March 2011 Archives

Shots from a recent handbike cometition in Rio de Janeiro:

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Nice ATM

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The Times of India sheds light on bastions of outmoded attitudes toward disability that harm citizens and tourism alike:

If you're visually challenged, you can certainly play the piano, but you can't get money out of most ATM machines in hi-tech Bangalore.

It is surprising that though ATM facilities are widely available, the visually challenged are unable to make use of them -- all because some banks allegedly refuse to provide ATM cards, while others do not even open accounts.

Anil Kumar, 25, working as a manager and also doing a company secretary course, is among those who have been denied an ATM card. He had approached State Bank of Mysore at JP Nagar and his application was allegedly rejected.

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London Organising Committee of the Olympic Gam...

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Will the London Olympics be a casualty of misguided austerities? Lady Tanni Grey-Thompson fears so with threats to the continued existence of the Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee (DPTAC) established in 1985. Citing the lamentable states of London transport for those with disabilities she notes:

"It's a complex issue. For disabled people it is incredibly hard to be spontaneous. If you wish to travel by train you have to book 24 or 48 hours in advance. You have to check there are accessible toilets on the train.

"I know too many people, myself included, who find it incredibly difficult just to navigate around the UK. Travelling from London to the north east of England you sometimes have to be put off at York to use facilities."

Press release:

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Bill Forrester offers an insight into how progress will be made for travelers with disabilities by drawing from the intriguing story of Imo.


Why the Compliance approach to Inclusive Tourism will fail

Every act of imagination is the discovery of likenesses between two things which were thought unlike.

Jacob Bronowski

In Mexico, before the wheel was invented, gangs of slaves had to carry giant stones through the jungle and up the mountains, while their children pulled their toys on tiny rollers. The slaves made the toys, but for centuries failed to make the connection.

Peter Brook

A few years ago I has the pleasure of spending a couple of days with one of the foremost authorities on Corporate Leadership - Alistair Mant. The extract below is from his book Intelligent Leadership. The pursuit of the mainstreaming of Inclusive Tourism has to take a turn and concentrate on teaching organisations the significance of the sector from the top down, not from compliance up...

Imo the monkey has become famous over the years, originally as a result of Robert Ardrey's wonderful work of science popularisation, The Social Contract, first published in 1970.


Imo's innovations introduced change very slowly and "mainly amongst the young, and within families. The normal pattern was for the young to make the breakthrough, followed by their mothers, and then for new infants to copy their own mothers."

Bill may be describing the same narrative that runs through the Rolling Rains blog. Here we have noted that the innovation of Universal Design has permeated home design and family life as Vistability, Aging-in-Place, Livable Communities - even Inclusive Playgrounds. It as also impacted home-oriented professional certification standards with the Aging in Place Specialist designation of the NAHB.

Universal Design has "mom's seal of approval" and is what the kids are doing to the family homestead to help out the old folks. Hotels, resorts, airplanes, and other venues outside the ambit of home and family are still hostage to ideologies of sterile institutional design complete with "compliance thinking"

Bill Forrester summarizes, "The point of the story, for observers of human behaviour in organisations, is that the clever new ideas never penetrated to the powerful males at the top of the social hierarchy."

Where are the proper leverage pints to shift from mere compliance to inclusion-as-good-business-practice?
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Grand Place, Brussels photo by CherouvimGrand Place, Brussels. Photo by Cherouvim

Brussels, 16 to 17 May 2011. Organised by ENAT, this seminar aims to give added impetus to Tourist Boards and Destination Management Organisations (DMOs) that are spearheading the development of accessible tourism, helping them to develop their business, role and reputation as sector leaders, regionally, nationally and internationally.

The Seminar will be held at the premises of the host organisation, Tourism Flanders, Grasmarkt, (off Grand Place), Brussels, Belgium.

Facilitated by ENAT Board Members and invited speakers, the seminar will include interactive sessions where all participants may present and discuss experiences and issues which they wish to share. The number of participants will be restricted to no more than 15 persons, in order to ensure satisfactory conditions for dialogue and discussion.

More on the event:

  • A recent interview included the following overview of needs in this sector:

What areas still need to be improved?

According to Mr. Ivor Ambrose, Managing Director of ENAT, accessible tourism is about making the whole tourism experience inclusive and accessible to all visitors.

Therefore it is important to address all aspects of the tourism value chain, to meet the needs of the wide range of target groups.

  • Information for customers, (on-line, printed and at the venue) should be accessible, e.g. Web sites conforming to Accessibility Guidelines by W3C-WAI.
  • Transport and transfers must be accessible for all travellers throughout the journey; this should include the provision of wheelchair accessible transport.
  • Infrastructure - all buildings and outdoor environments should be designed and maintained in a way that makes them accessible and usable by all visitors.
  • Services - including activities and excursions offered at destinations and venues, should be accessible; e.g. tourist guides, waiter service, cultural tours, festivals and events, also very important - emergency evacuation procedures. 

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Travel News reports: "A new report from PhoCusWright (The U.S. Consumer Perspective on Air Travel) finds that while traveler attitudes toward airlines are lukewarm overall, consumers report feeling worse about their airline experiences versus a few years ago."

In fact:

"Flyers are essentially giving airlines a grade of C+, which is barely above satisfactory," said Carroll Rheem, director of research for PhoCusWright. "But even more concerning for airlines is that their most valuable customers -- business travelers and those with higher annual household incomes -- are even less happy than the average."

