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Surrey to Build World’s First Translation System for British Sign Language

Originally Published: 03 October 2018

The worlds first machine capable of turning British Sign Language (BSL) into written English is set to be built by the University of Surrey as part of a project funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.

BSL is a language in its own right, with its own grammar, and it is very different from English. BSL uses several parts of the body simultaneously to fully express a range phrases, ideas and emotions.

Accessibility Problems Still Not Fixed at MUHC SuperHospital: Report

Of more than 50 recommendations to improve access for the disabled at the MUHC superhospital, six have been implemented so far. Aaron Derfel, Montreal Gazette
Updated: October 16, 2018

More than a year after an independent report found numerous problems with accessibility for the disabled and other patients at the MUHC superhospital, the McGill University Health Centre has still not fixed most of the deficiencies, the Montreal Gazette has learned.

The MUHC commissioned the report by two experts at the Université de Montréal after the patients committee raised repeated concerns about the lack of clear signage, the scarcity of wheelchairs in the lobby, the confusing layout and poor access to public bathrooms for the mobility-challenged. The report uncovered visual and physical obstacles in 19 categories, a dozen of which were deemed urgent.

Deaf Canadians ‘At Risk’ in Times of National Emergency

Other countries have on-screen interpreters during news broadcasts Sherry Noik, CBC News, September 27, 2018.

When the next ice storm, wildfire or terror attack happens, Canadians who are deaf or hard of hearing will be in greater peril than others because most public notification systems are not accessible to them, experts say.

The Canadian Hearing Society estimates there are 3.15 million Canadians who are hard of hearing and 340,000 Canadians who are deaf, including an estimated 11,000 who are deaf-blind. In policy and in practice, Canada lags behind other countries in ensuring their safety in an emergency.

World Federation of the Deafblind Launches Initial Global Report!

By IDA
Originally posted September 18, 2018

The World Federation of the Deafblind has launched the initial global report on the situation and rights of persons with deafblindness.

Representing between 0.2% to 2% of the population, persons with deafblindness are a very diverse yet hidden group and are, overall, more likely to be poor and unemployed, and with lower educational outcomes. Because deafblindness is less well-known and often misunderstood, people struggle to obtain the right support, and are often excluded from both development and disability programmes.

Innovative System Enables the Blind and Visually Impaired to Orient Independently in Centers for People with Disabilities

Ra’anana, Israel, October 10, 2018.

RightHear, developer of an innovative solution for accessibility and orientation of blind and visually impaired persons, today announced a dedicated version of the system for centers serving people with disabilities, making them accessible to people with sight impairments, allowing them to orient themselves independently inside the center.

The announcement follows a successful implementation at Israel’s Beit Halochem center in Tel Aviv, serving Israel’s disabled veterans and victims of terror.

Review of Disability Tax Credit and Registered Disability Savings Plan

By Lila Refaie, Staff Lawyer

On June 27, 2018, the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology (“Committee”) released a report about the Disability Tax Credit and the Registered Disability Savings Plan. The report is called Breaking Down Barriers: A critical analysis of the Disability Tax Credit and the Registered Disability Savings Plan.

In this report, the Committee analyzed the existing programs and concluded that a major reform is needed. The Committee put forward a list of 16 recommended changes for the federal government to consider in the hopes of improving both programs for persons with disabilities. The recommendations include a variety of changes, affecting everything from the administration of the programs to more permanent legislative amendments.

Wheelchair Users Sue Orioles Over Camden Yards Accessibility

The Associated Press
October 02, 2018

BALTIMORE Three wheelchair users are suing the Baltimore Orioles over accessibility at Camden Yards.

News outlets report the lawsuit filed Friday against the team and the Maryland Stadium Authority says each plaintiff has been stuck in a wheelchair lift while trying to get to their seats. And the view from lower-level wheelchair-accessible seats is obstructed whenever fans stand up.

Plaintiff’s attorney Sharon Krevor-Weisbaum says the Americans with Disabilities Act mandated “equal enjoyment of the services.” Another plaintiff’s attorney, Kevin D. Docherty, criticized the Orioles for July’s “Celebrate ADA Day.”

