February 2007 Archives


Judith Heumann is interviewed here by Chitra S. Shankar of the Disability News and information Service:

1. As a forerunner of the disability movement in the U.S., you are known for your strong belief in the philosophy ‘nothing about us without us’. How do you exercise this in your personal and professional life?

My purpose in life is to be vigilant and always try to be as strong as I can be. There are lots of challenges both as a disabled person and as a woman. Being able to maintain that vigilance necessitates having a good network of friends who are politically committed, are knowledgeable and have similar vision about the world in which we live.

It’s the way you have to live your life – trying to be vigilant and true to your beliefs. For instance, when I arrived, I found that the Ashoka Hotel had no accessible bathrooms. Now there are. I worked strongly with the Government and got it done. Little things are as important as big things. Small things that frequently concern you affect other people too. For me it is living the ideology. I feel that if you relax and let one thing go, you let other things go. It is about being inclusive and listening to people sharing diverse experiences. People need to be empowered and each individual needs to feel that they can benefit from this.

Tourism for All Network:


The Rio City Project


In 2004 Veronica Comisao and CVI-Rio undertook a dramatic and monumental task of engineering an accesibility facelift in Rio de Janeiro. As world attention turns to Carnaval and "cadeirantes" (wheelchair users) dance in the Sambadromo is it time for Phase II of a Rio City Project?

@ Daily Kos Blog


There are some very articulate writers out there in the blogosphere who address disability issues. Here I try to keep the focus on travel and Universal Design. Occassionaly there are some especially noteworthy posts on broader disability issues worth highlighting.

In that category are various blog carnivals and this post by RighteousBabe at Daily Kos, "Not the Diary You Want to Read."

Nigel Jackson's Accessible Spain


A resource for travel in Spain:

Accessible Spain

Accessible Andalucia

The Instituto Interamericano sobre Deficiência e Desenvolvimento Inclusivo (IID) has taken leadership to initiate an Inclusive Tourism project. The project brings together as partner countries Brazil, Uruguay, and Argentina.

Wheelchair Dancer in San Francisco


It is always worthwhile to read the posts of Wheelchair Dancer.

Seeing her perform last night was a rare treat. See is a strong presence on stage. If you have the opportunity (only one more performance) take in "Fears of Your Life."

Yerba Buena Center for the Performing Arts includes this in its short description of the work:
"Inspired by the book by Michael Bernard Loggins, an artist with developmental disabilities at Creativity Explored, Fears of Your Life explores the serious and often humorous things that scare us from our tear ducts to our funny bone."

I would not want to have been the one assigned to reduce this captivating work to a concise description for marketing collateral. With poetry, puppets, Portuguese, projected images, popular music, and a post-performance party with the players it would take the entire alphabet just to list the diverse elements integrated into this physically demanding work.

This travelogue by Lori Magno posted to SlideShare.net documents one couple's rapid immersion into the world of traveling with a disability.

Look It Up on 11870.com


11870 logo

OK, you're not too likely to discover this resource yet if 1) you don't speak Spanish and 2) you aren't looking for a restaurant in Spain.

But if you do speak Spanish and you haven't stumbled acress it yet check out the new social networking site dedicated to user reviews -- 11870.com A note to users: Hey, amigos. Be sure to capture information on accessibility in your reviews at 11870.com - accommodation descriptions, photos of ramps, map notes showing accessible public transit. etc.

Craig Grimes, founder of Accessible Barcelona, offers his guest editorial in the January 2007 issue of Polibea Turismo. He recounts how his personal experience with travel resulted in Accessible Barcelona:

The first thing that I did after leaving the spinal injuries rehabilitation centre after my accident in 1997 was go traveling to Holland for a couple of weeks with a friend. It was a tough trip; however it sparked my enthusiasm for learning about new cultures and visiting different countries. In 2001 I traveled for several months in France and Spain before settling down in Barcelona in January 2002.

SlideShare transforms PowerPoint slide shows into Flash. That makes them small and fast for Web deployment but Flash is not screenreader friendly.

That's why the developer of SlideShare is to be congratulated for going the extra step. SlideShare generates a text file that while not visible on the page is accessible to programs like Jaws for Windows. The text file can then be read out loud by text-to-speech engines.

Here is a sample:

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Veja entrevista do estudante de Turismo e membro da equipe Turismo & Aventura Adaptado, Ricardo Shimosakai, que falou sobre a criação da equipe de turismo adaptado, que tem como objetivo principal promover a inclusão social através das atividades de turismo, esporte, aventura e lazer adaptados. Para assistir clique aqui.