With their new "adequate-service-is-optional" approach airlines may be encountering a mild strain of the same "Freedom Flu" that is toppling governments in the Middle East:

"Consumers are inherently reluctant to buy more services from companies they feel are taking advantage of them -- and unfortunately, many feel that way about airlines today," said Rheem. "Airlines have therefore put a ceiling of their own creation on the potential success of optional services. If they focus on repairing relationships with their passengers, airlines have the ability to break that ceiling. Whether or not they have the inclination remains to be seen."

Or not - and pay $2.5 million in fines. Your choice.

Related articles

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Flag of the Northern Territory

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Rob Cook is a man of action. You can read about his accident here. His quest is described below:

One man one wheelchair one aim

Due to the extent of my injuries from the helicopter crash, I need to raise financial support to help with the additional expenses that I will have while abroad  completing my Nuffield Scholarship. I couldn't think of a better way to raise money then to take a stroll in my own backyard.  I will drive my wheelchair from the homestead of my family property 'Suplejack', on 23 May 2011. I have estimated my travelling speed at 6 km an hour and I plan on being in the saddle for 6 hours a day averaging 36 km a day .I have allowed 24 days to complete this fundraiser, which will give me a couple of 'down days '.

Suplejack is situated on the Northern reaches of the Tanami Desert.  Approximately 126 wheelchair hours, completing the journey into Alice Springs. My support crew for this journey will be made up of my 3 main carers and family and friends. The invitation is open to anybody wishing to support this fundraiser. We will witness some of Australia's most beautiful sunrises and sunsets and camped by an open fire, enjoying a feed of Suplejack beef. We will rely on solar and generated power and cart our own supply of water and a portable cold room containing food. We'll experience inch by inch the harshness of the Tanami Desert and all its wonders. Our trek will lead us past the Tanami and Granites goldmines, several cattle stations, aboriginal communities and some of the cleanest air Australia has to offer.

The notorious Tanami Track starts just north of Alice Springs.  It cuts its way 1000km along the Western side of the Tanami Desert, ending at Hall's Creek, WA.  My family station is situated 640 km North of Alice Springs on the Tanami Track and then a further 90 km East towards Katherine. Making it Australia's most isolated cattle station.  There are a couple of other reasons behind my 730klm Challenge.  Firstly I want to prove to my sponsors and myself that I have the determination and commitment to this project, secondly to motivate others in similar situations as myself and thirdly to become the first quadriplegic to ever cross the Tanami Desert from the seat of a powered 4 x 4 wheel chair.


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They Got a Lift From BraunAbility

This article comes unedited from BraunAbility:

Paralyzed Bride-to-Be Gets a Lift from BraunAbility

Last November, several national media outlets featured the story of 23-year-old Rachelle Friedman who, at the end of her own bachelorette party, was pushed into a pool by one of her good friends. The prank went terribly wrong, and she broke her neck on the bottom of the pool and was left paralyzed.

The headlines focused on the irony of the accident and the inspiration of how the couple has stayed together and still plans to get married in July of 2011. Although we hear from thousands of customers with similar mobility challenges each year, Rachelle's story stuck with us. We found out that her fiance, Chris, had totaled his car on this way back from the hospital to visit her one night. Now Rachelle transfers in and out of her mother's SUV via piggyback when going to therapy appointments, quad-rugby games or while visiting different locations as she plans her wedding.

We decided that's no way to go about planning a wedding. BraunAbility got in touch with the great folks at Van Products, an exclusive BraunAbility dealership in Raleigh, North Carolina, right in the backyard of the couple's Knightdale home. Together we arranged for Chris and Rachelle to have the use of a BraunAbility wheelchair van - a Sienna Rampvan- as they make plans for the "big day".

"The van's made all the difference in the world," said Rachelle. "Not only has it saved my mom's back, but it's just made it soooo much easier to get out and do things!"

As an avid quad-rugby player, the handicap van has also taken her to practices and tourneys. "I love how much room I have for all of my equipment!" she said. "And I've really loved working with the guys at Van Products. They've been absolutely incredible."

The world hasn't heard the last from Rachelle. In case you missed it, Rachelle's story was featured on the TODAY show this morning...along with a HUGE surprise for her and her family. She'll be keeping us updated on her travels, her wedding plans and what she thinks of her new independence with regular updates on AbilityVoice blog. We're so thrilled to have her in a BraunAbility accessible her access to the world, and giving us access to an incredibly positive and strong model for anyone in the early years of meeting adversity head-on.


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Accessible Trails Leadership in the US

Reposting from US Forest Service:

If you manage a trail that is open to the public this rule applies to your trail.

The Earth flag is not an official flag, since ...

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Segway userAnalysis by Janet ZellerU.S. Forest Service National Accessibility Program Manager

On March 15, 2011 the Department of Justice (DOJ) revised rules go into effect allowing "other power-driven mobility devices" to be used by "individuals with mobility disabilities."Read the full text of the DOJ rule ...

This DOJ ruling applies to any place, indoors or outdoors, that is open to the public.

Under the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) Title II this DOJ rule applies to trails on State or local government lands. Also under the ADA Title III it applies to other "public accommodations" that would include trails open to the public on privately or commercially managed lands. Federal agency managed lands are not directly covered under the ADA, however this rule sets legal precedents the Federal agencies must watch. So, the Federal agencies are also reviewing their policies, procedures, and the way in which trails on the land base they manage have been assessed.

What is an "other power-driven mobility device?"

An "other power-driven mobility device" is defined in the rules as: "any mobility device powered by batteries, fuel, or other engines -- whether or not designed primarily for use by individuals with mobility disabilities -- that is used by individuals with mobility disabilities for the purpose of locomotion, including golf cars, electronic personal assistance mobility devices (EPAMDs), such as the Segway® PT, or any mobility device designed to operate in areas without defined pedestrian routes, but that is not a wheelchair within the meaning of this section. This definition does not apply to Federal wilderness areas; wheelchairs in such areas are defined in section 508(c)(2) of the ADA, 42 U.S.C. 12207(c)(2).