The plaintiffs seek damages of at least $75,000 each, and a Camden Yards that’s compliant by the next baseball season.

Students Get to Showcase Their Award-Winning Accessibility-Related Designs

National competition aims to find innovative, practical and low-cost solutions to make our communities more accessible for persons with disabilities. By MARK CARDWELL | OCT 03 2018

A year ago, Memorial University student Emma Dornan was watching TV with her after-school buddy Matthew Squires, a 10-year-old who suffers from spastic quadriplegia cerebral palsy, when she made what turned out to be an award-winning discovery.

I was sitting on the couch with Matthew on my lap, using my hands and fingers to stabilize his head to help him watch TV, recalled Ms. Dornan, a fourth-year behavioural neuroscience student who works with children with disabilities at Easter Seals summer camps and during the school year in St. Johns.

How Technology is Assisting Seniors to ‘Age in Place’

October 1 2018

The latest statistics show that people are living longer in virtually every country in the world, with the over 60 age group growing faster than any other cohort.

The aging global population is altering many aspects of society, none more so than housing. When quizzed about their preferred living arrangements, the overwhelming majority of over 60’s (up to 90%) stated that they’d prefer to stay in their own home as they grow older known as ‘Aging in Place’. Yet the challenges brought on by deterioration in mental and physical health as we age, often make this difficult.

The Secret World of Disabled Gamers

Studies like this one could begin to make digital games more accessible to people with a wide range of disabilities. by Emerging Technology from the arXiv
Originally posted July 3, 2018

By some estimates, as many as 2.6 billion people take part in digital gaming, a significant fraction of the global population. There is much ongoing study by games makers and researchers into why and how people play: for fun, for the challenge, to relax, to engage with friends, and so on.

RAM Clarifies Accessible Parking Plans for New Museum

After the province said there would be no accessible parking spots at the new museum, RAM said there would be. Julia Parrish, Web Reporter, CTV Edmonton
@JuliaParrishCTV
Published Wednesday, September 26, 2018 3:51PM MDT

In an online post, the Royal Alberta Museum (RAM) says there will be accessible parking spots at the new museum.

The statement was posted Tuesday on the museum’s Facebook page, saying there would be three accessible parking spots just outside the main doors on the west side.

The post said there are wheelchair ramps outside the building leading up to the doors, and there is direct access to the museum through the LRT pedway, with elevators available to get to public transit. The building also features accessible washrooms.

EXCLUSIVE: Veterans Denied Service Dogs Despite Gov’t Report Showing ‘Significant’ Reduction in PTSD

By Brian Hill and Mercedes Stephenson Global News

Update: This story includes an updated response from Veteran Affairs Canada received after the story was first published.

Canadian veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are out of luck if they expect the government to help them find a service dog anytime soon.

Thats because the Department of Veteran Affairs (VAC) continues to deny veterans and their families funding for service dogs despite growing evidence showing their effectiveness in treating PTSD and its related symptoms.

The difference [between having a dog and not having a dog] can best be described as night and day, said Medric Cousineau, an air force veteran and the founder of Paws Fur Thought, an organization that helps match former soldiers with service dogs.

Province Announces Plans to Support Accessibility Law Passed in 2017

New standards for public buildings, streets, sidewalks and shared space coming for 2022 The Canadian Press · Posted: Sep 21, 2018

Nova Scotia has announced the next steps to reach its goal of making the province more accessible for those with disabilities by 2030.

Justice Minister Mark Furey has released an implementation strategy for the province’s Accessibility Act, passed in April 2017.

Furey says the document, entitled Access by Design 2030, identifies priorities for accessibility standards, including the formation of committees that will develop standards for public buildings, streets, sidewalks and shared spaces, as well as education.

He says the standards are expected to be rolled out in 2022 and will be implemented in subsequent years.

Empower the Right Department to Manage Disability Supports

It does not make sense that staff at the Canada Revenue Agency determine eligibility for complex programs that support Canadians with disabilities. Jennifer Zwicker, Stephanie Dunn
Policy Options Institute for Research on Public Policy, September 4, 2018

Breaking Down Barriers is the title and galvanizing theme of a June 2018 report from the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology. It recommends urgently needed measures to improve access to underutilized federal disability supports: the disability tax credit (DTC) and the Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP).

