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U.S. Access Board Releases Proposed Updated Accessibility Requirements for Information and Communication Technology (ICT)

PR Newswire
“508 Refresh” Expected To Accelerate Adoption of AudioEye Products & Services in the Corporate and Government Sectors February 19, 2015

TUCSON, Ariz., Feb. 19, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — AudioEye, Inc. (OTCQB: AEYE) (“AudioEye”) today announced that the U.S. Access Board (the Board) has released for public comment a proposed rule updating accessibility standards for information and communication technology (ICT) in the federal sector covered by Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act. The refresh also covers guidelines for telecommunications equipment subject to Section 255 of the Communications Act.

Accessibility Can Change the Way We Think

February 13, 2015
Christopher Lytle MA CDS

People with disabilities have traditionally been excluded from decision-making, holding roles of importance, exercising personal autonomy and obtaining gainful employment.

Although the view prescribed to people with disabilities has shifted over the years, there persists an underlying theme in which the overarching narrative is one of cultural mistrust. The cultural concepts and tools that we absorb and use as a population guide our perception of others, and in the case of a society built upon financial exchanges and labour, there are ideologies that are entrenched about what should comprise an ideal workforce.

Harvard, MIT Sued Over Lack of Closed Captioning Online

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. Feb 12, 2015
Associated Press

Advocates for the deaf sued Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology on Thursday, saying the universities failed to provide closed captioning for online courses, podcasts and other educational programs.

The National Association for the Deaf filed class action lawsuits in federal court, saying Harvard and MIT discriminated against the hearing impaired and violated the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The association said much of Harvard’s and MIT’s online content was not captioned, was inaccurately captioned or was unintelligibly captioned, making it inaccessible. Advocates for the deaf say they’re not seeking a financial windfall but rather permanent injunctions against the universities mandating that all their online materials include closed captioning, interpretive text displayed onscreen.

Canada Post Cutbacks Will Impact the Disabled

Canadians deserve better. Our postal service helps connect us. And these cuts will unfairly impact the most vulnerableincluding seniors and people with disabilities.

Sign the Petition at the link below.

Read more at
http://petition.ndp.ca/stop-the-cuts-to-our-postal-service

Canadian Paralympic Committee Receives $30,000 Grant from Milos Raonic Foundation in Support of Parasport

OTTAWA Feb. 10, 2015 – The Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC) is honoured and grateful to announce it is a recipient of a $30,000 grant from the Milos Raonic Foundation, to help more children with disabilities become involved in sports.

The funds will be directed towards the creation of an innovative CPC parasport digital online resource. The resource will help Canadian parents, professionals from health, education, sport and recreation access activity and lesson plans and providers based on location, age, disability type and sport preferences, to enhance the integration of children with a disability into existing sports programming.

The Milos Raonic Foundation harnesses resources in support of disadvantaged children and was established in 2012 by the Canadian tennis star.

More Missing Money at CNIB Lottery Kiosks

Charlotte Macfarlane still trying to get $4,000 owed in wages from charity By Susan Allen, Yvonne Colbert, CBC News
Posted: Feb 05, 2015

Charlotte Macfarlane says she didn’t take any money from CNIB. (CBC)

Another former lottery booth operator working for the CNIB says the charity held her responsible for missing funds, though she says she wasn’t at fault.

Related Story

The CNIB – an organization that helps visually impaired Canadians – is suing four booth operators in the Maritimes. They’re in Truro, Halifax, Bathurst and Summerside.

Should Websites Be Required to Provide Better Access to the Disabled?

By Todd Bookman

It’s either 1983 or 1984, and Austin Seraphin begs his mom to take him to the electronics store to check out an Apple IIe computer.

“She said they were so surprised, they were so shocked. And I said, ‘Yeah, they must have been shocked that a blind person especially a blind kid wanted to use a computer.’ And she said, ‘No, they were shocked to have customers,'” he says with a laugh.

The Apple IIe was a big deal in the mainstreaming of computers, but it was a really big deal for seven-year-old Seraphin. The machine was one of the first home units to have a slot for a sound card, allowing special software to read aloud whatever was on the screen.

Scientists Target Smartphone Technology to Improve Hearing Devices

Team of Jonsson, BBS Professors Receives $522,000, 2-Year Grant from National Institutes of Health for Project Feb. 6, 2015

Dr. Issa Panahi, associate professor of electrical engineering in the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering, is part of a UT Dallas research team looking to tap into the power of smartphones to boost the quality of hearing assistive devices.

Many scientists agree: The smartphone offers many applications and has become one of the most sophisticated technologies out there.

With the support of a $522,000, two-year grant from the National Institutes of Health, a UT Dallas team wants to harness the power of smartphones to help improve the quality of life of people who wear hearing assistive devices (HAD), including hearing aids, cochlear implants and personal sound amplifiers.

New Alliance Offers Voice to Disabled

The website of People with Disability Australia.
Canberra [AAP]

People with disabilities will be represented in government policy-making by five advocacy groups, under new funding arrangements.

Dozens of community service groups, including ten peak disability organisations, learnt just before Christmas they would no longer receive federal government contracts from June 30, 2015.

Assistant social services minister Mitch Fifield on Friday announced a new cross-disability alliance had won a competitive tender for two years of funding to advise government on policy.

The alliance of People with Disability Australia, Children with Disability Australia, First Peoples Disability Network Australia, National Ethnic Disability Alliance and Women with Disability Australia covers the whole gamut of disabilities.

