Accessibility in the News- Knowledge is Power for 06-28

National News (U.S.) 1.    SIIA warns schools and ed tech to prepare for costly, time-consuming Title II compliance- June 20, 2024 […]

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National News (U.S.)

1.    SIIA warns schools and ed tech to prepare for costly, time-consuming Title II compliance- June 20, 2024 Source: K-12 Dive & SIIA (PDF) & Microassist

The U.S. Department of Justice’s new Title II rule on web content accessibility will require school districts and ed tech companies to spend a considerable amount of time and money to come into compliance, according to a recent whitepaper from the Software and Information Industry Association. SIIA, which represents the software and digital content industry, said DOJ’s estimates to conform to the new requirements are $1.134 billion for K-12 classroom courses and $5.5 billion for postsecondary courses…

2.    AARP Backs Plan to Improve Air Travel for People in Wheelchairs- June 20, 2024 Source: AARP

Each year, hundreds of thousands of Americans who use wheelchairs travel by air. Too often, airlines lose or damage the wheelchairs, or the people who use them are injured while being helped on or off a plane. AARP submitted comments to federal transportation officials last week supporting a proposed rule that aims to improve the flying experience for these travelers. “Air travelers with disabilities deserve to fly without fear of injury to themselves or damage to their wheelchairs,” David Certner, AARP legislative counsel and legislative policy director, wrote…

3.    Minneapolis seeking community input to improve accessibility- June 21, 2024 Source: The Minnesota Daily

Minneapolis is seeking responses from the community on how to improve the city’s accessibility for those with disabilities. Over 300 survey responses from an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) meeting on Monday showed respondents gave the city a B grade for accessible programs and services. Of the respondents, 73% said facilities for people with disabilities are somewhat accessible and 50% said participating in city activities is challenging…

4.    Woodbury disability advocate boosts airport accessibility nationwide- June 21, 2024 Source: MPR News

The first time Linda Hood was changed on a public bathroom floor, the ground was wet. She had soiled her clothes at a hospital, she said, but with no adult changing table to use, she resorted to lying on a sheet. Her husband helped her out of her wheelchair, swapping her clothes in the cramped space. “And I thought, ‘this floor is filthy.’ It was wet. It was dirty. It was demoralizing,” she said. “How in the world can this many people get overlooked?”…

5.    Supreme Court outlawed segregation of disabled people 25 years ago. But change has come slowly- June 21, 2024 Source: STAT

As a toddler, Veronica Ayala loved Fridays. At 5 o’clock sharp, her mom whisked her away from the grim Moody State School for Cerebral Palsied Children for a 48-hour reprieve. Ayala’s house was mere minutes away, but the doctors insisted that she had to live at the Galveston, Texas institution during the week so she could learn how to walk. “It was supposed to be for six months. Then it was a year, and then it went into 18 months. I basically had achieved the goals I was there to achieve…

6.    ChatGPT is biased against resumes with credentials that imply a disability — but it can improve- June 21, 2024 Source: GW News

While seeking research internships last year, University of Washington graduate student Kate Glazko noticed recruiters posting online that they’d used OpenAI’s ChatGPT and other artificial intelligence tools to summarize resumes and rank candidates. Automated screening has been commonplace in hiring for decades. Yet Glazko, a doctoral student in the UW’s Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering, studies how generative AI can replicate and amplify real-world biases — such as those against disabled people…

7.    Triumph over dyslexia in adulthood- June 23, 2024 Source: Spectrum News

Ordering lunch seems like a simple task, but for Serena Owen, reading a menu can be overwhelming. She has dyslexia. Like millions of Americans, Owen wasn’t diagnosed until she was an adult. Her own children who struggled with learning disadvantages, and seeing them led her back into the classroom to get a bachelor’s degree in business and law. “Now, knowing that there are more resources and accommodations, I’m actually excited,” she said. “Now, I feel like I can do this.”…

8.    What to know about the private firms illegally profiting from veterans’ disability claims- June 23, 2034 Source: PBS

In the two years that the landmark expansion of veterans benefits known as the PACT Act has been in effect, more than 1 million disability claims have been approved and more on the way but as Lisa Desjardins reports a number of more profit companies are also reaping benefits even though what they do is against the law. The bipartisan PACT Act is the largest expansion of veteran’s benefits in a generation, including care for veterans exposed to burn pits. Some 3.5 million people could benefit, and the program could near $1 trillion in spending…

