All posts by admin

Siri on the ReSound Linx Quattro Smart Hearing Aid a First for AI voice Control

Next stop: integrating with Google Assistant.
Jessica Dolcourt
January 9, 2019

“Hey Siri, stream iTunes through my hearing aid.” That’s just one of many things you can do with the ReSound Linx Quattro, the first smart hearing aid to use AI to pair with Apple’s Siri assistant.

Smart hearing aids are part of a burgeoning field of gadgets set to transform the health care industry. For the Linx Quattro, that means drawing people with hearing impairment further into their digital world.

The Linx Quattro uses AI to learn your preferences and settings over time, and to proactively make adjustments to various sound profiles. You’ll be able to ask Siri to change profiles with voice commands (e.g. turn up the volume in my left ear).

UK Faces Accessible Housing Crisis – Only 7% of Homes Deemed Accessible

Controversy rang out in November 2018 when the Home Builders Federation objected to councils across England wanting to increase the number of homes with universal home designed centered around accessibility.

Organizations such as Age UK and the Centre for Ageing Better and Disability Rights UK released reports stating that only 7% of homes classify as accessible, causing a rift in a housing market that so poorly serves those with limited mobility.

While currently trying to fight this injustice, organizations are being met with resistance in their fight for housing options that are suitable for all and meet higher accessibility standards.

Things You Should Know Before Getting A Service Dog

December 31 2018

USA: In the United States there are around 500,000 service dogs that assist people for various reasons, from vision impairments and seizures to diabetes and disabilities. People are dependent on their service dogs and their lives wouldn’t be the same without them, but for people who are about to get a service dog it can be difficult to know what to expect and what you need to do to get the best results.

Tokyo Paralympics Aim to Leave Legacy of Accessibility

Kyodo
Dec 31, 2018

Japan hopes to use the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics as an opportunity to become a more inclusive and accessible society, and in 2018 games organizers made some strides towards making it a reality.

When hosting a major sporting event, people usually talk about what kind of legacies, tangible or intangible, will remain, while the event’s success is often determined by factors such as spectator numbers or cost, as well as the volume and nature of media coverage which is generated.

The Paralympics are no exception, but experts point to one aspect that makes the para-sport spectacle stand out from the rest its potential to bring societal change.

Compass Slapped With Lawsuit Over Website Access for the Blind

Discrimination lawsuit highlights legal risk for brokerages that don’t comply with Americans with Disabilities Act by Teke Wiggin Staff Writer
Dec 28

Compass is being sued for allegedly failing to make its website fully accessible to blind people, raising the specter that real estate brokerages remain exposed to a legal risk about which the National Association of Realtors had previously warned members.

The suit, which is seeking class-action status and was filed on Dec. 12 in a New York district court, accuses Compass of violating the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) for “its failure to design, construct, maintain, and operate its website to be fully accessible to and independently usable by Plaintiff and other blind or visually-impaired people.”

Welcome Mat: Study Finds Accessibility Key in Bathroom Reno Designs

Maureen Feighan, The Detroit News
Published Dec. 20, 2018

Aging baby boomers who’d like to stay in their homes as they grow older are making accessibility a big part of their bathroom renovations plans, making them bigger and adding features like grab bars, according to Houzz.com’s new 2018 U.S. Bathroom Trends Study.

The survey of 1,100 homeowners, released in mid November, found that one-third of Baby Boomers are addressing current aging needs, while nearly a quarter are planning ahead for future needs as they renovate a master bathroom.

The survey also found 47 percent change the bathroom layout and 34 percent remove the bathtub.

More Students Join Class Action by Mental Health Coalition against Stanford University

by Scott Loftesness

Berkeley, CA (July 16, 2018) Three more students have joined a precedent-setting class action brought by Disability Rights Advocates (DRA) against Stanford University for violating the rights of students with mental health disabilities.

