Accessibility in the News- Knowledge is Power for 07-04

National News (U.S.) 1.    Vermonters with hearing and vision loss fear end of a pilot program- June 24, 2024 Source: VTDigger For […]

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National News (U.S.)

1.    Vermonters with hearing and vision loss fear end of a pilot program- June 24, 2024 Source: VTDigger

For roughly the past two years, the state of Vermont has operated a program to help people like René Pellerin. Pellerin, who lives in Waterbury Center, has dual sensory loss — he is deaf and has a condition that has caused his vision to deteriorate. To do many activities in his daily life, Pellerin uses state-funded support service providers: trained aides who drive him to social events, help him do outdoor activities and guide him when shopping at the store.  But with the funding for that state program scheduled to dry up this fall, Pellerin and others fear that it will leave them without crucial support…

2.    Iowa Baseball Camp for the Deaf brings accessibility to the sport- June 28, 2024 Source: KWWL

Every summer for nearly a decade, the Iowa Baseball Camp for the Deaf helps children experience America’s favorite pastime. The free week-long camp welcomes more than two dozen deaf and hard-of-hearing athletes to Johnston’s Little League Park. Camp organizers say the kids come for the baseball but keep coming back for the comradery. “Everyone’s on equal footing. It’s full access here. There is no barriers, there is no struggling, no frustrations, just open communication,” said camp director Dylan Heuer…

3.    Alpena County courtrooms see accessibility issues- June 28, 2024 Source: The Alpena News

Alpena County is grappling with significant challenges regarding accessibility in its courtrooms, particularly for wheelchair users. This issue gained prominence during the recent case of Thomas VanDuinen, which had to be moved to the district court building due to the circuit court’s inaccessibility for those with mobility impairments. Alpena County Administrator Jesse Osmer and County Commissioner John Kozlowski both emphasized that budget constraints are a primary reason for the lack of necessary renovations…

4.    NH advocates push to end use of ‘special’ when talking about disability- June 29, 2024 Source: New Hampshire Public Radio

Disability rights groups in New Hampshire are pushing to end use of the word “special” when talking about people with disabilities. They say the term is demeaning, casts people with disabilities as “others” and suggests they don’t belong in the same spaces as everyone else. “When we say that people with disabilities are ‘special,’ we’re trying to dress up our tendency to think of people with disabilities as not being normal, not being part of our community,” said Patricia Vincent-Piet, a disability advocate and member of the New Hampshire Council on Developmental Disabilities…

5.    Study suggests connection between anxiety and Parkinson’s disease- June 30, 2024 Source: The Washington Post

People over 50 with anxiety may be up to twice as likely to develop Parkinson’s disease as their peers without anxiety, a new analysis suggests. The study, published in the British Journal of General Practice, looked at primary care data from the United Kingdom. Researchers compared a group of 109,435 people 50 and older who were diagnosed with a first episode of anxiety between 2008 and 2018 with a control group of 987,691 people without anxiety…

6.    Middle School Students Innovate with 3D-Printed Accessibility Tools for Animals- June 30, 2024 Source: OneGreenPlanet

At Marston Middle School in Clairemont, 18 students worked on a unique set of projects this spring, designing accessibility items for animals and a local blind student. This initiative was part of an inaugural program by the county Office of Education’s Educational Technology department, aiming to bring innovative learning experiences to San Diego schools. The students created various items, including a braille-inscribed video game controller for Diego, a blind student, and a splint for animals with injured legs. These designs came to life using 3D printing technology…

7.    How Inaccessible Film Festivals Silence Disabled Voices In Cinema – New Research- June 30, 2024 Source: Forbes

Though much important work remains to be done, the past few years have witnessed the building of a significant head of steam when it comes to campaigning for more authentic disability representation in films and TV. However, whilst growing scrutiny has been placed on how disability is depicted, or sadly, all too often excluded from the finished product, less attention has been paid to a serious accessibility barrier impacting film creatives with disabilities at the very grassroots of the industry…

8.    Rallying call for disability rights in NC draws national response- June 30, 2024 Source: WFAE

Just as in Marvel comics, when a superhero summons the team with the  “Avengers assemble!” rallying cry, one member of the national disability rights group ADAPT put out a call — and advocates from across the country responded with collective force. This past week, people with disabilities from Minnesota, Texas, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Kansas and other states loaded up their wheelchairs and assistive devices, recruited personal assistants and made their way to Raleigh to push for better housing and more services for people with disabilities in North Carolina…

