Nicholas A. Giudice, Ph.D.
As a congenitally blind person, it has become obvious to me that my reliance on touch as a primary mode of experiencing the world puts me at odds with current best practices for avoiding the coronavirus. The principle guidance for safeguarding against COVID-19 is to (1) curtail physical contact with those around us (or the things they touch), (2) limit touching of our body (especially of the face), and (3) maintain a minimum proximity bubble during social interactions (ideally of 6-feet or more). In this essay, I discuss how an unanticipated consequence of following this tri-part guidance for staying ‘safe’ is the effective demonization of touch, which has led to many unforeseen challenges for more than 12 million people in the U.S. (and over 285 million people worldwide) who are blind or visually impaired (BVI).
COVID-19 and Blindness: Why the New Touchless, Physically-Distant World Sucks for People with Visual Impairment full article
Published on June 18, 2019 in Broadband’s Impact/Digital Inclusion/FCC/Innovation by Masha Abarinova
ARLINGTON, Virginia – June 18, 2019 Comprehensive legislation addressing accessibility is necessary to ensure that information technology is available to a wider group of people, particularly to people with disabilities, said panelists speaking at the M-Enabling Summit here on Tuesday.
Innovations involving wireless 5G technologies, for example, use multiple bandwidths including mid-band and low-band, which are more available in rural areas. But some of 5G’s functions will be more available than others, as the gaps in rural coverage present a “real problem” for which a “massive funding effort will be necessary,” said Paul Schroeder, vice president of public policy at Aira. The company offers wearable smart glasses and an integrated mobile app helping people with limited visibility.
Digital Accessibility Improving, but People with Disabilities Still Seek More Inclusive Access full article
By Andy Greenberg
When Alan Turing first conceived of the Turing Test in 1947, he suggested that a computer program’s resemblance to a human mind could be gauged by making it answer a series of questions written by an interrogator in another room. Jump forward about seven decades, and Google says it’s now developed a Turing Test that can spot a bot by requiring it to do something far simpler: Click on a checkbox.
Google Can Now Tell You’re Not a Robot With Just One Click full article
11th December 2013
by Wayne Howe
Recently I came across the news of a new online bingo game that had been created for blind and partially sighted people. This intrigued me somewhat as it had never crossed my mind how blind people even accessed the internet, never mind played online games.
Read more at
Posted Mar 22, 2013
Original, 01 May 2012 by Helen Knight
Magazine issue 2862.
ROBOTS need help navigating their surroundings and sophisticated location systems to keep track of their position. Now the same technologies are being adapted to help blind people navigate indoor and outdoor spaces independently.
Robot Sensing and Smartphones Help Blind Navigate full article
Advocates for Disabled Say Netflix, Target Are Legally Obligated to Make Sites Easier to Navigate
By JOE PALAZZOLO
March 21, 2013, 6:54 p.m. ET
Stephen Voss for The Wall Street Journal
Anne Taylor uses a Google Nexus 7 tablet at the National Federation of the Blind in Baltimore.
.Commerce has moved online. Now, the disability lawsuits are following.
Advocates for disabled Americans have declared that companies have a legal obligation to make their websites as accessible as their stores, and they’ve filed suits across the country to force them to install the digital version of wheelchair ramps and self-opening doors.
Deaf, Blind Sue Over Web Shopping full article
Thursday, February 21, 2013
Contact: Lindsey O’Keefe
Washington, DC – The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) issued final regulations pertaining to a special hiring authority for the appointment of persons with certain disabilities.
The final rule for “Excepted Service – Appointment of Persons with Intellectual Disabilities, Severe Physical Disabilities, and Psychiatric Disabilities,” also known as “Schedule A Hiring Authority,” simplifies the hiring process for job applicants with disabilities who have work, educational, or other relevant experience, by relieving them of the burden of procuring “certificates of readiness” as a condition of appointment.
OPM Issues Final Rule to Simplify Schedule A, Hiring Authority for Persons With Disabilities full article
By Leo Kelion
22 February 2013 Last updated at 13:34 ET
The VoiceOver function is designed to help blind and partially sighted consumers use the iPhone
Samsung has suffered a setback in its effort to win an iPhone ban based on a function making its software accessible to blind people.
The South Korean firm had sought an injunction in a German court arguing Apple’s VoiceOver screen-access facility infringed one of its patents.
However, the judge has ordered the case to be suspended pending another ruling that could invalidate Samsung’s claim.
Disability campaigners had expressed concern about the case.
.Samsung Struggles to Block iPhone Function for the Blind full article
Lindsay Kines / Times Colonist
February 20, 2013
The B.C. government plans to drastically reduce the average amount of money it spends on adults with developmental disabilities over the next three years, budget documents show.
Adults with fetal alcohol disorder and autism who receive service under the personal supports initiative will see the biggest decline. Documents show the average cost per client in that program dropping from $24,000 to $16,000 this year alone — a 33 per cent decline.
In two years time, the average cost per client in the program will be less than half what it is today, the documents show.
B.C. Plans to Slash Funding for Adults With Disabilities full article
Feb 5, 2013
NEW YORK: For the millions of Americans with vision disabilities looking for a simple, convenient way to take notes at work, at school, or at home, the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) launched the AccessNote™, a specialized notetaker for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod
Read more at
January 29, 2013|By Ben Wolford, Sun Sentinel
When visually impaired people gush over iPhones, they swear they aren’t just following the sighted onto the Apple bandwagon. The device isn’t simply the trendy choice for them. It’s pretty much the only choice.
