August 2004 Archives

Olympic-Sized Inaccessibility

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The BBC's Matthew Davis reports from the Olympic Games in "Challenges for disabled in Athens."

Even before you read the story image using a manual wheelchair where all the sidewalks had a sideslope to the street like that - certainly difficult for an amputee or hemiplegic not to mention with crutches, walker, or a cane.

My professional pride as a knowledge worker took it on the chin when I found out, only two days ago, that there is an ambitious conference on Travel and Disability scheduled for southern Brazil this year.

The Congresso Ibero-Americano de Acessibilidade no Turismo will take place at the Continental Hotel in Canela, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil from November 17 to 19, 2004.

Sponsored by the venerable Sociedade Pestalozzi - Rio Grande do Sul, the proposed presentations cover all the right topics:

Sou Pesquisador Nenhum!

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Como e que ouvi so hoje desse congresso maravilhoso em Rio Grande do Sul ?

“O Mercado de consumo para um Turismo sem barreiras”


ADA Compliance Gets Some Style!

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Forgive the pun but the market is maturing for universally designed products.

Here is a well-presented story from Contractor Magazine. The author, Wliiam Atkinson, reports that best practices in marketing ADA-compliant, universal design sensitve products avoid triggering disability aversion by focusing on style and comfort -- and they seem to be working!:

From Sterile to Stylish

ADA-compliant bathroom products now target the majority of your customers.


When one thinks of ADA compliant bathroom fixtures and accessories, the word "sterile" usually comes to mind. These days, however, stylish is replacing sterile. And it's not because companies are trying to market stylish fixtures exclusively to disabled people.

Rather, they are targeting mainstream consumers of all ages with their ADA-compliant offerings and not even mentioning the fact that the products happen to meet the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The strategy is working — so well that it may not be long before the majority of new-construction bathrooms are outfitted with ADA-compliant fixtures.

Find the full article at:

Learning From the Experts

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While cruising the Inside Passage in Alaska I was able to attend part of Celebration 2004.

The experience prompted an ongong conversation among some readers of The Rolling Rains Report. The question - What cultural values do Native Peoples have to offer the travel and hospitality industry with regard to universal design of products and services?

The discussion is ongoing but I though the motto embedded in the banner found at Aboriginal Tourism British Columbia gets right to heart of the matter -- Who better to learn from than those who have been "in the business" of in-bound travel and "destination development" for thousands of years.


Rasha Kawar @ UCP

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By the time I got to Rasha's petition for accessible bathrooms on airplanes more than 10,000 people had signed already!
Here is a link to the petition

And here is the text of the petition:

Motel 6 Meets the ADA

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The followingnews item comes by way of Dave Reynolds and his informative publication, Inclusion Daily Express:

Motel 6 Agrees To Improve Access
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
August 20, 2004

WASHINGTON, DC--Travelers with disabilities should notice improvements in accessibility at the nation's Motel 6 budget accommodations over the next 2 1/2 years under an agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice.

The details of the agreement, which settles allegations that Motel 6 violated the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act, were announced in a Justice Department statement released August 12. The statement did not include any details about specific allegations.

Under the settlement, Motel 6 Operating L.P. agreed to bring its 600 motels into compliance with the ADA by December 31, 2006.

The company will also hire a full-time ADA compliance officer, provide ADA training to all managers at its hotels, and hire an independent consultant to assess how Motel 6 complies with the agreement.

If Motel 6 fails to "achieve substantial compliance" with the ADA in the time-frame of the agreement, it will have to pay $110,000 in civil penalties to the United States, the statement read.

Motel 6 is owned by Accor SA, the world's fourth-largest hotel company. Accor North America, based in Dallas, Texas, operates Motel 6 along with hundreds of other hotels in the U.S. and Canada.

Airline Bathrooms

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Qutoed form INCLUSION DAILY EXPRESS, the International Disability Rights News Service

"Nine-year-old Fights For Accessibility Rights"
August 20, 2004

COPPELL, TEXAS--The following four paragraphs are excerpts from an Associated Press story published August 14:

Rasha Kawar zoomed in from summer school with her pigtails bouncing. She wore a brightly colored outfit and carried a jelly purse adorned with a rhinestone letter "R."

Foster Anderson @ Shared Adventures

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I have come to greatly admire Foster Anderson, Founder of Shared Adventures in Santa Cruz, California and convener of the city’s annual Day on the Beach.

My junior in age and years living with a disability, a list of his accomplishments make a sobering reality check for those who are older but may not have been wiser in focusing their time to the benefit of the world around them.

Aging by Design:
Bentley College, and AARP Sponsor Conference Slated for Sept. 27 - 28

AScribe Newswire - August 25, 2004

WALTHAM, Mass., Aug. 18 (AScribe Newswire) -- Bentley College and AARP will host Aging by Design, a two-day conference that explores the intersection of a rapidly-growing aging population, the business community and the design of technology products and services. Sponsored by Bentley, the business university, and AARP, the nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization dedicated to making life better for people 50 and over, the conference will be held on September 27 and 28 on the Bentley campus in Waltham, Mass.

Conference topics will explore how technology plays a role in issues that affect older adults, from caregiving to computer access and usability, from e-learning for mature employees to understanding the aging Web user, and more. "As older Americans are living longer, healthier lives and have more spending power than ever before, we need to explore the broader design requirements of this important population, as well as the challenges and opportunities these requirements present," said William Gribbons, director of the Master of Science in Human Factors in Information Design program at Bentley, and co-chair of the conference. "If you are interested in this growing demographic, whether in the development of useful design, in the analysis of its needs or in the marketing of usable services and products, this conference is vital."

