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Seeing Opportunities for the Visually Impaired

Mary Helen Sprecher is a technical writer with the American Sports Builders Association and a full-time newspaper reporter in Baltimore. About this time
Monday, March 26, 2012

last year, I was passing by one of Baltimore’s sports fields when I came across an Easter egg hunt in progress. It took me a minute to realize it wasn’t a typical egg hunt; the eggs were beeping, and the kids running around collecting them were blind.

The kids were screaming and laughing and having a great time. I wound up stopping to talk with an adult on the premises, and learned the event was held each year.

Green Shield Canada Donates $20,000 to Adult Transition Program for Youth with Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus+

For Immediate Release
March 20, 2012

TORONTO, ON): A generous $20,000 donation from Green Shield Canada’s Community Giving Program has been instrumental in launching the new Spina Bifida & Hydrocephalus Association of Ontario (SB&H) Getting You There program to help vulnerable teens and young adults with spina bifida and/or hydrocephalus (sb/h) successfully transition to adulthood.

The important new program will provide much-needed transition tools, guidance, support and age-appropriate information to more than 1,400 Ontario youths
aged 14 to 24 with these complex, incurable neurological conditions. 

“Green Shield Canada’s donation has been a tremendous boost for the first year of Getting You There,” says Joan Booth, Executive Director, SB&H.

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.
Andre Martin

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.

Ralph Nader Calls For Stronger Actions to Ensure Equal Opportunity in Sports for All Americans

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 11, 2011, A.M.

League of Fans Outlines Necessary Steps to Re-Energize the Quest for a Level Playing Field in Athletics

Ralph Nader announced today that his League of Fans organization is launching a new initiative to accelerate the march toward equal opportunity in sports. Nader said pertinent federal and state laws need to be enforced more vigorously and new laws and policies enacted if the vision for equal opportunity in sports is to be realized.

“As a country we’ve grown lax in our enforcement of Title IX and other laws designed to give all Americans an equal chance to participate in sports,” said Nader. “We live in a country in which females and those with disabilities continue to be treated unfairly and unjustly in the world of sports. That’s unacceptable.”

Disabled People Take Anti-Cuts Protest to the Courts

Lawyers await high court judgments on legal actions against council plans to cut social care

Karen McVeigh, The Guardian,
May 10, 2011
Disabled people are using the courts to challenge multimillion-pound spending cuts which they say will hit them hardest.

They have launched a number of legal actions against council plans to slash vital support services after cuts in government funding. 

As disabled people, their families and carers, which organisers expect in their thousands, gear up to demonstrate in Westminster in
protest against the cuts to their jobs and services on Wednesday, lawyers in test cases said they were looking forward to a decision in the high court next week. 

Jenkins Aim to Bring Sled Hockey to SoCal

January 17, 2011
By Chris Peters
Special to

Nick Jenkins, a 10-year-old from San Bernardino, Calif., is the type of child who looks at a challenge and just smiles. He knows he’ll overcome it with
hard work and a positive attitude. It’s just the way he is.

Nick was born with spina bifida, which in layman’s terms means he was born with a broken back. Despite being confined mainly to a wheelchair, Nick has maintained his trademark positive attitude and hasn’t allowed his disability prevent him from doing the things he wants to do.

“Nick’s a go-getter,” said Christie Jenkins, Nick’s mother. “He’s a real inspiring kind of guy.”

What Do human Rights Commissions and Tribunals Do?

Second of our 12-part  Special Report: Human Rights Commissions in Canada

November 29, 2010
By Judy Monchuk
Senior Writer
Troy Media

CALGARY, AB, Nov. 29, 2010/ Troy Media/ – Most Canadians take no notice of the sidewalk cuts that allow people in wheelchairs to travel up and down city streets, or that the waitress at their favourite coffee shop is displaying a prominent baby bump.

That’s because, over the last 30 years, disabled accessibility and women’s right to fair treatment while pregnant have become accepted human rights in Canada, thanks to the power of people who sought redress through human rights commissions.

Direction Provided to Air Canada on Accommodating Travellers with Peanut or Nut Allergies

Canada NewsWire

OTTAWA, Oct. 19 /CNW/ – The Canadian Transportation Agency today issued a decision providing direction to Air Canada on how to accommodate travellers disabled by peanut or nut allergies.

In a decision issued earlier this year (Decision No. 4-AT-A-2010), the Agency found that buffer zones are the appropriate accommodation for persons aboard aircraft who are disabled due to their allergy to peanuts or nuts. Air Canada was required to provide submissions on buffer zones and on the advance notice to be provided by travellers requiring this form of accommodation. The complainants in the case were given the opportunity to comment on Air Canada’s submissions.

Should Sighted Developers Use Screenreaders To Test Accessibility?

There is some controversy about the idea of sighted web designers and developers using screenreading software to test web sites for accessibility. Some people suggest one must use a screenreader to test their sites. Others believe it is counter productive. I think that very few sighted people can get the correct results by using screenreaders to test a website.

