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Greater Victoria Bus Driver Defies Policy on Announcing Stops

Katherine Dedyna / Times Colonist
October 18, 2014

Veteran B.C. Transit driver Joe Hronek expects to be disciplined one of these days for refusing to call out each of the estimated 500 stops on his daily routes as required by the company to serve visually impaired passengers.

The Colwood resident, who has 33 accident-free years out of 34, says the policy is unsafe and constitutes distracted driving, and that more than 100 other drivers share his view.

Tana MacKay, a workers’ advocate with 550-member Unifor Local 333 of Greater Victoria, agrees, saying the safety risk is “outrageous,” and that automated systems are the norm. Driving should be the operators’ only duty, as per WorkSafe B.C.’s own literature, she added.

Communication Technology Opens ‘Doors’ for Everyone, Not Only People With Disabilities

By John D. Kemp and Brandon M. Macsata
The Hill October 13, 2014

Today, most Americans overlook improvements made since the dawn of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) in 1990.

Sidewalk ramps automatic door openers adjustable vanity mirrors and automatic lighting and fixture
controls were all designed to help make the “physical” world more accessible for and useable by all people, including individuals with disabilities. Now, isn’t it time we opened doors to the “virtual” world, and information and communication
technology (“ICT”)?

Australian Public Service Commission launches video on disability

The Australian Public Service Commission (APSC) has released the first video in its Leading the Way series designed to build education and awareness around disability employment in the Australian Public Service (APS).


Accessibility Claims Expected Over Websites

He says business owners should talk to their website developers about updating sites with accessibility options, such as screen readers.

Under the current law, businesses can be sued for accessibility violations without notice. “Many businesses find out about compliance issues by getting sued,” said Mr. Klein.


The Coming Tide of Website Disability Claims Under ADA

For example, retailers’ websites now offer the means to order online for pick-up at the store. Restaurants offer reservations online. Movie theaters’ websites offer ticket reservations or printing for use at the theater. In each of these instances, the case may be made that the website constitutes a public accommodation under the ADA because there is a connection between the good or service complained of and an actual physical space.


Scientist Creates Eye Tracker for £43

Shane Hickey
The Guardian, Sunday 5 October 2014

Device normally costing £20,000 opens up computer use for millions with restricted mobility and could hit shelves in two years

A scientist has created a budget device that can control a computer by tracking eye movement after stumbling on a £9.95 web camera being sold with a games console a huge saving from the £20,000 that a similar apparatus used for medical research would have cost at the time.

German neuroscientist Dr Aldo Faisal was setting up a laboratory at Imperial College in London when he made the chance discovery.

Ministry of Health’s Prescription for Change for Clients With Vision Loss

Media Release

Editors Note: In this era of the AODA It should never have come to this but Congratulations Axel for a victory for the Disabled Community!

Ontario’s Ministry of Health and Long Term Care has agreed to implement a comprehensive plan to ensure timely access to critical pharmaceutical information for customers with vision loss. The plan forms part of a settlement of a human rights application launched by Oakville resident Axel Krueger.


Higher Education Websites Unsuitable for Special Needs Students, says Report


A new study has found that poorly-designed Irish higher education websites could be contributing to significant dropouts among students with particular disabilities because they cannot access certain assignment services.

The study which was undertaken by Siteimprove analysed 20 Irish higher education websites with every site failing to meet 44 basic international standards to allow students with disabilities access the same online materials and tools that those without disabilities can.

Quoting the Institution of Education Sciences, the report says that the number of students with disabilities dropping out of higher education before completing their degrees is nearly double that of the average student.

Aeroplan Partners with eSSENTIAL Accessibility to Offer App for People with Disabilities

eSSENTIAL Accessibility is proud to announce its partnership with Aeroplan, Canada’s premier coalition loyalty program. Through the partnership, Aeroplan now offers a desktop app that empowers people with physical disabilities to access aeroplan.com.


Guide Dog Users Group launches Innovative Mobile App

Tampa, Florida (September 17, 2014):

The National Association of Guide dog Users Inc., a division of the National Federation of the Blind and the nation’s leading service animal advocacy organization, announced today that it has release the NAGDU Guide & Service Dog Advocacy & Information app. This new IOS app provides comprehensive information about the rights and responsibilities of service animal users under state and federal law.

“Every law in the United States concerning service animals can now be in your pocket,” says Marion Gwizdala, NAGDU’s president and a guide dog user himself. “There is no other single source for this type of information.”

New Smartphone App Gives Sight to People With Vision Disabilities

Sep 22, 2014

SAN FRANCISCO: Jonathan Mosen, who has been blind since birth, spent his evening snapping photos of packages in the mail, his son’s school report and labels on bottles in the fridge. In seconds, he was listening to audio of the printed words the camera captured, courtesy of a new app on his Apple Inc iPhone.

I couldn’t believe how accurate it was,” said Mosen, an assistive technology consultant from New Zealand.

The new app that allows people who are blind to listen to an audio read back of printed text is receiving rave reviews after its first day of availability and is being heralded as a life-changer by many people.

