Apple’s AssistiveTouch Helps the Disabled Use a Smartphone

By David Pogue
November 10, 2011, 2:30 pm

Plenty has been written about the new iPhone 4S, with its voice-controlled virtual assistant Siri, and about iOS 5, its software.
But in writing a book about both, I stumbled across an amazingly thoughtful feature that I haven’t seen a word about: something called AssistiveTouch.

Now, Apple has always gone to considerable lengths to make the iPhone usable for people with vision and hearing impairments. If you’re deaf, you can have the LED flash to get your attention when the phone rings. You can create custom vibration patterns for each person who might call you. You can convert stereo music to mono (handy if you’re deaf in one ear).

Ontario: Macy’s Diner Leads the Way in Restaurant Menu Accessibility

By Sandra Rhodda
Nov 7, 2011

Now Ontarian restaurateurs have a solution in aMENU – a website developed by Geoff Collis – where participating restaurants can place their menus so that they can be accessed not only with assistive devices but portable devices such as mobile phones. Menus can be read before a patron even gets to an establishment. The first restaurant leading the way by participating is Macy’s Diner & Delicatessen


Cities Study How to Become Age-Friendly

By: Anne-Marie Tobin, The Canadian Press
Posted: 11/21/2011 10:10 AM

Dr. Joanie Sims Gould poses for a photograph on one of numerous benches along a stretch of sidewalk in Vancouver, B.C., on Thursday November 17, 2011. Sims is a researcher who is working on a project aimed at making communities more seniors-friendly as the population ages. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

TORONTO – Lucy Howe rides a scooter to get around but she bounces uncomfortably when the sidewalks are rough and cracked. Curb cuts that form ramps for getting across the street aren’t always wide enough for the scooter, and it’s especially difficult in winter.

Roseman: Are Your Disability Benefits at Risk?

By Ellen Roseman | Tue Nov 15 2011

If you have a long-term disability plan at work, you need to ask if the plan is underwritten by an insurance company.

Some companies have moved to a self-insured arrangement, under which they set aside money to pay for their employees’ disability benefits.

You may not be aware of this until your employer gets into financial trouble, putting your future payments and living standards at risk.

About 400 Nortel employees were on long-term disability leave when the cash-strapped company filed for bankruptcy protection in 2009.

The Accessible Campus in California: An Example for the Nation;

by Peter M. Siegel
Braille Monitor November 2011

From the Editor: Peter Siegel is the chief information officer and vice provost for information and educational technology at the University of California, Davis. He addressed the convention on Friday afternoon, July
8, 2011.

Good afternoon, NFB. It’s an honor to participate. I’m really the student here, and I thank you so much for providing me the opportunity to learn. What I want to do is take back what I am learning here to my colleagues at the University of California, including our president, Mark Yudof, who is a strong public supporter of accessibility, very committed to
accessibility and very knowledgeable. It’s especially fitting to be here.

Blind Canadians Question Government’s Motives in Appealing Landmark Internet Access Case

On November 15 and 16, 2011 the Federal Court of Appeal will hear the Canadian government’s appeal of the landmark decision that was handed down by the Federal Court in the landmark Jodhan case. In that decision, the Federal Court ordered improved access to government information and services for the blind community. Members of the nationwide Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians are asking why the government is appealing this important decision.

“Why is our Government that signed the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities appealing a decision that ordered increased access to government information?” asks Cindy Ferguson, AEBC’s National Secretary.

Pathways, Potholes, Paradoxes and Possibilities

By: John Rae
Posted November 13, 2011

Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared in “Celebrating Our
Accomplishments,” published by the Council of Canadians With Disabilities, November, 2011, in celebration of its 30th anniversary as Canada’s national
cross disability organization which promotes “an Inclusive and Accessible Canada.”

Over the past twenty or thirty years, the world has undergone dramatic changes. This is also true in the lives of persons with disabilities, including those of us who are blind, deaf-blind or partially sighted.

We used to say that access to information was our greatest barrier, then the internet came along, and now we also must deal with information overload,
yet Donna Jodhan was compelled to file a Charter challenge against the federal government over inaccessible federal government websites.

Macy’s Diner Leads the Way in Restaurant Menu Accessibility

By Geof Collis

Some Restaurants offer Large Print or Braille menus, but what if you cant read either?

Others put it on their website, a PDF, but neither is accessible and still others think because they put it on Facebook that magically solves the issue, however Facebook is notoriously inaccessible.


Consolation Prizes

By Victor Schwartzman and Paul Caune
November 2, 2011

For decades, voters with disabilities and their supporters have pushed for reforms of health care and social service bureaucracies. And there have been some real successes: curb cuts, liberating people from institutions, the Registered Disability Savings Plan. Tragically, says Paul Caune (Executive Director of Civil Rights Now!, advocates have failed much more often than they have won. One reason for this is that they waste their reforming energy by accepting consolation prizes.

PS Can’t Find Enough Disabled Staff: Watchdog; Recruitment Rate Has Declined for Three Years

Kathryn May
Ottawa Citizen , Nov. 1, 2011

The federal government can’t recruit enough disabled people into the public service and should develop new strategies that will attract them to federal work, says Canada’s staffing watchdog.

Maria Barrados, president of the Public Service Commission, said the recruitment rate of the disabled has declined for three years and she
worries that unless the trend is reversed the public service will have a problem with too few disabled workers compared with the broader Canadian

“We are concerned that the continued low rate of external appointments will have negative consequences for their representation in the public service
over the long term,” she told the Senate committee on human rights Monday.