9.    Loneliness can increase stroke risk by up to 56%, finds research- June 24, 2024 Source: The Guardian

Loneliness may increase the risk of stroke by as much as 56%, according to research that experts say explains why the issue poses a major health threat worldwide. The World Health Organization (WHO) has said loneliness is among the most significant global health concerns, affecting every facet of health, wellbeing and development. The US surgeon general has warned that its mortality effects are equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes a day. While previous research has linked loneliness to a higher risk of developing cardiovascular diseases, few have examined the impact on stroke risk specifically…

10. Social Security says it’s improving a major practice called unfair by critics. Here’s what to know.- June 24, 2024 Source: CBS News

The Social Security Administration on Monday said it is making a major change that could help more people qualify for disability benefits. The change involves a practice used by the program to determine whether a disability applicant could, in fact, find another job based on their abilities, which could result in a rejection of benefits. To make that determination, the SSA relies on a jobs database to suss out if there are any jobs the applicant can still perform. But critics have called the database unfair and flawed, given that it was last updated in 1977 and includes dozens obsolete occupations…

11. US Supreme Court to decide if retirees can sue for disability bias- June 24, 2024 Source: Reuters

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday agreed to decide whether retired workers retain the ability to sue their former employers for disability discrimination after they leave their jobs, a question that has divided federal appeals courts. The justices granted a petition, opens new tab by Karyn Stanley, a retired firefighter for the Orlando suburb of Sanford, Florida, who is appealing a lower court ruling that said she could not sue the city for allegedly curbing benefits for disabled retirees because it no longer employed her…

12. Colorado parks expand accessibility to those who are blind or low vision- June 25, 2024 Source: Denver7

Colorado is home to 42 state parks. From the mountains to the plains, you’ll find wonderful spots to enjoy the great outdoors. However, not everyone can experience our state in the same way. This year, Colorado Parks and Wildlife teamed up with an app called Aira to help those who are blind or low vision enjoy our state parks safely and more independently. Aira is a phone service that acts as a personal interpreter for users. In compliance with the accessibility law and Governor Jared Polis’ “Colorado for All” initiative, state agencies have expanded Aira’s service to include state parks…

13. Mattel is making games like Uno more accessible for colorblind players- June 25, 2024 Source: The Verge & Polygon & CNBC & Action Figure Insider & The Toy Book & Fast Company

In an effort to make its games accessible to a wider audience and “create more inclusive play experiences,” Mattel has announced that 80 percent of its gaming portfolio — including iconic titles like Uno — will be made accessible for those with a color vision deficiency by the end of the year, with a push to 90 percent by the end of 2025, as spotted by Polygon. For Uno and its many variants, the four colors used in the game will be distinguished by simple symbols added to each card: a circle for red, a square for blue, a triangle for green, and a star for yellow…

14. Designing Accessible AI and Data Science Solutions- June 25, 2024 Source: Analytics Insight

Designing Accessible AI and Data Science Solutions: In today’s fast-growing digital world, the coupling of AI and data science has revamped the way businesses work, innovate, and communicate with customers. Despite our advances in technology, a workplace that is accessible to all users, including those with disabilities, is an essential need that can often be overlooked. Ensuring that AI and data science systems provide access for all goes beyond compliance—removing subverters of inclusivity, making information available equitably, and engaging everyone in the digital economy…

15. Yelp updates app with AI-powered alt text for images and new accessibility identifiers for businesses- June 25, 2024 Source: Tech Crunch & Yelp & Forbes & ZDNet & Mashable & Disability Scoop

Yelp is rolling out an app update to include more accessibility identifiers for businesses, improved screen-reader experiences, and AI-powered alt text for images. The company said that from 2020 to 2023, there has been an average rise of 40% in searches for “wheelchair accessible” places. With the new update, the company is adding eight more attributes across mobility, hearing, and vision to businesses to indicate how they are being accessible. Yelp partnered with Disability:IN, the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD), Open to All, and The Arc to define these attributes…

16. Breaking Barriers: Texas Firefighters Learn ASL to Better Serve Deaf Community- June 25, 2024 Source: Pierce Mfg.

McAllen, Texas, is known for its educational programs and resources for deaf and hard-of-hearing students. It’s no surprise the city has seen a steady increase in its deaf population, especially among children. During a recent fire safety presentation at a local elementary school, Lieutenant Mark Zamora of the McAllen Fire Department recognized a communication gap between the city’s firefighters and the deaf and hard-of-hearing community…