In short an other power-driven mobility device is anything with a motor that can be driven, regardless of size or horsepower, if it is driven by a person who has a mobility related disability.

What is NOT an "other power-driven mobility device?"

Any device that meets the following DOJ definition of a wheelchair is not an other power-driven mobility device and must be allowed to be used anywhere, with no exceptions.

A wheelchair is: a manually-operated or power-driven device designed primarily for use by an individual with a mobility disability for the main purpose of indoor or of both indoor and outdoor locomotion. This definition does not apply to Federal wilderness areas; wheelchairs in such areas are defined in section 508(c)(2) of the ADA, 42 U.S.C. 12207(c)(2).

Despite the DOJ ADA rules, the U.S. Forest Service wheelchair definition, regulations, and policies remain in place and continue to apply to all persons on the U.S. Forest Service managed lands.

Who is to be allowed to use the other power-driven mobility devices?

The DOJ rules say anyone who has a mobility disability. A person using an other power-driven mobility device may be asked to provide a "credible assurance" that the mobility device is required because of the person's disability. That credible assurance can be showing a valid, State-issued, disability parking placard or card, or other State-issued proof of disability, or if the person doesn't have any of those with them, they may simply say that the other power-driven mobility device is being used for a mobility disability. A person may not be asked if they have a disability or anything about their disability.

Only 8 million people who have mobility limitations use wheelchairs, canes, crutches, etc. Close to 20 million people have a mobility related disability but don't use wheelchairs, canes, and so forth. However, they still have mobility disabilities that limit the distance they can walk due to heart or breathing disorders, amputations, joint or muscle related disabilities, and the list goes on. Keep in mind that 85% of all disabilities aren't obvious.

What do you need to do for your trail to be ready for March 15th when the DOJ rules on other power-driven mobility devices go into effect?

The DOJ rules require an entity open to the public to make reasonable modifications in its policies, practices, or procedures to allow the use of other power-driven mobility devices by individuals with mobility disabilities, UNLESS: that entity can document that it has completed an assessment of the facility, trail, route, or area, before the person requesting use of the device arrived onsite, and the entity found that class of other power-driven mobility device could not be used in that location due to one or more of the following DOJ assessment factors:

DOJ Assessment Factors:

(a) "The type, size, weight, dimensions, and speed of the device;

(b) The volume of pedestrian traffic (which may vary at different times of the day, week, month, or year);

(c) The design and operational characteristics (e.g., whether its service, program, or activity is conducted indoors, its square footage, the density and placement of stationary devices, and the availability of storage for the device, if requested by the user);

(d) Whether legitimate safety requirements can be established to permit the safe operation of the other power-driven mobility device in the specific facility; and

(e) Whether the use of the other power-driven mobility device creates a substantial risk of serious harm to the immediate environment or natural or cultural resources, or poses a conflict with Federal land management laws and regulations."

Those are the only factors a public entity or accommodation is to use in determining whether a particular class of other power-driven mobility device may be allowed in a specific location.

If one of those issues prevents the use of a specific class of other power-driven mobility device, that device may be denied use in the section of trail or area where that is an issue.

Post the information:

The information about the devices that may not be used must be posted where the public can easily access it before going to that location. The posted information must include the various classes of devices that may be used, rules related to that use, and who to contact for more information.

The DOJ rules regarding other power-driven mobility devices, are a portion of the revisions to the ADA Title II and Title III finalized by DOJ on 9/15/2010. Both are available in full on the DOJ ADA website at

We will be adding additional information to the American Trails website to help you understand this new rule, so check back often: American Trails Web page on the power-driven mobility devices rule.

More on accessible trails, outdoor recreation, and the Americans with Disabilities Act

We wish to thank Janet Zeller, U.S. Forest Service National Accessibility Program Manager, for providing this information on the new DOJ rule. Janet has generously offered to field questions for the immediate future. She can be reached via email at or by phone (202) 205-9597.

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Travel with Service Dogs

Psychiatric Service Dog In Training

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Stephen Wechselblatt, Founder & CEO at i-can-travel offer the following reflection on service animals and travel:

Traveling with a service dog is a tricky subject for me to write about since the closest Marlene and I got to working with a service dog was a one-day orientation. We didn't get the dog because Marlene already had a service animal (otherwise known as a husband).  It was particularly unfortunate because Marlene fell in love with the dog, a black lab named Ishmael. For someone like Marlene, who has admitted she can't teach a flea to jump on a dog, it was revelation to see how much Ishmael could do to help.

However, this is an important - and tricky -matter for many disabled travelers. Some countries won't let in any foreign dogs or have long quarantine requirements. Others require special identification tags, vaccinations or health certificates.  Certain airlines won't fly dogs to particular destinations, and some airports in a given country won't allow dogs in while others will!  So, be careful to check on possible restrictions with the embassy or consulate of each country you will visit.  (Note: This and other country information may be found on each country's Country Specific Information at

For the full story:

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Universal Design in the News

Here from Inside Bay Area is another of example of "second wave" mainstream reporting on Universal Design. The first wave began nearly 30 years after the concept was first created during the Disability Rights Movement on the 1970's. Confusion between ADA checklists for accessibility compliance and Universal Design as a design approach was typical of that era of reporting. The current message implicitly grasps that UD is not a style but emphasizing that it is specifically not a sterile lack-of-style or "hospital sterility."