Follow-up on Ryan Air Suit

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Ragged Edge quotes Inclusion Daily News and reports that Ryan Air lost a suit brought by a disabled passenger who was charged for the wheelchair provided by the airlines while in the termional:

Man Wins Ryanair Discrimination Suit

Several readers have found the approach of the UN's ICF to be very stimulating to their thought and work -- but requiring an investment of time to grasp.

Here is an excerpt from "The Beginner's Guide to ICF" that helps introduce its central thrust and aid in grasping the document:

Quoted from the newsletter of the Access Board:

How were the guidelines developed?

The Board organized an advisory committee to review the original guidelines and to recommend changes in order to get input from a cross section of stakeholders at the outset of the process. The ADAAG Review Advisory Committee, which included representation from the design and construction industry, the building code community, and people with disabilities, among others, submitted a report to the Board that detailed recommended revisions to the substance, organization, and format of the guidelines. The finalized guidelines are based largely on these recommendations. The Board published the guidelines in proposed form in November, 1999 and made them available for public comment for six months. The Board received over 2,500 public comments on its proposal and finalized the guidelines based on this input.

Inclusive Travel Mystery Shoppers?

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"Mystery Shoppers" and "Travelers-on-Assignment" are two techniques currently being used within the disability community to evaluate the quality of inclusive travel services.


(Another mainstream travel article on inclusive travel!)

Article by Maggie Barrett, Times Staff Writer


Ring in the New Year from the deck of the Diamond Princess on a 10-night Mexican Riviera cruise that will cater to visually impaired passengers.

The sailing, which is also for sighted passengers, will depart December 29th from Los Angeles and visit Cabo San Lucas, Acapulco, Zihuatanejo, Puerto Vallarta and Mazatlan before returning to Los Angeles.

Among the amenities for those with sight impairments; Braille and large-print documents and menus, expedited check-in, assistance with forms, help in the dining room and buffet and assistance with guide dogs.

Cost: From $1,700 per person, double occupancy (single surcharge $623), including meals and accommodations but not shore excursions, airfare or transfers.

Contact: Sue Slater, Consultant for Accessible Cruises and Travel for Ticket To Travel, San Jose, (888) 726-9650 or (314) 726-6893.

Maysaa Bazna on Islam and Disability

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Maysaa Bazna, Ed. D. has kindly given me permission to publish his post from the Disability Studies listserve. It answers some questions I have had about the understanding of disability in Islam:

Popular notions or current practices towards people with disabilities in Muslim countries is an issue that has been undertaken in many studies (to which I will be more than happy to direct you). However, it seems to me that the interest here is in what the religion of Islam says about disability. If this is true, then you might find the following helpful:

If I had not come across the following piece in a news bit from Reuters I would have sworn it was just an urban legend in poor taste. Read on and judge for yourself:

In July, the U. S. Agency for International Development (USAID) announced a new policy to ensure access to construction projects it funds worldwide.

USAID operates programs and services in over 100 countries to help improve economic growth, agriculture, trade, governance, education, and health. Some of these projects involve the construction or renovation of facilities.

The new policy promotes universal design, which focuses on accommodating the broadest range of people, including those with disabilities, and recognizes available standards used in a host country. However, USAID will also require that the level access provided meet or exceed the one specified in the Board's new Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Architectural Barriers Act (ABA) accessibility guidelines. Under this policy, the Board will serve as USAID's consultative partner in developing and maintaining accessibility requirements and providing technical assistance and training on accessibility criteria.

Deborah Kalan's article "Definitions of Disability" is useful for for understanding the new paradigm underlying current definitions of disability:

especiall when read with the NIDDR article The 'New Paradigm' of Disability

Online Course on Universal Design

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Try the Universal Design tutorial online at the IDEA Center -- Designing Accessible Environments.

From the web site:

For an online collection of resources related to Disability Studies topics, try Anthony Tussler's The New Paradigm of Disability:A Bibliography

One Couple's Travels

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Congratulations to Cheryl Gochnauer of the the Kansas City Star! She moves ahead the trend toward mainstream coverage of inclusive travel.

Slowly this story of what Europeans have labelled "tourism-for-all" is percolating. Read on to hear about what sounds like a wonderful vacation -- and become familiar with the more common absurdities faced by travelers with disabilities such as:

"The cruise line required a letter from a doctor stating that they weren't a danger to themselves or others."

Or be reminded of the obvious:

“The resources don't come cheap,” Ron said. “It costs a disabled person more to travel, because there are a lot of things you have to think about: more luggage, more planning. You can't just throw yourself into one of these trips haphazardly.”

This link to National Public Radio's coverage of the hisory of the disability movement provides some useful insights in the history of the community:

This story on the adoption of Universal Design by the packaging industry is just another example of the impact of Boomer consumers.

What is quietly occurring as "wrap rage" we are also seeing manifest as petitions , opinion pieces ( ) and lawsuits against airlines. The same occurs with hotels, taxis, restaurants, cruise lines -- anywhere that people go to live their lives.

Spanning the terms of two governors, a model rennovation of the Governor's Mansion in Indianna incorporates Universal Design.

For those who raise their eyebrows at the pricetag one could ask, "And how long would you put up with being barred from this -- and 49 other - governor's mansions?" If it had been built correctly in the first place this remodelling would have been uneccessary.

Consider your future needs when you purchase your own home.


Executive Makeover

Temple University offers a Graduate Certificate in Disability Studies. See:

The World of Universal Design is a site-in-progress designed to serve as a worldwide directory of organized centers of research, education and technical assistance on universal design around the world. The site is maintained by the IDEA Center / RERC on Universal Design at SUNY Buffalo.

The Universal Design Network

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To stay up-to-date on Universal Design subscribe to The Global Universal Design Educator's Monthly Online News!

Zaher A. A. Halleb has posted his dissertation entitled "An Explanatory Study of the Relationship Between Heathy Living and Travel Behavior."