Accessibility in the News for 04-12 – Knowledge is Power

National News (U.S.) 1.    Rep. Ayanna Pressley Pushes For More Access To Diagnostic Equipment For Disabled People- April 4, 2024 Source: HuffPost […]

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National News (U.S.)

1.    Rep. Ayanna Pressley Pushes For More Access To Diagnostic Equipment For Disabled People- April 4, 2024 Source: HuffPost

Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) is calling for advancements to efforts to improve health care access for disabled people in the U.S. In a letter obtained by HuffPost that was sent to the Department of Justice on Thursday, Pressley urged the department to quickly finalize its proposed rule to improve access to medical diagnostic equipment (MDE) for disabled people. MDE includes weight scales, examination tables, dental chairs, radiology devices and other equipment that can be used to diagnose a patient…

2.    These identical twins both grew up with autism, but took very different paths- April 4, 2024 Source: NPR

Sam and John Fetters, 19, are identical twins at opposite ends of the autism spectrum. Sam is a sophomore at Amherst College who plans to double major in history and political science. In his free time, he runs marathons. John attends a special school, struggles to form sentences, and likes to watch Teletubbies and Sesame Street. Two brothers. Same genes. Different flavors of autism. To scientists, twins like Sam and John pose an important question: How can a disorder that is known to be highly genetic look so different in siblings who share the same genome?…

3.    Garden Theatre launches accessible education program- April 6, 2024 Source: Orange Observer

When Brian Fallon, operations manager at the Garden Theatre, partnered with the Central Florida Audio Description Initiative to bring audio description to local audiences who are blind or have low vision, it got Amanda Payne, education and community director at the Garden Theatre, thinking about how she could help. “He really started the accessibility initiative here and inspired all of us to say, ‘What can we do to make all of our programs more accessible?’” she said…

4.    Sensory-friendly events promote community, accessibility in Chapel Hill – April 7, 2024 Source: The Daily Tar Heel

On the third Wednesday of every month, Kidzu Children’s Museum in Chapel Hill opens their facilities after their scheduled hours to allow children to enjoy the museum without the typical noise, crowds or overstimulation. These nights, which only allow 18 attendees, are specifically for children with sensory-processing differences. This can include people diagnosed with developmental or learning disabilities such as autism. This is just one of many sensory-friendly activities offered in Chapel Hill…

5.    Justice Department to Publish Final Rule to Strengthen Web and Mobile App Access for People with Disabilities- April 8, 2024 Source: DOJ & [Fact%20Sheet]Fact Sheet & Advance Copy (PDF)

a.    Ken Nakata Update & Lainey Feingold Update & Seyfarth Shaw & StateScoop & ABA Banking Journal & Government Technology & HuffPost

b.    Joint Statement Applauding Final Rule for Web Accessibility Under Title II of the ADA- April 10, 2024- American Foundation for the Blind

Attorney General Merrick B. Garland today signed a final rule under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to ensure the accessibility of web content and mobile applications (apps) for people with disabilities. This final rule clarifies the obligations of state and local governments to make their websites and mobile applications accessible. Every day, people across the country use the web and mobile apps to access public programs and services, including emergency information, courts, healthcare providers, schools, voting information, parking, permit applications, tax payments, and transit updates…

6.    New state office would be barrier-breaking hub for Coloradans with disabilities- April 8, 2024 Source: Colorado Newsline

As he faces the last eight months of his time as a Colorado lawmaker, Rep. David Ortiz is looking to ensure the continuation of disability rights advocacy when he is no longer in the Capitol. “Disability rights aren’t on everyone’s radar because they don’t live that way, or they don’t have someone that they love or know live that way. And so the world continues to be inaccessible in a real detrimental way,” the Littleton Democrat told Colorado Newsline. Ortiz, who was first elected in 2020, is the first Colorado lawmaker to use a wheelchair…

7.    How Local Parks and Nature Centers Are Putting Accessibility Front and Center- April 8, 2024 Source: Sierra Club

When my mother’s Parkinson’s disease began worsening a few years ago, I started looking at outdoor and public spaces through a completely different lens. Though I can easily hike up rough and rugged mountains and climb around rocky and uneven terrain, my mom could no longer access locations in the outdoors that couldn’t accommodate her walker, and then wheelchair. The good news is that for hikers with special needs, there are more and more local parks and nature centers that offer practical, easy-to-reach trails that anyone can enjoy…

8.    Don’t stall accessibility: Senate Bill 915 will bring AVs to a halt for Californians- April 8, 2024 Source: Redlands Daily Facts

a.    Illinois Senate to consider bill that would make EV chargers more accessible- April 9, 2024 Source: Daily Herald

