Americas Jun 30, 2016
The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) announced Wednesday that it has reached settlements with education organizations in seven states and one territory to ensure website accessibility for people with disabilities.
“As schools, school districts, states, and territories turn to the internet as a way to provide relevant and up-to-date information to their audiences in a cost-effective manner, they must make sure they are not inadvertently excluding people with disabilities from their online programs, services, and activities,” said Catherine E. Lhamon, assistant secretary for civil rights. “I applaud each of these signatories who have committed to ensuring that their websites are accessible to people with disabilities.”
OCR had received complaints involving each of the organizations, resulting in investigations. But before OCR had completed its probes, each of the 11 parties expressed interest in resolving their cases voluntarily, resulting in the agreements announced today.
The agreements cover issues raised under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 to online services and programs.
OCR investigations found that on all 11 websites important images were missing text descriptions, called “alt tags,” that describe the images to blind and low-vision users who use special software. Common problems affecting many of the websites included:
Some important content of the website could only be accessed by people who can use a computer mouse, which meant that content was not available to those who are blind, many who have low-vision, and those with disabilities affecting fine motor control;
Parts of the website used color combinations that made text difficult or impossible for people with low vision to see; and
Videos were not accurately captioned, so they were inaccessible to people who are deaf.
For the full story - http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2016/06/30/us-education-department-settles-civil-rights-complaints-over-accessible-websites
Dublin Airport Wins European Accessibility Award
Dublin Jun 22, 2016
Dublin Airport has won a major European award for the way in which it deals with disabled passengers and those travelling with reduced mobility.
Dublin Airport won the inaugural Accessible Airport Award at ACI EUROPE’s Best Airport Awards in Athens last night. Separately Dublin Airport was also short-listed in the best large airport category, which was won by Heathrow Airport.
For full story - http://hotelandrestauranttimes.ie/dublin-airport-wins-european-accessibility-award/
Financial status affects success of students with learning disabilities
May 18, 2016 Iowa
College students who receive special accommodations because of a learning disability say they have less difficulty completing assignments and more contact with faculty outside of class than peers who don’t receive extra help.
A new study by the University of Iowa, however, found that only one third of undergraduates from 11 universities who reported having a learning disability were receiving accommodations.
The disparity might come down to two things: a desire to be independent and money.
“Some students with learning disabilities go to college, and they want to manage on their own,” says Karla McGregor, a professor in the UI Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders and lead author of the study. “They don’t want the extra help.”
However, this study found there’s more to the disparity than a wish to go it alone.
Post-secondary educational facilities are not mandated to identify students with learning disabilities. It’s up to the student to self-identify, and that’s where the money comes in. Many universities require documentation of a student’s learning disability in order to qualify for special accommodations. Screenings, interviews, and tests to confirm the existence of a disability can cost as much as $5,000.
“Accommodations are free, but the tests to prove you have a learning disability are not,” says McGregor.
Apple shares new short film on autism proves that accessibility features matter
Americas Apr 5, 2016
Apple has released a new pair of videos on its YouTube channel highlighting the effect that technology has on people with disabilities. The video, called “Dillan’s Voice,” features a teenager named Dillan Barmache, a 16-year-old kid who is autistic, and shows how he uses Apple products to express his thoughts. See http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2016/04/05/apple-shares-new-short-film-on-autism-proves-that-accessibility-features-matter/
Americas, News Mar 30, 2016
Twitter announced on Tuesday a new accessibility feature that lets users add descriptions to their images. The company is attempting to make its social networking platform more accessible for users who are blind or have low vision.
Mar 29, 2016 WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy announced the launch of “TalentWorks” – a free online tool that helps employers and human resources professionals ensure accessibility in their web-based job applications and other recruiting technologies for job seekers with disabilities.
WASHINGTON, DC: Persons with disabilities, families, caregivers, advocacy organizations, teachers and service providers are all invited to attend the 2016 Accessibility Summit taking place April 15 – 16 in Vienna, VA.
