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.

Governor Cuomo Signs Legislation Updating New York’s Accessibility Signage and Logos

Enacted alongside 24th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act Albany, NY (July 25, 2014)

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today signed legislation that will further advance New York State as an advocate of rights for people with disabilities. It amends existing law to require the removal of the word handicapped from new or replaced state signage, as well as update and destigmatize the accessibility logo. Just enacted, this legislation comes during the 24th anniversary of the national Americans with Disabilities Act, which was the first major step to prohibit discrimination on the basis of a disability.

Presidential Proclamation — Anniversary of the Americans With Disabilities Act

ANNIVERSARY OF THE AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT, 2014
July 25, 2014
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

Over two decades ago, Americans — some in wheelchairs, some using sign language, and all with an abiding belief in our Nation’s promise — came together to strengthen our commitment to equality for all.

At a time when people with disabilities were turned away at movie theaters, rejected for employment, and measured by what so many thought they could not do, leaders and activists refused to accept the world as it was. In small towns and big cities, they spoke out. They staged sit-ins, authored discrimination diaries, and scaled the Capitol steps. Finally, they realized their call for simple justice in one of the most comprehensive civil rights bills in our country’s history.

Open Doors Organization will reveal the findings on international travel of its 2014 national survey of American travelers with disabilities at the World Summit Destinations for All

2 Press Releases
Original, Montreal, July 21th, 2014.

Open Doors Organization (ODO) is conducting its third nationwide survey of American adult travelers with disabilities. The findings on international travel will be revealed at the World Summit Destinations for All to be held in Montreal, October 19-22 2014.

The aim of this study is to provide statistically reliable information on the large, but still understudied disability travel market and to explore the changes that have taken place since the first pioneering studies by ODO in 2002 and 2005.

Harper Government Supports Innovative Pilot Program Assisting Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder Obtain Employment in the IT Industry

July 23, 2014 Calgary, Alberta Western Economic Diversification Canada

Today, the Honourable Michelle Rempel, Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification, together with the Honourable Mike Lake, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry and Member of Parliament for EdmontonMill WoodsBeaumont, announced an investment of $150,000 in support of a pilot program that is providing Information Technology (IT) skills training and career opportunities for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

PRESS RELEASE : DUCERE TECHNOLOGIES LAUNCHES LECHAL Worlds first interactive haptic footwear

A Wearable Technology Innovation From India
Posted July 25, 2014

Ducere Technologies announced the launch of the worlds first interactive haptic footwear under their wearable technology brand LECHAL (pronounced lay-ch-al, meaning take me there in Hindi).

Founded in 2011 by two tinkerers Krispian Lawrence and Anirudh Sharma, the Hyderabad, India based company initially designed the footwear to help visually impaired with mobility through unobtrusive means. The duo soon realized that this innovation can be useful for EVERYONE. This thought was further developed to launch stylish interactive haptic footwear.

LECHAL Footwear are uniquely intuitive and non-obtrusive thus offering easy mobility and convenience to the user. The user is guided through vibrations in the footwear that are simple and intuitive. The footwear that vibrates is the way to go.

Seven Reasons why disabled Canadians are Losing CPP Benefits

Michael Prince
Contributed to The Globe and Mail
Published Wednesday, Jul. 16 2014, 9:21 AM EDT

Michael J. Prince is the Lansdowne Professor of Social Policy at the University of Victoria, and has written extensively on disability policy.

There are serious problems at the Social Security Tribunal and the Canada Pension Plan Disability Program, especially for people trying to appeal decisions on their ineligibility for this disability pension benefit.

The purpose of CPP Disability, the country’s largest public disability insurance program, is to replace a portion of the earnings of contributors who cannot work because of a severe and prolonged disability.

