March 2007 Archives




The 11th International Conference on Mobility and Transport for Elderly and Disabled Persons (TRANSED 2007) will be held June 18-22, 2007 at the Palais des congrès de Montréal Convention Centre under the theme: "Benchmarking, Evaluation and Vision for the Future".


Ontem, na Braztoa,
a nova ministra
Marta Suplicy


fez questão de receber a Dadá Moreira da Ong Aventura Especial, e anunciou á imprensa, que o ministério terá desde agora uma ênfase especial nos temas de acessibilidade no turismo.

From the Associated Press:

March 30, 2007

UNITED NATIONS: Eighty countries signed the U.N. convention
enshrining the rights of the world's 650 million disabled people

Friday in what the U.N. human rights chief called an unprecedented
show of support to empower the physically and mentally impaired.

biosfera Brasil logo

It is rare, but becoming more frequent, that I encounter an inbound tour supplier that is capable of providing quality service to travelers seeking eco-friendly, socially responsible, and accessible travel opportunities in the same product. In Biosfera Brasil it appears I have found all three.

Have a look for yourself here. For a list of their project go to:

Blue Lake Grotto

Biosfera Brasil


As boas noticias nao parem!

Prezado Scott,

Sou Diretor de Marketing da Biosfera Brasil Eco-Social Tours e inicialmente gostaria de agradecer por seu contato....

Sim, é totalmente possível para cadeirantes e portadores de limitações físicas fazerem a maioria das excursões de Bonito, incluindo todos os passeios de snorkeling (Rio da Prata, Rio Sucuri, Aquário Natural), Rapel no Abismo Anhumas, cave diving etc. Talvez o único passeio onde haja mais dificuldade seja a Gruta do Lago Azul.

Nossos parceiros em Bonito, já têm uma estrutura pronta para atender esse público específico.

Como Norteamericano que passou tempo de intercambio no Brasil na decada '70 acho impresionante - mesmo incrivel - a trasformacao do consciente Brasileiro para inclusao social. Chegando ahi recem-paralizado em cadeira de rodas fui sozinho no me bairro do Rio, na UFMG, na USP.

Com esta perspectivo historico dedico esta homenagem ao pessoal do novo Turismo para Todos que explodiu pelos paises de Brasil, Argentina, e Uruguay este mes. Humilde demais e a Rosangela Berman-Bieler que merece o credito. Ela acaba de passar quatro semanas inteiras viajando com mensagem do projeito.

Parabems Rosangela! Obrigado a turma que nao desistiu em realzar esta visao de inclusao!

Accessible Portugal Magazine



Accessible Portugal Magazine premiered in September 2006. It has been going strong ever since examining the unique offerings of Portugal for travelers with disabilities.

Take a look, for example, at the piece in this month's issue entitled Eco-Villages for more on the burgeoning theme of sustainable inclusion.



Darcy Norfolk writes on accessibility at Adirondack Park:

The Adirondack Park in New York state is no longer inaccessible to the mobility impaired. With the John Dillon Park and a number of other state run campgrounds, the heart of the wilderness can now be experienced by everyone.

The John Dillon Park is cutting edge as far as wilderness parks are concerned. The park is the first wilderness area with facilities specifically designed to accommodate people with disabilities. The park provides disabled access and facilities for camping, fishing and enjoying nature along three miles of trails built to the standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Other innovations that the park displays are wheelchair accessible lean-tos and solar panels on the welcome center for power to charge electric wheelchair batteries. For information and images of these amenities, go to:

Rota Acessivel

Inclusive Destination Development includes beaches. For over 15 years Day on the Beach in Santa Cruz, California has been transforming the beach into an accessible maritime playground for a day.

For those who can read the Portuguese, or just want to enjoy ("curtir") the photos, take a look at Rota Acessivel:

C. J. Walsh and Cynthia Waddell are persuasive knowledgeable people. When each of them independently urges me to take a particular action, I do. (Well, actually, first I procrastinate and C. J. prods me to get with the program.)

In this case, both recommend the GAATES Global Alliance on Accessible Technologies and Environments.

As more Boomers age, and we require a new language as well as new practices and products that are inclusive, GAATES will keep the dialogue and product development cycle focussed on the Guiding Principles of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. I am especially hopeful that they will succeed in mainstreaming Assistive Technologies and breaking down the self-imposed barriers to adoption of AT and UD erected by older adults as they encounter the limitations that come with aging.

