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Accessibility News International
Accessibility News International will strive to bring you as much information as possible from around the Globe regarding issues of accessibility for the Disability Community.
YouTube Makes Captioning More Accessible for Deaf Viewers
By Maura Judkis
Posted at 09:46 AM ET, 02/28/2012
Millions of people enjoy viral videos each day, but some people aren’t getting the jokes — and it’s not for a lack of humor, either. Because many videos on YouTube do not include closed captioning, deaf viewers can be left out. But thanks to a new change at YouTube, more hard-of-hearing people will be able to indulge in the wealth of online videos.
Google Inc.’s YouTube video-sharing Web site is displayed on a computer monitor in Tokyo, on Thursday, April 9, 2009. (Tomohiro Ohsumi – Bloomber News)
App Will Help Blind, Visually Impaired Navigate Streets
The app tells pedestrians what direction they are traveling.
February 28, 2012
A University of Minnesota researcher is developing an app that would tell the blind and visually-impaired not only when to cross the street, but which direction they’re going and how many lanes they have to cross.
The app, which will be free to download, will also tell users the name of a street if the user taps the phone and points it in any direction, said Chen-Fu Liao, a senior assistant engineer at the University.
Users tap the phone again to request a walk signal so they don’t have to struggle to find a button to push. The system will tell users when to cross and how much time they have.
See No Evil? Definitely Not Without Audio Description
By Robyn Gaile
Ramp Up 27 Feb 2012
For many years, people who are blind or vision impaired have not had access to cinema or television. Audio description can change that.
Credit: inhauscreative (iStockphoto)
Senator Stephen Conroy last week announced that ABC1 will trial audio description in 2012, giving people who are blind or vision impaired access to something most of us take for granted.
Movie reviews swim through your head as you settle into the upholstered seat with your popcorn. The opening scene starts to screen, setting the background to the movie.
There is no dialogue.
Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians (AEBC) Restaurant Survey
Posted Feb 27, 2012
The Toronto Chapter of the AEBC is conducting a nationwide survey to find out from you what “accessibility” features are important to you when dining out. The results of this survey will affect AEBC’s work nationally.
All responses will be kept anonymous, and will be used for the purposes of gathering information to present to various major restaurant chains.
Take the Survey at http://www.blindcanadians.ca/participate/chapters/toronto/restaurant-survey
Saskatchewan to Close One of Last Remaining Institutions for Mentally Disabled
Saturday, February 25, 2012 7:23 PM
MOOSE JAW, Sask. – The Saskatchewan government has announced it will close one of the few remaining large facilities in Canada for housing the mentally disabled.
The Valley View Centre in Moose Jaw is a sprawling complex of buildings built in 1955 for a population of 1,500 people.
There are just over 200 living there now.
Social Services Minister June Draude says the facility will be replaced with new services over the next four years, including community-based group homes and expanded day programs.
The centre stopped admitting new residents in 2002.
BrailleTouch App to Help Visually Impaired Send Text Messages
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A group of researchers at Georgia Tech has developed an app, designed for helping out blind people to write and read text messages using touch screen mobile devices.
The researchers claim that the new app allows users to type up to 6 times faster than all other available techniques designed for enabling texting without sight.
Vets Deserve Better From Feds Regarding Disability Benefits, Ombudsman Says
Published On Mon Feb 20 2012
The Canadian Press
OTTAWA—A report on how former soldiers are told whether they’ve qualified for disability benefits is the start of a wide-ranging look into problems plaguing veterans’ care, the veterans ombudsman says.
In his report into whether veterans are given enough information about why they are granted or denied disability benefits, Guy Parent found the government is failing.
And failure so early on in the process can have a domino effect that Parent says he intends to study over the coming years.
“There are so many systematic issues in dealing with Veterans Affairs Canada, it’s a good question to say where to start,” he said in an interview.
Deaf Community Puts Hope in New Phone Technology
By Brent Wittmeier
February 19, 2012
Getting heard isn’t easy when you’re deaf.
Changing a doctor’s appointment, ordering pizza, dialing 911: all are next to impossible without hearing. But Edmonton’s deaf community hopes Canada’s telecommunications regulator will change that.
Linda Cundy provides a concise summary of the debate over mandating the national adoption of a Video Relay Service — an interpreter and webcam phone system — after an 18-month trial for approximately 300 Alberta and British Columbia households ended last month, at a cost of over $3.2 million.
“(From) their perspective (the phone industry’s), it’s a financial hardship,” said Cundy, through interpreter Tiffany Goodkey. ”Our issue is accessibility.”
Visually-impaired Never Lose Sight of Their Goals
Brian Belfry, Record staff
Tue Feb 14 2012
Champions Team Ontario from K-W Granite Club were winners of the Canadian Visually-impaired curling championship in Ottawa last week. The team includes (back row, left) Tim Prohaszka, Carrie Speers and on-ice guide Dan Prohaszka, (front row from left) Dr. Jim Stephens, coach Wendy Simpson, Norm Green and Doug Boucher.