17. Bell County settles with feds over voter accessibility- June 26, 2024 Source: KWKT – FOX 44

Bell County Commissioners have authorized County Judge David Blackburn to enter into a settlement agreement with the federal government over accessibility of voting facilities for people with disabilities. Problems came up after federal officials surveyed 13 of the county’s polling places used during the 2013 election and found that all of the sites surveyed contained what were termed “architectural or equipment barriers” rendering them inaccessible to voters with disabilities…

18. The brain makes a lot of waste. Now scientists think they know where it goes- June 26, 2024 Source: NPR

About 170 billion cells are in the brain, and as they go about their regular tasks, they produce waste — a lot of it. To stay healthy, the brain needs to wash away all that debris. But how exactly it does this has remained a mystery. Now, two teams of scientists have published three papers that offer a detailed description of the brain’s waste-removal system. Their insights could help researchers better understand, treat and perhaps prevent a broad range of brain disorders…

19. Airlines Are (Slowly) Embracing Inclusivity and Accessibility. Here’s How- June 26, 2024 Source: AFAR

Flying can be anxiety-inducing for anyone, but for certain travelers, the in-flight experience can be downright demeaning or traumatizing. For passengers who identify as neurodivergent, disabled, or gender nonconforming, air travel can be a minefield of microaggressions and mishaps—whether that means not being able to bring your wheelchair or mobility device onboard, being addressed by a birth name you no longer use, or not being able to find your way around the cabin…

20. Presidential debate: 90 disability organizations call on CNN to improve accessibility- June 27, 2024 Source: The 19th

Ahead of the first presidential debate of the 2024 election cycle, 90 disability organizations signed onto a letter to host CNN, requesting that the debate be made more accessible and that moderators consider topics relevant to the disability community. “We hope that CNN will really listen to us when we say that adding these accessibility features to their debate coverage will lead to a more inclusive democracy and a more informed electorate,” said Maria Town, president of the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD), one of the most prominent cross-disability groups in the United States and the letter’s lead author…

Jack Fact — The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 430 million individuals worldwide—or more than 5% of the world’s population—have debilitating hearing loss. By 2050, that figure is expected to rise to 700 million. Of these, around 72 million people use sign language, and more than 80 percent of them live in developing countries.

Hit The Road Jack — Tourism initiative: Accessible La Romana Destination & We Tried the Top Apps for Travelers with Disabilities. Here’s What We Found  & Explore Nature & Neighborhoods On The Wheelchair-Accessible Great Sauk Wisconsin State Trail

International News

1.    Ray White’s inclusive auction sets a new standard for accessibility- June 21, 2024 Source: The Real Estate Conversation- Australia

Ray White Noble Park made history last night by providing an Auslan interpreter to sign the live auction call of 28 Jacana St, Noble Park. This initiative, called by Ray White Victoria’s chief auctioneer Jeremy Tyrell and Alex from Expressions Australia, marks a significant step towards inclusivity in the real estate industry. The pair auctioned four auctions for the south-east Melbourne business last night and they sold 2/4 properties…

2.    Alberta woman speaks out against provincial law that prohibits use of her mobility scooter- June 22, 2024 Source: CTV News- Canada

An Olds, Alta., woman with accessibility issues is speaking out against the town after local bylaw officers informed her she would receive a $5,000 fine if she was caught using her mobility scooter on any street, sidewalk or pathway in town. Jennifer Clarke, 48, was born with cerebral palsy and for the past six years she has been using her Gio All-Season Enclosed Mobility Scooter to get around town to complete day-to-day tasks. On June 6, that all changed when she was operating her scooter in a nearby park…

3.    More Swiss railway stations to be made accessible for disabled travellers- June 21, 2024 Source: Swissinfo- Switzerland

According to the 2024 status report published by the Federal Office of Transport (FOT) on Friday, a further 217 railway stations and stops should be adapted for disabled travellers by the end of 2027. This means that around 80% of the 1,629 stations that must be adapted for autonomous and spontaneous use by disabled travellers will have been adapted by then. For around 158 of the 1,800 stops, adaptation is seen as excessive, partly because there are very few passengers…

4.    Accessibility advocates fear possible delay in adding more elevators in Montreal’s Metro stations- June 22, 2024 Source: CTV News- Canada