Travel With a Disability


Over at the Rolling Rains photo-sharing site at Flickr -- Travel With a Disability - there are now about 700 photos.

Here is a link to some of my favorites.

European Disability Forum


EU Disability Logo

One month ago today One Million for Disability was launched in the European Union. If you are an EU citizen, sign the declaration here.

Goals include:

- raise public and political awareness on the daily reality of
Europeans with disabilities, who confront discrimination, prejudice
and are denied of their most basic rights;

- mobilize the public opinion in favour of a stronger European
disability legislation that will effectively protect the rights of
disabled people, combating discrimination and enabling them to act
as fully active citizens in the EU-27;

- stress the role and moral responsibility of the European Union to
work for and protect the rights of all its citizens, with no distinction,
under a coordinated and comprehensive approach;
- highlight that disability is above all, a Human Rights issue.

The February 23, 2007 issue of the journal of disability culture and literature, Breath & Shadow is on the theme of travel. You can find it here (until it is archived and the URL is changed.)

WHO's Premier Photo and Video Contest:
"Images of Health and Disability 2006-2007"

The World Health Organization (WHO) invites photographers and video
producers world-wide to participate in a global photo and video contest --
"Images of Health and Disability 2006-2007". This year's theme focuses on "Health
and Environment" an invitation to provide high-quality photographs and video
clips, capture emotions and give your creativity free reign. The photos and
video contest will contribute to WHO's global efforts to raise the awareness
of the importance of ensuring healthier environments.



New Travel Resources


You're Able has new resources up on accessible travel destinations: Go Travel.




Public Transit: A View Into The Maelstrom


This 2006 firestorm of public debate in Seattle, Washington - one of the earliest adopters of accessible transit - on the use of busses by people with disabilities is preserved here.

Chronic disability among people 65 and older fell from 26.5 percent in 1982 to 19 percent in 2004/2005. Does that mean even a higher percentage of seniors will be traveling?

Some findings:

* Chronic disability rates decreased among those over 65 with both severe and less severe impairments, with the greatest improvements seen among the most severely impaired. The researchers note that environmental modifications, assistive technologies and biomedical advances may be factors in these declines.

Travel in Emergency Situations


The force evacuation of people with disabilities in natural disaters is not exactly tourism - but it does serve to thrust into public consciousness the failure of policy, infrastructure, and service that is the day-to-day reality of travelers with disabilitites. The following grant opportunity may result in strategies - and perhaps political will and entrepreneurial motivation - for improvement.

The National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research is inviting applications for two new research grants in the
areas of: "Emergency Evacuation and Individuals with Disabilities" and "Emergency Management Technologies."

Portobello Beach Access Project


Here is the quintessential test case for Inclusive Destination Development. Do Rolling Rains readers want to play a role in making a beautiful city barrier-free? Read on.

Monday Movies: A Privileged View of Autism


Over at the new site Wis.dm.com I came across a post by Will Koffel tagged "disability." If there is indeed wisdom to be found at the site this video represents it well.

An introductory note:The first section is what a linguist might refer to as an "idiolect" - a private language (in this case involving gesture and humming.) Keep watching through whatever emotions arise for you in the first section. The second section is interpreted in English. It is unexpectedly articulate and forceful.

From the author, A. M. Baggs:

The first part is in my "native language," and then the second part provides a translation, or at least an explanation. This is not a look-at-the-autie gawking freakshow as much as it is a statement about what gets considered thought, intelligence, personhood, language, and communication, and what does not.


The 4th IIPT African Conference on Peace through Tourism taking place in Kampala, Uganda, 20-25
May 2007 at the Kampala Serena Hotel and Conference Center.

It is our honor to have His Excellency Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, President,
Republic of Uganda as Conference Patron and the Uganda Ministry of Tourism,
Trade and Industry as host of the Conference.

The Conference is being organized by the International Institute for Peace
through Tourism in partnership with the Africa Travel Association in support
of the U.N. Decade for Peace and Non-Violence for the Children of the World
and the U.N. Millennium Development Goals.

Theme of the conference is:
"Building Strategic Alliances Towards Sustainable Tourism Development, Peace
and Reconciliation on the African Continent."

Amy at Stagecoach Trails.jpg


Accessible Heathrow?


GoTravel Insurance ran this story entitled "Air Travel Needs to Be Accessible for Disabled People ."

Can I get an "Amen?"

Accessibility Resources at the World Bank



Basic Access for Travelers: Public Toilets


D.N.I.S. News Network – Unhappy over the non-compliance of its earlier orders to make public toilets disabled-friendly, the Delhi High Court has directed Delhi Chief Secretary to convene a meting of M.C.D. and N.D.M.C. top officials immediately.

