Holiday Sales Plummet for Blind Recording Artists: Access for Blind Net

Surfers Blocked by CDBaby
Donna W. Hill November 18, 2009

When Mary Sten-Clanton of Dorchester, Massachusetts booted up her computer
in early September, she intended to visit the online music store CDBaby and
purchase “Unconditional” by easy jazz/easy pop vocalist Lisa Ostrow. Mary
had used the site many times to sample and purchase new releases from the
independent recording artists who pay CDBaby to sell their music. Once she
arrived at Lisa’s page, however, she noticed a problem. She could no longer
listen to samples of the songs. Mary, who is legally blind, uses a “screen
reader” (text-to-speech software) to navigate the internet. CDBaby was
always accessible to her before. She decided that she would buy the CD
anyway, since she was familiar with Lisa’s music. She couldn’t do that

I Need a Job to be a Man, Says Physically-Challenged Olawonyin .

Tuesday, 29 December 2009 00:00
Moses Kadiri

HE exudes the confidence of a man who has just won millions of naira in a raffle draw. Boisterous and ever cheerful, Ahmed Olawonyin, physically-challenged and graduate of Business Education at the Oyo State College of Education (Special), Ibadan, wears a broad smile on his cherubic face. Wheeled into the living room by his father, Mr Wahab Olawonyin, the first attraction is his cheerfulness.

Climate Change and Disability: a burning issue

23rd October 2009

Known for his work in the Disability Studies field, academic Dr Tom Shakespeare is also interested in the environment. This month he has come across recently written papers on where the two areas collide.

I’ve just spent 30 minutes on the phone, arranging wheelchair assistance for one of my frequent visits to Geneva. This time it was more complicated, because I am travelling by train, and my meagre French was tested to the limit trying to book help on French and Swiss railways. But minimising extra flights seems the least I can do to contribute to avoiding global warming.

Guest Commentary: Victor’s New Year’s Resolutions regarding the Ontario Government and people with disabilities:

December 29, 2009

Victor Schwartzman is a former human rights officer with The Manitoba Human Rights Commission. His human rights complaint against the MHRC for failing to accommodate him has been supported by the Ontario Human Rights Commission, which in December, 2009 voted to reaffirm its decision of a year earlier to direct mediation on the complaint.
(Please note: unfortunately, all recommendations for Ontario also appear to apply to other Provinces).

Flat World Knowledge Partners with Bookshare to Make Free College Textbooks Accessible to People with Print Disabilities

By Paul Biba
December 14, 2009

This is pretty exciting stuff, so I reprint the press release in full. The release actually contains a lot in interesting information about textbooks and disabilities.

Flat World Knowledge, the leading publisher of expert-authored, open content college textbooks, today became the first dedicated college textbook publisher to supply its digital textbooks to Bookshare, the world’s largest online accessible library for people with print disabilities.

Blind Skier’s Olympic Push

Calgarian In Line For Berth At Vancouver Games; Triumph shows anything possible
By Vicki Hall,
Calgary HeraldDecember 23, 2009

Brian McKeever hopes Canadians look at the Paralympics through new eyes this morning upon reading of his latest brush with history in the Rocky Mountains.

With only 10 per cent vision, the legally blind Calgary native roared across a finish line he could not see Tuesday to win a 50-kilometre Nor-Am race on his home course at the Canmore Nordic Centre.

Buying Holiday Toys for Children with Disabilities

By John M. Williams

Elizabeth Johnson wrote, “I have a seven-year-old child with two disabilities. She is speech challenged and not very well physically coordinated. What would you recommend for me to buy her for Christmas?”

Bad Wheelchair Ramps no Good for City Transit

Many disabled passengers are being left out in the cold
DAVE STEWART, The Guardian

Defective wheelchair ramps are causing headaches for Charlottetown’s transit system and the disabled community.
Bobby Dunn, general manager of Charlottetown Transit, says the problem with the wheelchair ramps has been affecting the entire service the past year.

Obama Sides With Blind in Copyright-Treaty Debate

By David Kravets December 15, 2009

The Obama administration announced Tuesday it supports loosening international copyright protections to enable cross-border distribution of special-format reading materials for the blind, a move that puts it at odds with nearly all of U.S. industry.

Province Claws Back $6M From Agencies Helping Disabled

Some groups consider closing doors
Darcy Henton, Edmonton Journal
Published: 1:31 am, December 17, 2009

Agencies that provide services to those with disabilities say the government is trying to climb out of its deficit on the backs of the province’s most vulnerable people.

The organizations that help people with disabilities live independently in the community are balking at a move by the Stelmach government to claw back more than $6 million from them over the next three months.