Unfortunately, that message is only circulating among appliance makers, home builders, and remodelers. It has yet to permeate the business culture of hotels, resorts and airlines -- with exceptions like Alaska Airlines according to Travels with Pain and Springboard Consulting's Disability Matters Awards.

If you plan to live out your retirement years in your own home, adding universal design features will make aging in place safer and more comfortable. And if you should later sell, your buyers will appreciate how these upgrades anticipate their future needs.

Unlike home improvements designed to make an immediate impression, universal design additions with the most sales appeal are discreet.

"The beauty of universal design is when you're able to incorporate something that looks great and doesn't jump out at you," says

Paul Sullivan, a remodeling contractor in Newton, Mass.

In other words, says

Armand Christopher, a Realtor and designated Seniors Real Estate Specialist: "You don't put in hospital-grade grab bars in a bathroom when you are remodeling."

Fortunately, you don't have to settle for the institutional look. From ergonomically designed faucet handles to skid-free flooring, today's universal design products are stylish and subtle.

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Bert Morris and Laurianne Krid have published a valuable guide on parking permits and reciprocity ruls for their use between countries.

My name is Bert Morris and I am a disability consultant working in the UK and Brussels. I have recently completed a project on parking cards / permits issued to disabled persons. The 
information for around 130 countries / federal states worldwide is shown in the FIA Guide for the disabled traveller that is on-line
The Guide explains the parking rules for parking card / permit holders, and whether or not the parking card / permit of a visit tor can be used (reciprocity) 
logo_disabled (1).gif 
The project was supported by the FIA Foundation and the FIA European Bureau in Brussels. Along with my colleagues Laurianne Krid and Caroline Ofoegbu at the FIA European Bureau, we are now refining and improving the FIA Guide, and raising awareness that it is freely available on-line.
We welcome comments on the Guide, particularly in respect of the accuracy of the information it contains. We can be contacted
I would be grateful if you would circulate details of the FIA Guide for the disabled traveller to your readership.
Many thanks and best wishes
Bert Morris
FIA Disability Consultant
Bert Morris Consultancy Services

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The Government of Canada is inviting not-for-profit organizations to apply for funding to improve the accessibility of conferences and key events for people with disabilities.

The Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, announced a new call for proposals for accommodation projects under the Social Development Partnerships Program -- Disability component. Eligible expenses could include: sign language interpretation, real-time captioning, readers and scribes, support persons and interveners. 

Full text:

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Deaf 411 provides information on Deaf culture. Here is an excerpt from their port on videophones:

The videophone is an essential appliance in a household where people use sign language. It has become part of our lifestyle allowing us to make "point to point" calls to other videophone users, and connect to any video relay service (VRS) where a communications assistant interprets the call between sign language and voice telephone users.

The Federal Communications Commission, a federal agency that has regulated VRS since 2002, states that "Because the conversation between the VRS user and the Communications Assistant (CA) flows much more quickly than with a text-based TRS call, VRS has become an enormously popular form of TRS [Telecommunications Relay Service]."

Continuous Changes In VRS Industry

The advent of video relay services is only a decade old and yet, so much has happened in this short time period. An average of 8 million VRS minutes is now generated per month according to the National Exchange Carrier Association (NECA), a membership association of U.S. local telephone companies.

There are now 10 certified VRS providers and 32 white label providers according to a recent FCC filing by ConvoVRS.


This report is presented by Deaf411,
Powerful Press Release Distribution, Marketing &
Promotional Services



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Get Out There and Explore the World!

An interview by Sandy Duybvetter of Travel Talk Radio with world traveler Mitch St. Pierre.

Canvas Town, South Melbourne in the 1850s

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"Unlocking Victorian Tourism : A draft report for further consultation and input" is a rhetorically balanced effort at rolling back inclusion that certainly does merit the further consultation and input it calls for.

Fundamental is the misguided assumption that utilization rates of stigmatized "handicapped rooms" is predictive of demand. Are we to assume that the travel behavior of those with disabilities would be the same under a policy of inclusion as it is within an environment of grudging minimal compliance to barrier removal standards? Does any other market niche respond positively when moderately adequate service is supplemented by regression to a substandard era?

Surfacing once again it is mere compliance as a substitute for informed marketing and a coherent strategy for winning the senior and disabled niche through adoption of Universal Design. You might say that Victoria is crafting a defensive strategy against the next tsunami - the Silver Tsunami of of traveling Boomers. This wave of "Easy Travelers" has little tolerance for merely begrudging architectural and attitudinal acceptance of the changes in ability that accompany their senior years. They simply avoid destinations that fail to invite them in.

From the report:

The Recommendation
Draft Recommendation 6.2

That the Department of Planning and Community Development, in consultation with the accommodation industry evaluate the accessibility ratio standards. The evaluation would assess the costs and benefits of this regulation, and examine the utilisation of accessible rooms and the efforts of the accommodation industry to better manage the use of these rooms. This evaluation should inform Victoria's position on the accessibility ratios and a decision to pursue potential changes to the accessibility ratios nationally.

Short-term accommodation

Several participants argued national building standards and their administration in Victoria impede the development of major new hotel accommodation in Melbourne and regional Victoria. In recent years, the supply of serviced apartments in most major cities, including Melbourne, has grown more rapidly than the supply of stand alone hotel rooms. While participants argued federal and state policies supporting residential development may be driving this trend, they also considered the different building standards applying to these two types of short-term accommodation distort investment.