Out of the package, there’s nothing you need to see and no setup necessary. Just turn it on. There are GPS apps to help navigate, count currency and detect color. Meanwhile, the iPhone is competing with Braille, and nonprofit workers in Fort Lauderdale and elsewhere are offering classes on how to use it.
iPhones Help Blind Navigate a Sightless World full article
By Victor Schwartzman
Human Rights Nudge
February 1, 2013
Yes, even Yoda would turn cynical after the history of AODA in Ontario. Where is the Force when you need it?
Advocates who worked tirelessly in Ontario to push the Government into creating and implementing a new law (AODA) to eliminate access barriers currently do not know whether the Provincial Government has been/will be Darth Vader or Obi Wynne Kenobi.
Read more at
Users must register 1st, as texting alone still won’t reach emergency services
CBC News Posted: Jan 24, 2013 3:22 PM ET
Canadians who have hearing or speech problems will soon be able to send text messages to 911 services.
Other Canadians, however, must continue to communicate with 911 services over the phone, says Canada’s telecommunications regulator.
By Jan. 24, 2014, all telephone and wireless companies must upgrade their networks to support text messaging communication with Canadians who have hearing and speech impairments. The service may become available before then in areas where the upgrades are completed early.
911 Staff Will Text Message With Deaf Canadians full article
By BusinessWirevia The Motley Fool
Posted 4:50PM 09/24/12
KNOXVILLE, Tenn.–(BUSINESS WIRE)– Regal Entertainment Group (NYS: RGC) , a leading motion picture exhibitor owning and operating the largest theatre circuit in the United States, announced a milestone with 200 theatres nationwide now offering the Sony Entertainment Access System at theatres across the country. Regal Entertainment Group is working exclusively with Sony for this cutting-edge technology to assist moviegoers who are deaf, hard of hearing, have low vision or are blind.
Regal Entertainment Group Makes Moviegoing Accessible to All with Advanced Technology from Sony full article
[This unedited press release is made available courtesy of Gamasutra and its partnership with notable game PR-related resource GamesPress.]
London, 3rd September 2012: today sees the launch of a comprehensive developer guide to addressing the accessibility issues faced by over 20% of video gamers. www.gameaccessibilityguidelines.com has been created by a group of developers and experts, coordinated by Ian Hamilton, an accessibility and usability specialist with a background in game development.
The website offers all developers guidelines on how to better serve the needs of gamers with a range of visual, hearing, speech, learning and motor conditions. The hope is that by highlighting the relatively simple changes needed, the games industry as a whole will be able to ensure that they quickly become part of its normal working practices.
Making Video Gaming Accessible to All: guidelines to Help Game Developers Meet the Needs of the 20% of Gamers Who Have Disabilities full article
By Philippa Willitts
August 1, 2012
An ‘inspirational’ photo has been making its way around Twitter and Facebook. The photograph is of Oscar Pistorius, a disabled athlete, running with a small, disabled girl. The caption, “The only disability in life is a bad attitude”, is a quote from Scott Hamilton, a former figure skater who is also a cancer survivor. There are others, too, in the same vein, including one of a small child walking with prosthetic legs and the caption, “Your excuse is invalid”.
Bad Attitudes Do Not Cause Disability Any More Than Good Attitudes Guarantee Health full article
by Elizabeth Sweeney
Posted July 18, 2012
The Roadside Memorial (Study), 2009 Montreal, Choreography by Marie-Hélène Bellavance, Dancers depicted are Marie-Hélène Bellavance and Simon-Xavier Lefebvre, Photo: Caroline Hayeur
It’s a tiny, slightly blurry, pixilated video. You can barely make out Catherine Frazee, a Canadian disability arts guru, or
the Sign Language interpreter in the bottom right-hand corner.
The video is of Frazee’s speech “Contributing to Culture,” given in 2005 during the UN International Day of Disabled Persons.
Catherine spoke eloquently about the significance of the cultural and artistic contributions of people with disabilities.
Canadians with disabilities aren’t “just looking for a few wheelchair spots in the audience,” she explained, they want
“We Want Access With a Big ‘A’.” full article
By Victor Schwartzman
A recent article in Accessibility News—Toronto Woman Wins Second Victory Ordering Government Websites Accessible to Blind (http://www.thestar.com/news/article/1203749–toronto-woman-wins-second-victory-ordering-government-websites-accessible-to-blind) illustrates the depth of the problems blind people look at.
If that last phrase was a bad joke, the Government’s actions are worse.
The Government, supposed to be our rights protector and enforcer, instead continues to fight making its own websites fully accessible. The article mentions a lack of access to possible employment, which is certainly an important problem. But the situation is worse than that.
Government Websites: Where Is The Canadian Human Rights Commission? full article
By Mouth and Foot Painting Artists of Canada
Published: Tuesday, Apr. 17, 2012 – 5:17 am
TORONTO, April 17, 2012 /PRNewswire/ – Today, the Mouth and Foot Painting Artists (MFPA) launched Canvassing the Country: A Moving, Canadian Art Story, an ambitious, national collaboration of disabled artists across Canada who share the determination to overcome physical adversity and use art to help achieve financial independence.
Over the next six months, selected MFPA artists across Canada will work together on a single canvas that will travel the country in anticipation and support of September’s Self-Help Awareness Week.
Each artist will paint a regional Canadian scene that serves as a source of personal inspiration.
Disabled Artists Unite To Create A Moving, Canadian Art Story full article