Colorado
Plaintiffs have brought more than 150 lawsuits in federal court in Denver against Colorado businesses alleging violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) over the past year, following a national trend. These lawsuits allege that businesses have failed to make their facilities accessible to disabled persons, as Title III of the ADA requires. Business owners often are blindsided when they are served with a complaint, because the ADA—outside the employment context—does not require plaintiffs to alert businesses of violations or give them an opportunity to remedy before bringing suit.
In most instances, it is a single plaintiff who brings 15 to 20 lawsuits at a time. A disabled person, often accompanied by a “tester,” will visit several businesses in a single day and assess whether the businesses are compliant with ADA standards for public accommodations. The alleged violations may be for minor infractions, such as installing a toilet paper dispenser or mirror at the wrong height, or not fully securing carpet edges to the floor. Except for a few paragraphs, the allegations in the complaints are usually identical for all of the businesses visited. Because the court complaints are filed en masse based on visits to many businesses on a single day, they are called “drive by” lawsuits…
Legal Lessons: Website Accessibility [Video]
3/30 | Source: Video | Digital Accessibility, Lawsuits/Litigation, Real Estate | Virginia
Virginia REALTORS® Associate General Counsel Erin Barton shares information on website accessibility and how the issue might affect your business. Do you have an employee designated to maintain your site’s accessibility? Have you trained your staff on website accessibility standards? Make sure you know the standards and are ready to avoid this risk in your business…
Bill Reaches Compromise on Disability-Lawsuit Abuse in Arizona
3/30 | Source: AZ Central | Legislation/Policy, Government, Litigation/Lawsuits | Arizona
Lawmakers ensnared in a months-long battle over how to combat “unscrupulous attorneys” who exploit state-accessibility law finally have reached a compromise. The House Appropriations Committee on Wednesday voted to advance a “striker” bill that revives and combines key elements of two failed pieces of legislation in an effort to address the concerns of both the business and disability communities.
Strikers replace a bill’s original language with entirely new wording, giving legislators an opportunity to revive or introduce legislation late in the session. Like any other bill, a striker requires full House and Senate approval and the governor’s signature to become law…
Cavaliers Debut ‘The Quiet Space Sensory Room’ Aimed at Expanding Accessibility Inside The Q
3/30 | Source: Cleveland.com | Sports/Entertainment, Autism, Inclusion | Ohio
With Autism Awareness Month around the corner, Cleveland Cavaliers fans who endure sensory issues or challenges can now find a safe space inside Quicken Loans Arena designed to promote inclusion and a positive experience when they attend events at The Q.
The Quiet Space Sensory Room, guided by experts from KultureCity, debuted Thursday and will be available for guests at all Quicken Loans Arena events, including Cavaliers, Monsters and Gladiators games. The room features calming paint tones, a textured wall, special seating and privacy away from loud noises and crowds. In addition, event guests can check out “sensory bags” at no cost which include fidget toys, weighted lap pads, noise cancelling headphones and more…
Sheffield mum hails ‘brilliant’ sport and fitness accessibility scheme
3/24 | Source: The Star | Sports/Entertainment, Mobility, Cognitive | United Kingdom
A Sheffield mum-of-two has heaped praise on a health and fitness scheme which enables people with physical and learning disabilities, as well as mental health conditions, to take a family member, carer or friend to Sheffield sports venues as support for free.
SIV, which runs many of the sports and leisure venues across Sheffield, recently revamped its ‘Plus One’ scheme, an initiative which gives people who need additional support when using an SIV venue due to a disability or a mental health condition the opportunity to take with them a family member, carer or friend when exercising. As a result, SIV venues have seen 686 additional attendances, by both ‘Plus One’ members and their companions, since the scheme relaunched in April…
Call for focus on people with disabilities
3/24 | Source: Assam Tribune | Advocacy/Awareness, Government, Digital Accessibility, Disability Rights, Aging | India
With hardly any mention of accessibility for persons with disabilities, the Smart City mission, which is greatly reliant on technology, might widen the digital divide for the disabled people, ageing communities and others, feel experts while asking for a greater focus on accessibility for all in the Smart Cities. Guwahati is among the 20 cities of the country to be developed as Smart City in the first phase.