9.    Outdoor enthusiasts who have disabilities: Being active outside ‘changes everything’- July 1, 2024 Source: WGBH

Being active outside — biking, hiking or paddling — is a key part of life for many in western Massachusetts. For some people who have disabilities, outdoor recreation can be challenging, but also life-changing. That’s true for 50 year-old Amy Sugihara. “I hiked a bunch. I used to rock climb and kayak. And white water rafting,” she said. Today she still kayaks and gets out on trails. And even plays pickleball. On a recent day at Look Park in Northampton, she headed toward a court in her wheelchair, pushing a second chair — called a court chair — ahead of her…

10. Blind Plaintiff Sues Major Playing Card Company Over Website Accessibility Issues- July 1, 2024 Source: Pennsylvania Record

A visually impaired individual has taken legal action against a major playing card company, alleging that its website is not accessible to blind users. Blair Douglass filed the complaint in the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania on June 17, 2024, targeting The United States Playing Card Company. Douglass, who is legally blind and relies on screen reader auxiliary aids to access online content, claims that the company’s website fails to provide adequate accessibility features…

11. Jules Edwards advocated for her autistic kids — then learned she’s autistic, too- July 1, 204 Source: MPR News

Jules Edwards is a Twin Cities-based Anishinaabe autistic author and disability justice advocate. After her kids were identified as being autistic, Edwards became a passionate advocate for people on the autism spectrum. She later learned she is autistic, too. Edwards’ journey in advocacy began from a place of necessity, she explained. Edwards saw Native people, while disproportionately experiencing disabilities, often had the least access to supportive resources…

12. Salt Lake City celebrates progress in accessibility- July 2, 2024 Source: KSL News

One in 4 Utah adults reports having a permanent disability; 1 in 3 Utahns is under 18 years old; 1 in 10 Utahns is older than 65 years old, approximately 10% to 20% of days in the year are snowy or wet in the state; 3 in 4 Utahns do not have a regular 9-to-5 job and 3% to 5% of Salt Lake City households do not have an automobile. These are the parameters Tom Millar, of the Salt Lake Planning Division, has worked with to expand accessibility throughout Salt Lake…

13. In Her Own Words: At Understood.org, Deb Wilson aims for workplace accessibility- July 2, 2024 Source: The Business Journals

People get into human resources and talent development for all sorts of reasons. For me, human resources is all about making a difference in peoples’ lives. I’m very lucky that my role as Chief People & Culture Officer at Understood.org allows me to do this, not only for our team members, but also for the 1 in 5 Americans who have a learning or thinking difference, like ADHD or dyslexia. My career began in sales. I was quickly recognized for my talent, promoted, and took on leadership roles where I was recruiting and training new staff…

14. U.S. Attorney’s Office Secured Agreement With Town of Glen Alpine To Ensure Compliance With The Americans With Disabilities Act- July 2, 2024 Source: U.S. Attorney’s Office, Western District of North Carolina

U.S. Attorney Dena J. King announced today that the Town of Glen Alpine has remedied several violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to ensure that individuals with disabilities have equal access to its Town Hall building. The resolution is part of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s commitment to ensure that civic institutions comply with the ADA. The United States Department of Justice and the U.S. Attorney’s Office are responsible for enforcing the ADA, which prohibits the failure to make reasonable modifications where those modifications are necessary to make services available to individuals with disabilities…

15. VA employee files EHR lawsuit, claiming lack of accessibility features- July 2, 2024 Source: Federal News Network

A Department of Veterans Affairs employee is suing the VA over its rollout of a new Electronic Health Record (EHR), over claims the system is inaccessible to employees and veterans with disabilities. The lawsuit claims VA’s new Oracle-Cerner EHR doesn’t work with assistive devices, such as screen readers that allow visually impaired users to access information on a computer screen. Laurette Santos, a licensed social worker who’s worked at the VA for over a decade, is leading the lawsuit, which she filed with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia last month…

16. County struggles with new state ‘digital accessibility’ law- July 2, 2024 Source: Sterling Journal-Advocate

Colorado’s county officials, especially in rural counties with small budgets, are running into the unintended consequences of a 2021 state law that was supposed to make local government more accessible to citizens. In fact, as the Logan County Board of Commissioners discovered Tuesday, the bill will have the exact opposite effect. During their work session prior to Tuesday’s business meeting, the commissioners discussed the fallout of House Bill 21-1110…

17. Popular weight loss and diabetes drugs linked to increased risk of rare form of blindness- July 3, 2024 Source: CNN

People who take Ozempic or Wegovy may have a higher risk of developing a rare form of blindness, a new study suggests. Still, doctors say it shouldn’t deter patients from using the medicines to treat diabetes or obesity.