Life is too short not to challenge stigmatization of the technologies that make life richer, longer, and easier.

More on Cell Phones



If DoCoMo can develop innovative Universal Design features into cell phones - but doesn't port them over to US network compatibility very soon - what sort of competitive innovation will swallow them up?

Alan Majer over at Wikinomics suggests that we are at a strategic inflection point with mobile devices similar to the transition from mainframe to PCs in the piece I Want an Open Source Mobile Phone.

Handi Cap Evasion (French)


Handi Cap Evasion has an Inclusive Adventure tour message to share. If the French is a barrier, take a look at the photo gallery here.

The Supreme Court of Canada handed down a ruling that will have a positive impact on Inclusive Tourism by rail.

A Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) mandate dating back to 2000 to Via Rail was behind the suit of the plaintiff the Council of Canadians with Disabilities (CCD). The Court's ruling was 5-4 in favour.

The ruling was welcomed by Pat Danforth of the CCD. "This decision puts Canada back on the map when it comes to access and travel for people with disabilities." It also may help any traveller struggling for access in the coaches, such as parents with children in strollers.

Before buying the Renaissance cars, VIA used its business-class cars for passengers with wheelchairs.

But in those cars, "personal wheelchairs could not be used anywhere." None of the three washrooms was wheelchair accessible. There was a "wheelchair tie-down" mechanism, but the space allocated for it would not accommodate a standard wheelchair.

Perils for Pedestrians


From a press release:

Perils For Pedestrians is a public affairs television series that looks at problems confronting pedestrians in their communities, and solutions to those problems from across the United States, and around the world. John Z Wetmore, host of the series, has interviewed advocates, engineers, planners, and public officials in all 50 states and in 9 foreign countries. In addition to The Universityhouse Channel on satellite, "Perils For Pedestrians" appears on over 100 public access cable channels. Episode 103 can also be seen below or on Google Video at:

Episode 103 leads off with host John Z Wetmore interviewing a blind pedestrian in Richmond... The second interview is with a wheelchair user discussing "universal design".

The following request may provide readers with an opportunity to have the realities of travel with a disability accurately portrayed in the media:

No More Stereotypes of People with Intellectual Disabilities!

The Entertainment Industries Council (EIC) has asked AAPD to help ensure that depictions of persons with intellectual disabilities in TV shows and in movies are not stereotypical or patronizing. They have asked AAPD to collect any personal stories you may be able to share with EIC that relate to any of the numerous issues surrounding intellectual disabilities. For example, they want to know about family, health care, legal, diagnostic, developmental concerns, so that they can share actual stories (similar to case studies) with Hollywood writers and producers, with the hope that true-life stories will inspire fictional depictions.

If you would like to participate, please write up a "case study" and send it to AAPD. Just write up the details (the who-what-when-where-why) and send it to me at as soon as you can. Maybe your true story of some outrageous comment or event will change how the world thinks about intellectual disability. I know I'm going to write up a few stories about how my son with intellectual disabilities has been treated very badly a few times (and how we got even!)

Source: Jenifer Simpson, American Association of People with Disabilities, email:

From C-SUN


Blogging while at the C-SUN 2007 Technology & Persons with Disabilities Conference will likely be a logistical impossibility for me - numerous reports and presentation deadlines converge while I am here this week. So do numerous opportunities to meet with speakers, vendors, and colleagues.

Here is one way for readers to follow events here via web broadcasts. Last night I spoke to one of the keynoters who will be be broadcast, Melanie Fry. She passed on a copy of her video on Assisitive Technology which has also been uploaded to Google. If she is as dynamic at the podium as she is in person then her presentation in the Aging & Technology Track is not to be missed:

Friday, March 23, 2007: 10:40 - 11:40 AM PST -
Living at Full Tilt Boogie: Boomers with Disabilities and Assistive Technology

raku-raku phone

The Aging Track here at C-SUN included a presentation by the team who produced the DoCoMo Raku-Raku universally designed cell phone. This, and several other models such as the dual-screen D800iDS phone, incorporate 60 Universal Design features.

A bit of serendipity - I ran into Chika Sekine, President of UDIT (Universal Design Institute for Information Technology), at lunch for the first time since the Adaptive Environments Conference in Rio de Janeiro. I sat with her at the presentation and had a chance to chat about the DoCoMo project.
Her influence on this breakthrough technology was everywhere apparent. She encouraged consumer constituencies like SeniorNet to agitate for products of this calibre of inclusion n the US phone market.

