Accessibility in the News- Knowledge is Power for 05-17

National News (U.S.)   1.    At this student encampment, Deaf protesters built a model for accessibility- May 10, 2024 Source: The 19th […]

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National News (U.S.)

 

1.    At this student encampment, Deaf protesters built a model for accessibility- May 10, 2024 Source: The 19th News

Among the protesters in the pro-Palestinian encampment at George Washington University cleared by the police early on Wednesday were students from nearby Gallaudet University, the only college in the United States to have all programs designed for those who are deaf and hard of hearing. Some of them are founding members of Gallaudet’s Students for Justice in Palestine chapter, which is possibly the organization’s first chapter to conduct all meetings in American Sign Language…

2.    FAA Reauthorization Bill Passes Senate Improving Air Travel for Passengers Living with ALS and Other Disabilities- May 10, 2024 Source: The ALS Association

The ALS Association applauds the Senate for reauthorizing Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) legislation mandating improved accessibility in airline travel. The bill includes key provisions that mean that all people with disabilities who rely on wheelchairs for mobility—including those living with ALS—can travel safely and confidently. People living with ALS often encounter serious issues when traveling by air, including personal injury, wheelchair damage, and discriminatory treatment…

3.    Many Churches Aren’t Accessible—Here’s Why That’s a Problem for Voters- May 10, 2024 Source: The Progressive

Churches are exempt from following the access mandates of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Yeah, I know that sucks. There’s no reason why churches shouldn’t have to obey that law, just like everybody else. Some activists have made it their mission to persuade the leaders of houses of worship to make their churches accessible anyway. I wish them luck, but I’ve never been inclined to do much more than that to support their efforts. I didn’t think this was a very important issue because I don’t really care if my local churches are accessible or not…

 

4.    I Was ‘Supermom.’ When I Suddenly Became Disabled, I Expected Empathy — Not This- May 11, 2024 Source: HuffPost

This Mother’s Day, I’ll be hugging my sons a little tighter. Our family’s path has been unexpected and unordinary, from me being at the top of my career to becoming a disabled mother. Our bonds are strong, but we are constantly reminded of how society underestimates parents like me. After five devastating miscarriages, I finally became a mom to two healthy boys, now ages 15 and 17. When they were young, our world was upended. I was diagnosed with Arnold-Chiari malformation, a traumatic brain abnormality ending with spinal cord damage that abruptly and permanently caused me to rely on a wheelchair and a caregiver for daily tasks…

5.    Some older Americans splurge to keep homes accessible while others struggle to make safety upgrades- May 11, 2024 Source: AP

Brenda Edwards considers the four bedroom ranch-style house where she has lived for 20 years her forever home. It’s where the 70-year-old retired nurse and her 79-year-old husband want to stay as their mobility becomes more limited. So she hired an interior designer for $20,000 and spent another $95,000 to retrofit their house in Oakdale, California. She had the kitchen aisles widened to accommodate a wheelchair in case she or her husband ever need one…

6.    Disabled Adults Shouldn’t Have to Pay This Price to Marry- May 12, 2024 Source: The New York Times

In 2004 Heather Hancock and Craig Blackburn were set up on a blind date while attending a Down syndrome advocacy conference. “I knew right away Craig was who I wanted to marry,” Ms. Hancock told me. But Mr. Blackburn lived in Metairie, La., and Ms. Hancock in Oklahoma City. They visited each other when they could and talked on the phone constantly. The relationship grew over the next three years, and eventually Mr. Blackburn proposed. Their parents supported their relationship, but they knew that legal marriage would be complicated…

7.    Disabled Kids Are All But Erased In TV And Film. Here’s How We’re Fixing That- May 13, 2024 Source: HuffPost

As a writer and director, many of my stories spring from personal experiences and aspirations. I’m often driven by a desire to create stories for kids who seldom see themselves represented on screen. As a kid, I wanted to see little Black boys like me as the main character, running and playing outside. I also wanted to see real diversity on screen: kids with big Afro puffs and beads, kids with leg braces and kids with albinism, for example. In other words, I wanted TV to look like the neighborhood I grew up in — but it rarely did…