Sign up for the best government program in Canada

Globe and Mail, Oct. 31, 2011

Imagine a savings program where the federal government gives a man or woman up to $3 for every $1 contributed by that man or woman – to a lifetime
maximum of $70,000. Wouldn’t people flock to that program? Wouldn’t the
Treasury be all but emptied?

Actually, there is such a program – the Registered Disability Savings Plan. It is a wonderful program. Jim Flaherty, the federal Finance Minister, is to
receive an award this week from the Council of Canadians with Disabilities
for having created it. The CCD lists the program (which Mr. Flaherty hopes to improve through a public consultation announced this month) among the
highlights of the past 30 years for disabled Canadians.

Taco Bell Awaits Sanctions in Accessibility Suit

Taco Bell is expected to appeal ruling that it violated Americans with Disabilities Act

October 25, 2011 | By
Lisa Jennings

A recent federal court decision that found Taco Bell in violation of federal and state laws protecting the rights of customers who use wheelchairs or scooters should motivate restaurant operators to comply with access rules, attorneys say.


Meter Fees to Be Waived for Disabled Drivers

Wednesday, 26 October 2011 12:00
Mary Linehan

CAPE MAY — In what the city believes to be a first-of-its-kind ordinance statewide, handicapped drivers will now be exempt from feeding the meters here.

“I thank council for supporting this. It seems like the right thing to do. Common sense has prevailed,” Councilman Jack Wichterman said at the regular council meeting earlier this month.

The ordinance, which was adopted by unanimous vote, requires that the vehicle display a valid handicapped license plate, placard or parking permit issued by the state. The city also will honor placards from other states, U.S. territories and districts, as well as Canada.

Civil Rights Now: Outside Noise

When Denise Turner called these voters “outside noise” she coldly dismissed the distress of parents who have good reasons to be afraid of what the future has in store for their children with developmental disabilities. The Board of CLBC should fire Denise Turner. To permit her to retain her appointed position would be an endorsement of her contempt for British Columbian voters.

Published October 26, 2011 | By
Markham Hislop
By Paul Caune    

Federal Judge Issues Permanent Legal Resolution for Blind Law School Graduate Who Paved the Way for Blind Test Takers

Berkeley, California, (October 26, 2011):

On Monday, October 24, the Honorable Judge Charles R. Breyer ended a two-year legal battle between a blind law school graduate and a national
testing corporation over the graduate’s right to use a computer equipped with assistive technology to take the California Bar Exam.

Granting Stephanie Enyart’s motion for summary judgment, Judge Breyer found that Ms. Enyart is entitled to take the bar exam on a computer equipped with text-to-speech screen reading and visual screen magnification software, as
the method that will best ensure that she is tested on her aptitude rather than her disability.

Hiring Bias in Canada a Barrier to Success in the Workforce for Canadians with Disabilities

Large pool of driven, high-achieving talent being largely ignored by Canadian employers. – Statistics show employees with disabilities often score higher
than their co-workers in job performance and job retention. – 16 per cent of Canadians – equivalent to the population of Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan – have a disability. – 70 per cent of Canadians with disabilities are unemployed versus 7.1 per cent of the general population. – Best practices demonstrate these biases can be overcome and people with disabilities can make meaningful contributions to corporations’ success.

Citizens With Disabilities Long for Independence

October 26, 2011 01:02 AM
By Marie Dhumieres
The Daily Star

BEIRUT: In recent months, the ministries of health and social affairs have been renewing their calls to implement the disability rights law of 2000, which
is designed to improve the lives of those with disabilities.

But a simple trip with Rita Maalouf demonstrates how little of the law has made it off the paper and onto the street.

Maalouf splits her time between a foyer she shares with five other women with disabilities and her parents’ house, both in Sin al-Fil.

She says she spends most of her time at the foyer because it’s the only place where it is possible for her to be completely independent.

Edmonton Store Bans Girl’s Service Dog – Twice

By CBC News,, Updated: October 25, 2011 1:34 PM

An Edmonton woman is filing a human rights complaint after her autistic nine-year-old daughter and service dog were told to leave the west-end Winners for the second time in three months.

“I don’t believe that anybody should feel like a second class citizen in any place…and especially as a child,” said Alison Ainsworth.

The discount clothing store ordered Ainsworth’s daughter Emily and her dog Levi to leave the premises last July, but later apologized to the family.

The store sent Emily a formal apology, a card featuring a puppy on the cover and $25 gift card.

Groups Aim to Alter Attitudes on Workplace Disability: Fit Notes, not Sick Notes?

Anne-marie Tobin, The Canadian Press
Mon, 24 Oct 2011 13:01:00 CST

TORONTO – Small organizations in Ontario and British Columbia are trying to change the mindset about health concerns in the workplace, and they’ve been looking to the United States and the United Kingdom for inspiration.

Their starting point of view is that work is healthy for an individual, and prolonged time off work on disability benefits when it’s not necessary can be
harmful, says Terry O’Hearn, chair of the Ontario Action Group to Prevent Work Disability.

Freedom Scientific Releases JAWS 13 Screen Reading Software

(St. Petersburg, Florida – October 24, 2011

Freedom Scientific today announced the release of JAWSR for Windows version 13, including Convenient OCR, a feature that performs Optical Character
Recognition on text that is displayed as an image, thereby enabling blind
computer users to read items that were previously inaccessible. Examples of
such screens include a PDF file, the setup screen of an application, or the menu of selections on a DVD.

JAWS now provides an opportunity to read and interact with these screens, including locating and clicking on text which may be required to activate a