Crusader for disability rights Javed Abidi at a roundtable on inclusive Smart Cities and associability for the persons with disability, stressed that disability should no more be seen as an isolated condition with increasing number of people acquiring some forms of disabling condition due to old age…
Technology helped him become a tax-paying citizen
3/24 | Source: The Hindu | Digital Accessibility, Personal Account, Advocacy/Awareness | India
28-year-old who is visually challenged and has limited usage of his arms lives independently and now helps others find solutions to their daily challenges. For Shankar Chandrashekar, technology is the window through which he can stride independently in the world. The 28-year-old tech whiz from Ballari is visually challenged and has limited usage of his arms. He credits technology for helping him become a tax-paying citizen.
“As long as I have internet, I don’t need anyone’s help,” says Shankar, who works as an accessibility tester in a software firm in New Delhi and lives on his own. He uses his mobile phone to book cabs, buy groceries and pretty much everything else…
Edinburgh business launches a new accessibility initiative
3/25 | Source: The Student Newspaper | Community, Employment, Facilities Access | United Kingdom
A local Edinburgh business has launched an initiative to provide better disabled access to people around the city, and to employ homeless or unemployed members of the community. The Edinburgh Tool Library (ETL) has been providing local makers in Edinburgh with work tools for years, but has also recently started supplying disabled access ramps to businesses. ETL’s rationale in undertaking this project goes beyond merely improving access for the local disabled community.
The idea is that the ramps are built by matching an individual, who comes from a long-term background of unemployment or homelessness, with a mentor provided by ETL. This will provide invaluable training opportunities for the individuals building these ramps. These transferable skills could furthermore increase the prospects for future employment for the individuals building these ramps…
Odisha government likely to conduct fresh disability census
3/27 | Source: Global Accessibility News | Government, Advocacy/Awareness | India
With the Centre contemplating to broaden the criteria for persons with disabilities, Odisha Government is likely to start a fresh enumeration of persons with disabilities within a few months. The Centre is currently reviewing the proposal to include 22 additional disabilities apart from the existing eight conditions.
The Government will begin the enumeration process from the Capital City. As part of the initiative, Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) in association with Department of Social Security and Empowerment of Persons with Disability (SSEPD) and State Institute for Disability Rehabilitation on Friday launched ‘Bhima Bhoi Samarthya Sibir’, a camp to enrol, enable and empower persons with disabilities in the City…
VIA Rail appealing ruling that would allow couples with mobility scooters to travel together
3/27 | Source: CBC News | Travel, Mobility, Government, Policy/Legislation | Canada
VIA Rail is appealing a decision by the Canadian Transportation Agency that would make it possible for a Toronto couple who rely on scooters and wheelchairs as part of their accessibility needs to travel together on a single train. The decision called on the railway to revise its policies to either allow for the storage of two scooters in a single tie-down area or provide two tie-down areas on each train by May 15, 2017 — or provide evidence that neither option would be possible without “undue hardship.”
At the moment, all VIA Rail train is equipped with just one tie-down. The railway argues that in cases where a person can transfer to a car seat, there is no limit to the number of passengers travelling with a mobility device. In both cases, it says it provides free passage for a travel companion…
Australian disability advocate Paul McKenzie rates Blenheim number one for mobility access
3/28 | Source: Stuff | Travel, Mobility, Personal Account, Awards/Recognition, International Symbol of Access | Australia
Steve is everywhere in Blenheim, and for disability advocate Paul McKenzie seeing his friend laid out flat on the tarmac makes a world of difference. McKenzie has given the name to the symbol used to mark disabled parking spaces, a person in a wheelchair usually framed with a splash of blue paint.