8.    See inside the first ultra-accessible theme park ‘for everybody’: Morgan’s Wonderland- May 13, 2024 Source: USA Today

It takes more than guts to ride a zip line. It also takes things many people take for granted, like bodily control and the ability to breathe independently. But not at Morgan’s Wonderland, the world’s first “ultra-accessible, fully inclusive” theme park, in San Antonio, Texas. Its new Rocket’s Sky Flight Adventure features a semi-private loading area for guests who need to transfer out of wheelchairs, specially designed seats and harnesses that can support guests lacking upper body control, a place to hang oxygen tanks right on the ride vehicle, and two operating speeds with extra smooth braking available for guests who may be more fragile…

9.    Some early voters deal with persistent accessibility issues at Macon’s new election office- May 13, 2024 Source: The Telegraph

Patricia Kitchens lugs along a bulky oxygen tank attached to her walker every day due to a muscle-weakening disease. On Wednesday, the 78-year-old cast her absentee ballot at Macon Mall after multiple breaks to sit down and catch her breath. “It’s a heavy thing to be carrying around with you through the mall,” Patricia Kitchens said. “I hate to be complaining, but this walk is a little much for us older people, especially someone like myself, to come and vote here.”…

10. Helping Starbucks design stores that are inclusive for all- May 13, 2024 Source: McKinsey

One in four adults in the U.S. have a disability. While retail spaces must comply with ADA codes, once elements like moveable furniture and merchandise are added, accessibility can become limited. Starbucks is hoping to set an elevated standard of accessibility by going beyond ADA requirements to create spaces that make everyone feel welcome. With 16,000 stores in the U.S., the coffee giant knew it had a big opportunity to catalyze change for this large and diverse population…

11. State Sen. Rezin pushes for public buildings to install accessible adult changing stations- May 13, 2024 Source: Shaw Local

The Senate Executive Committee held a subject matter hearing Wednesday on state Sen. Sue Rezin’s legislation, she said will improve accessibility and inclusivity for individuals with disabilities and their caregivers in public spaces. Senate Bill 2908, also known as Sami’s Law, as currently written, would require certain public buildings, the State Capitol building, and state rest stops to install at least one publicly accessible adult changing station if the building is constructed two or more years after the effective date of the act or if a building is seeking altercations or additions that are valued at $50,000 or more four or more years after the law takes effect…

12. ‘History is for everyone’: New emphasis of accessibility coming to Rock Co. Historical Society- May 13, 2024 Source: WMTV 15 NEWS

History buffs and community members alike will soon see a shift in how the Rock County Historical Society operates. A partnership between the historical society and the Leadership Development Academy of Rock County is putting accessibility at the forefront with a new project. LDA brings in young professionals as well as high school seniors to work together as a team for nine months on a community impact project of their choosing. “It’s not about reinventing the wheel or trying to force a project in, it’s more or less trying to support these organizations that have an idea but maybe not the capacity to put those programs into action,”…

13. More than 200 million seniors face extreme heat risks in coming decades, study finds- May 14, 2024 Source: NPR

A person in their 40s now will be nearing 70 in the year 2050. And they won’t be alone, because the world is undergoing an unprecedented and inexorable shift: by 2050, scientists project, more than 20% of Earth’s population will be over 60. That demographic shift coincides with another major change: the Earth heating up because of human-caused climate change. The confluence of those two factors represents an enormous risk, says Giacomo Falchetta, the lead author of a new paper published Tuesday in Nature Communications…

14. Her speech using a voice app made history in Congress — and sparked a larger disability conversation- May 14, 2024 Source: The 19th & The Hill

Last week, Rep. Jennifer Wexton made disability history by becoming the first member of Congress to deliver a speech using an augmentative and alternative communication device on the House floor. Wexton has a rare degenerative condition called progressive supranuclear palsy, or PSP. However, some in the disability community feel that the news coverage has missed the point, focusing on novelty without acknowledging Wexton’s actions in the deeper historical and social context of a world that is not built for people like them…

