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Human Rights Protection: How far have we come?

By John Rae
WORKING POLICY, News, views and research from the Centre for Research on Work Disability Policy (CRWDP), SPRING 2015, volume 2, issue 1

John Rae has been a board member of many human and disability rights organizations over his long career as an advocate for people with disabilities, including Co-chair of the Coalition on Human Rights for the Handicapped, which secured the first human rights coverage for persons with disabilities in Ontario. John is a Past President of the Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians (AEBC) and today serves as 2nd Vice Chair of the Council of Canadians with Disabilities (CCD), and as a Board member of Injured Workers Consultants (IWC), ARCH Disability Law Centre and the Association of Community Legal Clinics of Ontario (ACLCO).

Students Create 3D Printed Tactile Map of Campus for Visually Impaired

by Bridget Butler Millsaps ยท May 10, 2015

While 3D printing has most definitely blasted open a new world for designers and hobbyists, specific areas like cartography have received a real boon in progress. Because a map is all about being able to place yourself somewhere and visualize everything in a particular spot, it can be frustrating doing so only in 2Drequiring your mind to add the imaginary 3D element.

With new technology, and especially 3D printing, mapmakers are now able to put geographies and locales into tangible form. While this is extremely helpful and exciting to the general layperson, imagine how incredibly useful such maps are to the visually impaired, truly taking some of the darkness out of traveling on foot.

Apple To Receive AFB’s Helen Keller Achievement Award


Apple has today been named as one of four recipients of the American Foundation For the Blind http://www.afb.org/ 2015 Helen Keller Achievement Award

http://www.afb.org/info/about-us/events-and-awards/helen-keller-achievement-awards/123 , according to a press release
http://www.afb.org/info/about-us/press-room/press-release-archive/afb-announces-2015-helen-keller-achievement-award-honorees-/1245 on the foundation’s website.

Specifically, Apple is being recognized for its implementation of the VoiceOver screen reader on iOS devices:

AFB is recognizing Apple for VoiceOver, a gesture-based screen reader that allows users to hear a description of everything happening on the display, and other features that make iPhone, iPad and other iOS devices accessible to people with vision loss. Apple received an AFB Access Award in 2009 for its trailblazing engineering of accessible products and continues its extraordinary efforts to make their products accessible for everyone.

UK Political Parties Should Put Web Accessability at the Top of Their Digital Agendas

A report by e-accessibility charity AbilityNet finds that none of the major political party websites comply with the minimum legal standard of accessibility Allana Grant in UK Politics
05 May 2015

As the general election campaign enters its final stages, the scramble for last-minute votes has begun.

Today, Conservative leader David Cameron was spotted canvassing for votes in the capital, his coalition partner Nick Clegg set off on a two day whistle stop tour of the UK, going from Land’s End to John O’Groats, whilst Labour leader Ed Miliband’s focus was on winning key seats in the south of England.

You Don’t Look Blind

By Rich Shea
March 30, 2015

Perhaps the biggest misconception about people affected by retinal diseases is that they see nothing at all. While some have, indeed, gone completely blind, most are in the process of losing their vision. And depending on the person, and the disease, this takes years or decades.

In some cases, central vision goes first, in others, peripheral vision. Either way, vision loss is a huge challenge for those going through it, both physically and psychologically.

On the physical end, canes, guide dogs, assistive technology-they can all help. But psychologically, that’s another matter.

PetSmart Accused of Discrimination Against the Blind in New Civil Suit

Plaintiffs Allege ‘Separate but Unequal’ Treatment of Blind Customers Denver, Colorado (April 22, 2015):

PetSmart, Inc., which bills itself as the nation’s largest seller of pet food, pet supplies, and pet services in the United States, is accused of violating the rights of blind customers under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), according to a class action lawsuit (Case No. 1:15-cv-00839) filed yesterday in the United States District Court for the District of Colorado on behalf of the National Federation of the Blind (NFB), the Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition (CCDC), and six blind individuals who reside in Colorado, Texas, and Massachusetts. The suit alleges violations of Title III of the ADA as well as state laws, because PetSmart requires the entry of debit card PINs on touch-screen keypads, which the blind cannot operate, rather than simple, inexpensive tactile keypads.