Disability advocates are warning that plans to make the Metro more accessible may be delayed or dropped altogether as they feel caught in the middle of a funding battle between Quebec and the STM. For decades, Marie Turcotte has been working to make Montreal public transit fully accessible. The best way to do that is via elevators. She was part of the STM’s announcement in 2017 that the entire underground would be accessible to all by 2038…

5.    Dunlop Avenue social housing site’s disability credentials wiped from website after tenant complaint- June 22, 2024 Source: ABC- Australia

Part of a website promoting accessible features at a major new Melbourne social housing complex was quietly deleted after a resident complained one of those features was never built. The $104 million Ascot Vale development was among the first sites redeveloped under a state government strategy that will see dozens of ageing public housing blocks razed and replaced with modern social, affordable and private market housing. The 200 units in the city’s inner north-west — a mix of community and affordable housing — were unveiled in March last year, and builder Built Pty Ltd promoted their standards on its website…

6.    State Commissioner seeks report on accessibility for PwDs in ULB election- June 22, 2024 Source: Morung Express- India

The State Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities has sought report from the State Election Commissioner on the measures taken to ensure accessibility to Persons with Disabilities in the forthcoming Urban Local Bodies (ULB) which is scheduled on June 26. State Commissioner for PwDs, Deithono Nakhro brought to notice Section 11 and 8 of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act 2016 which states that the Election Commission of India and the State Election Commission should ensure that the election process and all polling stations are accessible to PwDs…

7.    General election: Polling day is dehumanising, says blind voter- June 24, 2024 Source: BBC- UK

Voting in a general election is “dehumanising” due to a lack of accessibility, says a visually impaired voter. Elin Williams, 27, was diagnosed with degenerative eye condition retinitis pigmentosa when she was just six. As a result, she has not once been able to independently cast her vote at any election or referendum. The Electoral Commission, which sets the rules for how elections are run, said “everyone should have the right to vote independently and in secret”…

8.    Accessible tourism: Dane Cross calls on awareness and inclusivity- June 24, 2024 Source: 9Travel- Australia

In 2001 Dane Cross was playing in a seemingly ‘harmless’ game of touch football when an accident left him with severe spinal cord damage. “It would have been very easy for me to stay in bed or isolated at home and choose a different life path,” Dane, who lives with paraplegia, tells 9Travel. Instead, he decided he’d live his life to the fullest, not only getting married and having three beautiful children, but also working and travelling. As a result, he is now among a chorus of voices spearheading calls to nominate 2025 as the National Year of Accessible Tourism and help drive more inclusivity in the tourism sector…

9.    Mobility mapping: Shedding light on accessibility in our communities- June 24, 2024 Source: Council Magazine- Australia

Accessibility is a major concern for thousands of Australians who struggle with mobility issues. A trip that might be only a short walk for an able-bodied person could be a seriously daunting journey for somebody in a wheelchair, in order to avoid stairs, steep curbs or other impediments. That’s why Fraser Coast Council has developed a mobility map to help pedestrians to better navigate the footpaths in Maryborough and Hervey Bay. The mobility mapping process undertaken by Fraser Coast Regional Council has been extensive, with council working with a survey team, including trained wheelchair users (pilots)…

10. Sight loss charity calls for better accessible voting- June 24, 2024 Source: The Renfrewshire Gazette- Scotland

In calls echoed by RNIB Scotland – a sight loss charity – people with vision impairments want to vote with greater independence. According to RNIB research only 13 per cent of sight-loss sufferers could vote without assistance and in secret at the last general election. Renfrewshire resident Allan Russell, said: “As a blind voter, being able to get to the polling station and know I can get support when there, is really important to me. “I do have to ask someone to help me vote, which means I can’t yet vote in secret.”…

11. How The Paris Paralympics Are Driving Engineering And Accessibility Innovation- June 24, 2024 Source: Worldcrunch- France

Commercials and billboards featuring disabled athletes and their special sports equipment are everywhere in France ahead of the Paralympic Games, scheduled to take place in Paris from August 28 to September 8. But the equipment designed for athletes, from racing blades to wheelchairs, is not available to everyone. Even today, in this age of inclusivity and representation, sports prostheses, which can cost up to 20,000 euros, are still not reimbursed by France’s Social Security — unlike those used by amputees in their daily lives…

12. Nova Scotia Sport Hall of Fame will undergo major upgrades to make it more accessible- June 24, 2024 Source: CTV News- Canada

