Accessibility in the News- Knowledge is Power for 04-25

DOJ Ruling ADA Title II Resource Page- Bookmark It! National News (U.S.) 1.    The Next Frontier for Brain Implants Is Artificial […]

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DOJ Ruling ADA Title II Resource Page- Bookmark It!

National News (U.S.)

1.    The Next Frontier for Brain Implants Is Artificial Vision- April 15, 2023 Source: WIRED

Brian Bussard has 25 tiny chips in his brain. They were installed in February 2022 as part of a study testing a wireless device designed to produce rudimentary vision in blind people. Bussard is the first participant. Bussard, who’s 56, lost vision in his left eye at age 17 after his retina detached. The right eye followed in 2016, leaving him completely blind. He remembers the exact moment it happened. “It was the hardest thing I’ve ever gone through,” he says. Eventually, he learned to adapt…

2.    How Colorado’s first legislator to use a wheelchair reveals accessibility gaps- April 18, 2024 Source: USA TODAY

a.    Prescription Label Accessibility for Blind Coloradans Passes House- April 19, 2024 Source: Colorado House Democrats

b.    House Approves Bill to Improve Airport Accessibility for Coloradans with Disabilities- April 24, 2024 Source: Colorado House Democrats

The Colorado Capitol looks different than it did four years ago. One notable addition: the ramps on the House floor didn’t used to be there. When Democratic Rep. David Ortiz of Littleton took office in 2021, he became the first Colorado legislator to use a wheelchair, highlighting critical gaps in accessibility needs in the historic building. Although accessible ramps have been installed, the Capitol building still poses safety concerns for those using wheelchairs, as some areas are still inaccessible despite elevators…

3.    BART commits to addressing elevator issues in new settlement- April 18, 2024 Source: The Mercury News & The Daily Californian & Disability Rights Advocates & Smart Cities Dive

In a new settlement agreement approved by a federal judge Thursday, the Bay Area Rapid Transit District agreed to take specific steps toward improving train accessibility for riders with mobility disabilities, according to a news release from groups that pushed for the change. “This settlement ensures that people with mobility disabilities are not excluded from the Bay Area’s mass transit system and do not receive a level of service vastly inferior to nondisabled people,” said Jinny Kim, supervising attorney at Disability Rights Advocates…

4.    Chuck E. Cheese partners with American Society for Deaf Children to improve accessibility- April 19, 2024 Source: Pizza Marketplace

Chuck E. Cheese is partnering with the American Society for Deaf Children to improve accessibility for deaf and hard-of-hearing children and their families, according to a press release. The collaboration will include fundraising events with 20% of proceeds benefiting ASDC, employee training on ASL greetings and deaf culture and an “ASL Sign-Along” series featuring the Chuck E. Cheese birthday song and other content. “Entertainment and play are universal, and children who are deaf or hard of hearing deserve equal opportunities to enjoy the fun at Chuck E. Cheese,” David McKillips, CEO of Chuck E. Cheese, said in the release…

5.    New Starbucks cups reduce plastic and water waste while bettering accessibility to the visually impaired- April 19, 2024 Source: CBS News

Starbucks unveiled a new cup lineup that the company says will keep more than 13.5 million pounds of plastic out of landfills every year. The new cups, announced ahead of Earth Day, are made with up to 20% less plastic and will require less water to make, but come amid a new report that found plastic production continues to pose a major problem, producing more emissions than even the aviation industry. The company’s Seattle-based innovation lab developed the new cups, which will be used for cold drink purchases…

6.    Sensory accessibility: Theaters create a welcoming space for guests- April 21, 2024 Source: TribLIVE

When Amy Hart caught a glimpse of daughter Sophie jumping up and down in her seat in the theater, she began to tear up. Artists from the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre’s “The Nutcracker” were dancing on stage in a sensory-friendly performance in 2021, and 14-year-old Sophie and her friend were smiling and moving to the music. “I was just sitting there looking at them and I just started to cry,” Amy Hart said. “Sophie just loved this show and she was there with her (neuro)typical friend. They didn’t need to speak to each other. They were looking at each other and then looking at the stage. Theater is a universal experience for everyone.”…

7.    Ski resorts and accessibility: How well are they doing?- April 21, 2024 Source: Travel Weekly

a.    Accessible Tourism Sees a Major Milestone in Global Travel and Tourism Industry- April 22, 2024 Source: Travel & Tour World

b.    AI And Digital Tech: Enabling Inclusive Tourism- Aprill 22, 2024 Source: Eurasia Review