15. Why US faith communities are prioritising inclusivity and accessibility- May 14, 2024 Source: The Star

Reverend Lamar Hardwick was the pastor of a church in LaGrange, Georgia, the United States when he was diagnosed with autism at 36. Before his diagnosis in 2014, Hardwick heard complaints from his congregation and staffers that he was distant and not very communicative. He would later learn that his autism made it hard for him to understand non-verbal communication. As a result, he launched a program to help educate his church about autism and how a few changes can make the worship experience fuller for people with disabilities…

16. Why children with disabilities are missing school and losing skills- May 15, 2024 Source: NPR

On a recent school day in Del Norte County, Calif., in one of the state’s northernmost school districts, 17-year-old Emma Lenover sits at home on the couch. In some ways, Emma is a typical teen. She loves Disneyland and dance class. But she has already faced more adversity than some classmates will in a lifetime. “All of October and all of November, there was no school because there was no aide” says Emma’s mother, Melony Lenover, leaning her elbows into the kitchen table…

17. Accessibility Gaps in Gov Tech: Advice from a Blind Advocate- May 16, 2024 Source: Government Technology

Automation is rapidly transforming the way governments operate, promising efficiency and convenience. But data reveals that in some cases, the tech creates gaps in accessibility for those with disabilities. The Department of Justice’s recent ruling mandating digital accessibility for state and local government websites underscores the urgency of the need for cities to prioritize inclusivity in their technological advancements. To understand these challenges and explore potential solutions, Government Technology spoke with Tony Stephens, assistant vice president of communication for the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB)…

Jack Fact  According McKinsey Market Research- $25 billion is the market value of the DisabilityTech market in 2023. By 2029, it’s estimated to reach $37 billion.

 

Hit The Road Jack — Accessible Beaches Australia With new partnership, Scottsdale aims to become accessible tourism destination

International News

1.    Vogue model and ‘Wonder Woman 1984’ actress reveals she is deaf: ‘Disability doesn’t have a certain look’- May 8, 2024 Source: New York Post- UK

A British actress who appeared opposite Gal Gadot in “Wonder Woman 1984” is “coming out” as “moderately” deaf after keeping her disability a secret in showbiz for more than a decade. Georgia Meacham, who has also appeared in the pages of British Vogue, says she learned to lipread in order to follow instructions from photographers and film directors. “Hiding my disability has been one of the most draining things I’ve ever done — but I’m so excited to start my new life,” the 30-year-old told South West News Service on Wednesday…

2.    Baby born deaf can hear after breakthrough gene therapy- May 9, 2024 Source: Cambridge University Hospitals- UK

Opal Sandy from Oxfordshire is the first patient treated in a global gene therapy trial, which shows “mind-blowing” results. She is the first British patient in the world and the youngest child to receive this type of treatment. Opal was born completely deaf because of a rare genetic condition, auditory neuropathy, caused by the disruption of nerve impulses travelling from the inner ear to the brain. Within four weeks of having the gene therapy infusion to her right ear, Opal responded to sound, even with the cochlear implant in her left ear switched off…

3.    Better disabled accessibility needed for B.C. taxi, ride-hailing industry, committee says- May 10, 2024 Source: Global News- Canada

A B.C. legislature committee looking into taxi and ride-hailing services has issued recommendations, including measures to improve accessibility for people with disabilities and services in small and rural communities. The cross-party committee that was appointed a year ago to review the Passenger Transport Act makes 34 recommendations to the legislature in its report released Thursday. Committee members say they are concerned people with disabilities face systemic barriers and discrimination when they try to access transport services and changing that is a priority…

4.    Half of Kings Heath businesses not wheelchair accessible- May 10, 2024 Source: BBC- UK

A project to help remove barriers for disabled people on a high street found about half of shops and other businesses were not accessible to wheelchair users. The survey, commissioned by community interest company Our Scene, found this applied to 49% of 273 businesses on or near Kings Heath high street in Birmingham. The group is now working with retailers to help them to make small adjustments. The UK Disability Survey in 2021 discovered 31% of respondents had difficulty accessing public spaces all of the time or often…

