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Accessibility News International
Accessibility News International will strive to bring you as much information as possible from around the Globe regarding issues of accessibility for the Disability Community.
Reinterpreting and Expanding “The Right to Live in the World”
By Adrienne Asch
From the Editor: Dr. Adrienne Asch is the director of the Center for Ethics at Yeshiva University and the Edward and Robin Milstein Professor of Bioethics. These are her titles and the positions she holds, but much more demands to be said about her. She has been a member of the National Federation of the Blind since the early 70s, and she has lived our message and spread it to audiences who can be reached only by someone with her accomplishments and credentials. We strive for integration and seek to take our message to places where it is seldom heard and to places where it can be discussed with those who don’t agree with it. Adrienne has tirelessly done this, and the result is that Federation ideas and beliefs are topics for discussion throughout the world.
Playing in the Dark, Not Like Being Blind
By Mary Ellen Gabias
Reprinted with permission of The Daily Courier, Kelowna, June 2, 2013.
From the editor:
Mary Ellen wrote this excellent letter in response to CNIB’s Dining in the Dark fundraiser, which was held in her city of Kelowna, B.C.
The entrepreneurs responsible for Dining in The Dark are selling their expensive experience as a unique and fun way for customers to appreciate food more deeply.
I don’t understand why eating dinner with the lights out has any bearing on the taste of the food or the liveliness of the table conversation.
Nevertheless, if people think they’re having gustatorial enrichment, more power to them.
Banks, Energy Providers and Public Bodies Should Be Subject to Web Accessibility Rules, Vote MEPs
Banks, energy companies and electronic communication network and service providers are among the businesses that would be subject to new EU rules on website accessibility, under plans backed by MEPs.28 Feb 2014
Websites TMT & Sourcing TMT Banks Energy Energy and natural resources Financial Services Insurance and wealth management Public sector Advanced Manufacturing & Technology Services Core Industries & Markets
The European Parliament voted to approve plans for a new EU Directive on the accessibility of public sector bodies’ websites earlier this week. The rules as backed by the Parliament would require public sector bodies and businesses that perform certain “public tasks” to ensure that everyone has access to the content on their websites and the full functionality on offer on those sites.
California May Crack Down on Fake Service Dogs
Monday, February 24, 2014
California may crack down on people who are fraudulently passing off their pets as service dogs. The goal is to protect disabled people who legitimately need their canine companions.
The problem is that many people are saying their animals are service dogs in order to take them everywhere they go. Online websites are also adding to the problem, offering quick steps to access a service dog vest or identification tag with little proof of having a disability.
The Department of Fair Employment and Housing has received thousands of complaints regarding service companion animals. It says the lack of clarity on who should be issued a service dog license is a huge problem for businesses.
Elections Canada Launches Advisory Group for Disability Issues
Thu Feb 27, 2014 9:24am EST
OTTAWA, ONTARIO – Elections Canada today is holding the first meeting of its new Advisory Group for Disability Issues.
The group will provide the Agency with accessibility advice on initiatives planned for the 2015 federal general election. It will also help identify the best ways to inform people with disabilities on where and when to register and vote during elections.
“Voting is a fundamental right for all Canadians,” said Chief Electoral Officer Marc Mayrand. “For over a decade, Elections Canada has been working to make elections more accessible by providing information in multiple formats, choosing accessible polling sites and offering diverse voting methods. We look forward to continuing to work with the disability community to better understand barriers and find solutions.”
FCC Moves to Upgrade TV Closed Captioning Quality
Released: February 20, 2014 .
New Standards including Accuracy, Timeliness, and On-Screen Placement of Closed Captions Will Ensure Full Access to TV Programming for Americans Who Are Deaf and Hard of Hearing
Washington, D.C. The Federal Communications Commission today unanimously approved new, more
comprehensive rules for TV closed captioning to ensure that viewers who are deaf and hard of hearing have full access to programming.
Today’s action resolves decade-long concerns from deaf and hard of
hearing communities to improve captioning quality and provides much needed guidance to video programming distributors and programmers.
Technology Helps People With Speech Impairments Sound Like Themselves
CBC News, February 21, 2014.
Since many of those who could benefit from a personalized voice are children, there is a particular need for young voice donors. (Shutterstock)
If you were a little girl who couldn’t speak, would you want to sound like Stephen Hawking?
Hawking, the renowned physicist who has lost the ability to speak due to a neurological disorder called amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, communicates by typing with cheek movements. The typed words are then voiced by a speech synthesizer, creating Hawking’s slow monotone that has become famous.
Tim Hortons Menu Goes Accessible!
February 19, 2014
aMenu is happy to announce that Tim Hortons can now be found on our Accessible Menu website.
aMenu offers a number of different viewing options and is also Mobile friendly, now you can decide what to order before you even get their.
View their menu at
Unemployment of People with Intellectual Disabilities More than Twice as High as General Population
Special Olympics Commissions National Study Giving Glimpses into People with ID in the Workplace
WASHINGTON, Feb. 17, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — A new survey shows that unemployment among people with intellectual disabilities is more than twice as high as for the general population.
That’s according to one of the most comprehensive national surveys ever done on adults with disabilities in the workforce. The “National Snapshot of Adults with Intellectual Disabilities in the Labor Force” was commissioned by Special Olympics, conducted by the Center for Social Development and Education at the University of Massachusetts Boston and administered by Gallup.
