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National AccessAbility Week

May 21 2018

CANADA: May 27 to June 2, 2018, is National AccessAbility Week. This is a time for Canadians to promote inclusion and accessibility in our communities and workplaces, and celebrate the contributions of Canadians with disabilities.

It is also a time to recognize the efforts of individuals, communities and workplaces who are actively removing barriers to give Canadians of all abilities a better chance to succeed.

We need to change the way we think, talk and act about barriers to participation and accessibility, and we need to do it right from the start, not as an afterthought. An inclusive Canada is one where all Canadians can participate and have an equal opportunity to succeed in their workplaces and communities.

Saskatoon Woman Demands Change for Provincial Wheelchair Accessibility

A woman’s struggle with wheelchair accessibility has sparked her to make a change. Stephanie Villella explains. CTV Saskatoon
Published Saturday, May 19, 2018

A woman in a wheelchair in Saskatoon is demanding change for wheelchair accessibility in the city and across the province.

For Debbie Windsor, getting around isnt easy. Shes been in a wheelchair since she was four-years-old and has a rare condition called Osteogenesis imperfecta.

Windsor said her disability has been preventing her from going to certain places like the Saskatoon Business College to start her career.

I started looking into that school and where it was and all of that And it wasn’t accessible, Windsor said.

2nd World Summit on Accessible Tourism – Destinations for All 2018

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM: The second edition of the World Summit Destinations for All will take place in Brussels, October 1-2, 2018, under the auspices of Kéroul and CAWaB.

The aim of the event is to give concrete expression to the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Recommendations on Accessible Tourism.

For more information: https://www.destinationsforall2018.eu/

The first edition of the Summit was held in Montréal in October 2014 and wrapped up with the adoption of the A World for Everyone declaration.

Available in 10 languages, this declaration features 40 specific measures for implementing the UNWTO Recommendations on Accessible Tourism globally and locally. It is a veritable plan for action on the local, national and international scales to promote the accessibility of infrastructure, buildings, tourist services as well as transportation services.

Robot ‘Double’ Allows Sick Students to Attend School, See Friends

Jilly DeStephanos robot is guided out of social studies class and into the hallway by her friend at Octorara Intermediate School in Atglen, Pa. by Kathy Boccella, Staff Writer @Kathy_Boccella | kboccella@phillynews.com Published: February 27, 2018

Jilly, I like your hair, said Melanie, admiring her neat brunette pigtails, which Jilly flicked in response. Suddenly, their teacher Melissa Fanelli showed up.

Jilly, did you get the classwork I emailed you?

Got it, answered Jilly, who was actually a couple of miles away, sitting at her dining-room table at home in Christiana, just past the edge of Philadelphia in Lancaster County.

Travel With Ease: How Singapore Is Catering to Visitors with Special Accessibility Needs

SINGAPORE, MALAYSIA: With an aging population, Singapore has been tackling accessibility needs head-on with a series of changes to the city’s infrastructure. Today, it’s one of the most travel-friendly cities in the world for those with accessibility needs, so if you’re looking for delicious Asian food and a cultural adventure, Singapore makes a great vacation destination. New York travel company AllTheRooms has the lowdown on how Singapore has become a top, accessible vacation destination.

Increasing Access to Financial Support Programs for People With Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Would Lead to Economic and Social Benefits

News provided by Conference Board of Canada

OTTAWA, May 2, 2018 /CNW/ – Improving financial support programs for people living with multiple sclerosis (MS) would increase their labour force participation and boost economic activity. A new Conference Board of Canada report released during MS Awareness Month finds that expanding the employment insurance (EI) sickness benefit program and making the disability tax credit (DTC) refundable would allow approximately 11,400 people to remain in or re-enter the workforce and boost economic activity by an estimated $1.1 billion annually.

With 2.6 Million Followers and Counting, Disabled Chinese Woman Inspires Social Change

By NATHAN VANDERKLIPPE
Staff

Let’s shake hands,” Yang Li says, getting up from the couch to greet a visitor. She lifts her right foot above her waist, curls it around and gives a slight squeeze to an outstretched hand.
It’s the kind of unexpected everyday gesture that has won the young office worker a huge and growing following in China.

Ms. Yang’s loss of her arms in a childhood accident both were completely amputated, leaving no possibility
of prosthetics – and no-nonsense mien have made her the subject of national interest and an icon for disabled people.