Sailors With Disabilities Gather in Vancouver for Mobility Cup

By Denise Ryan, Vancouver Sun September 12, 2010  

VANCOUVER – Sailors from around the globe will be in Vancouver this week to participate in the 20th annual Mobility Cup, an international regatta for disabled sailors.

The event was founded in Vancouver by Sam Sullivan after the Man in Motion World Tour’s Rick Hansen gave him an adaptive sailboat. Hansen had received the boat from then-British prime minister Margaret Thatcher.

Sullivan, a former Vancouver mayor who uses a wheelchair, used the boat to launch the Disabled Sailing Club of British Columbia in 1989.

Among this week’s competitors is Terry LeBlanc, 57, who became quadriplegic after a diving accident at the age of 25.

Update: Access for Sight Impaired Consumers Board Backs Human Rights Complaint

Posted to site August 23, 2010

For those who have been closely following and in some cases, contributing valuable information that assisted us with our human rights complaint regarding accessible pedestrian signals, we are pleased to announce that the hearing will not proceed on August 23 2010 inasmuch as the parties have agreed to work together on the issues raised in the complaint.

Following two separate on-site demonstrations of proposed APS devices, one installed at a controlled intersection which included audio street identification messaging and the second installation at a “special” crosswalk which included audio street identification with a verbal crossing message, we have agreed to a minimum of five evaluation sites to gather pedestrian opinions over a short period regarding some final issues that require fine tuning:

New ROM Program Allows Blind Visitors to Touch Exhibits

Museum, which received $1.5-million gift from anonymous donor, also launching American Sign Language tours for the deaf

Ann Hui
Globe and Mail Update Published on Tuesday, Jun. 01, 2010

Anne Henderson crouches forward, running her gloved hand along the carved surface of the ancient burial tomb and feeling for the immortal God’s “little
tummy” that the museum worker tells her she will find. “It’s actually a big tummy,” Ms. Henderson says when she finally feels it, laughing. She reaches
her arm up, and the museum guide, Elsie Lo, pulls her back to her feet.

Court: Theaters Must Offer Services for Disabled

By Howard Fischer
Capitol Media Services, April 30, 2010

Theater owners have to make special devices available to ensure those with
hearing and vision disabilities can enjoy the movies, a federal appeals
court ruled Friday.

In a unanimous decision, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected arguments
by attorneys for the Arizona-based Harkins theater chain that nothing in
federal law requires them to purchase and install the necessary equipment.
The judges said the kinds of devices at issue here clearly fall within the
requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Figures of Speech: Audio-Describers Deliver Theatre to Imagination of Visually Impaired

By Mary Frances Hill,
Vancouver SunNovember 3, 2009

Narrated performance of The Miracle Worker is the first of its kind in

Sitting in an audio booth above the stage, Teri Snelgrove describes
The Miracle Worker to blind audience members during a performance at
the Vancouver Playhouse.

Canada’s Woolstencroft Wins Paralympic Gold

Wednesday, March 17, 2010
The Canadian Press

Standing at the top of the podium never gets old for alpine skier Lauren Woolstencroft, just harder.

Woolstencroft earned her second gold medal of the Paralympics Wednesday by winning the women’s standing giant slalom. She finished 7.57 seconds ahead of silver medallist Andrea Rothfuss of Germany.

Canada’s McKeever Wins Paralympic Gold

Monday, March 15, 2010.
The Canadian Press

Visually impaired cross-country skier Brian McKeever has won Canada’s first gold medal of the Paralympics.

He finished first in Monday’s 20-kilometre race for the visually impaired with a time of 51 minutes 14.7 seconds in Whistler, B.C. Nikolay Polukhin of Russia was second in 51:55.6 while Vasiki Shaptsiaboi was third in 52:22.5.

Athletes Strive for Recognition 

Paralympic competitors train as hard as Olympic athletes and frequently compete on the same courses, yet they get a fraction of the support and acknowledgement.

As the 2010 Paralympic Games get underway in Vancouver some hope that is starting to change. 

Elite Athletes Who Need a Helping Hand  

By Daphne Bramham, Vancouver SunMarch 10, 2010  

Team Canada sledge hockey captain Jean Labonte: hopes people will look beyond Paralympians’ disabilities to their athletic performances.

Most able-bodied folks aren’t comfortable with disability, despite national heroes like Terry Fox and Rick Hansen.

My dad spent most of his last five years in a wheelchair. Once people saw the chair, many treated him as if his disability was contagious. In that chair,
my father was invisible, inanimate, a gimp.

Combine Paralympics and Olympics, founder urges 

First competitions for people with disabilities were in rehabilitation hospitals 

By JEFF LEE, Vancouver SunMarch 11, 2010 2:02 AM  

The Paralympic Torch is passed on in a relay around Riley Park, close to venues for the Paralympics on Wednesday.  

The founder of the International Paralympic Committee wants to see the Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games combined to take advantage of the kind of public support Canadians showed at the 2010 Olympics.

Paralympic Winter Games TV Schedule announced

Posted by digitalhome
on March 8, 2010

Canada’s Olympic Broadcast Media Consortium announced today it would broadcast fifty-seven hours of high-definition television coverage of the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games in English and French.