Imagine needing a new driver’s license every time you crossed a city line. That’s the gridlock scenario facing Californians with a new bill that would put the brakes on autonomous vehicles (AVs) throughout the state. This especially hurts the 797,300 blind Californians who can’t get a license – the very people who are among the main beneficiaries of the accessibility and independence AVs can provide. Senate Bill 915 mandates that AV technology already approved by the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) receive additional authorizations from every single city in which they operate…

9.    ‘It’s not reliable’ | Accessibility advocates challenge TARC’s dependability, communication- April 8, 2024 Source: WDRB

Around one dozen people showed up to a Louisville bus stop Monday morning with posters and flyers, protesting the Transit Authority of River City, known as TARC. “I’ve known for a long time that TARC has not been living up to its potential or its promises to the community, especially the disabled community,” said Michelle Bazeley, who lives in Louisville. Bazeley and others were at the protest as part of the ADAPT organization. “We’re starting a chapter here in Kentucky. So, we’re brand new and I’m one of the members,” she said…

10. Casey, Colleagues Call on Senate Leadership to Make Senate Technology More Accessible- April 9, 2024 Source: Senator Bob Casey & Franklin County Free Press & MyChesCo

Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), Chairman of the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging, joined his colleagues Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), John Fetterman (D-PA), Bernie Sanders (D-VT), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) in sending a letter to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) about the accessibility of Senate technology. Federal law requires technology used by Congress, such as websites, apps, and kiosks, to be accessible for people with disabilities…

11. Justice Department Sues Arkansas School District for Denying Temporary Remote Work as Reasonable Accommodation- April 9, 2024 Source: Department of Justice

The Justice Department announced today that it filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas against West Memphis School District (WMSD) for denying an employee’s request for a reasonable accommodation of temporary telework, in violation of Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA requires that employers provide reasonable accommodations to employees with disabilities, which may include telework, when it does not pose an undue hardship to the employer…

12. Disney World Announces Crackdown on Fraudulent Disability Passes- April 9, 2024 Source: Inside the Magic & Travel + Leisure & FOX 11 & ClickOrlando & Disability Scoop & The Washington Post

The Walt Disney World is starting to crack down on the widespread abuse of an incredibly important tool. The Walt Disney World Resort has just announced it will be making significant changes to how its Disability Access Service (DAS) system works in order to address the widespread abuse of the system. The Walt Disney World Resort is visited by millions of guests each and every year, with The Walt Disney Company going to great lengths to ensure the parks and resorts around the world are welcoming to everyone…

13. New Alzheimer’s drug offers hope, raises accessibility concerns- April 9, 2024 Source: KPBS

San Diego County is among the top 10 U.S. counties with the highest Alzheimer’s Disease cases, with an estimated 58,553 people over 65 diagnosed with the disease, according to recent findings by the Alzheimer’s Association. The disease, which ranks as the third-leading cause of death for adults over 80 in the county, is not only taking a heavy toll on affected individuals but also their families and caregivers. Patricia Hernandez has been tirelessly caring for her parents, Virginia and Ricardo Hernandez, for nearly two decades. She said having two parents diagnosed with dementia has been devastating…

14. University of Montana settles in federal court to make Dahlberg Arena more wheelchair accessible- April 9, 2024 Source: The Missoulian & NBC

The University of Montana settled with the Montana U.S. Attorney’s Office over an investigation into the Adams Center’s disability seating compliance, federal officials announced on Monday. Terms of the settlement require UM to bolster wheelchair space in the Dahlberg Arena and reconfigure its seating to make it more accessible for people with disabilities, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The agreement comes after a 2019 complaint was made to federal authorities, which triggered an investigation from the Department of Justice…

15. Massachusetts State Police will now recognize Blue Envelope program for drivers with autism- April 9, 2025 Source: CBS Boston

A program that supports drivers on the autism spectrum is expanding statewide, including to the Massachusetts State Police. The Blue Envelope program allows drivers with autism to carry blue envelopes that can be handed to a police officer during a traffic stop. The envelope is a sign to the officer that the driver is on the spectrum and may need more sensitive communication. All driving documents, such as vehicle registration and driver’s license, can be stored in the envelope, which contains tips and instructions to police for working with someone on the autism spectrum…

16. NASA ambassador helping to make world — and space travel — accessible to people who are blind- April 11, 2024 Source: Deseret News

Flying at Zero-G, the brief periods of weightlessness that cognitive neuroscience researcher Lindsay Yazzolino experienced during the flight were a “fascinating experience.” For Yazzolino, it was an opportunity where her love of flying intersected with her passion for science. “It’s a very different way of just experiencing the way things move and how you are in space within the airplane. But it was super fun because most of the plane is just a giant space for people to float around and do research,” said Yazzolino, who has been blind since birth…