Last summer, doctors at Mass Eye and Ear noticed an unusually high number of patients with non-arteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy, or NAION, a type of eye stroke that causes sudden, painless vision loss in one eye…

18. Asian-owned businesses feel targeted by Portland lawyers who filed dozens of ADA lawsuits- July 3, 2024 Source: KGW

Several Asian-owned businesses feel they were targeted by a pair of Portland lawyers who have filed dozens of Americans with Disabilities Act or ADA lawsuits over the past nine months. “We’re easy targets,” said Sara Tran. One of the lawyers sued her mother, Hanh Tran, over alleged ADA compliance issues. “We don’t know the law,” said Hanh. “We don’t speak well; the language and we don’t know how to get help.” Hanh emigrated from Vietnam when she was 19 years old…

Jack Fact  According to the British Medical Bulletin, one in seven people worldwide are neurodivergent.

Hit The Road Jack — New accessibility options for people visiting the Lake District & This Is the Most Wheelchair-accessible City in the U.S. Accessible Attractions, Hotels & Getting Around in Monterey County The ultimate checklist: How destinations can offer accessible travel experiences

International News

1.    ‘Shocking’ failure of election candidates asked about accessible housing- June 27, 2024 Source: Disability News Service- UK

Politicians attending an election disability hustings event showed a “shocking and disappointing” lack of knowledge and commitment to addressing the accessible housing crisis, when they were asked about the issue. None of the major parties have engaged within their manifestos with the critical shortage of accessible housing, despite several parties issuing significant house-building pledges. Representatives of Labour, the Conservatives, the Liberal Democrats and the Green Party were asked about the issue at the hustings event in Richmond, south-west London, on Monday…

2.    Driving accessibility: Africa’s push for active mobility- June 28, 2024 Source: Stockholm Environment Institute- Africa

Transport is pivotal in shaping societies and economies, and Africa is no exception. The continent’s vast size, diverse landscapes and limited resources make it a complex environment for transportation development. With rapid urbanization and a growing population that is expected to double by 2050, the demand for reliable and inclusive mobility solutions is only set to increase. The ability to travel safely and efficiently is crucial for accessing jobs, education, healthcare and other essential services…

3.    Election debate for deaf and disabled community praised- June 28, 2024 Source: BBC- UK

More than 1,000 people watched a special election debate that allowed the deaf and disabled community to be heard by key political candidates. The event, hosted by the Cambridgeshire Deaf Association (CDA) in Peterborough, was live streamed and featured British Sign Language (BSL) interpreters and captions. Vladimirs Krumins, who is deaf, said events like these made a difference as it could be hard for him to interpret television debates that did not include BSL…

4.    Brighton Dome: New festival celebrates work of disabled artists – June 29, 2024 Source: BBC- UK

A new festival celebrating disabled artists and their work is to take place at one of Sussex’s best-known venues. Disabled + Disobedient Festival will be held at Brighton Dome on 6 July. Organisers said it will will offer an afternoon of free workshops, talks and networking sessions created by and for deaf, disabled and neurodivergent artists. A Dome spokesperson said: “Our venues now include even more accessible spaces to support a wider, more inclusive programme of events.”…

5.    Will the Paris Olympics mark a new era of inclusive, accessible sports storytelling?- July 1, 2024 Source: Creativebrief- France

2024 will mark a new era of sports storytelling, realised by social media, but driven by a wholesale shift in sports culture towards a more inclusive and authentic narrative. Just as the 2012 London Olympics was heralded as the first ‘social media olympics’ the 2024 Paris Olympic and Paralympic Games promises to raise the bar of sports storytelling. Performance messaging alone has run out of steam. In the wake of the emotional and economic fallout of the covid crisis, consumers are seeking more humanity from their sporting superstars…

6.    Greece Aims for Top Spot in Accessible Beaches for the Disabled- July 1, 2024 Source: Greek Reporter- Greece & Greek City Times

Greece aims to be the top country in terms of accessible beaches for disabled persons. The country’s goal is to accommodate a larger number of visitors with physical handicaps or needs. Currently, more than 250 beaches throughout Greece are accessible to everyone. This means that those with limited mobility and other handicaps or needs, such as the elderly, pregnant women, and people with temporary injuries can access the vast blue waters of the Greek seas…

7.    ‘Elections are not accessible for disabled people’- July 2, 2024 Source: BBC- UK