According to participants, building standards for serviced apartments and hotels differ in areas such as disability access and fire safety. These standards exist to deliver benefits such as improved access to accommodation for older people as well as those with a disability and reduced risks and damage resulting from fires. It was argued, however, that the standards also impose a number of costs, including:

lost revenue from the hotel floor space required for accessible rooms, which would otherwise have been used for additional non-accessible rooms with higher occupancy rates
higher costs of construction and greater lending requirements for hotels compared with serviced apartments
lost revenue to hotels competing in the short-term market with lower room rates because they do not have to cover the cost of providing accessible rooms.

A survey by the Tourism and Transport Forum and Australian Hotels Association on the requirements for disability access reported the 'average demand for accessible rooms was 0.47 per cent of rooms per night, per establishment' and 'occupancy for accessible rooms was 30.7 per cent compared to 71.4 per cent for other rooms' (sub. 44, p. 38). A review of the accessibility requirements, however, argued business could address this low use of accessible rooms by more carefully designing accessible rooms, educating staff and better marketing to older people as well as people with a disability.

On balance, the Commission considers the Department of Planning and Community Development, in consultation with the accommodation industry, should conduct an evaluation of the accessibility ratio standards. The evaluation would assess the costs and benefits of this regulation, and examine the utilisation.

Overview of ccessible rooms and the efforts of the accommodation industry to better manage the use of these rooms. This evaluation should inform Victoria's position on the accessibility ratios and a decision to pursue potential changes to the accessibility ratios nationally


Opportunity for further comment:

You are invited to examine this draft report and provide comment on it within 
the Commission's public inquiry process. The Commission will be accepting 
submissions commenting on this report and will be undertaking further 
consultation before delivering a final report to the Government.   
The Commission should receive all submissions by 12 April 2011. 
Submissions may be sent by mail, fax, or email: in electronic, paper or audio 

By mail: 

Victoria's Tourism Industry inquiry 
Victorian Competition and Efficiency Commission 
GPO Box 4379 
By facsimile:  (03) 9092 5845      By email:

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Announcement from Yachte:

The Access Class 2012 Combined World and International Championships will be hosted by Australia's Middle Harbour Yacht Club from April 7-13 next year and the event is expected to attract over 120 disabled sailors from 12 countries.

Over the past 15 years, the Class has gained a strong following in Australia with very active support being provided by the Sailability organisation working in close alliance with established sailing clubs. 

International Access Class Association President, Terry Peek said, "The IACA is delighted that Middle Harbour Yacht Club will be hosting the 2012 Worlds. The venue is outstanding and overseas visitors will really enjoy the club facilities, the beautiful Middle Harbour waterway, the local area and all that Sydney has to offer.

The open class is open to competitors of all levels of ability, providing one of the few sporting arenas where disabled athletes compete "ON EQUAL TERMS" with able bodied athletes. 

Full story:
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From Sify News:

New Delhi, Feb 28 (IANS) The National Museum here has put in place a system to enable visually-impaired people to walk through and appreciate art -- becoming the first museum in India to become accessible to the visually challenged.

The National Museum has installed monograms, signs and Braille inscriptions to make the objects blind-friendly.

Besides, the main passages, ramps and galleries have been reworked to be made barrier-free. Likewise, the necessary modifications have also been made to accommodate mentally retarded people.

The blind-friendly facilities will become operational next month.

'It is part of our efforts to reach out to more and more sections of the society,' C.V. Ananda Bose, administrator of National Museum and vice chancellor of the National Museum Institute, said in a statement late Sunday evening.

'The disabled people, though with keen interest in art, are being left out from such pleasures of knowledge and the art appreciation of these vulnerable categories has been minimal in the country,' he said.

'We have now devised this highly-focused system for the blind and the mentally retarded people to begin with and later it will be extended to other marginalised sections like spastics and street children,' he added.

The museum has completed pilot programmes to accommodate blind visitors.

'Though the visually-impaired visited the museum earlier, they had to take the help of the guides and could only listen to the narrations. Now they can feel and learn by touching the objects,' Bose said.

As part of the art education programme for marginalised children, the museum is organising a 'tactile exhibition' for the visually impaired next month.

Bose said: 'The exhibition will explore the nature of the perceptual power of the Indian images and gives audience an aesthetic, educational and spiritual experience through touching and feeling.'

'It will give an overview of 'Indian sculptural art through ages', kaleidoscopic in its rich variety of form and colours, by the display of replicas of masterpieces,' he added.

An outline of ancient sculptural art of India to the special audience will be presented through display of replicas supported by bilingual braille text, facility of self-guided floor path and audio guide.

'Museum objects have no textual language, yet communicate more powerfully with people of varied categories by their own distinct forms, colours, textures, dimensions and so on,' Bose said.

'Art is therapeutic tool and art objects are of multidimensional and multidisciplinary educational value,' he added.

National Museum has in its possession over 2,06,000 works of exquisite art, both of Indian and foreign origin covering more than 5,000 years of our cultural heritage.


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It is not without awareness of the tremendous disaster that has struck Japan that I offer the following story on the "Complete Street." As post -disaster planning eventually occurs the measure of cultural achievement will be the implementation of Universal Design. Fortunately Japan has an experts at their disposal in this regard. Among them is Satoshi Kose of Hamamatsu.

From The Dirt blog:

According to "Re:STREETS," a new project focused on "inclusive design for the public realm," streets occupy more than thirty percent of all public spaces in cities. Over the coming decades, billions will be spent at the local level on their design and development. To ensure this massive investment in streets enables equal access for all users, a new universal street design is needed to balance the needs of pedestrians, bicyclists, transit riders, and car riders of all ages and abilities. 

Re:STREETS is taking a stab at creating an easy-to-download and plug-in green "Complete Street" template (see earlier post). The end goal of the project is a "comprehensive manual demonstrating design tools for building streets that promote healthy living, social interaction and commerce, as well as the movement of people and goods, while regenerating the ecosystem."