“In Wellington I couldn’t spot Steve, he’s obviously been run out of town, but he’s everywhere in Blenheim, it really makes a difference,” he said…
St. John’s deputy mayor gaining new perspective on inclusion
3/28 | Source: The Telegram | Mobility, Digital Accessibility, Personal Account, Government, Policy/Legislation | Canada
Ellsworth suffered a leg injury, with a sudden surgery in mid-March, and now faces reduced mobility for the next six to 12 months. But he has already resumed his full duties as a council member and committee chair. The city has used teleconference and WebEx (videoconferencing) for meetings before, but Ellsworth — chair of the accessibility and inclusion advisory committee — has decided to use his own situation to root out any trouble with city procedures and communication systems, and push for improvements as needed.
In the long run, he hopes the result will be a system able to more smoothly and fully include everyone interested in city planning and policy, but otherwise unable to participate…
Disability art: how do you participate if only two Toronto venues are fully accessible?
3/28 | Source: The Eye Opener | Arts/Entertainment, Mobility, Facilities Access | Canada
Victoria Lacey was at a fundraising gala for Spinal Muscular Atrophy research when she won floor tickets to a sold-out One Direction concert. She was ecstatic. But her excitement faded months later when she called the Rogers Centre’s “guest experience” department to inquire about the arrangements for her to access the venue. She was told she couldn’t watch the concert from the floor because her power wheelchair would damage the turf.
Lacey has had previous negative experiences with venue accessibility. There have been instances where she couldn’t attend concerts at all because the venue wasn’t accessible. After her conversation with the Rogers Centre representative, she felt heartbroken and wanted to do something, so she wrote a letter to the venue’s management…
Judge says Human Rights Commission must accept accessibility complaint
3/28 | Source: CBC News | Disability Rights, Government, Facilities Access | Canada
A Supreme Court of Nova Scotia Judge says the province’s Human Rights Commission must accept a complaint launched by an accessibility group over alleged systemic discrimination by the province. The Human Rights Commission tried to refer the group to the provincial ombudsman, but Justice Frank Edwards wrote in a judicial review released Tuesday the reasons given for refusing the complaint were not valid.
The complaint alleges the province discriminates in the way it administers public health policies, specifically related to regulations regarding access to washroom facilities for wheelchair users. The six-person group, headed by Warren Reed, alleges selective enforcement of regulations discriminates against people who use wheelchairs…
Clothing for everyone: teaching fashion to include accessibility by design
3/28 | Source: The Eye Opener | Textile/Fashion, Innovation, Personal Account | Canada
Meg Power zips up her jacket and puts on her gloves, listening to the humming sound of wind pound against the frosted window of her grandmother’s home. She looks over at her grandmother sitting patiently next to her in a wheelchair, waiting for Power to dress her for the snowy weather—something she cannot do herself. She gently slips her arms through each coat sleeve and places a warm blanket over her legs.
It’s been hours since her grandmother had gotten out of bed and sat in her chair. She begins to slip off the seat. Her body often grows tired of being stationary, her muscles give in and she can no longer hold her in place.
Power looks down at her grandmother, who is finally dressed and ready to leave. She timidly asks Power for one last thing. “Make sure no one sees my underwear, please.”…
Accessibility Advisory Committee formed in Wheat City
3/28 | Source: Westman Journal | Transit/Transportation, Community, Government, Facilities Access, Advocacy | Canada
A group of Brandon residents established to ensure people with disabilities are provided with viable transportation options in the city are now providing suggestions to anyone wishing to better serve the area’s disabled community. The Brandon Accessibility Advisory Committee includes 10 individuals that meet on a monthly basis to discuss how businesses, municipal facilities and other buildings open to the public can provide better access for people living with a variety of disabilities.