Thousands of stores, restaurants and other businesses across the country still have inaccessible one-step entrances. What can be done to address these problems? Fort Collins, Colorado illustrates one possible solution: a public-private partnership in Fort Collins adds portable ramps to improve Old Town business accessibility, to storefronts that might otherwise remain inaccessible because of historic preservation concerns. The cost? A mere $75 per ramp. Kudos to Fort Collins for this innovative solution to a thorny problem. Watch the video: http://www.coloradoan.com/story/money/2014/12/12/old-town-ramps-ease-business-access/20314085/
wanted to share this video which highlights the amazing work tom wlodkowski (a dear friend) is doing at comcast to increase access for people with sensory disabilities...be proud, tom (he also ensured AbleRoad's site and apps were accessible to everyone)!
As we approach the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act next July, and as advocates in this country continue the frustrating but ongoing struggle to persuade the U.S. Senate to ratify the United Nations Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities, it is worth noting other disability rights victories, large and small, around the world. For example, India passed a Persons with Disabilities Act in 1995 (no doubt inspired by the ADA), and activists are still using that law to fight discrimination and obtain better access to employment and other services. An accounting student and wheelchair user in India, Akanksha Vardhaman Kale, just scored a victory where the High Court in Bombay ruled that her school must, in cooperation with the accounting exam authority, provide her with the necessary accessibility so she can take the test. While itâs too bad that Ms. Kale had to go all the way to the Bombay High Court merely to obtain accessibility for her accounting exam, it is a victory nonetheless. Congratulations, Ms. Kale! http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/City/Pune/HC-relief-for-student-seeking-wheelchair-access-at-exam-centre/articleshow/44258201.cms
A reminder that October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month, because less than 23% of Americans with disabilities are employed vs 73% of the remainder of the population.
For more information on how to raise awareness, visit the Dept of Labor website.
JULY 20, 2014, 9:53 AM - Disabled man finds home at Michigan firehouse
A firehouse is a special place, where the crew becomes one big family. Steve Hartman reports from Lansing, Mich., where the members of Fire Station One have made welcome a mentally-handicapped man for almost 60 years. http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/disabled-man-finds-home-at-michigan-firehouse (Watch the video)
Lost a mentor and friend last week. Elmer Bartels was one of the MLKs in the disability rights movement (along with Fred Fay, Justin Dart and Ed Roberts). I had the honor to work for Elmer while in law school. Always said I was injured in the dark ages, while Elmer was hurt in the prehistoric days...A good man who lived the right life.
July 10, 2014 - Congress Passes Bill Limiting Sheltered Workshop Eligibility
A bill that would significantly limit young people with disabilities from entering sheltered workshop programs is headed to President Barack Obama’s desk.
The U.S. House of Representatives voted 415 to 6 Wednesday to approve the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. Included in the bill are major changes to the path from school to work for those with disabilities.
Specifically, the measure would prohibit individuals age 24 and younger from working jobs that pay less than the federal minimum of $7.25 per hour unless they first try vocational rehabilitation services, among other requirements.
What’s more, the legislation would require state vocational rehabilitation agencies to work with schools to provide “pre-employment transition services” to all students with disabilities. And, such agencies must allocate a minimum of 15 percent of their federal funding to help individuals with disabilities in transition under the measure.
While the bill mandates that most young people try competitive employment before they could work for less than minimum wage, there are exceptions for those deemed ineligible for vocational rehabilitation and to allow individuals already earning so-called subminimum wage to continue to do so.
The measure, which was approved by the U.S. Senate last month, is now on its way to the White House and Obama said he will sign it.
Dublin, 9 July 2014 -The Disability Federation of Ireland (DFI) today urged the newly formed Cabinet to reinstate funding to 26 organisations supporting people with disabilities.
26 disability and caring-focused organisations saw their funding revoked in the allocations for the 2014-2016 round of Scheme to Support National Organisations (SSNO), at a total loss of approximately €1.2m annually. DFI is calling on the new Cabinet, expected to be announced today, to enact measures to restore this funding.
The call came at a DFI event in Buswells Hotel, attended by representatives of the affected organisations. Huge concern was raised at the impact the withdrawal of funding will immediately bear on the thousands of people they support: several organisations, including the Irish Deaf Society, Huntington’s Disease Association and Muscular Dystrophy Ireland, have been forced to reduce or even close some of their services and supports, with many more likely to do the same in the near future. Many of the organisations used these grants to finance essential services in the community, such as family support work or health and advocacy services; these are vital in allowing disabled people to live with the independence and well-being they are entitled to.