The recommendations are broad in scope. They include streamlining the DTC and RDSP application processes and making eligibility criteria simpler and more appropriate.

Senators Urge DOJ to Weigh in On ADA Impact on Websites

BY BEN JACOBSON ben.jacobson@thmedia.com
September 16, 2018

A pair of U.S. senators from Iowa say it’s unclear whether the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act transcends the physical world into the cyber realm.

Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst, both Republicans, have asked U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions to explore whether the 1990 law applies to website accessibility as well.

“For nearly 30 years, the ADA has protected countless individuals with disabilities, ensuring physical access to ‘any place of public accommodation,'” the senators wrote in a letter, co-authored by lawmakers from North Carolina, South Dakota, Idaho and Texas. “We support the ADA and all that it stands for.

Talking Gloves, Tactile Windows: New Tech Helps the Disabled

Danica Kirka, The Associated Press
Published Thursday, September 13, 2018

LONDON — Hadeel Ayoub slips a black glove onto her hand before beginning the swish of sign language that is meaningless to the untrained observer. Then she pushes a button on her wrist, and a small speaker relays the message drawn in the air: “Let’s Dance!”

“My dream is to give a voice to those who can’t speak,” says the 36-year-old inventor who is developing her BrightSign glove while working toward a Ph.D. in assistive technology at Goldsmiths, University of London.

IWSCC Announces RBC as First Founding Member to Support Disabled Owned and Veteran Owned Businesses in Canada

MEDIA RELEASE September 10, 2018

Deidre Guy and Jeff Wilson, Co-ffounders of the Inclusive Workplace and Supply Council of Canada (IWSCC), are thrilled to announce the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) as its first Founding Member.

IWSCC is dedicated to helping Veterans and differently-abled entrepreneurs by creating conditions for equal access and opportunity, and highlighting the opportunities and value of relationships with these companies. Efforts include Inclusive Workplace programs and Diverse Supplier Certification. This formal designation assures organizations that procurement opportunities are going to businesses that have been pre-certified as at least 51% owned and operated by veterans or persons with disabilities.

PEAT and Teach Access Identify Large Skills Gap in the Tech Sector

Post date: Jul 26, 2018

(WASHINGTON)One in five Americans has a disability, and in today’s digital age it’s more important than ever that people with disabilities are able to use technology, from websites to mobile phones to emerging smart devices.

Twenty-eight years after the seminal passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, leading tech companies agree that building and buying products that everyone can use is an imperative, not an afterthought. But a new national study shows that a major barrier many tech companies encounter is that they can’t find job candidates with the accessible tech skills the companies needand 57% report that, as a result, achieving accessibility in their products and services takes increasingly more time and resources.

Wegmans Adds a ‘Game-Changer’ for Visually Impaired Shopping

By: Jason Law
Updated: Aug 29, 2018

BOSTON – Grocery shopping can be very stressful. Navigating crowded aisles in a store full of people is frustrating, but if you’re blind, like Kim Charlson, then grocery shopping can be almost impossible.

A new tool, however, could revolutionize shopping for people who can’t see.

It’s an app that helps the visually impaired navigate the world and does it using the eyes in your smartphone.

“You come into a grocery store and you’re just bombarded with everything all around you,” Charlson explained. “It’s just not the place a blind person can get around independently without some kind of support.”

Fueling recovery: Top Nutrients For Addicts

Nutrition and Recovery: An Overlooked Relationship

When people think of recovery from addiction, they often think of meetings and counseling. While this is the cornerstone of rehabilitating addicts, there is an aspect that often goes overlooked. Lifestyle.

Both research and popular practice of many recovery centers of America focus only on psychological aspects of rehabilitation. The exception to this is the use of prescription drugs to ease recovery and help week off users of addictive substances.

But, there may be easier and more holistic ways to help addicts recover. Including certain nutrients in a holistic diet may help speed up recovery and prevent relapse. It can also help improve general health and mood while detoxing.