The lawsuit alleges that Stanford routinely responds to student mental health crises by barring students from campus and evicting them from on-campus housing, violating disability laws.

DRA, a national nonprofit legal center, today files an Amended Complaint and Class Certification Motion on behalf of this growing coalition to end the university’s discriminatory policies and practices.

Advocates Say Accessible Canada Act is too Weak to Be Effective

The Canadian Press
Updated: December 19, 2018

The cautious optimism that prevailed in Canada’s disabled community when the federal government tabled historic accessibility legislation earlier this year has given way to widespread concern that the law won’t lead to meaningful change.

Major disability organizations, grassroots advocacy groups and disabled individuals said they’ve raised numerous concerns about the power and scope of the Accessible Canada Act, which the Liberal government first introduced in June.

They said the government has largely ignored those concerns as the bill worked its way through debate in the House of Commons and are now calling on the Senate to introduce amendments that they say would make the bill more effective.

Canada Accedes to the Optional Protocol to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

From: Employment and Social Development Canada
December 3, 2018 Ottawa, Ontario

The Government of Canada is working to create a truly accessible Canada. Today, as part of these efforts, the Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Public Services and Procurement and Accessibility, along with the ministers of Justice, Foreign Affairs and Canadian Heritage, announced that, with the support of all provinces and territories, Canada has acceded to the Optional Protocol to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Accession to the Optional Protocol means that Canadians will have additional recourse to make a complaint to the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, if they believe their rights under the Convention have been violated.

CRTC Mandates Standards for TTY, IP Relay Accessibility Messaging Services

Individuals who are deaf, hard-of-hearing or deafblind will soon have access to faster, better message relay services By Sameer Chhabra
Dec 14, 2018

Canada’s telecommunications watchdog has issued a decision mandating standards for message relay services.

According to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission’s (CRTC) December 14th, 2018 decision, groups that provide text-based message relay services (MRS) like teletypewriter relay (TTY) and internet protocol relay (IP relay) will be required to implement quality of service standards, as well as a standard for call answer time and typing speed.

As per the CRTC’s latest telecom decision, 80 percent of all calls each months will need to be responded to by a live MRS operator within 20 seconds.

International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD), 3 December 2018

Since 1992, the United Nations International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) has been annually observed on 3 December around the world. The theme for this year’s IDPD is “Empowering persons with disabilities and ensuring inclusiveness and equality”.

This theme focuses on the empowering persons with disabilities for the inclusive, equitable and sustainable development envisaged in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The 2030 Agenda, pledging to “leave no one behind,” is an ambitious plan of action of the international community towards a peaceful and prosperous world, where dignity of an individual person and equality among all is applied as the fundamental principle, cutting across the three pillars of the work of the United Nations: Development, Human Rights and Peace and Security. It is critical to ensure, in this regard, the full and equal participation of persons with disabilities in all spheres of society and create enabling environments by, for and with persons with disabilities.

Instagram Improving Accessibility for Users with Visual Impairments

New features include “alternative text” to provide descriptions for pics. by Gordon Gottsegen
November 28, 2018

On Wednesday, Instagram announced new features intended to provide a better experience for people with vision impairments.

Instagram is introducing automatic alternative text, which lets you hear descriptions of pictures when using Instagram with a screen reader. The automatic alternative text uses object recognition tech to generate a list of things that may appear in the photo, helping people know what they’re looking at.

Instagram also lets you create your own alternative text. When posting a photo, you’ll be able to go into the Advanced Settings and add your own alt text, which can be heard when using a screen reader.

Activision Ignites Rage Over Spyro’s Accessibility Failure

By Henry St Leger
November 20, 2018

Subtitles go poof

The arrival of Spyro Reignited Trilogy should be an occasion of joy for players, either those coming to the beloved PlayStation platformer for the first time or those seeing one of their childhood gaming icons lovingly remastered in a modern engine.