After Tim Prohaszka’s opponents extended their hands conceding defeat in the Canadian Vision Impaired Curling Championships in Ottawa last Friday, the skip had just one thought in mind.
“My first reaction was to go over to Dr. Jim because I had to see the new champion,” Prohaszka said.
CRTC Tests 911 Texting for Hearing and Speech Impaired
Published On Thu Feb 16 2012
Alyshah Hasham, Staff Reporter
People with speech and hearing disabilities will soon be able to communicate with 911 services via text messages.
During the three-month pilot project announced by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, volunteers registered with their phone provider will make test phone calls to 911, and the dispatcher will respond with a text message to the user’s cellphone. The user can then text their situation back to the dispatcher.
The pilot programs are set to take place in Toronto, Vancouver, Peel Region and Montreal.
How Might We Design an Accessible Election Experience for Everyone?
Posted Feb 15, 2012
We are calling on everyone, including voters, non-voters, election officials, people with disabilities, designers, engineers, and students, to help us
make elections more accessible for everyone.
We invite you to join us in this challenge.
Read more at
Windows 8 adds Help for Visually Impaired, Physically Challenged
Accessibility features expanded, made easier to insert in applications
By Tim Greene, Network World
February 14, 2012 05:17 PM ET
Windows 8 beefs up accessibility features that enable those who are blind, nearsighted, hard-of-hearing and who have mobility impairments to navigate PCs.
These include touch-screen support for Narrator, the Windows 7 tool that allows users to hear controls that are displayed on the machine and to talk their way through commands rather than using a mouse and keyboard. Some of these accessibility features are spelled out in the Building Windows 8 blog written by Jennifer Norberg, lead product manager for the Windows 8 Human Interaction Platform team.
People are Last at George Pearson Centre
This is part one of a two-part series.
By Paul Caune and Victor Schwartzman
Feb 13, 2012
Late last year one of Canada’s health authorities proved yet again that people with disabilities do not have a practical way to enforce their civil rights.
The George Pearson Centre is a sixty year old nursing home in Vancouver, British Columbia, for adults with disabilities. On November 8, 2011, two top executives of the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority (VCH) met with residents of the institution. The meeting was recorded with the knowledge of the participants.
The minutes of the meeting can be read here:
StatsCan Accused of Not Accommodating Blind Man
Deaf couple complained earlier about federal agency’s survey procedures
CBC News Posted: Feb 7, 2012 9:43 PM AT Last Updated: Feb 7, 2012 11:40 PM AT Read 16 comments16
Deaf couple turned away from Statistics Canada surveyStatistics Canada is facing more criticism over its ability to survey people with disabilities with two complaints in as many days.
Earlier this week, a Fredericton woman was seeking an apology from the federal agency after her profoundly deaf parents were told no signing services were available to help them complete a survey.
Now, a blind Fredericton man is questioning why Statistics Canada’s surveys aren’t more accessible.
Facebook Takes a Toll on Your Mental Health
By Stephanie Pappas
Posted Feb 7, 2012
Facebook’s initial public offering of stock is likely to make a lot of developers and designers of the site very wealthy. But for many users, frequent Facebooking may not be so beneficial.
According to three new studies, Facebook can be tough on mental health, offering an all-too-alluring medium for social comparison and ill-advised status updates. And while adding a friend on the social networking site can make people feel cheery and connected, having a lot of friends is associated with feeling worse about one’s own life.
Woman says parents deserve apology from federal agency
CBC News Posted: Feb 6, 2012 6:51 AM AT Last Updated: Feb 6, 2012 3:57 PM AT
Melissa Hinds, on right, says her mother, Joyce Wilson, on left, deserves an apology. (CBC)A Fredericton woman wants an apology from Statistics Canada for the way it treated her profoundly deaf parents after they asked for an interpreter’s help with a survey.
Melissa Hinds said Statistics Canada chose her parents to participate in a survey about technology. The invitation came from a woman who knocked at her parents’ door and used written notes to explain the survey.
Her parents agreed to participate but asked for the assistance of a sign language interpreter, Hinds said.
Accommodating Bipolar Disorder in the Workplace, Part I: Disclosure and Stigma
Published January 28, 2012 | By Daniel Bader, Ph.D.
Bipolar disorder, as well as being a mental illness, is also a disability. It is protected in the United States under the Americans With Disabilities Act, while in Canada it is protected under provincial Human Rights Acts. Employers are not only obliged to ignore bipolar disorder when considering hiring decisions, but they are obliged to provide what are called “reasonable accommodations” for people with bipolar disorder. In other words, they are obliged to take up to moderately difficult, active steps in order to ensure that people with bipolar disorder are able to perform their jobs.