The group says guidelines will be developed during a working conference hosted at the UC Berkeley College of Environmental Design in July. At the conference, attendees will cover issues like green infrastructure; "smart technology;" play and recreation; signage, wayfinding, and interpretation; urban agriculture and food production; and commerce. Before the conference starts, conference participants will get a technical manual and working group assignment, and will be tasked with creating solutions for specific problems. The manual will come out of the working conference reports, and will be available both in book format and online. The idea is to have the manual function as a "toolkit for implementing the Complete Streets policies that are being adopted throughout the United States."

Private and public-sector professionals are invited to attend. Re:STREETS says "interested professionals from a wide range of disciplines are encouraged to participate, including urban planning and design, landscape architecture, architecture, civil engineering, traffic engineering, disability advocacy, public health, pedestrian advocacy, bicycle advocacy, transit, housing, economics, ecological sustainability, parks and recreation, maintenance, social services, materials manufacturers, and fire, police and safety." 

Re:STREETS will be held at the UC Berkeley's College of Environmental Design, July 21-23, 2011. The conference costs $250 to attend. Re:STREETS is funded in part by The National Endowment for the Arts and is being developed by PLAE, Inc., in partnership with the urban planning and design firm MIG. Project supporters include The National Complete Streets CoalitionAmerica Walks and UC Berkeley College of Environmental Design's Department of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning.

Learn how to apply to attend the conference. For more information, also contact Kirsten Negus at

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From India Express:

Signage in Braille, tactile exhibits and audio guides are among the few measures the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) plans to implement in order to make museums and monuments in the city more friendly towards the visually challenged.

The ASI is in talks with the National Institute for the Visually Handicapped, Dehradun, that works under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, to introduce several Braille devices and signages at the sites. Officials said following a request from the Ministry, the ASI has been coordinating with the NIVH to develop the system.

"Currently, some sites like Sanchi and Sarnath Museum have Braille signages. We are now planning to take the initiative forward to other prominent sites across the country. The idea is to make the monuments and museums disabled-friendly and to open them up to as many people as possible," BRR Mani, Joint Director General-ASI, told Newsline. "We are in talks with the Institute and have sought their expertise on developing the various Braille devices and signages that will help the visually impaired experience the heritage of our country."


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The Gluten-Free Guide to Italy

emblem of the Italian Republic

Image via Wikipedia

Are you gluten intolerant or do you have Celiac Disease and want to travel? Here's a way to add Italy to your itinerary:

Everyone in Italy knows about celiac disease.  When you ask restaurant staff about 
gluten-free food, they automatically respond with the question "Do you have celiac 
disease?"  This is because all Italians are tested for celiac disease at an early age.  
The many who test positive receive great services: a monthly stipend from the 
government for gluten-free food PLUS extra vacation time to shop for and prepare 
gluten-free food!!  Also, the Associazione Italiana Celiachia (AIC), the Italian 
government and a few major Italian companies that sell gluten-free products have all 
worked to promote awareness and understanding of celiac disease.  As a result, 
restaurant owners, managers, chefs, and waiters are well-informed.

I'm a Professor of Italian in New York so I've lived in Italy and I travel to Italy a lot to 
do research and for meetings (our next professional meeting is this summer in 
Taormina, Sicily!). I usually write books and articles on Italian literature or musical 
adaptations of Dante's Commedia, but since my daughter Sara and I have gone 
gluten-free in the past few years (she has celiac and I have gluten neuropathy), I 
have started to write for a gluten-free audience.  Last year I wrote The Gluten-Free 
Guide to New York and this year I decided to write The Gluten-Free Guide to Italy.  

I decided to write the second book in part because while everyone in Italy knows 
about celiac disease, not many gluten-free travelers to Italy realize that! 

More gluten free guides:

The Gluten-Free Guide to Washington D.C. has been featured in:
Lombroso, Linda, "Teen Writes Gluten-Free Dining Guide, "
The Journal News
March 10, 2010B,1B-4B.

Robbins, Sandra, "10 Ways to Raise Money for Celiac Disease", 
LIving Magazine
, March 2010 number 1/2010

The Gluten-Free Guide to Italy has been featured in:

Johns Creek Living Magazine, July 2008: 36-37.

Foods Matter, July 2008 (England)

Nanna Vuolteenaho, 
Keliakia July 17, 2008 (Finland)

Deutsche Zöliakie-Gesellschaft e.V.

Columbia College Today, November/December 2008

The Gluten-Free Guide to New York has been featured in:

Ann Whelan, 
Gluten-Free Living Magazine September 2007

Cynthia Kupper, 
The Gluten Intolerance Group Newsletter, Spring, 2007

Foods Matter, May 2007 (England)

CSA Lifeline 2007, p. 19.

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Programa Rampa: Visite Portugal

Veja Portugal Acessivel. Viaje com Accessible Portugal. Conheca a Program Rampa neste video.

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Autism Speaks Seeks Family Services Community Grant Proposals From U.S. Organizations

Autism Speaks, a nonprofit autism science and advocacy organization, is accepting Letters of Intent from community organizations for its sixth round of Family Services Community Grants to promote services that will enrich the lives of individuals with autism spectrum disorders. The focus of these grants will be on proposals that serve to build the field of services for individuals with autism and expand the capacity to effectively serve this growing community.

Proposals for family services grants are sought in the areas of Recreation/Community Activities, Education, or Young Adult/Adult Services. Grants may be used to support new programs or the expansion of existing projects. Preference will be given to programs that expand the numbers of individuals served.