17. Accessible Chicago: autism-friendly family fun for neurodiverse families- April 11, 2024 Source: Choose Chicago

When people ask me where I’m from, I love sharing that I’m from the city of Chicago, born and raised in the heart of Lincoln Square. Now, as a proud mom and advocate to two boys on the autism spectrum, experiencing all that Chicago has to offer has come full circle, but through a different, neurodivergent lens. For many autistic children with sensory processing challenges, family outings can be overwhelming and stressful. Neurodiverse families thrive on predictability and routine, so novel experiences in urban environments can be challenging to navigate…

18. Boston Marathoner works to make running prosthetics accessible to all who need them- April 11, 2024 Source: MPR News

A bill moving through the state legislature would mandate private health insurance to cover orthotic and prosthetic devices, supplies and accessories. Right now insurance covers the minimum for an amputee to be able to function. But it doesn’t cover prosthetics such as running blades for athletic activities, which can cost thousands of dollars out-of-pocket. A Minnesotan has made it her life’s work to promote equitable access to equipment and care that make physical activity possible for her and others. Nicole Ver Kuilen testified at the Capitol in support of the bill…

Jack Fact  According to The Glaucoma Foundation, the number of people with glaucoma is expected to exceed 111 million in the next six years.

Hit The Road Jack — Finding a wheelchair-friendly holiday is hard, but this place didn’t let us down & This Hotelier Is Making Luxury Stays Wheelchair-Accessible Accessible Garfield Park Conservatory

International News

1.    Yoga is about being flexible – and that extends to accessibility and inclusion- April 4, 2024 Source: ABC- Australia

For four years, yoga has helped Nick Schumi to get more movement in his body. The popular practice is often promoted on social media, but that isn’t what attracted the Adelaide resident to it. Instead, Mr Schumi — who has cerebral palsy — wanted a “yoga that worked for me”. “You see all those photos on social media … and that’s fantastic. “But I didn’t see myself within that.” Mr Schumi engages in a growing movement towards what is sometimes called “accessible and inclusive yoga”…

2.    Dom moves to the beat of accessibility and success- April 5, 2024 Source: NDIS- Australia

In his wildest dreams, Dom never imagined being Australia’s first trans man with disability to run a successful dance academy dedicated to sparking joy in the lives of people living with disability. But then again, the Toowoomba local had no idea that at 25 he’d suddenly acquire the life-long disabilities of functional neurological disorder (FNS), multifocal dystonia, hemiplegic migraines, and Raynaud’s syndrome. At one stage Dom had a medical episode so severe it left him paralysed and unable to walk or talk for months, with neurologists and doctors uncertain he’d ever fully recover…

3.    Promoting Disability Inclusion and Information Accessibility in Cambodia- April 5, 2024 Source: UNESCO- Cambodia

UNESCO, in collaboration with the Cambodian Disabled Peoples Organization (CDPO) and the Ministry of Information, has provided trainings to a total of 139 provincial information department officials from 24 provinces, to build their understanding and capacity to better respond to the information needs of persons with disabilities, to provide quality public services and strengthen their inclusive civic participation. The series of trainings was built on the knowledge generated from the Information Needs Assessment for Persons with Disabilities conducted by UNESCO and the Cambodia Development Resource Institute (CDRI)…

4.    Admn Takes Steps To Ensure Voting Accessibility- April 6, 2024 Source: Times of India

To ensure convenient poll process for persons with disability (PwD) and elderly voters in the district (aged above 85 years), the district administration has decided to deploy volunteers at the polling stations on the polling day, June 1. To ensure that different facilities are provided to PwD and elderly voters at ground level, ADC Major Amit Sareen conducted a meeting of the district monitoring committee on ‘Accessible elections’ at Bachat Bhawan on Friday…

5.    ScreenSkills and TAP launch disability inclusive training materials- April 6, 2024 Source: IBC365- UK

ScreenSkills is partnering with the TV Access Project (TAP) to exclusively host training resources for disability inclusion in the UK screen industries, through organisations committing to certain measures to improve standards for deaf, disabled and neurodivergent talent. Officially launched in August 2022, the TV Access Project (TAP) is an alliance of the UK’s biggest broadcasters and streamers who have pledged to work together to create a substantive and permanent structural shift in current access in the industry…

6.    Pinjarra Resort motel refuses to allow guest to bring her seeing eye dog, despite laws prohibiting discrimination- April 6, 2024 Source: ABC- Australia