Ms. Yang, 28, uploaded her first two videos to Kuaishou, a short-video platform in China, last July.

Lyft Sued for Discriminating Against Wheelchair-Users

Berkeley, CA (March 13, 2018)

Today, Disability Rights Advocates (DRA) filed a major class action lawsuit against Lyft, challenging the popular ride-sharing service’s failure to make wheelchair-accessible vehicles available in the Bay Area through its rideshare service.

The suit, brought by a coalition of a disability rights group and individuals in the San Francisco Bay Area, is the first legal challenge to Lyft’s wheelchair-inaccessibility on its home turf. The plaintiffsIndependent Living Resource Center of San Francisco and two individuals who use wheelchairs brought this action to end Lyft’s discriminatory practices and policies.

Lyft does not provide wheelchair-accessible transportation in the Bay Area. The case challenges Lyft’s failure to provide wheelchair-accessible service as a violation of California anti-discrimination laws.

HealthHack 2018 Winner Aims for Better Accessibility in Edmonton

By Kerry McAthey
Radio Anchor/Reporter 630CHED

Navigating Edmonton in a wheelchair takes a lot of force, according to the Click N’ Push application

Navigating Edmonton in a wheelchair takes a lot of force, according to the Click N’ Push application

The winner of this year’s HealthHack Smart Cities Challenge is aiming to make Edmonton more accessible to those who use wheelchairs.

Professor at the Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine at the University of Alberta Martin Ferguson-Pell and his team have developed Click N’ Push an app that shows just how difficult it can be to get around the city in a wheelchair.

Are Autonomous Vehicles Ready to Help the Blind?

April 16, 2018

New research conducted outside of the auto industry aims to develop data and software to ensure that the needs of the blind are met when autonomous cars become commonplace.

In 2012, Steve Mahan, who is blind, climbed into the driver’s seat of a self-driving car and rolled up to the drive-thru of a Taco Bell in a video viewed more than 8 million times.

Produced by Google, the video captured the potential of autonomous-car technology to change the lives of the visually impaired.

“It was my first time behind the steering wheel in seven years and was absolutely amazing,” Mr. Mahan said.

Calgary, Edmonton Expos Less Accessible After Policy Change, Say Fans With Mobility Concerns

Fan Expo HQ says policy complies with all necessary regulations Sarah Rieger · CBC News
Posted: Apr 26, 2018

Cosplayer Laura Taylor incorporates her wheelchair into her Princess Peach costume. She says Fan Expo HQ’s policy change makes it harder for her to attend the Calgary and Edmonton fan conventions.

Some visitors to the Calgary and Edmonton Comic and Entertainment Expos are disappointed with what they say are “unfair” changes to the fan conventions’ accessibility policies.

The changes came after the expos joined the North American pop culture exhibition group Fan Expo HQ.

CSUN 2018 Heralds The Year of Wearables–Unless It Doesn’t

Shelly Brisbin

When reporting on an event like the annual CSUN Assistive Technology Conference, it’s tempting to try to sum it up with a single narrative. This is my third year covering the trade show portion of CSUN. In addition to asking questions for AccessWorld, I was part of the Blind Bargains podcast team You’ll find links to some of our interviews at the link below.

A couple of years ago, Jamie Pauls wrote that CSUN and other accessibility-focused trade shows inaugurated the year of Braille. This year, a number of the products announced in 2016 are available to purchase, some have even been updated, and a few still aren’t available at all. Most of these items exemplify important improvements in function, price, or both.

The University of Winnipeg Students’ Association Launches The Access Lounge

The University of Winnipeg Students’ Association (UWSA) has launched an accessible study and community building space available for students with disabilities/disabled students to access.

The lounge has accessible study spaces and supports community building within the disabled community.

The center shows the reprioritization of resources to support grassroots disability activism. The center also is home to UWSAccess, a Disability Justice group run for and by students with disabilities.

The Access Lounge is a space on campus dedicated to students who are disabled by barriers. This space is for those students to study, hang out or complete course work.

Location: Mezzanine Level, Bulman Student Centre
Email: accesslounge@theuwsa.ca
Hours: 10 a.m. 4 p.m.