Elections and voting are not fully accessible for people with disabilities, an advocacy group has said. Ace Anglia, based in Stowmarket, Suffolk, primarily worked with people with learning disabilities and autism. Mark Conquer, who works with the group, said more needed to be done to allow people with disabilities to have the same access to election material and the ability to keep their vote confidential. The Electoral Commission said recent changes required equipment and support for disabled people to be available, to allow them vote independently and in secret…

8.    Federal Parliament Officially Launches Australian Paralympic Team- July 2, 2024 Source: Paralympics Australia

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Opposition Leader Peter Dutton have led a bipartisan show of support for the 2024 Australian Paralympic Team with a stirring official team launch in the Great Hall of Parliament House in Canberra. Federal Members of Parliament came together to offer their encouragement for the final stretch before the Paris Paralympics, which starts on August 28. Australian team co-captains, three-time Para-canoe gold medallist Curtis McGrath and soon-to-be seven-time Paralympic wheelchair racer Angie Ballard were among more than 25 Para-athletes from 14 sports in attendance…

9.    IT ministry: Govt websites, apps set to get an accessibility reboot soon- July 2, 2024 Source: The Economic Times- India

The government is working on a plan to improve the accessibility of all government websites, digital applications, and services in the government-to-government, government-to-business or government-to-citizen space, a senior government official told ET. The ministry of electronics and information technology will anchor this project and suggest ways to improve page and website loading times, have better user interfaces on websites and apps, and make them more accessible for people with disabilities, the official said…

10. Web stores increasingly not accessible- July 2, 2024 Source: Aussiedlerboten- Germany

Only one fifth of the most popular webshops in Germany are partly accessible. This was the result of a study presented by Google, the funding organization “Aktion Mensch,” and the Pfennigparade Foundation in Berlin. The situation has worsened compared to the previous year. In 2023, only 25 percent of popular webshops were accessible. The barriers in online shops affect many people: In Germany, there are 7.8 million people with recognized disabilities, including around 350,000 people with blindness or visual impairments…

11. Govt Mulls Major Accessibility Upgrades For Its Websites, Digital Apps And Services- July 2, 2024 Source: Inc42- India & The Economic Times

The Centre is reportedly planning to improve accessibility for all its websites, digital applications and services across government-to-government, government-to-business and government-to-citizen space. Citing a senior government official, ET reported that the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology will anchor this project, suggesting ways to improve page and website loading times, enhance user interfaces on websites and apps and make them more accessible for people with disabilities…

12. Urban space should be rethought: Kharkiv launches a department of inclusive accessibility- July 2, 2024 Source: Ukrainian National News- Ukraine & Rubryka

For the first time in Ukraine, Kharkiv will establish a department of inclusive accessibility and barrier-free environment. The city authorities are striving to make the city accessible to everyone, including those affected by the war. This was stated by the mayor of the city, Igor Terekhov, reports UNN. According to him, it’s not just about technical shortcomings, but rather about the need to start forming a completely different urban philosophy. He emphasized that everyone who lives in Kharkiv should have free access to any service or public place…

13. United Synagogue launches ‘first ever’ accessibility guidebook- July 2, 2024 Source: The Jewish Chronicle- UK

For disabled and neuro-diverse people synagogue buildings can offer huge challenges, whether in the shape of a flight of stairs or a noisy room. Now the United Synagogue is hoping to enable even more of the community, to use its shuls, community groups and nurseries with the publication of a new accessibility guidebook. The book, believed to be the first of its kind in the Jewish community and possibly of any faith community in the UK, has a key of symbols for features such as a Shabbat lift, a wheelchair ramp to the bimah and a quiet space…

14. Creating a more accessible built environment- July 3, 2024 Source: Toronto Star- Canada

Not all public spaces are designed in a way that can be used comfortably by everyone. “The built environment is probably one of the most challenging areas of accessibility to address because many spaces are grandfathered in,” says Alison Novak, senior scientist with the KITE Research Institute-University Health Network. For example, many public buildings in Toronto have stepped entrances, which means someone in a wheelchair has to use a side or back door…

15. Lincoln Castle concerts spark accessibility concerns- July 3, 2024 Source: BBC- UK

Some disabled people who attended Live at Lincoln Castle concerts say more needs to be done to ensure the events are accessible. Richard Adams, 45, who lives in the St Giles area, wrote a post about one of the gigs on his Facebook page, Disabled in Lincoln, where he shares information on accessibility at local venues. Concerns were raised over not being able to see the stage, a lack of accessible toilets and cobbles and cables in the accessibility lane…

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