Press Release: IBM Names Chief Accessibility Officer

July, 22nd 2014

Armonk, N.Y. – 22 Jul 2014:

IBM (NYSE: IBM) today appointed Frances West as the company’s first Chief Accessibility Officer. In this new role, West will guide IBM accessibility policies and practices. Additionally, she will lead IBM’s collaboration with business, government and academia to advance accessibility standards and policy

Read the full Press Release at http://www-03.ibm.com/press/us/en/pressrelease/44426.wss

How Accessibility is Redefining Personalization

By Frances West

Accessibility that is grounded in a company’s values can bridge individual differences, better connect with customers, enable a diverse pool of talent in the workplace, and improve the standard of living for all members of society.

Survey Suggests Federal Network Complexity is Limiting Data Center Consolidation

Anti-social: Feds wonder why social media companies drag feet on accessibility issues By Greg Otto · Thursday, July 17, 2014 · 5:57 pm

A panel held at the FCC Thursday to discuss how to open up social networks to the disabled was missing a key contingent: the social media companies themselves. (cc-licensed Jason A. Howie | https://flic.kr/p/d41HES)

The Federal Communications Commission hosted a panel of experts Thursday to talk about the challenges and ongoing need to make social media platforms more accessible to those with disabilities. But there was one group of representatives notably absent from the proceedings: the social media companies themselves.

Federal Plan to Help Mentally Ill Female Inmates on Hold

Program to move federal inmates was spawned from inquest into Ashley Smith’s disturbing death By Maureen Brosnahan, CBC News Posted: Jul 18, 2014 7:02 AM ET|

Minister of Public Safety Steven Blaney announced a pilot project to house female mentally ill federal inmates in Brockville, Ont., last year, but the effort has since stalled due to funding disagreements.

A plan by Correctional Service Canada to move female inmates who are mentally ill from prisons across the country into a new, specially equipped unit in Ontario’s Brockville Mental Health Centre is on hold because governments have yet to finalize a funding agreement.

First ADA ATM Accessibility Class Action Lawsuit Is Filed In Atlanta

Originally Posted: March 14 2013
Article by J. Colin Knisely, William D. Barwick and Amy H. Huskins Duane Morris LLP

The first of what is likely to be many Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) ATM accessibility class action lawsuits against Atlanta-area banks was filed in federal district court in Atlanta last week.
The lawsuit was filed by the same Pittsburgh-based law firm, Carlson Lynch, responsible for the filing of over 100 nearly identical ADA ATM class action lawsuits in federal district courts in Pennsylvania and Texas since March 2012.

EOC Sues Toys ‘R’ Us for Disability Discrimination

By U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Originally posted on: Sunday, March 24, 2013

Retailer Refused to Provide Accommodation or Hire Deaf Applicant, Federal Agency Says

Toys “R” Us, Inc., one of the world’s largest retailers of toys and juvenile products, violated federal law when it first refused to provide an interpreter for a deaf applicant and then failed to hire her, the U.S Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it announced today.

Doctors Turning Away Patients With Disabilities

By Michelle Diament
Originally posted March 19, 2013

More than two decades after the Americans with Disabilities Act became law, a new survey indicates that more than 20 percent of doctors’ offices remain inaccessible to those with special needs.

The finding comes from a “secret shopper” style poll of 256 randomly selected medical practices in Boston, Dallas, Houston and Portland, Ore.

Researchers called to schedule an appointment for a fictitious patient, indicating that the individual used a wheelchair and was unable to transfer independently from the chair to an exam table.

App Will Help Blind Users Navigate Minneapolis

Tuesday Jul 15, 2014 | The Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) Researchers and students at the University of Minnesota are developing a smartphone app to help blind and visually impaired people navigate streets in Minneapolis.

The Minnesota Daily reports (http://bit.ly/VXAnm9 ) the app will guide visually impaired and blind people safely through intersections. It will provide the description of a crosswalk as the app user approaches it and allow him or her to request walk signals.

Ken Rodgers, who is blind and works as a disability program coordinator for the Minnesota Department of Transportation, said the app will significantly help the blind community in the Twin Cities.