Priority will be given to agencies or organizations that address the needs of those who have little access to services. Agencies that provide services to the underserved are encouraged to submit proposals.

Autism Speaks does not award grants to individuals or fund an individual or family for participation in personal programs. Grant awardees are required to wait at least one year before submitting another application.

The amount requested should be in the $5,000 to $25,000 range. Multi-year grants will not be awarded. In the last grant cycle, Autism Speaks awarded over $500,000 in total Family Services Community Grants to twenty-four organizations.

Letters of Intent will be accepted on a rolling basis through April 8, 2011; invited full proposals are due by May 9, 2011.

The complete 2011-12 Family Services Community Grants Request for Applications, online LOI process, and examples of previously funded programs are available at the Autism Speaks Web site.

Link to Complete RFP

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O Jornal Nacional apresenta um lugar que permite a pessoas com deficiência física entrar em contato direto com a arte, como mostra a repórter Neide Duarte. O Museu da Pessoa com Deficiência é pequeno e ocupa pouco espaço. 

O memorial foi criado para que a história não se perca, uma luta que começou em 1981, Ano Internacional da Pessoa com Deficiência, tempo de passeata pelo centro de São Paulo, com cadeirantes e até uma mulher em uma maca. Os cartazes eram tão simples quanto os desejos. 

 A jornalista Lia Crespo estava lá. "Quando eu comecei, eu não esperava usufruir de nenhum dos resultados da minha luta. É legal me ver naquela imagem e pensar nisso, pensar no que eu esperava e o que a gente, de fato, conquistou", afirma. Caminhos sinalizados, informações em braile, áudio para substituir a leitura: essas são algumas conquistas reunidas no Memorial da Inclusão. 

 Na língua dos sinais, Natalia Frazão organiza como deve ser feita a entrevista. "Gostei bastante desse museu que contempla as pessoas com deficiência e a cultura", aponta um rapaz. É uma oportunidade rara. O radialista Beto Pereira pode dizer que viu uma obra de Portinari. "Uma replica perfeita eu consigo sentir os tecidos, o crucifixo. Eu já li muito sobre Candido Portinari, mas ter contato com a obra em si, esse contato tátil é algo que emociona", comenta. "Ao construir esse espaço acessível, um dos objetivos foi que as pessoas, principalmente as pessoas com deficiência, participem desse espaço que foi feito para elas", aponta a curadora do Memorial da Inclusão, Elza Ambrósio.

Travel and tourism policymakers told to get smarter( While economic growth going forward faces many challenges, the travela nd tourism industry is still expected to be one of the world's fastest-growing sectors, according to new Economic Impact Research for 2011 to 2021. Released today by the World Travel&Tourism Council (WTTC), the research reveals the power of travel and tourism to boost economic growth and employment.

"Travel and tourism creates jobs, generates exports, and stimulates investment. At a time of post-crisis global recovery, the industry is in a unique position to power sustainable growth around the globe, whether in mature economies emerging from recession or young emerging markets in the throes of rapid development. But it must have the clear support of governments and policy-makers if that potential is to be realized," said WTTC President and CEO, David Scowsill.

Sustaining last year's recovery, travel and tourism's contribution to GDP is bouncing back and set to grow by 4.5% in 2011, creating around 3 million new jobs this year. Worldwide it will be worth US$1.8 trillion, directly employing just over 99 million people. When the wider impacts of the industry are taken into account the figures rise to a total value of US$6 trillion (9.1% of GDP) and 258 million jobs (8.8% of total employment). 

"Over the next ten years, travel and tourism's total contribution to GDP is forecast to rise by 4.2% pa to US$9.2 trillion, bringing with it 65 million new jobs. By 2021, 1 in 10 workers on the planet will be employed as a result of travel and tourism," continued David Scowsill.

This growth will be largely driven by rising living standards and new consumers - mainly from countries such as China and India - entering the market, boosting international travel, and generating increasingly vibrant domestic tourism sectors. 

Foreign travelers' spending will continue to be vital to many nations' economic fortunes. These visitor exports are expected to grow by 6.6% per annum, reaching US$1.8 trillion in 2021. Industry investment - currently estimated at US$652 billion - is forecast to double in real terms over the next decade to reach US$1.5 trillion, with particularly rapid growth in emerging and developing economies.

However, economic challenges such as fiscal austerity and rising commodity prices mean that governments will need smarter policies to support the industry as it grows and seize its potential to create jobs, increase exports, and stimulate investment.

Geoffrey Kent, Chairman of WTTC and Founder and Executive Chairman of leading luxury tour operator Abercrombie&Kent, commented: "WTTC's annual research proves that the direct contribution of travel and tourism is only a fraction of the industry's true worth. The research can help governments and business better understand the true power and potential of this industry to boost GDP, employment, and exports, helping to drive economic growth. For that growth to be sustainable governments must work together with the industry towards smarter policies and legislation that will help travel and tourism to thrive."

To realize sustainable growth, WTTC is calling for policies that:

- minimize barriers to travel with efficient and transparent visa processes, taxation reflecting the export value of the industry, and rationalized and uniform security measures;

- facilitate investment to maintain and expand capacity in a sustainable way, and also underpin improvements in quality, competitiveness, and productivity;

- support the human capital needs of the industry through appropriate skills development and employment legislation.

Undertaken in partnership with Oxford Economics, the world research report is one of a series for 181 countries and 20 country "groupings." Each also charts the value of business versus leisure, and domestic versus international travel.

All the reports are available free online at .

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UD Courses Through the IDeA Center

The IDeA Center is now offering the next two courses in its online continuing education program.