Sobeys Employee Hopes Viral Picture Sends Bigger Message About Lending a Hand

Julia Wong is a videojournalist with Global News. By Julia Wong Video Journalist Global News

Mary Cogswell has been legally blind since 1987, and she said it often makes it difficult for her to do her everyday tasks like getting groceries.

HALIFAX A picture of a Sobeys employee walking a legally blind customer home has gone viral and touched the heartstrings of many people.

A Facebook picture of a Sobeys employee walking an elderly customer home has gone viral.

Austin MacNeill, 22, has worked at the Sobeys grocery store on Queen Street in Halifax for six months.

As the ADA Turns 25, Website Accessibility Issues Pose Legitimate Risks for the Financial Services Industry

While 2014 was certainly a noteworthy year under Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“Title III”), July 26, 2015, will mark the 25th anniversary of the ADA (“25th Anniversary”), an event that will almost certainly be celebrated with significant developments impacting the scope of Title III’s coverage.

Read more at
http://www.aoda.ca/as-the-ada-turns-25-website-accessibility-issues-pose-legitimate-risks-for-the-financial-services-industry/

You Know, Blind People Can Actually Use Touchscreens

By Michael Hansen

Over the last couple years, I’ve come to a conclusion about life as a blind person: it isn’t the physical lack of sight that’s the biggest difficulty I face; but rather, it is attempting to overcome peoples’ negative stereotypes and misconceptions about what I can – and cannot – do that is the real problem.

When I think of situations where negative stereotypes about blind people come into play, the use of technology isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. I tend to think about education, or employment, or parenting long before I think of access to the latest and greatest tech. But, as a recent Wired article about a new Braille-writing app demonstrated, misconceptions still abound about what technology blind people are able to gainfully use.

New App Connects Visually Impaired With Sighted Assistants

ZOSIA BIELSKI
The Globe and Mail
Published Wednesday, Jan. 21 2015

From his couch at home in New York City, Sam Marcus helped a woman bake corn muffins in Jefferson City, Mo., last week.

The woman, who is blind, needed someone to read the instructions on a box of muffin mix. She connected with Marcus through Be My Eyes, a new mobile app that matches visually impaired people with sighted volunteers who assist with everyday challenges via a live video connection.

Israel’s Mobile Technologies For Disabled Find Mass market Appeal

By Tova Cohen
TEL AVIV Thu Jan 22, 2015

(Reuters) – Israeli technology firms catering to the country’s disabled war veterans are exploring ways to bring their innovations to the mass market with applications that make mobile phones easier to use.

Israel, with its thriving start-up scene and large number of military veterans, is a natural incubator of technology for the disabled, some of which is proving useful to able bodied users as well.

“That’s the secret sauce to go to scale,” said Andrew Johnson, an analyst with market research firm Gartner Inc.

Female PS Workers’s Disability Claims Outnumber Mmen’s two-to-one

Kathryn May
Published on: January 19, 2015

Shannon Bittman is vice president of the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada.

Women in the public service go on disability leave at almost twice the rate of men, a problem some experts say should be addressed as part of the governments new disability management scheme.

The federal disability insurance plan, managed by Sun Life Financial, is the biggest in Canada. A Sun Life report obtained by the Citizen shows women have ended up on long-term disability at rates vastly disproportionate to their numbers in the public service for more than a decade, especially for mental health conditions.

Accessibility of Government Websites Often Fall Short

Elizabeth Ganga,
eganga@lohud.com
January 20, 2015

Websites are the portal to government, providing information as basic as the day for garbage pickup and services like paying taxes.

But for people with visual impairments or a host of other disabilities that can affect their use of computers or mobile devices, it’s still hit-or-miss what they will find when they open the website of their local government, school district or library.

People with visual impairments sometimes use screen readers programs that read aloud the text on the screen to navigate the Web, and they find many websites are not designed with them in mind.

Competing In Power Football Takes More Than Athletic Ability

By Victor Schwartzman
January 16, 2015

Shayne De Wildt is 23. Why am I writing about Shayne? He’s my downstairs neighbour and I know him. I feed his cat, Simba, when Shayne is away at competitions. Simba frightens my dog, a Shitzhu who gives Simba a wide berth, but that is another story.

Live Text May Make Council Meetings More Accessible

Nova Scotia to launch text-to-911 service today for hearing impaired Angela Crozier <@CrozierAngela>
January 15, 2015, 10:44 AM AST

Halifax is considering providing a real-time text service of city hall meetings for hearing impaired people.

Two Halifax councillors want to improve accessibility to council meetings for the hearing impaired.

Coun. Darren Fisher (Dartmouth East) and Coun. Steve Craig (Lower Sackville) raised concerns Wednesday that they need to find a better way to involve deaf residents in their proceedings.

Chief administrative officer Richard Butts’ budget includes a proposal to provide real-time texting of city hall meetings.

Disability, Employment and the New Veterans Charter

January 13, 2015
Christopher Lytle MA CDS

The relationship between disability and employment is slowly changing, and as much as we are mindful of developing trends in policy and law, we still have the obligation to recognize and respect disability from a cross sector perspective, including individuals who have served in the Canadian Forces, acquiring an injury as a result.

Is Accessible TV Viewing Finally on Its Way?

Bill Holton

In the August issue of AccessWorld , we described the new voice guide features available on new Samsung TVs. More recently, Comcast has announced the availability of its own talking TV interface.

There certainly has been a lot of activity on the accessible media front. Here’s why: the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010 (CVAA) includes a number of provisions regulating the production and availability of accessible broadcast media and devicestelevision sets, set-top boxes, digital video recorders (DVRs) and descriptive video for broadcast and non-broadcast channel programing.