Blind Woman Helps Guide Successful Voting-Rights Lawsuit Against State of Ohio

By: Rick Reitzel
Updated: Apr 12, 2018

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — A lawsuit brought by Disability Rights Ohio has succeeded in requiring Secretary of State Jon Husted’s office into providing accessible voting solutions for the blind.

NBC4 spoke with the woman behind the lawsuit.

Many people take voting for granted as just a simple procedure, but for those with disabilities like Shelbi Hindel, who has been blind since two, accessibility for voting has been a challenge.

“I still want to vote independently and I want to be able to have an option, like others have,” Hindel said.

She has been very mobile, raising two children to adulthood and working jobs for the state and federal governments.

Beyond Title III: Website Accessibility Lawsuits Filed Alleging Inaccessible Online Employment Applications

Seyfarth Synopsis: Plaintiffs who pursued numerous web accessibility actions under Title III of the ADA are now using website accessibility to test the limits of a different area of law employment law California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act.

Over the past few years, we have frequently written about the proliferation of demand letters and lawsuits alleging that a business denied a usually blind or vision-impaired individual access to its goods and services because the business’ website was not accessible, in violation of Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and state laws. One firm that pursued many web accessibility actions under Title III and California’s Unruh Act (including a success in the Bags N’ Baggage case decided in plaintiff’s favor by a California state court) is now going after employers. In recent demand letters and lawsuits, they are alleging that employment websites are not accessible to blind job seekers, in violation of California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), California’s corollary to Title I of the ADA.

Disability Network Sponsoring Accessible Services at Dow Diamond

Midland Daily News
Published April 6, 2018

Disability Network of Mid-Michigan will be the presenting sponsor of accessible services at Dow Diamond for the 2018 baseball season.

This agreement continues a long-standing partnership that has existed between DNMM, the Great Lakes Loons and the Michigan Baseball Foundation since 2006.

With Dow Diamond’s groundbreaking, the Loons, the MBF and DNMM worked to create a world class stadium that was accessible to all fans. DNMM aided the Loons in meeting and exceeding stadium requirements set by the Americans with Disabilities Act and continues to be a key community partner in making Dow Diamond a model of accessibility.

This Marathoner Defies the Odds

Despite doctor’s orders, Toronto-born runner has 10 races to his name William J. Kole The Associated Press

Toronto-born Young, 52, puts on his
running shoes at his current home in Salem, Mass.

Most marathoners take 35,000 steps to reach the finish line. John Young needs 80,000.

The high school math teacher from Toronto, who now lives in Salem, Mass., is part of a rare and spirited breed of athlete: those who’ve overcome the daunting challenges of dwarfism to conquer the 42.2-kilometre distance.

Why Financial Institutions Should Strive to Meet the Needs of Persons With Disabilities(PWD’s)

April 4 2018

There are over 56 million people living with disabilities in the United States, which makes them the biggest minority group in the nation. With the latest technological innovations, one would think that financial accessibility for the disabled would be a resolved matter in this day and age; however, that is not the case.

As reported by the FDIC National Survey of Unbanked and Underbanked Households, “more than 5 million people with disabilities are currently unbanked or underbanked”. However, the good news is, financial institutions are becoming more and more aware of the reality of the situation, and are doing their best to create long-term business relationships with people with disabilities.

Disability Etiquette Is a Must in Society

April 3, 2018
In Columns, Embracing Life on Wheels – a Column By Jessica Grono.

Imagine going to the mall with a wheelchair-accessible van and all handicapped-accessible spaces are taken, but no one has a proper tag to park there. Or you’re in a wheelchair and need to use the bathroom, but others are in the handicapped stall when they have no good excuse to be. With a disability, you usually have to wait because the normal parking stalls are too small for a wheelchair-accessible van and restroom stalls are too small for a wheelchair. Then, people often stare at you like you’re the crazy person for needing the space.

Gyms Must Do More to Accommodate People With Disabilities

By PAUL LANDINI
Globe and Mail, April 2, 2018.

Advances in modern medicine have led doctors to a better understanding of the benefits of exercise in managing a broad range of chronic conditions, from multiple sclerosis and cerebral palsy to post-traumatic stress disorder
(PTSD) and epilepsy. Unfortunately, traditional gyms aren’t designed with this end use in mind. Sure, there’s bound to be an automatic door opener for people with mobility issues, maybe even a wheelchair lift or a ramp, but
that tends to be the extent of the services provided to make fitness accessible to all.