While today's presentation was not videoed this DoCoMo video weaves a narrative of technology and inclusion that gives the flavor of a business culture capable of such innovation. Note the footage from universally designed Takayama City:

visitable canada

Visitability is a family value. It is a choice to allow the participation of family members who may have limited mobility and to welcome neighbors and guests with ambulatory disabilities. As this particular outgrowth of Universal Design spreads so do resources like Visitability Canada.

The purpose and long-term outcome of this project is to determine the impact of Visitability on communities. This project will be a major step forward in creating inclusive and livable communities.

The project focuses on Canada to discover where Visitability initiatives are taking place and what factors are facilitating its growth or are creating barriers to implementation.

Susan Glaser anwsers the following question in Warm cruise destinations await travelers in wheelchairs

My fiance is 79 and cannot walk more than 50 feet at a time. I am 69 and awaiting a knee replacement, which means I will not be walking under my own power for a bit. Currently, he uses a rolling walker, or, if available, I push him in a wheelchair.

We have limited means, but would really enjoy a vacation, preferably in a warm climate. Because our health situation is new to us, how do we proceed? Walking through an airport, or even from a hotel to the beach, appears to be monumental and exhausting. How do handicapped people vacation? Where would be the easiest to maneuver? Any assistance will be appreciated . . . we feel left out of our former lives!

-- Janice Johnson, Cleveland

There is nothing like the buzz that starts happening when major media outlets pick up on Universal Design. Here it's the Washington Post and Roger Lewis.

Here is a note at on the fickle fame of Universal Design so far this week. See Back to Richard K. Lewis and Living Life with Design

The seed is here at Adaptive Environments:

Universal Design is also called Inclusive Design, Design-for-All and Lifespan Design. It is not a design style but an orientation to any design process that starts with a responsibility to the experience of the user. It has a parallel in the green design movement that also offers a framework for design problem solving based on the core value of environmental responsibility. Universal Design and green design are comfortably two sides of the same coin but at different evolutionary stages. Green design focuses on environmental sustainability, Universal Design on social sustainability.

Two expressions, growing out of Designing for the 21st Century in Rio de Janeiro, are the documents, The Rio Charter on Universal Design for Sustainable and Inclusive Development and 2004 Rio Declaration on Sustainable Social Development, Disability & Ageing.

Now it appears that the American public might almost be ready to hear the message. Living on Earth interviewed Professor Daniel Esty, director of the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy. A study undertaken by his center finds that, "A new survey shows that 63 percent of Americans are as concerned about climate change as they are about terrorism."

Candy Harrington's post on the current state of maritime accessibility policy and regulations in the US is informative.

Read "Don't Believe Eveything You Read!"

Steven Kuusisto, editor of the recent Disability Studies Quarterly Bloggers Forum has written a piece at Planet of the Bind on the travel plans of Monica and Alex Moshenko and called, "Have Autism, Hope to Travel Soon."

From the Green Travel Digest


Marcus L. Endicott publishes the informative Green Travel Digest. A recent issue mentions an impressive collaboration created "to advance the state-of-the-practice in sustainable tourism development." Can we convince the Global Sustainable Tourism Alliance (GSTA) that Universal Design is the logical completion of the sustainable tourism ethic?

Tomorrow's post will reference some of the resources available here on the blog that are available for making that case.

A 3ª Pesquisa Anual de Conjuntura Econômica do Turismo, divulgada nesta quinta-feira, 15 de março, pelo Ministério do Turismo, indica que o turismo registrou crescimento, em 2006, superior ao da economia nacional e, neste ano, deverá manter o mesmo desempenho positivo.

Disability Studies Quarterly Logotype

As mentioned on March 13 the latest issue of Disability Studies Quarterly contains a forum on disability blogs. It has gone live today here:

Travelog at the Guardian


The Travelog at the Guardian asks, "Has British Airways really thought about less mobile travellers?" An answer:

The US National Park Service is taking input on park accessibility through April 2, 2007 here.