5.    ‘I will not give up on Autism awareness’, says Taunton mum- May 10, 2024 Source: BBC- UK

A mum says she will not be “giving up” when it comes to campaigning and raising awareness of autism. Laura Brown, from Taunton, Somerset, said she was thrown “into a totally new world” when her four-year-old son Ethan was diagnosed autistic. She has shared their experience on social media and campaigned for better accessibility and reasonable adjustments at holiday parks. Now nominated for a National Diversity Award, Ms Brown said: “It’s wonderful to be inspiring others” to “make a change in the local community”…

6.    Study calls for better film captions for the deaf- May 11, 2024 Source: BBC- UK

Filmmakers could improve cinema experiences for deaf people by putting more thought into captioning, according to the University of Sheffield. Research found that poor quality, missing or lagging captions led to deaf audiences feeling excluded through not fully experiencing film-making techniques like suspense. A team from the University of Sheffield and a research and design company based in the city worked with members of the deaf community on the project…

7.    Palace Museum to enhance accessibility for people with disabilities- May 12, 2024 Source: China Daily & Xinhua- China

The Palace Museum in Beijing pledged on Sunday to enhance visitor accessibility and showcase cultural items by artists with disabilities. The reforms will be advanced in partnership with the China Disabled Persons’ Federation, the museum said at an agreement signing ceremony, which was held in the lead-up to National Disability Day on May 21 this year. Speaking at the ceremony, Wang Xudong, a senior Party official with the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and director of the museum, underscored the museum’s role in improving services for people with disabilities and promoting their engagement with China’s cultural advancements…

8.    Can travel be more accessible?- May 12, 2024 Source: CBC- Canada

a.    Statement from Chief Accessibility Officer Stephanie Cadieux on first-ever National Air Accessibility Summit- May 13, 2024 Source: Government of Canada

This week Ottawa hosted a summit in response to media reports of passengers with disabilities facing problems on planes. MPs said the airline industry has agreed to adopt a common medical form and to explore improved data-sharing but did not announce new penalties for mistreating travellers with disabilities. The day before the summit, Transport Minister Pablo Rodriguez said airline industry representatives were attending “in good faith” and that the federal government would consider new penalties…

9.    Accessibility survey finds 79 percent of web developers build accessibility into their design plans- May 13, 2024 Source: AT Today- UK

Provider of testing and digital quality services Applause has revealed the results of its third annual Accessibility and Inclusive Design survey, which found that companies prioritise digital accessibility and inclusive design more than ever. When asked about the importance digital accessibility plays in their business, nearly half of respondents strongly agreed it is a higher priority for their company than last year, up from 27 percent in 2023. Over three-quarters of respondents said they have a person or group at their organisation responsible for ensuring products are accessible…

10. Expanding accessibility: Jamaica’s Labour Day initiatives to focus on inclusivity`- May 13, 2024 Source: Caribbean National Weekly- Jamaica

The Ministry of Local Government and Community Development is allocating over $50 million across Municipal Corporations in Jamaica to bolster Labour Day initiatives this year. The funds are earmarked to enhance community support, focusing particularly on individuals with disabilities, the elderly, and other vulnerable groups. This year’s Labour Day, to be observed on Thursday, May 23, carries the theme ‘Ramp up di access… Show that you care’…

11. Disabled Londoners and visitors gain access to support regarding what cycling options are available- May 14, 2024 Source: AT Today- UK

UK-based walking, wheeling and cycling charity Sustrans is working with partners to create a London-wide accessible cycle loan scheme, to provide improved options to travel actively for disabled people across the capital. Wheels4MeLondon, in collaboration with Wheels for Wellbeing and Peddle My Wheels and funded by the Motability Foundation, will provide free cycle loans for disabled people. Sustrans’ latest Walking and Cycling Index, the largest independent survey of active travel in the UK, found that 27 percent of disabled people do not cycle but would like to…