Aylmer Runner Gaston Bedard Competes on World Stage

Julie Murray, Aylmer Bulletin.
Wednesday, April 15, 2015.

As a competitive runner, nothing can stop 62 year-old Gaston Bedard-not even complete blindness and deafness. The Boston Marathon, April 20, will be his 16th full marathon since running his first in 1979.

Mr. Bedard will be competing with “Team With a Vision”, a group of blind and sighted athletes who run the Boston Marathon every year to raise funds and awareness for the Massachusetts Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired.

The group’s mission? To prove that with good support, people with disabilities can do anything.

The “Well” in Welfare

by Alex Lytwyn
April 24, 2015

The words “Employment & income Assistance” they sound very nice but the simple fact of the matter is that two of them are not true.

I’m speaking not for all, who are on this provincial program, just from my own experience. Sure, your income is provided to you (even thought, it is well below the poverty level) however, employment and that nice sounding word assistance, I have yet to see.

The following statement has been quoted from the Government of Manitoba website:

Dieppe Will Remove Roundabout After Human Rights Complaint

Abby Bourque-Coyle filed a human rights complaint after the roundabout was installed in 2010 CBC News Posted: Apr 20, 2015

This Dieppe roundabout became the centre of a human rights complaint. The city will now remove the roundabout.

Abby Bourque-Coyle said she used to walk her son to school until the city installed a roundabout at the intersection of Gould and Notre Dame streets in 2010.

At the time, she said that the Dieppe roundabout made it impossible for her to tell if cars were moving toward her or past her.

She also complained some vehicles were using the traffic circle recklessly, cutting over the raised central section rather than driving around it.

Comcast Unveils Talking TV Guide For Visually Impaired

April 21, 2015

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) Many assume that visually impaired and blind people do not use their televisions much. But, that is hardly the case.
It is also why one company is unveiling a “talking TV guide.”

Beth Sekelik teaches the visually impaired at the Western Pennsylvania School for Blind Children.
“They are able to tell what is on. They can scan through the channels and know how much time is left per show, so I think it’s really great that they can make some choices,” Sekelik said.

Comcast demonstrated a talking guide that reads the selections aloud including program titles, network names and time slots. It also works for DVR items and On-Demand settings.

DRA Achieves Victory in Scribd Case: Internet-Based Companies Must Comply with the ADA

Burlington, Vermont, March 20, 2015

The National Federation of the Blind (NFB), the nation’s leading advocate for access by the blind to information and technology, today applauded a ruling issued by Judge William K. Sessions III of the United States District Court for the District of Vermont in a lawsuit filed by the NFB and Heidi Viens, a blind mother from Colchester, against Scribd, Inc. (case number: 2:14-CV-162).

The court’s ruling denied Scribd’s motion to have the case dismissed. The lawsuit alleges violations of Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Scribd had argued that the ADA did not apply because the company does not offer its services from a public physical location.

When Take It To The Streets Was Born Part 1

April 15, 2015
by VaShaun Jones

I’ll record an audio file and tell you how we got to be at this meeting and how I failed miserably, recovered and how the “Take It To The Streets video was my promise to every member in attendance.


The Deaf-Blind Dilemma

by Cathy Guillory Miller
Braille Monitor April 2015

From the Editor: In the October 2014 issue we ran an article of particular interest to people who are deaf blind about the service iCanConnect. In trying to edit that article, I found that there was much I did not know about the deaf blind. I consulted with Joe Naulty, and he recommended that I speak with Cathy Guillory Miller. I wanted to understand more about the conventions regarding the words deaf blind and the reason or reasons why the words were written differently. Sometimes they were written as two separate words, sometimes they were hyphenated, and sometimes they were written in upper case, lower case, or a mixture. Was it simply a matter of preference, style, or was there something more important for me to know as I edited the article? The letter Cathy wrote to me explained so much that I asked her permission to run it as an article in the Braille Monitor. She gave her permission, and I offer this with the hope that it will be as helpful to our readers as it has been to me.