Lynn Potter just wanted a short holiday when she booked accommodation at the Pinjarra Resort, south of Perth, in January 2024. But when she was told her guide dog Hector was not allowed, she went through months of stress trying to resolve the situation. Ms Potter told Jo Trilling on ABC Radio Perth that the motel simply didn’t accept that Hector was a service dog and the business was legally required to allow them both entry, despite the facility’s firm “no pets” rule…

7.    BMA vows to improve sidewalks to be more accessible to wheelchairs, the blind- April 7, 2024 Source: Nation- Thailand

The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration on Sunday vowed to lower the height of sidewalks and make them level, as well as providing slopes to make them more accessible to wheelchair users and the blind. The BMA’s announcement on its Facebook page at 11am drew applause from Bangkok residents, who said they want to see the plan implemented as soon as possible. Sidewalks in the capital are notorious for lack of slopes to provide wheelchair users easy access, and the sidewalks are often too high for them to push their wheelchairs on to…

8.    UK releases accessibility guidelines for One Login, lays out plans for future- April 8, 2024 Source: Biometric Update- UK

The UK government has released guidelines on how to make the GOV.UK ID Check app is more accessible. The document gives instructions on how to implement Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.2 both for Android and iOS apps. The GOV.UK ID Check allows users to confirm their identity while signing into government services with the country’s single-sign-on system One Login. It works by matching the users’ faces to their photo IDs. The app was released last year by the Government Digital Service (GDS) office…

9.    Northeast resident chosen to help update the Accessibility Act- April 8, 2024 Source: SaskToday- Canada

Hudson Bay local, Dea Orendi, was one of 15 people appointed to the new Accessibility Advisory Committee which was established on March 1 to support the implementation of The Accessible Saskatchewan Act, which came into force Dec. 3, 2023. Dea Orendi was born with achondroplasia, which is a type of dwarfism. Orendi said, “Society would know us as little people.” For many able-bodied individuals, daily activities seem simple, but for a little person, little things can be daunting…

10. Barriers for disabled staff in the health service need to be lowered- April 8, 2024 Source: UNISON- UK

Annette Heslop for the nursing and midwifery occupational group moved a motion on ensuring reasonable adjustments for healthcare students on clinical placements. Equality law gives disabled workers the right to reasonable adjustments where they experience substantial disadvantage. However, as students are not classed as employees, some struggle on clinical placements to access reasonable adjustments. Ms Heslop said that, in such a situation, it was no surprise that students dropped out. “We must ensure that all students are supported on their placements,” she concluded…

11. Web Accessibility Lawsuits Pose Threat to Edinburgh Businesses- April 9, 2024 Source: Edinburgh News- Scotland

Edinburgh businesses with websites accessible from the United States could be facing a ticking legal timebomb. Web accessibility lawsuits under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) are surging at an alarming rate. These lawsuits allege that websites and mobile apps not accessible to users with disabilities like vision or hearing impairments are liable for charges. The numbers are skyrocketing, with 414 federal ADA lawsuits filed against companies in just the first half of 2023 – over 100 more cases than in 2022…

12. Wheels in motion: Council seeks more accessible taxi options- April 10, 2024 Source: Bradford Today- UK

Bradford’s accessibility advisory committee wants to keep the motor running on plans to improve mobility options within the town. Based on a recommendation from the committee, council approved going to public procurement for accessible taxi services in town, during its April 2 meeting. That includes offering two contracts that “will not only increase the availability of wheelchair-accessible taxicab services to residents, but will also assist in creating an awareness of accessible transit services offered within the town,” says a report by Valerie Vicary, committee coordinator and recently appointed deputy clerk…

13. EU Policy. Political party websites freezing out voters with disabilities – report- April 11, 2024 Source: Euronews- EU

Severe flaws in access to websites and digital channels of the major European political families make it difficult for people with disabilities to cast an informed vote. The sight- and hearing-impaired and those with cognitive and motor disabilities have been completely ignored by political parties in their digital offerings in the run up to the EU elections, according to a report published today (11 April). The report, co-authored by the European Disability Forum (EDF) and the independent not-for-profit Funka Foundation, analysed the websites of the seven main European political families…

14. New Catholic school designed to be most accessible in province- April 11, 2024 Source: Medicine Hat News- Canada

The Medicine Hat Catholic School Board says designs for a new school aim to make it the most accessible building in the province while leaving a blueprint for architects to use for future school designs. The division is planning to partner with the Rick Hansen Foundation to design the new Holy Trinity Academy, which will replace St. Francis Xavier School, with features including modern wheelchair access, drop-down tables and braille along the wall. “An example is wheelchair-accessible doors,” explains superintendent Dwayne Zarichny…

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