The ski industry has made strides over the years in offering adaptive skiing and riding opportunities, but individuals with mobility limitations continue to face challenges upon arrival at the mountain, said Marina Gardiner, guest services director for the nonprofit Achieve Tahoe. Achieve Tahoe’s mission is to provide affordable and inclusive recreational activities in the Lake Tahoe Area. “Resorts in general have a difficult time with access from parking to the snow,” Gardiner said at the Mountain Travel Symposium at the Palisades Tahoe resort on April 18…

8.    NJ gives counties $313K to make public spaces more accessible for those with hearing loss- April 22, 2024 Source: NorthJersey.com

The state Department of Human Services announced $313,000 in grants Friday to five counties to make public services more accessible to people with hearing loss. The money is part of a continuing New Jersey effort to tackle barriers to county services and community programs that started in 2022, and the state has since awarded $1.18 million to 17 counties. The funding will pay for assistive hearing devices, captioning and hiring American Sign Language interpreters at government buildings and public spaces…

9.    For people with disabilities, affordable accessible housing a major challenge in North Dakota- April 22, 2024 Source: The Bismarck Tribune

Joe Yasenchack lucked out when he was forced to move from his closing Harvey Manor housing complex in late July 2023. A vacant clinic smack in the center of Harvey was available and reasonably priced for someone who is disabled and on a fixed income. It was close to his church, to restaurants, the bingo games he attends at the senior center, two blocks from his in-laws, and catty-corner from his case worker’s office. After several months renting, he secured a loan to purchase the 1,200-square-foot building…

10. Works from artists with disabilities featured in historic exhibition in San Francisco- April 22, 2024 Source: PBS NewsHour (Video)

Creative Growth is an art center in Oakland that supports artists with disabilities. The center has artworks in museums across the country and plays a big part in the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s new exhibition. Jeffrey Brown reports for our ongoing look at health and the arts for our CANVAS series. It’s a center for art by artists with disabilities, which has the larger art world paying major attention…

11. A disabled woman planned a ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ trip to Disney World. Then the park changed its disability policy- April 22, 2024 Source: Business Insider

a.    Petition urges Disney to reverse changes to Disability Access Service program- April 23, 2024 Source: KTLA

Savannah spent nine weeks and thousands of dollars planning her family’s trip to Walt Disney World. “For me and my husband, this is a once-in-a-lifetime trip,” Savannah, 36, told Business Insider. It wasn’t a simple process for the Indiana-based couple, who planned to travel with Savannah’s 72-year-old mother. They had to ensure that Savannah, a lifelong Disney fan, could navigate the sprawling theme parks as someone with a physical disability. “I have had physical issues for the last 10 years that have prevented me from doing a lot of things,” she said…

12. New group will advocate for increased voting access for Alabamians with disabilities- April 22, 2024 Source: Alabama Reflector

A national group focused on expanding access to the ballot box for those with disabilities is launching a chapter in Alabama. Register, Educate, Vote, Use your Power (REV UP) is a movement organized by the American Association of People with Disabilities. Advocates for those with disabilities launched the nonpartisan group in Texas in 2016, and now have chapters in 20 states. “It is a movement of disability advocates for voting rights,” said Katie Toro, a peer advocate with the Disability Resource Network in Huntsville and one of the REV UP AL leaders during its inaugural news conference Thursday at the Statehouse…

13. LGBTQ and Disability Advocate Speaks on Vision Impairment, Accessibility- April 23, 2024 Source: OutSFL

When talking about myths of people with disabilities, Katherine Allen says there’s more to deafness and blindness than people think. “Just about everything [is on] a spectrum,” said Allen, who is visually impaired. Allen, 68, is active in the Philadelphia-area disability and LGBTQ communities. She is an accessibility consultant for Philly Touch Tours, an organization that provides “equal opportunities in cultural settings for people with vision loss,” as per the organization’s website…

14. PBS Looks To Make Kids’ Shows More Accessible- April 23, 2024 Source: Disability Scoop

PBS Kids is reworking many of its most popular shows to be more accessible to children with disabilities. The network is offering up alternate versions of episodes from six shows to add American Sign Language interpreters in a bid to better serve children who are deaf and hard of hearing. Given that PBS Kids content is aimed at those ages 2 to 8, the network said that many are not yet able to read captions and would benefit from ASL. “PBS KIDS aims to reach kids across the country with accessible, high-quality content,” said Jen Rodriguez, director of research and inclusive design at PBS…

15. Who coined the term ‘neurodiversity?’ It wasn’t Judy Singer, some autistic academics say- April 23, 2024 Source: The 19th