In Disability Studies Quarterly


Watch next month's Disability Studies Quarterly for A Roundtable on Disability Blogging. In it you will find some of my favorites:

Ruth Harrigan
Wheelie Catholic

The Goldfish
Diary of a Goldfish

Darren Hillock
Get Around Guide

Kay Olson / Blue
The Gimp Parade

Alicia "Kestrell" Verlager
The Blind Bookworm Blog

Wheelchair Dancer
The Wheelchair Dancer

Emma Crees
The Life and Times of Emma

Stephen Kuusisto
Planet of the Blind

Today, in Buenos Aires, a meeting culminates the paradigm-shifting work that Rosangela Berman-Bieler has quietly accomplished during the past four weeks of shuttle-diplomacy in Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay. Watch for updates as Turismo para Todos reshapes tourism in the Southern Cone of South America. Parabems, Rosangela!

Here are some notes on Rosangela's organization, the Inter-American Institute on Disability and Inclusion (IID).

Inside Bay Area has an interview with Candy Harrington full of her usual sound advice about travel with a disability. Read it here.

DisabledGo: UK Access Guide



There have been some recent upgrades to Gregory Burke's Inclusive Travel website More than the continuned improvements to graphical quality and navigation is an assertion of unique value.

The following distinctions about their mission reveal the emergence of a second stage of maturity in this market -- differentiation between stable businesses that exclusively serve travelers with disabilities:

twitter logo

There is no disagreement that the disarray of emergency response preparedness for serving people with disabilities was exposed by Katrina. many conferences have followed that discuss improvements. Today I discovered a blog thread that proposes trying a simple solution in the non-emergency -- but fairly chaotic -- environment of a national conference.

While you can read this as it is intended - a look at disaster preparedness - I can't help wondering if the tool, Twitter, would not be useful for travelers:

Multi: Design for People does excellent work. They are defining the field of sustainable Inclusive Destination Development.

Here's one more affirmation of that through their presentation posted at

Over at Blog de Viajes, Jorge Gobbi has drawn up his own "T-List" of travel sites that he enjoys -- and Jorge is an avid, multilingual reader. Click here for the story in Spanish.

Fri, Mar 9, 2007 -- 7:37 AM
On Trial:
Having a serious medical condition is difficult enough. Having physicians who don't listen is worse. Dawn Yun comments.
Host: Dawn Yun

Over at A Different Light you will find this observation in the story, "It's Not The Disability, Stupid":

At that moment as I sat on the pier, I realized that I had been personalizing behavior that was aimed at my disability. This was both freeing and frightening. Certainly it wasn’t helpful to blame myself when people avoided me or judged me simply on the basis of my disability. But I also knew that I could not change the fact that I was disabled.

HRC logo

The Canadian Human Rights Commission has announced the publication of

Cruise respite Logo

To a large extent our coverage of cruising and disability has focussed on mobility issues and blindness and occassionally about deafness or dialysis.

I just received this press release from Gwendolyn de Geest of Cruise Respite about a unique, and to all appearances, promising travel product - cruises tailored to those with dementia.

Global Access Travel E-Zine


The latest issue of Global Access Travel e-Zine is out and here is one of the stories:

Scenic Prague has so much access to offer disabled travelers and soon that will include more accessible trams. Last month, the city debuted their newly renovated wheelchair-accessible tram. As funding permits, more accessible trams will be put to service. Prague hopes to have only accessible trams on-line by 2013. Learn more at this link to the “Prague Post.”

Below I provide the following in anticipation of the release of the offical English translation of the Project Overview of the three-country Tourism for All project launched by the Inter-American Institute on Disability and Inclusive Development (IIDID).


Somebody did a great job developing the "Visit Peru" campaign. Combine the tagline "Despierta tus seis sentidos" ("Awaken your six senses") with a shot of Macchu Picchu and you have a compelling dream to sell.

Launch a Turismo Para Todos (Inclusive Tourism) campaign on top of it and you have something for Rolling Rains Report readers. For more click here (in Spanish.)

Access in Minsk, Belarus?


belarus flag
Perhaps a reader can educate me. I do not yet know what resources are available in Minsk, Belarus for travelers with disabilities. The excerpt below from an article at the MDA site is old -- but is the information obsolete yet?

I discovered this hotel advertising accessibility and see from this post at that the donations left at the Monument of Mothers Tears goe to disabled veterans.

Wireless Net Neutrality


Tim Wu was interviewed on National Public Radio's On the Media about his paper Wireless Net Neutrality.

While illuminating the chokehold exerted by the leasees of the public airwaves on cell phone use he shedding light on the dynamic that guarantees that Universal Design will not be used in the development of cell phones.