Taking strong exception to the lackadaisical attitude of M.C.D. officials, the Division Bench headed by Justice Swatanter Kumar said, “We hope that our orders are complied with and a situation does not arise where the court has to resort to coercive measures like issuing a contempt notice.”

On 21 December 2006, the High Court had demanded an explanation from M.C.D. for not having taken action to build more such facilities since 1998. The orders have come on a P.I.L. seeking High Court directions to M.C.D. to make public toilets disabled-friendly.

A Coruña «una ciudad wifi y acessible»


La Fundación ONCE sabe lo que necesitamos y continue en el camino de transformando el mundo hacerlo. Al lancamiento del Foro por la Accesibilidad de la Coruña en Galicia tambien com la mensaje de eliminar las barreras arquitectónicas fue un plan de eliminar la brecha digital.

Que buen idea para promover turismo a la Galicia!

Featertrail Tours & Safaris


Feathertrail Tours


Para Lagranha, a ida do congresso para a capital carioca "significa ampliar o espaço de discussão da acessibilidade no turismo, já que muitas vezes as pessoas com deficiência estão amparadas financeiramente e têm condições de viajar e participar de atividades turísticas, mas encontram muitas dificuldades quanto a hotéis, restaurantes, transporte e profissionais qualificados para o atendimento".


Katrina has been out of the news for a while. Here's a study funded by the National Institute on Disability and
Rehabilitation Research "Assessing the Impact of Hurricane Katrina on Persons with Disabilities." Readers who plan to submit a presentation proposal for the Disabled Peoples International World Assembly on the UN Convention take note of this new resource if your topic is (F5) Roles of DPOs in Recovery Process on day three of the assembly.

Subway Maps of the World


subway map logo

Here is a link to useful portal of subway maps from around the world:


Inclusion Daily Express


Inclusion Daily Express is a valuable resource for news on issues of interest of the disability community.

When Access is Out of Reach


Now here is something that sounds like a genuine dilemma.

The owner of a cinema in Belper, UK has been unable to find a way to make her establishment accessible because of its unique architecture. It is not, according to this report, as if she were not motivated. her own sister is a wheelchair user. What to do?

DRC Agenda banner

From the UK Disability Rights Commission. No top-level agenda item on Inclusive Destination Development:

The Disability Rights Commission today launched the Disability Agenda, which sets out the major challenges for public policy in respect of disabled people and their families and recommendations for how to meet them.

The U.S. Green Building Council has taken a major step in changing the face of the built residential market in the US with the "Universal Accessibility" designation for residential communities seeking LEED certification. Major, but still leaving an 80% inaccessible remainder for developers who take the minimalist approach.

The new Liveable Communities Award promises to move Universal Design to higher visibility in the US housing industry. It is significant that in this award bothsustainability and Universal Designare once again married.

Now, who will take leadership to create similar recognition for the developers of hotels, resorts, cruise ships, and the other building blocks of the tourism sector?

The Shape of Travel (and Travelers)


Here's the emerging wisdom about travel as quoted from Doug Macarthur at the Globe and Mail:

Eventually the sheer volume of travelling grannies and grandpas may lead to massive crowding at popular destinations, entry restrictions at fragile historic monuments and higher accommodation prices as the pool of cheap labour dries up.

In the meantime, a new generation of healthy, affluent, active and curious seniors is launched for take-off to the far corners of the globe. Just don't call them seniors, elderly or old.

Of course he goes on to note...

dptac logo

The UK's Disabled Persons Transport Committee (DPTAC). publishes a densely informative resource on Inclusive travel at: http://www.dptac.gov.uk/door-to-door/ Originally developed by Tripcope, the site includes a means of user input for updating.

Another step along the path of Inclusive Destination Development.

Avis: Still Trying Harder



It's over already, the 2007 ING Miami Marathon, but Avis's sponsorship of the a newly formed "Freedom Team" of 15 veterans with disabilities from across the U.S. earned them this bit of airtime:

Avis' sponsorship of the Achilles Track Club arose out of the Company's commitment to making travel more accessible to people with disabilities. The Company launched "Avis Access," the nation's first comprehensive program for travelers with disabilities, in 2003. Service offerings for drivers and passengers with disabilities include the following: transfer boards, swivel seats, spinner knobs, panoramic mirrors, hand controls, accessible bus service and mobility scooters. For the past four years, Avis has also been the presenting sponsor of the Wheelchair Division and Athletes with Disabilities of the ING New York City Marathon.