Last month, six autistic academics published a letter in “Autism,” a journal dedicated to autism research, with an explosive assertion: Sociologist Judy Singer, who has been described as the “mother of neurodiversity,” should not be regarded as such and did not originate the concept she has built her career on. The claims come on the heels of a rocky year for Singer, who has been accused of making transphobic statements on social media, allegations she denies. The letter’s authors say it has been those comments that spurred them to speak out…

16. Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability; Accessibility of Web Information and Services of State and Local Government Entities- April 24, 2024 Source: Federal Register & Fact Sheet

The Department of Justice (“Department”) issues its final rule revising the regulation implementing title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) to establish specific requirements, including the adoption of specific technical standards, for making accessible the services, programs, and activities offered by State and local government entities to the public through the web and mobile applications (“apps”)…

17. Churches Don’t Have to Be Accessible. That’s Bad News For Voters- April 24, 2024 Source: Mother Jones

Eli. Underwood likes the experience of voting in person, but they now have to vote by mail. Underwood went to a Detroit church to cast a ballot in the 2022 general elections, but chronic health conditions meant the two flights of stairs to the basement taxed them badly; living with Long Covid as well, Underwood was frustrated by the unventilated space and unmasked poll workers.  It caused me great physical pain and anxiety, which made me angry and sad,” Underwood said. “It communicated to me that my vote doesn’t matter and I shouldn’t bother.” Extreme fatigue, pain, nausea, and headaches followed…

18. Para-standing tennis clinic serves up accessibility- April 24, 2024 Source: MoCo360

In 2001, Raquel Godin contracted bacterial meningitis and had less than a 10% chance of living. She survived but her legs had to be amputated and most of her fingers were either partially or fully amputated. Today, the 49-year-old Gaithersburg resident tries to help other amputees adjust. Godin works as an amputee care coordinator with Hanger Clinic, a Washington, D.C.-based orthopedic rehabilitation center that co-sponsored Montgomery County’s first para-standing tennis clinic on Sunday at Rockville’s Georgetown Prep Tennis Club…

Jack Fact  Before the Covid-19 pandemic, Americans with disabilities made up an active, rapidly growing segment of the travel industry. In 2018 and 2019, at least 70% of Americans with disabilities (28 million people) collectively spent $58.7 billion on trips, according to a 2020 nationwide study conducted by the Harris Poll.

 

Hit The Road Jack — Inside the UK spa leading the way for accessibility & Orihuela Unveils Strategic Plan for Accessible Tourism, Enhancing Inclusivity in Heritage Sites Seattle Ensures Accessibility For All & An Enduring Commitment to Enhancing Accessibility: Beaches® Resorts Renew Advanced Certified Autism Center™ Designation

International News

1.    Enhancing Accessibility and Safety: The District Election Officer Announces Postal Voting for Absentee Voters in South Goa District- April 18, 2024 Source: Herald Goa- India

The upcoming 2024 elections have brought some major changes in the voting process for the residents of South Goa. The District Election Officer (DEO) of the district has recently notified the schedule for voting by absentee voters through postal ballot papers. This move aims to facilitate the voting process for specific categories of voters, including senior citizens, persons with disabilities, COVID-19 suspects or affected individuals, and those on essential services. The DEO has taken this step to ensure maximum participation and inclusivity in the democratic process…

2.    Research center identifies accessibility challenges for middle and lower classes- April 21, 2024 Source: Tehran Times- Iran

The Research Center of the Iranian Parliament has reported that a significant portion of the middle and lower classes of society, as well as the disabled and elderly, have been deprived of the benefits of tourism due to the lack of infrastructure and supportive policies. The center’s studies also indicate that policymaking in the field of domestic tourism development has been unsuccessful in recent decades, and tourism is not a quality and accessible product for the general public, ISNA reported…

3.    Making Passover accessible: Haggadah for people with disabilities – April 22, 2024 Source: The Jerusalem Post- Israel

Beit Issie Shapiro, a charity that creates educational materials and resources for children and adults with disabilities, has created a digital interactive Haggadah. The resource was developed with the intention of making the seder accessible for global Jewry, allowing those with cognitive or communication disabilities to be fully involved. The charity also held a model seder for 40 children at one of their schools for special needs in Raanana…

4.    ‘A real letdown’: Disabled B.C. man reacts to federal disability benefit- April 22, 2024 Source: Globalnews- Canada