Suspensions on the Rise for Special-needs Students

Public board report finds drop overall
By Joanne Laucius, The Ottawa CitizenDecember 16, 2009

Ottawa’s public schools are suspending a growing number of students with special needs from autism to learning disabilities, according to a newly released report obtained by the Citizen.

The report, which will be discussed tonight by the board of education’s Special Education Advisory Committee, shows that at the same time overall suspensions have dropped almost 38 per cent over the past five years.

But it is the increase related to the suspension of children with special needs that is raising concern.

Web Accessibility no Longer an Afterthought

Yahoo’s Victor Tsaran, blind since the age of five, is responsible for making
sure Yahoo developers design Web pages with accessibility in mind.

Yahoo’s Victor Tsaran knows how much time Web designers spend agonizing over
color and font-width choices when laying out an application. So when he started
Yahoo’s accessibility push two years ago, he had a tough time arousing sympathy
for engineers grousing about how much extra time was needed to create accessibility


Autism Treatment Acceleration Act (ATAA) – A contrast between American and Canadian efforts

This is a special guest blog post by our Executive Director, Alanna Hendren, on the Autism Treatment Acceleration Act and the differences between Canadian and American efforts in creating positive change for people with developmental disabilities.

The Healthcare debate in the U.S. is bringing forth legislative amendments and new bills that will strengthen the American medical/social safety net. Comprehensive autism legislation has also been introduced in the Senate and the House of Representatives.

Winnipeg MPs Lead Push for Treaty on Disabled

Bipartisan effort would require steps to promote rights
By: Mia Rabson
14/12/2009 1:00 AM |

OTTAWA — The mood in the House of Commons last week was so frigid I half expected Olympic gold medallist Barbara Ann Scott would need to don her old figure skates to bring the Olympic torch into the chamber.

So it was with some surprise and satisfaction that I found out about NDP MP Judy Wasylycia-Leis and Conservative MP and cabinet minister Steven Fletcher, joining forces to push Canada to ratify the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Chapter 1: Definitions of Digital Inclusion1Introduction

The society we live in today is dominated by technology and most of us accept the discourse of fast and ever-changing developments in technology which have transformed, or have the potential to transform, the way we live and relate to one another. This transformation may, however, not necessarily be a positive one. Technology can be a double-edged sword. Warschauer, Knobel & Stone (2004: p.563) for example, comment on how technology can either reduce divisions in society or amplify them:

Seniors with Disabilities do not Get Help on UN International Day

Prince Edward Island(PEI) refuses to extend coverage to seniors who need wheelchairs and hearing aids. December 3, 2009 is United Nations International Day of Persons with Disabilities.Support from the government of PEI is less than people except.

PR Log (Press Release) – Dec 01, 2009 – Thursday is United Nations International Day of Persons with Disabilities. Canada has signed but not ratified the UN Convention on Disability.

Texas Child with Disabilities Given Timeout in Dark, Closed Restroom

Friday, December 11, 2009
From KBTX-TV in Bryan-College Station, Texas:

Kiersten Jordy is like most 7-year-olds, but in many ways she’s not. Doctors have diagnosed Kiersten with mental retardation and carries traits of autism and Down’s Syndrome. Doctors also say Kiersten may never have a classic diagnosis. Larry and Janet Jordy say their daughter can’t speak in full sentences and is only able to communicate a word or two. The Jordy’s say they were surprised to learn in late May 2009, that their daughter’s teacher, Sharon Figueron, put Kiersten in a dark, closed restroom as a form of timeout.

Reform to Disability Laws Touted

Followup on premier’s vowed new legislation
By: Kevin Rollason
4/12/2009 1:00 AM |

Manitobans with disabilities say the changes they want to provincial laws will also be important to the many others who could become disabled later in life.

As Americans Age, Public Transportation Provides Reliable Travel Option

Washington, DC Thursday, December 10, 2009 For Immediate Release

America’s aging population is growing at a faster rate than any other U.S. population group. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that by 2030, there will be 9.6 million people age 85 and older – an increase of 73 percent from today. As American’s age, they face challenges with mobility and the continued ability to drive safely.

NCTI Conference Shows How Educational Futures Can Be Powered by Technology

By John M. Williams

Washington, DC — The National Center for Technology 9th annual conference thoroughly achieved its goal of showing how the educational futures for students with disabilities can be powered and supercharged by a variety of assistive technologies. During a Tech Expo attendees participated in hands-on demonstrations of emerging and cutting edge technologies and research designed to support the diverse learning needs of students.