The eVokability Interactive Costume


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Follow this link to Sarah Drury's site for an introduction to the eVokability Interactive Costume.

The eVokability Interactive Costume is a multimedia assistive technology
project at Temple University between the Institute on
Disabilities and the School od CommunicationsArt and
Theater. The project has evolved from the premise that using
multimedia along with assitive technology, an interactive
media project can result. Creative writers and artists with
disability can submit their work and along with technical
media advisors transform their crative renderings into an
interactive media that is animated. The author wears
different devices known as costumes which are implanted with
sensors can have control over the movement and audio of the

We are now looking for pieces of a scene of "walking". However, one
wishes to interpret and express that notion in writing poetry particularly.

Jim Dator on the Future of Tourism


Attendees at the ASEAN Tourism Conference had the opportunity to hear Jim Dator of the Hawaii Research Center for Futures Studies, Department of Political Science, University of Hawaii. His core message: “It may be equally misleading to assume that tourism will continue to grow as a world industry in the future as it has in the past.”

In this quote from Imtiaz Muqbil's Travel Impact Newswire he cites aging and energy shortages but he could easily have emphsaized that aging will bring Universal Design issues to the forefront of discussion:

He added, “There are very good reasons to believe that the global political-economic system that has dominated the world since the end of the Second World War may not continue much longer.” One driver will be global demographics, including the fact that in “more and more parts of the world, population is no longer growing” creating a “youth gap” in almost all developed countries even as the number and percentage of old people--and of very old people--is growing.”

Among the nations of Southeast Asia, there is great variability. The youth bulge is over and aging is setting in for Singapore, Vietnam, Myanmar, Thailand, and Indonesia. It is expected to continue for another few years in Brunei and Cambodia. For Malaysia, the Philippines, and Laos, the youth bulge may extend even longer. The countries of South, Central, and Western Asia are still growing with a very substantial youth component.

Equally important, Prof Dator said, is the question of whether people of all age groups “will be able to continue to move around the globe as easily as many have been able to do in recent decades?” Here he pointed to the imminent end of the era of cheap and abundant oil.

Have Some Fun! Access Anything


Access Anything

Craig Kennedy and Andrea Jehn are celebrating a year of publishing their Access Anything blog. For non-stop adventure see the blog or their site AccessAnything.net

Getting Around Greater Bristol


Bristol Logo

Bristol took an import step along the path of Inclusive Destination Development with the launch today, Thursday 8th February, of Getting Around Greater Bristol. The city's new travel information and advice website is here - www.gettingaboutgreaterbristol.org -.

actur 07 logo.gif

Encuentro Iberoamericano Sobre Turismo Rural Accesible - ACTUR 07
LUGAR: Centro "Costa Salguero" Ciudad de Buenos Aires - Argentina
FECHA: 26 al 29 de mayo 2007

Look for the Accessible Rural Tourism Conference at the Centro "Costa Salguero" Buenos Aires - Argentina May 26 - 29.

Conference site:

Defintions of accessible agrotourism (Spanish):

Below is the press release "Starwood Hotels Brings a New Twist in Travel to Beijing." It describes the initiative as "shaking up the lodging industry with urban-influenced design, accessible technology, style and a social atmosphere. aloft offers a total sensory experience, with guestrooms featuring loft-like nine-foot ceilings and oversized windows to create a bright, airy environment."

Perhaps they mean that only the technology is accessible because the "oversized walk-in showers" shown on their web site are barriered with a step-over lip that makes it wheelchair inaccessible. Yet another luxurt hotel that excluded wheelchair users or relegates them to some minimal quota of handicapped (sic) rooms? Let's hope not.

Here's a chance for adventure. in Ecuador!

Off the Bus - and into the Courts


The following report from the Washington Post comes via the Justice for All network:

"No dog, no dog," shouted the driver and another worker when District resident Joe Orozco and his guide dog tried to board a Todays Bus from Washington to New York. Orozco protested that the company is required by law to accommodate service animals, but the workers continued to block his entry and laughed, he says, when he threatened to call police. Once he called police, the workers said he could ride if the dog was put in the bottom of the bus with the luggage. They relented after police came.

Handix: Quiero Ir! Quiero Ir!


adapted skiing - foto by Pablo Fausto

Gracias a Pablo Fausto y un foto en el Travel With a Disability al Flikr aprendimos del Handix - esQuela de esqui adaptado y guias de montana.

Handix ( o Handixtreme) es otro ejemplo del la surgencia del deporte adaptado. Tambien crea otra razán para viajar y el nuevo mercado de turismo inclusivo. Del sitio:

Objetivo principal

Acercar a todas las personas con discapacidad y a sus familias a la gran cantidad de actividades deportivas que en el medio natural se pueden realizar, teniendo el esquí alpino como actividad principal.