Russia’s Treatment of Disabled Kids ‘Deplorable’ : Study

A 93-page report from Human Rights Watch describes the violence, educational deprivation and neglect faced by children with disabilities who are placed in state orphanages. By: Olivia Ward Foreign Affairs Reporter, Published on Mon Sep 15 2014

“The staff used to hit me and drag me by the hair,” says Nastia Y., a 19-year-old woman who spent most of her life in a Russian orphanage. “They gave me pills to calm me down.”

Nastia was one of an estimated 30 per cent of disabled Russian children who are confined to state orphanages, where their futures are often blighted.

Uber Sued for Allegedly Refusing Rides to the Blind and Putting a Dog in the Trunk

By Gail Sullivan, September 10

An advocacy group for the blind is suing the app-based ride-sharing service Uber, alleging the company discriminates against passengers with service dogs.

The federal civil rights suit filed Tuesday by the California chapter of the National Federation of the Blind cites instances in California and elsewhere when blind Uber customers summoned a car only to be refused a ride once the driver saw them with a service dog. In some cases, drivers allegedly abandoned blind travelers in extreme weather and charged cancellation fees after denying them rides, the complaint said.

New iBooks® Textbook Helps Visually Impaired Visit the Stars Through Touch, Sound

SAS, Space Telescope Science Institute Inspire Passion for Science in Students CARY, NC–(Marketwired – September 04, 2014)

A free, multitouch iBooks Textbook for iPad® is now available to inspire students of all abilities to pursue futures in science. Reach for the Stars: Touch, Look, Listen, Learn (opens in new window/tab) incorporates new, assistive technologies so children with visual disabilities, too, can experience striking deep-space images like never before.

Free for download from Apple’s iBookstore(SM), Reach for the Stars (opens in new window/tab) was created for iPad by analytics provider SAS and the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI).

For blind bus riders, a new app boosts independence

By Madeline Ken
NEW YORK, Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The app, called StopInfo, is integrated into a popular existing app called OneBusAway that gives real time information on the location of city buses.

StopInfo adds details that help blind riders find the bus stop.

“When a user wants detailed information about a transit stop, he or she touches a button and the system displays details, such as where the stop is in relation to street intersections, whether there is a bench and trash can, what the shape of the sign pole is . . . This information can be read out loud for blind users of the phone, using VoiceOver mode,” explained Alan Borning in email to Reuters Health.

Auckland Disability Community Unite on First Feedback to UN

August 31, 2014 By aqureshi

NEW ZEALAND: A group of 25 Disabled People’s Organizations, interest groups and service providers, along with countless disabled people and family members have released their first assessment on New Zealand’s disability rights record to the United Nations. And the verdict is; it’s time to turn agreements into action.

The 52 page shadow report, which was made public by the United Nations today, is disabled Aucklander’s first official opportunity to update the UN Committee on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) on how well government is progressing on the commitments it signed up to in 2008.

KNFB Reader: Access to Print Text on the Go for Blind and Visually Impaired

Posted August 29, 2014
Fast, Accurate, Efficient

The wait is finally over. The highly anticipated KNFB Reader iOS app that provides access to print text on the go, was presented at the 74th Annual Convention of the National Federation of the Blind to enthusiastic cheers and applause.

KNFB Reader

Introducing the KNFB Reader iOS

Elections Canada Announces Accessibility Improvements

GUELPH, Ontario, Thursday August 28, 2014

As part of Elections Canada’s commitment to accessibility to all Canadian voters, Elections Canada and Matthew Wozenilek, a Guelph accessibility advocate,
are pleased to announce that in the next federal election all polling sites in Canada will feature either power assisted door openers or dedicated staff to assist door openings.

“We are building on our previous commitments with the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal and the Hughes case to ensure that all Canadians can access our voting
sites in a barrier-free manner,” says Chief Electoral Officer of Canada, Marc Mayrand. “This will be a great step forward for all persons with disabilities in Canada,” added Mr. Wozenilek.

Purple Communications Introduces Next-Generation SmartVP 2.0 Videophone

Deaf Telecommunications Company Announces the Relaunch of SmartVP 2.0, Supported by a New, State-of-the-Art Video Platform for the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing

ROCKLIN, CA–(Marketwired – Aug 26, 2014)

Purple Communications, Inc. today announced the availability of the SmartVP 2.0 videophone specifically designed for deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals. The next generation of SmartVP features upgraded hardware and software, supported by new and powerful video platform to provide a seamless communication experience.

Initially launched in 2013, SmartVP is an Android-based HD videophone that connects to a television, allowing deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals to communicate with each other and with people who don’t know sign language through the use of Video Relay Service (VRS).

Cloud Computing: Potential, Pitfalls for People with Disabilities

New research argues that cloud can be an important platform for increasing the independence of people with disabilities but industry and government need a conscious approach to accessibility Rohan Pearce (Computerworld) on 22 August, 2014 08:00

Cloud computing can help empower people with disabilities by offering increased independence and opportunities to participate in the workforce, according to a new report.

However, without a conscious approach to building services that support accessibility standards, vendors and IT departments risk limiting people’s ability to use software-as-a-service applications and other cloud services.

The report, produced by Media Access Australia and sponsored by the Australian Web Industry Association, was released this morning.