12. Providing accessible spaces is a moral imperative and a strategic investment, expert says- May 14, 2024 Source: The Globe and Mail- Canada

From cognitive impairments to sensory sensitivities, the need for accessibility in public and commercial spaces is evolving beyond physical mobility to a much wider spectrum of challenges. About 27 per cent of Canadians aged 15 and older report one or more disabilities, according to the 2022 Canadian Survey on Disability, while close to half of Canadian adults report they have or have experienced a physical disability or live with someone who has, according to a 2019 report from the Rick Hansen Foundation….

13. Upwards of 800 Million People with Vision Impairments Lack Access to Eyeglasses- May 14, 2024 Source: Health Policy Watch- Switzerland

It’s one of the world’s oldest health technologies with recorded use by the Greeks and Romans – and modern eye glasses appearing on the noses of Venetian monks and scholars as early as the 13th century. And yet only about 36% of the estimated 1.25 billion people who need corrective eyewear for common distance vision impairments actually have a suitable set of glasses today, according to the latest WHO data. And that leaves some 800 million children, adults and older people struggling to study, work and perform basic life tasks safely, effectively and unaided…

14. Jersey bus operator looking to improve accessibility- May 14, 2024 Source: BBC- UK

Following a rise in the number of younger people and disabled people using its services LibertyBus is working to make them more accessible. The Jersey bus operator’s latest Social Impact Report found more young people and disabled people were using its services. The company said there were more than one million student passenger journeys in 2023, a 15% increase compared to the previous year. LibertyBus Director Kevin Hart said the bus operator had a “community focus” and aimed to make services “accessible and available for all”…

15. The invisible challenges of digital accessibility- May 15, 2024 Source: The Hamilton Spectator- Canada

In our increasingly digital world, accessibility should be a fundamental pillar of design and development. Yet, all too often, it’s an afterthought, if it’s considered at all. The reality is that digital accessibility isn’t just nice to have — it’s a necessity for creating an inclusive society where everyone, regardless of ability, can fully participate. Thursday is Global Accessibility Awareness Day, and it’s time for us all to do better. Accessibility in the digital realm encompasses a broad range of considerations, from web design and software development to hardware interfaces and mobile applications…

16. Stakeholders call for digital accessibility to unlock job opportunities for PWDs- May 15, 2024 Source: The Standard- Africa & Xinhua & KBC Channel 1 (YouTube)

Digital accessibility and assistive technology remain key drivers for creating job opportunities for persons with disabilities across the African continent. Philip Thigo, the Special Envoy on Technology in the Executive Office of the President said digital inclusion is an enabler for people with disabilities to access jobs and enterprise opportunities being presented by technology. Speaking at a Nairobi hotel during the Inclusive Africa Conference, Thigo said currently over 96 per cent of websites do not have digital accessibility for persons with disability…

17. Producers push back on cinema accessibility guidelines- May 15, 2024 Source: The Hindu- India

Film producers’ associations pushed back earlier this year on accessibility guidelines proposed by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to make cinemas more accessible to the visually and hearing impaired. In a summary of responses by producers’ associations, the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), which liaised with producers on the issue at the Ministry’s request, producers’ bodies are seen opposing accessibility features such as mirror-enabled closed captioning and headphones for audio description…

18. Why Pioneering Accessible Advertising Is an Exciting (and Lucrative) Opportunity- May 15, 2024 Source: LBBOnline- Europe

There’s a fundamental value to accessibility. You don’t have to get deeply philosophical to realise that it’s about how people can approach and interact with things. So it should be pretty uncontroversial to say that greater accessibility to advertising is good for brands. That value of getting accessibility right was a major focus of the ‘Pioneering Accessible Advertising’ session at Advertising Week Europe, where in the introduction Katy Tilkowska, CEO of The Valuable 500 stressed the importance of “adopting the right mindset and not seeing it as just a compliance check.”…

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