Dar a conocer a este colectivo de personas las posibilidades que el medio natural les ofrece para el desarrollo de actividad física y deportiva.

You will find a posting of DOT passenger vessel regulations at Wheel Me On here. The comment period is until April 23, 2007

Accessible Seoul


Seoul Korea Building with exit ramp

This photo (courtesy of Dennis Gane and Roxanne Ulanicki) was taken when Roxanne played for the Canadian Women’s National Basketball Team in the 1988 Paralympics in Seoul. The criss-cross design on the facade is not earthquake stabalization. It is an external wheelchair ramp as an emergency exit.

I didn't ask what sort of new "extreme sport" the crazy Canucks invented to entertain themselves in this unique environment: a hybrid between rock climbing and hockey-on-an-incline perhaps? I can see the headlines, "Ulanicki, knocked over the boards, rappels to victory with a hat trick on the 39th floor!"



The illogic of not using Universal Design in all FEMA housing in the retrofitting and blamecasting

Kim Chee and Eatability


I know that some without fireproof palates will ask if "eatability" is an adjective describing the spicy Korean food "kim chee." Here it is meant as a noun.


If kim chee is the heart of Seoul's cuisine why can't a traveler find a sole site like Australia's Eatability to guide them to this delight?

Korean entrepreneurs: There's a business opportunity here. Who will create Eatability Korea? An online guide to accessible restaurants in Korea would be an important piece of Inclusive Destination Development and market building on the country.

Pusan Daily News Interview


Scott Rains

This article appeared in the Busan ilbo ( Busan Daily News). I know what I said but, not being able to understand Korean, I have no way to know how it reads in the interview by Hyun-choong Paeck. I hope that the experiences and opinions that I shared will be of interest to Mr. Paeck's readers. It was a pleasure to work with him. I also hope that those readers who find the article of interest will feel free to contact me with questions or comments.


Berkeley, CA, and Chicago, IL, have been chosen as the winner and runner-up in the sixth annual Accessible America Contest, the National Organization on Disability (NOD) announced today. The cities are being heralded as national models for innovative programs to promote community inclusion of people with disabilities.


As I research for a trip to Korea in May I found this page with news bits at the DPI site. Disabled People's International (DPI) has a national office in Korea. It was formed in 1986.

DPI-Korea will host international delegates at their conference on the United Nations Convention on the Human Rights of People with Disabilities (CRPD). At the moment there seems to be nothing on the site about Inclusive Travel but they are an accomplished and dynamic organization. I don't expect that oversight to continue for long.

UD Remodel.jpg

General Electric sells kitchen appliances. Here is a quote from one of their advertorials explaining why they see Universal Design as good business:

It's no secret that America is growing older. In fact, more than half of Americans expect to have elder care responsibilities within the next 10 years. Today, there are more than 48 million people with some type of disability - one in seven has some form of arthritis, and 18 million are visually impaired. That means more people will be searching for more user-friendly appliances and performing home and kitchen renovations to help make their lives easier.

Universal Design is a design concept that utilizes products and spaces in a home to make the area useable to all people, including those with varied abilities and the elderly. Toward that end, GE Consumer & Industrial offers a wide range of appliances that accommodate a variety of needs, including more than 100 models that are compliant with the Americans

Estonia and Lithuania will each be hosts to a promising consultation: on Universal Design as a National Strategy

The number of elderly and disabled in Europe is on the rise. However, the growth of a more accessible society is not increasing at the same rate. An increasingly large group of the population is therefore excluded from public places and service opportunities. They are prevented from taking part under equal conditions.

Polibea Turismo


One of the pleasures of this blog is to observe the steadily increasing impact of Universal Design on the tourism industry. Key to that is the stability of those entrpreneurs, advocates, and pioneering consumers who drive this market. Today I would like to once again highlight Polibea Turismo. They are a very important voice in the worldwide network of those making Inclusive Travel -- and especially Inclusive Destination Development - a reality.

From Polibea Turismo February 2007:

…give a look at disability twice, establish between the first and second look an intensive plan to learn to unlearn, to drain our absurd ideas on unknown emotions, to separate what we feel by experience from what we feel by tradition. A plan of tranquillity and silence, of getting rid of adjectives, of taking a distance from the known and gaining proximity to the unthought of, that will bring to this second look the authentic reality of what is being looked at.

José Félix Sanz Juez
La Segunda Mirada (Editorial Polibea)