FCC OKs Online Clip Captioning Rules

By DEBORAH D. MCADAMS, TV TECHNOLOGY on July 14, 2014

The new rules apply to clips of the same type of programming posted to the originators websites or mobile apps.

The Federal Communications Commission has approved new rules that will require closed captioning of video clips posted online. The rules are an expansion of those approved in 2012, which were triggered by the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010, intended to ensure equal access to all forms of programming by individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing.
The 2012 rules covered full-length broadcast, cable and satellite TV programming posted online. Clips were punted at the time for further comments.

Advocates for Blind, Deaf Want More From Apple

By Christina Farr
SAN FRANCISCO Thu Jul 10, 2014 12:11am IST

(Reuters) – Advocates for the blind are debating whether to use a carrot or a stick to persuade one of their oldest allies, Apple Inc, to close an emerging digital divide in mobile technology.

As digital life increasingly moves to the world of smartphones and tablets, some disabled people with visual, hearing and other impairments are feeling more left out than ever.

As baby boomers retire and age, the number of people needing help is multiplying. Many disabled advocates believe federal law requires that apps be accessible, but courts have not ruled on the issue. Few disabled want to risk alienating Apple, considered a friend, by fighting it.

National Federation of the Blind Urges Obama Administration to Issue ADA Internet Regulations

Orlando, Florida (PRWEB) July 07, 2014

The National Federation of the Blind (NFB), the nation’s leading advocate for equal access to the Internet for blind people, today announced that it has unanimously adopted a resolution at its national convention urging the Obama administration to issue regulations requiring websites that are public accommodations to be accessible to the blind.

On July 5, approximately twenty-five hundred NFB members assembled in the convention at the Rosen Centre Hotel voted unanimously to adopt the resolution.

High-Tech FingerReader Reads to the Blind in Real Time

Device helps make schools, doctor’s office and restaurants more accessible The Associated Press Posted: Jul 08, 2014 8:46 AM ET|

Researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Media Lab have designed and developed the FingerReader ring, which enables people with visual disabilities to read text printed on paper or electronic devices.

Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are developing an audio reading device to be worn on the index finger of people whose vision is impaired, giving them affordable and immediate access to printed words.

FDA Allows Marketing of First Wearable, Motorized Device That Helps People With Certain Spinal Cord Injuries to Walk

June 26, 2014

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today allowed marketing of the first motorized device intended to act as an exoskeleton for people with lower body paralysis (paraplegia) due to a spinal cord injury.

ReWalk is a motorized device worn over the legs and part of the upper body that helps an individual sit, stand, and walk with assistance from a trained companion, such as a spouse or home health aide.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention there are about 200,000 people in the United States living with a spinal cord injury, many of whom have complete or partial paraplegia.

New Accessibility Rules Coming to Airline Websites. Are You Ready?

Jun 26.2014

Imagine for a minute that you decide to take a vacation. You’re thinking Hawaii, Tahiti or the Alps. You grab your computer, open a browser, type in your favorite airline and then stop.

Why? Unfortunately for 19 percent of the US population that live with disabilities, this is the consequence when navigating to an inaccessible website for air transportation.

If they can’t access the content, they can’t use the site.

Or, what about having to pay extra to make the booking by phone all because the website was inaccessible?

Advances in Technology Can Leave Some Behind

by Kerstin Sjoberg-Witt and Michael L. Stack II
Posted July 2, 2014
From the Editor: This article is reprinted from the spring issue of the Buckeye Bulletin, the newsletter of the National Federation of the Blind of Ohio. Here is how it was introduced by Editor Barbara Pierce:

Imagine you’re sitting down for the first time in a pre-calculus or calculus class. Imagine the fear you feel as you read concept material that is supposed to be written in English but appears to be ancient Greek combined with Egyptian hieroglyphics. As you tell yourself that advanced mathematics is an academic field fraught with mental hurdles and the bane of most high school and college students, you start to feel a little better.

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