The trilogy revisits the first three Spyro games developed by Insomniac Games from 1998 to 2000, all of which were made for the PS1. When the trilogy launched last week, however, there was a notable omission: subtitles.

While Activision incorporates subtitles in the general gameplay of the remastered game as you run around, chase sheep, breathe fire, save the world, and so on animated cut-scenes don’t have them.

Uber enlists outside help to improve wheelchair-accessible rides

It’s aiming to keep wait times down to 15 minutes or less
Mallory Locklear, @mallorylocklear
November 20, 2018

Uber has found itself in hot water multiple times over its lack of wheelchair-accessible vehicles (WAVs), and now it’s teaming up with another company in order to better serve passengers with disabilities. It’s partnering with MV Transportation, a company that provides paratransit services across the US and Canada, and is bringing MV Transportation’s WAV fleet to eight cities.

The Internet Is An Unwelcoming Place to the Disabled

There’s already a blueprint for a more accessible internet. If only designers would learn it.
By Anne Quito•November 15, 2018

The internet can be a hostile space for 15% of the world’s population who experience some form of disability.

Try navigating a website as someone who is visually impaired: Turn on voice command on your computer (Command ? + F5 if you’re on a Mac, enable Navigator if you’re on a PC) and go to Amazon’s Kindle store. You’ll quickly find out that those who rely on voice commands can’t skip around and are doomed to listen to every notation about every page element before getting to the one piece of information they need.

Class Action Lawsuit Filed Against Medi-Cal

Date Filed: 10/22/2018

On October 18, 2018, Disability Rights Advocates(DRA) and a coalition of blind advocates filed a class action lawsuit in Federal Court against the California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) and its county agents for failing to provide Medi-Cal notices in accessible formats, such as Braille.

The plaintiffs are the California Council of the Blind and three individuals; co-counsel is the Disability Rights and Education Fund and Disability Rights California. Read the complaint at the link below.

A Wake Up Call on the Urgent Need to Remove Barriers

OTTAWA, ONTARIO, CANADA: Canada has received a wake-up call in recent months about the urgent need to remove physical barriers in the built environment and improve accessibility for people of all abilities.

In June 2018, the federal government tabled the Accessible Canada Act, a means to ensure equality, inclusion, and full participation in society for all Canadians. This historic event was welcomed by disability groups and advocates across the country, as Canada currently has no set national standard for measuring accessibility and implementing change.

How to Work on Work

by Paul Edwards

I have been involved at the state level of ACB since 1977 and have worked as a rehab teacher and a rehab counselor with the Division of Blind Services in Florida.

Before I retired I worked for 27 years as Director of Services to Students with Disabilities at one of the campuses of the largest community college in the country. This means that I was around when Section 504 was passed and then finally implemented. It seemed like a huge step forward to us then despite its limited coverage.

Feds Prod Universities to Address Website Accessibility

Universities are under legal pressure to make their websites fully accessible to people with disabilities, but is “fully” even possible? By Lindsay McKenzie
November 6, 2018

Hundreds of colleges and universities across the country are currently under investigation by the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights for failing to make their websites accessible to people with disabilities.

Universities that receive federal financial aid are required by law to make reasonable accommodations to ensure their web content is accessible to everyone, including, but not limited to, people who are blind, deaf or have limited mobility.

Passengers Taken Off Flight Due to Guide Dogs Allege Discrimination

by Adrian Ghobrial and News Staff
Posted Nov 2, 2018 2018 at 7:56 am EST

Two visually-impaired Toronto women will have their complaint investigated by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal more than three years after they were removed from a flight at Pearson airport because of their service dogs.

Friends Amal Haddad and Nayla Farah and Farahs daughter had booked a round trip to Stockholm on Jet Airways, departing July 1, 2015, with a stopover in Brussels on the way over.

Farah, who has been travelling the world with a seeing-eye dog for years, said she and Haddad made sure they had all their papers in order before arriving at the airport.