B.C. man James Schultz lives with bipolar disorder. He has been anxiously awaiting Canada’s federal budget, hoping it will help lift him out of poverty, as he is reliant on government support. “I was looking forward to the idea of being able to be brought up above the poverty line,” he told Global News. “Provincial disability rates sit at $1,480. I was thinking that the federal government’s new disability plan would at least get me bumped up to about $2,000 or $2,100 (a month).”…

5.    Disability benefit won’t lift Canadians in need above poverty line: advocates- April 22, 2024 Source: Global News- Canada

Pam Bristol from Regina is the caretaker for her 18-year-old son, David Rheault, who was born with a severe case of cerebral palsy. The term is used to describe a group of brain disorders that affect a person’s ability to move and maintain balance. Rheault can say some words but mostly communicates with assisted technology, Bristol says. She says she isn’t worried about being able to support her son while he lives at home, but “as an adult trying to live independently, $200 a month is a pittance.”…

6.    Saskatchewan recognized ASL and Indigenous sign languages as official languages — and resources are needed for services- April 22, 2024 Source: The Conversation- Canada

Saskatchewan recently became one of four Canadian provinces that recognize sign languages as official languages with the passing of the Accessible Saskatchewan Act or Bill 103 in December. The bill states, “Sign languages are recognized as the primary languages for communication by deaf persons in Saskatchewan,” including American Sign Language (ASL) and Indigenous sign languages. Nationally, the Accessible Canada Act was passed in 2019 also recognizing ASL, Langue des signes du Québec and Indigenous sign languages in Canada…

7.    How comic books are becoming more accessible- April 23, 2024 Source: Creative Review- UK

According to the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), around 340,000 people are registered blind or partially sighted in the UK, while more than two million people are estimated to be living with sight loss. Despite the existence of legislation that aims to protect their rights, the charity’s research suggests that blind or partially sighted people “experience a significant information and inclusion gap because of their vision impairment” and that “the accessibility of products, information and services is still not an area where people with sight loss have equality of experience”…

8.    Wait for train accessibility funding ‘incredibly disappointing’- April 25, 2024 Source: BBC- UK

A train firm says it has been waiting two years for a decision on government funding it requested to improve access at three stations. In 2022, Great Western Railway (GWR) applied to the Department for Transport (DfT) for Access for All funding for Teignmouth, Exeter St Thomas and Tiverton Parkway. DfT said it had received more than 300 nominations. It said it would announce successful applicants in “due course”. Matt Barnes, GWR head of strategic service development, said the company “hopes for the best”…

9.    President Cyril Ramaphosa: Transport Summit on Universal Accessibility- April 25, 2024 Source: South African Government

This coming weekend, as celebrations take place across the country, we will reaffirm our commitment to build a South Africa that truly belongs to all who live in it. We will reaffirm our commitment to a South Africa where we are united in our diversity, to build a nation founded on equality and human rights for all. Over the past 30 years, guided by our Constitution, South Africa has made considerable progress in both protecting and advancing the rights and dignity of persons with disabilities…

10. Regina’s accessibility plan, election bylaw approved by city council- April 25, 2024 Source: Regina Leader Post- Canada & CTV News Regina

City council checked off a number of outstanding items at the end of a lengthy meeting Wednesday, voting unanimously to approve the latest consent agenda (a group of non-controversial items that is voted on without discussion). The Regina Accessibility Plan was approved with unanimous support, solidifying the new strategic framework designed to make all City of Regina spaces, services and programs more inclusive to residents with disabilities…

11. Why digital inaccessibility is everyone’s problem – and how to fix it- April 25, 2024 Source: Charity Digital- UK

Global Accessibility Awareness Day on the 16 May is an opportunity to get talking, thinking, and learning about digital access and inclusion. One in four people in the UK have a disability – that’s 16 million people, according to the Department for Work and Pensions. And when it comes to accessing digital and online services, people with disabilities are over 50% more likely to face barriers than non-disabled people. This limits independence, choice, and control for people with disabilities – for example making it difficult or impossible to submit job applications, book medical appointments, purchase goods, or attend events such as protests organised online…

12. New technology trials to enhance bus accessibility across New South Wales- April 25, 2024 Source: Intelligent Transport- Wales

In a bid to improve accessibility and support for individuals with visual impairment or mobility challenges, new technologies are being trialled in selected regions across New South Wales (NSW), Australia. The initiative, spearheaded by Transport for NSW through its Open Data programme, aims to explore innovative ways to make public transport more inclusive and user-friendly. Simone Roberts, Executive Director of Advanced Analytics and Insights at Transport for NSW, highlighted the importance of this initiative…

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