Service Animal Laws Challenged in Arizona

by Donald Porterfield

From the Editor: Donald Porterfield is the first vice president of the National Federation of the Blind of Arizona and serves as its legislative director. Recently he found out about a proposal to eliminate protections for service dogs, including guide dogs for the blind. Here is an email he distributed in late February, supplemented by an interview I had with him:

Manitoba’s Vulnerable Persons Act: Only a select few protected

It’s time for the province to “act” responsible, extend Manitoba’s Vulnerable Persons Act to all who need it By Alex Lytwyn, for CBC News
Posted: Mar 19, 2015

Depending on someone to get me out of bed in the morning and manage the details of my life until they put me in my room at night only makes me feel one way: Vulnerable, says Alex Lytwyn.

There are employees in Manitoba that arrive at work and find their boss lying in bed. I know it’s true, because they work for me.

Now, if you don’t believe the boss can be in “boss form” when the first interaction with their employee is in the bedroom, you are correct.

Taking The Social Model of Disability Online

Decades have passed and still accessibility remains on the fringes of technical change.
by El Gibbs on March 17th, 2015

As more of our lives move online, is the online world accessible to everyone? Are newer technologies keeping up, or are disabled people getting left out again?

How we are as disabled people in the world has changed over time; we used to be thought of as broken, crippled or handicapped. The social model of disability changed that, and brought with it the right to be in the world, just as we are. Laws were made mandating that public buildings become accessible, and at least in theory, people were no longer locked up in institutions and discriminated against at work.

Life in the Instant World for Those Who Must Wait

My life is like the Big Ben clock: Always precise. If it is thrown off for a split second, things go awry. By Alex Lytwyn, for CBC News
Originally Posted: Jan 24, 2015

The word ‘simple’ is supposed to convey the feeling of carefree and at ease. Very rarely do I experience this feeling.

The word ‘wait,’ however, has major meaning in my life. People out there with no patience, who need everything right now, listen to this:

What would happen if you dropped the TV remote and could not change the channel for hours? You wait, and watch whatever is on that channel, until someone can pick it up for you.

Accessibility at Microsoft: More Challenges than Victories

by Curtis Chong
Braille Monitor April 2015

From the Editor: Curtis Chong is the president of the National Federation of the Blind in Computer Science.

There can be little doubt that Microsoft products are widely used today in almost every aspect of life. The majority of employers in this country require their employees to use programs from Microsoft (especially programs that are part of Microsoft Office) to accomplish the tasks they perform every day such as sending and receiving email, creating and editing documents, administering databases, managing projects, and so on.

Improving Online Accessibility for Students a Major Issue for Schools

By Bridget McCrea
March 27th, 2015

Getting schools onboard with accessible learning is a struggle that Kara Zirkle is all too familiar with. As IT accessibility coordinator at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., she says resistance to change, particularly in the cultural senseis fairly natural and tends to stand in the way of even the best intentions on the assistive learning front. To overcome this obstacle, she says schools should institute solid policies and procedures that address all federal (i.e., ADA) and state accessibility requirements.

On the K-12 front, she says the board of education, principal, and technology directors should be part of an effective “top-down” approach to accessibility. Without these key players on the team, Zirkle says such initiatives can quickly become fragmented and ineffective.

As ADA Turns 25, Places of Public Accommodation Must Consider Accessible Technology

These two developing areas have implications for almost any entity covered by Title III By Joshua A. Stein
March 25, 2015

July 26, 2015, is the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This event will likely be celebrated with significant developments impacting the scope of coverage of Title III of the ADA.

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), charged with regulating Title III, is expected to advance and finalize some regulations affecting most industries, and others focused on movie theaters, cruise lines, and possibly, healthcare facilities. Additionally, advocacy groups and plaintiffsbuoyed by these looming developments and emboldened by the 25th anniversary may continue aggressively pursuing an expansive interpretation of Title III in structured negotiations/”cooperative” agreements and litigation.