Badeyes Offers Beginners Guide for WordPress First Timers
The guide provides information about how to secure a domain name, network host, and install and maintain WordPress for both individuals and enterprises. The language is simple, lucid, for those who use a Screen Reader or those who dont.
ACCAN Wants Google to Rethink reCAPTCHA
Google says it’s committed to accessibility, open to feedback. Adam Bender (Computerworld)06 February, 2014
Google should provide an accessible alternative to reCAPTCHA, the company’s online test to prevent bots from posting spam to websites, said
the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network.
ACCAN has this week written an open letter to Google ANZ managing director, Maile Carnegie, complaining that reCAPTCHA unfairly
discriminates against visually-impaired users. The groups have met on the issue before.
The verification service works by displaying pictures of two fuzzy words or numbers and asking users to type them into a form. However, blind
users’ screen readers cannot decipher the words and audio alternatives can be difficult to understand, ACCAN said.
WordPress for Badeyes: A Beginners Guide
For Immediate Release!
February 5, 2014
Ever wanted to start up your own Personal or Business website but didn’t know where to start?
You’ve heard of WordPress, arguably the worlds best Content Management System(CMS) but have no idea about how to install it or manage it.
To complicate matters even more you use a Screen Reader and the Web is notoriously inaccessible at the best of times!
All your searching has yielded Tutorials on how to accomplish what you want but they’re all from the point of having useable vision, very frustrating and without a technical background it can be quite daunting, but there is a solution!
FCC Sets Path for Widespread Text-to-911 Deployment
NEWS MEDIA CONTACT:
January 30, 2014
Rochelle Cohen, (202) 418-1162
Washington, D.C. The Federal Communications Commission said today that text providers should enable
the public to text 911 in an emergency, encouraging providers that have not begun deploying text-to-911 to forge solutions to meet this goal.
The Commission also sought further comment on regulatory proposals to
help ensure that Americans will be able to send these texts by the end of the year, regardless of which text provider they use, in areas where 911 call centers can receive texts.
Noting Americans’ increasing reliance on text messaging, the Commission said that access to 911 is a core value that should be maintained as technology changes.
Parents of Kids With Autism Fight to Get Service Dogs in Schools
While federal law protects a blind person’s right to be accompanied in any public place by a service animal, the rights of children with autism who rely on trained dogs to keep them safe, regulate unruly behaviour and help them develop socially are not so clear.
National service dog agencies estimate nearly 1,500 children with autism have been paired with an animal. The Toronto Star spoke with families across Canada with the animals, several of whom described drawn-out, draining meetings where “standoff-ish” board officials debated the dog’s value and raised concerns about potential allergies, cultural sensitivities (can a child who is prohibited by religion from drawing an animal be in the same room as one?), strained resources (who would fill the dog’s water bowl?) and liability insurance.
Changes to UK Disability Benefit Payments Set to Reduce Independence
January 29, 2014
If you use a specialist wheelchair, mobility scooter or adapted car, these items of equipment are vital to allow you to maintain your independence and fully participate in the community, particularly when public transport is not always accessible. However, for people living in the UK who rely on these mobility aids, benefit changes mean that soon they could face losing their lifeline.
Its therefore no surprise that groups supporting disabled people have voiced their concern about the adverse consequences that benefit reforms could bring for someone living with impaired mobility.
In short, changes to mobility payments will reverse the progress made with regards to the rights for independent living.
National Federation of the Blind Sues Department of Transportation Over Airline Regulations
Regulations on Access to Kiosks Violate Federal Law, Organization Says WASHINGTON, Jan. 22, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/
The National Federation of the Blind (NFB), the oldest and largest nationwide organization of blind people, filed suit (case number:1:14-cv-00085) in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia today against the United States Department of Transportation (DOT). The suit challenges regulations, issued by the DOT under the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA), which purport to require that airline check-in kiosks be made accessible to airline passengers who are blind.
The regulations, which took effect on December 12, 2013, require only 25 percent of airport check-in kiosks to be accessible to blind passengers by ten years from that date. The NFB maintains that this requirement fails to implement the ACAA as Congress intended.
NS: Halifax Cabbies Facing Heat Over Service Dogs
Ruth Davenport, Metro Halifax Published on January 21, 2014
[HALIFAX, NS] – HRM’s accessibility advisory committee is looking for new ways to crack down on taxi drivers who refuse to accept passengers with a service dog.
Ghotit Releases the First Android Writing & Reading Solution for People with Dyslexia
January 21, 2014
You’re on the road and suddenly you receive an urgent email that you must answer immediately. What do you do?
You take out your smartphone/tablet and write an answer. But what if you are dyslexic and must have a writing assistant to help produce clear and error-free text?
Industry Panel Discusses New Federal Rules Affecting Hiring & Recruitment of People with Disabilities
PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 17, 2014 /PRNewswire/
Government contractors’ compliance with new federal affirmative action rules governing the hiring and recruitment of individuals with disabilities was the focus of a time sensitive industry panel discussion.
Ballard Spahr and The Sierra Group’s RecruitDisability program hosted the event, which featured panelists in the field of disability and employment practices.
The Rules represent the most significant changes in affirmative action recruitment requirements in the past 25 years. This update to Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, takes effect March 24 and reflects a substantial regulatory overhaul by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP).
Taxi Bylaw Change Will Ensure Service Dogs Can Ride
CBC News Posted: Nov 27, 2013 The City of Regina is preparing to update its taxi bylaw to ensure passengers who use service dogs can take the animal with them in taxicabs.