The committee includes several people with visual and physical impairments alongside representatives from agencies that serve disabled people, such as The Society for Manitobans with Disabilities, the CNIB and the Prairie Mountain Health authority…
Honouree was dedicated to accessibility for students
3/29 | Source: Timmins Press | Awards/Recognition, Higher Education | Canada
The late Jim Chalmers has been honoured for his work in accessibility and teaching. The Timmins and District Multicultural Centre honoured Chalmers, alongside local students, during the third-annual Evening of Applause Wednesday.
Chalmers, who died in January, was recognized for his contributions as a leader and a teacher. “Respectfully, Jim’s work will exceed past his time with Northern College and the community as it was his legacy,” said Tom Baby, the local immigration partnership coordinator with the centre…
Will Toronto ever lose its basement bathroom problem
3/29 | Source: Now Toronto- Canada | Facilities Access, Lawsuits/Litigation, Mobility | Canada
A 2009 lawsuit may explain why staff at The Pentagram Grill barred a woman with spina bifida from using their washroom and now face an Ontario Human Rights Complaint.
In August of 2016, 24-year-old Haily Butler-Henderson recounted the incident to NOW Magazine that led her to file a complaint with the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal. Although efforts to reach the owner of the Pentagram have been unsuccessful, court documents show that in the early morning of November 1, 2007, Frank Willis arrived at the bar after drinking heavily at various bars along the Danforth. He went to use the same basement washroom Butler-Henderson encountered – and became a quadriplegic after falling down the stairs on his way there. The Pentagram was sued as a result. So did they block Butler-Henderson from using the washroom due to concern for their own liability?…
Why ‘accessible India will never be a reality’, explains a former Miss Wheelchair India runner up
3/30 | Source: Daily News & Analysis | Mobility, Personal Account, Discrimination | India
A deplorable incident on a Mumbai road led Virali Modi, a former Miss Wheelchair India runner-up, share the harsh realisation she learned because of it. It began Modi, shares in a Facebook post, when the driver of the Ola she, her mother and uncle were in, was attempting to find a space to park near the Samrat Hotel where they were going for lunch on Thursday.
Being a busy area, partly due to construction work of the metro, the driver parked ahead of the hotel in front of a guarded building and some shops. While her family members were unloading her wheelchair from the car’s trunk, they heard the familiar sounds one expects on busy roads – honking horns and people yelling…
Building an accessible society without barriers for autism
3/30 | Source: European Disability Forum | Cognitive, Government, Policy/Legislation, Autism | Europe
On WAAD on 2 April 2017, Autism Europe is seeking to promote the removal of common barriers faced by people on the autism spectrum. Its 2017 campaign is accompanied by a global call for action to European decision-makers, other interested stakeholders and the general public. The campaign calls on them to acknowledge the barriers experienced by autistic people, and to work together with people on the spectrum, their families and their representative organisations, in order to remove them.
It is a crucial time to bring to the forefront the access needs of people with autism. Accessibility for persons with disabilities is high on the EU agenda, as the European Accessibility Act proposed by the European Commission is currently being negotiated. The Accessibility Act will set minimum accessibility requirements for a series of products and services across the European Union and Autism-Europe supports a strong piece of legislation that will bring real change to the lives of millions of people with disabilities in Europe…
Federal budget boosts accessibility in public spaces
3/30 | Source: REMI NETWORK | Government, Facilities Access, Digital Accessibility | Canada
Canada’s federal budget has earmarked $77 million over ten years to expand the Enabling Accessibility Fund that supports accessibility upgrades in renovated and newly constructed public facilities.
Eligible projects can add features, such as accessible washrooms, ramps, automatic door openers, and hearing induction loops, along with other necessary items that nurture a safe and inclusive environment for people with disabilities. Projects could also provide accessible information and communication technologies and retrofitted vehicles…
New Building Code Could Help Make Smart Cities Disabled Friendly
3/30 | Source: The Wire | Government, Policy/Legislation, Facilities Access | India
While the Smart Cities Mission had until now been called non-inclusive for largely overlooking providing facilities and provisions for persons with disabilities, the new national building code (NBC) prepared by the Bureau of Indian Standards, which was released by the Ministry of Consumer Affairs on March 15, appears to have now provided a solution to making smart cities disabled-friendly and completely barrier-free.