The Nova Scotia Sport Hall of Fame will be getting a major facelift thanks to $2.5 million in funding from the province. The upgrades to the facility in downtown Halifax, which is currently closed for renovations, will allow it to be fully accessible, with an elevator and upgraded washrooms, according to a news release(opens in a new tab) from the province Monday. “The Nova Scotia Sport Hall of Fame is where our province’s rich sports history comes to life and honours its many sports heroes, builders and teams,” said Marco MacLeod, MLA for Pictou West…

13. UK boy has brain implant fitted to control epilepsy seizures in world first- June 24, 2024 Source: The Guardian- UK

A UK teenager with severe epilepsy has become the first person in the world to be fitted with a brain implant aimed at bringing seizures under control. Oran Knowlson’s neurostimulator sits under the skull and sends electrical signals deep into the brain, reducing his daytime seizures by 80%. His mother, Justine, said that her son had been happier, chattier and had a much better quality of life since receiving the device. “The future looks hopeful, which I wouldn’t have dreamed of saying six months ago,” she said…

14. The “threshold” of accessibility at the Comrat Court of Appeal- June 25, 2024 Source: United Nations Development Programme- Moldova

“In 2018, when I joined the Comrat Court of Appeal, the first difficulty I encountered was the high doorstep at the main entrance. It was difficult for me to step over that doorstep without getting off balance and without help,” recalls Olesea Topal, a senior specialist in the Interpreters and Translators Section at the Comrat Court of Appeal, a court that tends to become a model for ensuring accessibility. During the past six years since Olesea was hired, the institution has been making changes to become as inclusive as possible for employees and litigants…

15. Accessibility at the Philharmonie de Paris: Allowing Everyone to Experience Music- June 26, 2024 Source: International Council of Museums- France

The Philharmonie de Paris aims to help everyone find their way to music, regardless of their situation, age or special needs. Its accessibility policy engages the entire staff and encourages the co-construction of projects with the public, and it offers a wide range of activities for children and adults with disabilities or special needs, whether they are supported by medical or social institutions and services, enrolled in special needs classes (ULIS[1]) or other Ministry of Education programmes, or whether they come on their own…

16. Accessibility upgrades for two NSW stations begin the planning process- June 26, 2024 Source: Rail Express- Australia

Kotara and Cockle Creek will be among the next group of stations to receive accessibility upgrades, with design and investigation work for the two stations funded under the Government’s $800 million Safe and Accessible Transport program. The design of the upgrades at Kotara and Cockle Creek stations will consider the installation of new lifts, stairs, ramps and footbridges to improve access to the station along with platform resurfacing, tactile ground surface indicators to assist the sight-impaired and increase safety at night, accessible car parking, boarding assistance zones, kiss and ride zones, bus stop upgrades, bicycle hoops and upgraded lighting…

17. New accessibility and safety rules for Iqaluit cabs a first step for advocates- June 27, 2024 Source: CBC- Canada

For years, Noah Papatsie has pushed for better accessibility in Iqaluit, first as a former city councillor on the taxi bylaw committee, and as a disability advocate. More than a decade after he first started that campaign, there’s progress on making it easier for people with accessibility needs to get around town. “I’m really happy there’s an accessible taxi, that’s one step forward for safety,” Papatsie said. City council has passed a new bylaw, which requires cab companies to have at least one vehicle available at all times, which meets disability standards…

18. Removing accessibility requirements will not result in additional taxis – Martin Kenny TD- June 26, 2024 Source: Sinn Féin- Ireland

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Transport and Communications, Martin Kenny TD, has expressed his disappointment at calls made to remove the Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle (WAV) requirement for newly-registered taxis in light of continued taxi shortages. His comments follow anticipated taxi shortages this weekend as a number of events take place across Dublin. Teachta Kenny said: “The shortage of taxis across the state at peak times has been an issue for years, and we must recognise that part of this problem is the over reliance on an underfunded public transport system.”…

19. Some parties still failing on accessible manifestos- June 27, 2024 Source: Disability News Service- UK

Some of the main political parties fighting the general election have still not published accessible versions of their manifestos, with just a week to polling day. The worst offender is the right-wing Reform UK, which has so far failed to provide any accessible versions of its manifesto, preventing many disabled people from viewing its policies. But some of the other smaller parties had also failed by 10am today (Thursday) to produce manifestos in some of the formats, including large print, easy read, Braille, British Sign Language (BSL) and audio…

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