What was the old adage during the previous era of telco monopolization, "We don't care. We don't have to?"

nippon logo

Japan Airlines announced a major committment to Universal Design and inclusive airport design with the launch of its Service Care-fitters in a February 23, 2007 press release. JAL is partnering with the NGO Nippon Care-fit Service to train 50 of its staff in 2007. See Nippon Care-fit Service at

TAU Cerámica patrocina el Premio a la Accesibilidad y el Diseño Universal en Domogar 2007, la Feria de la Domótica y del Hogar Digital que este año alcanza su tercer aniversario y que se celebrará en Valencia del 7 al 10 de marzo...

El objetivo de TAU Cerámica con este premio es fomentar la investigación y el desarrollo de servicios y sistemas que favorezcan los valores de la accesibilidad y el diseño universal, dos líneas de trabajo en las que la empresa viene incidiendo ampliamente en los últimos años, tanto de manera independiente como en colaboración de los principales institutos tecnológicos, instituciones y entidades privadas.

accessibility collage

Desde, Introducción Hogar Digital Accesible:

Las nuevas tecnologías asociados al hogar digital, como la domótica, la seguridad, las telecomunicaciones, los electrodomésticos inteligentes, el ocio y el entretenimiento digital, han mejorado la calidad de vida de todos en los últimos años. Pero el desarrollo tecnológico puede también suponer una amenaza para las personas discapacitadas, aumentando la distancia social y cultural entre las personas que pueden acceder (física-, intelectual- e económicamente) a dicha tecnología y las que no. Sin embargo, si este desarrollo se realice con criterios de accesibilidad y diseño universal, las nuevas tecnologías del hogar digital pueden ofrecer enormes oportunidades para personas con discapacidades tanto físicas como intelectuales.


La Conferencia Internacional sobre Deporte Adaptado (CIDA 2007), se celebrarán en Málaga del 15 al 18 de marzo.

breath and shadow logo

What do you do when the reality you experience is not reflected in the arts and culture that surround you? The answer given by the founders of Breath & Shadow journal is to create a publication that gives voice to people with disabilities.

Disability in the Workplace


National Public Radio's consultant, Ben Dattner, is taking questions related to workplace dilemmas here. Readers with disabilities may want to submit questions from personal experience. Those in the travel and hospitality industry wanting to better accommodate people with disabilities may also want to do s o.

Alan Rucker


Alan Rucker wrote about becoming disabled in, The Best Seat in the House. Yesterday he was interviewed on NPR. Hear the interview here.

(Post) Colonizing Disability



Mark Sherry presented the paper, "(Post) Colonizing Disability" at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association, Hilton San Francisco & Renaissance in San Francisco, CA in 2004

Abstract: This paper critically examines overlaps, intersections and differences between Postcolonialism and Disability Studies. After recognising that disability is not evenly distributed among populations, and that certain racial and ethnic groups have much higher rates of disablement than others, the paper asks two questions:

- to what extent can we consider disabled people as postcolonial subjects?

- to what extent are postcolonial subjects disabled?

The paper will critically analyse the use of postcolonial concepts such as hybridity, ambivalence, exile, the borderlands, and diaspora within disability studies. However, it will also bring a critical disability studies perspective to postcolonial literature - problematising disablist language, poorly theorised notions of disablement, and the lack of recognition given to disabled subjectivity within such literature.

By bringing a critical postcolonial edge to the sociology of disability, and a critical disability studies stance to the issue of postcolonialism, the paper explores and complicates the intersectionality of disability and postcolonialism.

The paper is available at All Academic Inc

Antigua (Guatemala) acoge un encuentro internacional sobre Accesilidad y Ayudas Técnicas en urbanismo y edificación

La ciudad de Antigua fue sede durante cuatro días del 'Encuentro Internacional Sobre Accesibilidad y Ayudas Técnicas para Todos España-Guatemala' dirigido a los sectores del urbanismo y la edificación y que estuvo organizado por el Real Patronato sobre Discapacidad, junto a la Agencia Española de Cooperación Internacional (AECI), la Fundación ACS y el Consejo Nacional para la Atención de las Personas con Discapacidad (CONADI).

Accessing Downunder


At some point during my groggy gaze out the cabin window I recalled that I was in New Zealand this morning. Maybe it was the fact that Spring-green hillsides rose up on three sides of me in one of the North Island’s typical steep valleys. Or maybe it was the ocean cove defining the fourth side. But I think it was the clowning Kea birds that clinched it for me.