Disability rights activists are now also calling for the Centre to formulate guidelines or a template for making a few model smart cities with disabled-friendly features, so it can be replicated in all other projects. These developments come at a time when round three of the smart cities project in underway, where a list of cities will be shortlisted for inclusion in the project. Sixty cities have been shortlisted so far following two rounds…
Advocates call for better sidewalk accessibility
3/30 | Source: Taipei Times | Mobility, Advocacy/Awareness, Government, Policy/Legislation | China
More should be done to enhance sidewalk accessibility, disabled rights advocates said yesterday at a hearing at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei.
“There are more than 16 government agencies that are free to ‘rape’ or trample over sidewalks, but we cannot find a unified government agency responsible for approving things,” Access for All in Taiwan project manager Chen Ming-li (陳明里) said, adding that regulations technically mandate a sidewalk width of 1.5m, but lack of space often leads that to be shrunk to 90cm, potentially creating problems for wheelchairs…
David Woodbridge leads Vision Australia’s technological charge
3/30 | Source: Daily Telegraph | Digital Accessibility, Personal Account, Government, Advocacy | Australia
David Woodbridge does not think that being blind should stand in the way of him enjoying the perks of technology like everyone else. The Narara resident, who has been blind for 31 years, plays the X-Box, uses GPS and has apps to tell him when his house lights are on or off and when his coffee machine needs refilling with water.
The Vision Australia senior adaptive technology consultant, who started suffering from visual impairment¬ at the age of eight and completely lost his sight at 22, is set to take the message on the importance of accessible technology to an international audience. Mr. Woodbridge’s highly respected opinion on adaptive and accessible blind technology has seen him invited to Singapore next week to talk with global technology companies as well as blindness and low vision service providers and the Singaporean government…
Accessibility Information and Blogs
- A Report on Support Service Providers (SSP)
- Accessible Olli: Creating freedom in transport
- Work Matter- The Council of State Governments’ National Task
- He makes digital spaces accessible to all
- How to Design and Develop in an Inclusive Way (video & slides)
- How users change colours on websites
- Assistive Technology FAQ (ATFAQ) Podcast
- Accessible Airport Awards 2017: Apply by 6 April!
- H.R. 1772: To authorize the creation of a commission to develop voluntary accessibility guideline
- Canadian Museum for Human Rights
- Children’s Aid Society of Toronto
- CPS HR Consulting
- Farmers Insurance
- Financial Conduct Authority
- Los Angeles World Airports
- McMaster University
- Portland Community College
- QSC Accessibility Solutions
- Smile Bank
- South Holland District Council
- Central Bank of Ireland
- West Central Valley Community School District
Accessibility Announcements and Products
- Office 365 Brings Co-Authoring In Excel
- How to use Game Chat Transcription on Xbox One & Windows 10 PC
- OneNote’s drawing features are coming to the web
- Automated Accessibility Checking with aXe
- Accessibility and usability: Why brands are turning to SMS bots
- New CrawfordTech Product Helps Organizations Meet Accessibility Regulations
- Analyzing the 13% Growth in ADA Compliance and Accessibility Bids
- Lesser Slave Prov. Park more accessible
- Home Builders Association needs ‘Repair Affair’ applications by April 21
- UTA looking for individuals to serve on advisory panel
- San Bernardino County gets funds for Redlands Rail Accessibility Plan
- Budget cuts end summer camp for the deaf in Austin RDA on a
- path to better accessibility
- Beach fest for differently abled from March 31
- Why is the Cave of Mahpela not accessible?
- Accessibility mats eyed for Sandpoint Beach
- LA 2024 reaffirms commitment to “most inclusive Games in history”
- Disability rights groups audit accessibility to booths
- Plans to make farm log cabin in Hartlepool into holiday site accessible for people with disabilities
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.