1) Core Courses II: Universal Design Principles & Practices

This course introduces universal design as part of the phenomenon of innovation. Universal design is viewed as an evolutionary process that functions within a social ecology that varies by industry. The readings introduce students to the most widely adopted definition of universal design through the construction of seven principles and associated guidelines. Additional readings reformulate the Principles of Universal Design for use in building and urban design and provides extensive best practice guidelines and examples of how those Principles can be applied. Additional articles describe how the process of innovation can be used to understand how to introduce universal design into the marketplace and how that process might play out differently in different industries, as well as provide more detailed case studies of noteworthy universal designs, the companies that produced them and the basis for their success.

ramp leading up to the front door of
a house2) Special Topic: Home Modifications (NEW)

This course introduces participants to the basic issues of home modification design and provides information and tools for delivering service using universal design guidelines. Common home modification needs and solutions will be presented and discussed through illustrations and several case study examples.

Registration is now open for both courses and will be available until March 23, 2011. Both courses begin March 28, 2011, are entirely online and continue for 4 weeks. Each course contains readings, a quiz, discussion board topics and a brief exercise. If you plan to take both courses, please register for each course individually. AIA members will receive 15 CEUs per course. 

Each course costs US$250.

For more information about the courses offered, please go here.

To register for the courses, please go here.

Please note that international participants can pay via credit card or money order.

If you have any questions, please contact Jordana Maisel ( or 716.829.5902). 

Artigo de Adriana Lage sobre o incidente ocorrido com a deputada Mara Gabrilli

Adriana Lage

Li uma matéria no G1 que citava o fato da deputada federal Mara Gabrilli ter ficado duas horas dentro do avião da TAM, na noite de ontem, em Guarulhos, esperando pelo ambulift - veículo motorizado, com elevador, que transporta pessoas com deficiência até o avião; o equipamento é acoplado a uma das portas do avião para que o passageiro possa embarcar/desembarcar com segurança - para que descesse do avião em segurança. Segundo a matéria, a deputada se recusou a descer, carregada, as escadas (escorregadias por causa da chuva) do avião, alegando falta de segurança. Somente após a chegada do ambulift, a deputada desembarcou.

A TAM alegou que não havia finger - túnel que leva os passageiros diretamente do avião ao terminal - livre para que a aeronave em que Mara estava pousasse fora de uma área remota. A companhia aérea lamentou os transtornos causados à cliente e ressaltou que possui pessoal treinado para transportar pessoas com deficiência.

A deputada, por sua vez, ficou indignada com a situação de total descaso. Segundo a matéria do G1, Mara disse que: "Apenas o aeroporto de Brasília recebe 30 passageiros cadeirantes todas as noites. Segundo me contaram, a TAM desembarca, em média, seis cadeirantes por noite só em Guarulhos e estava com o ambulift quebrado há um mês e meio."

Infelizmente, essa foi mais uma situação de desrespeito em relação a pessoas com deficiência. Se fizeram isso com uma deputada federal, totalmente engajada na luta pelo direito das pessoas com deficiência, que viaja com grande freqüência, famosa e profunda conhecedora de seus direitos de cidadã, fico imaginando o tratamento dado a deficientes anônimos pelo nosso país. Seria bom a TAM ouvir o belo discurso que a deputada fez no plenário, onde, entre outras coisas, falou sobre a importância da acessibilidade em nosso país. O Brasil ratificou a Convenção da ONU, na qual a falta de acessibilidade é considerada um tipo de discriminação. Como, em nosso país, discriminação é crime, já está mais do que na hora de tornarmos a acessibilidade uma realidade.

Eu, particularmente, sempre viajo de avião. Cada ida ao aeroporto é uma novela. É impressionante o descaso das companhias aéreas em relação às pessoas com deficiência. A única forma que encontrei para ser um pouco mais respeitada foi andar com uma cópia da Resolução 009/2007 da ANAC, que garante a assistência às pessoas com deficiência em viagens aéreas. Mas, infelizmente, não me lembro de nenhuma viagem em que não tenha tido problemas.

Sem querer puxar a sardinha pro meu lado, gosto muito do atendimento, em Confins, no Aeroporto Internacional Tancredo Neves. Os funcionários são bem treinados, os fingers sempre são utilizados, existem balcões rebaixados e banheiros adaptados, boa sinalização, etc. Faço apenas uma ressalva: a Gol possui um balcão rebaixado para cadeirantes. Só que, em todas as vezes que precisei, os atendentes preferiram me atender nos balcões mais altos. No dia em que perguntei à atendente se o balcão rebaixado servia apenas de enfeite, quase fui linchada!! Precisavam ver a cara da mulher!! Ainda mais que pedi tudo o que tinha direito: auxílio para entrar na aeronave, etiqueta preferencial, etiqueta de frágil e saco plástico para proteger a cadeira de rodas, me recusei a usar a cadeira da Gol indo com a minha até a aeronave, não assinei uma declaração isentando a empresa da responsabilidade de cuidar da minha cadeira, etc. Minha irmã saiu de perto para dar risadas. Nas outras companhias aéreas, também sempre fui atendida em balcões altos. Quando estou atacada, faço o atendente sair do lugar pra pegar meus documentos. Freqüentemente, os funcionários de Confins recebem treinamento. Acredito que, em breve, teremos um serviço melhor ainda. Por causa da Copa do Mundo, o aeroporto está sendo reformado e ampliado.

Podendo escolher, prefiro viajar pela TAM, por ser a única empresa que conheço a possuir o cinto de segurança auxiliar para tetraplégicos. Embora a Resolução exija a utilização desse cinto, sem fiscalização, as empresas não cumprem o previsto na resolução. Só que, muitas vezes, a tripulação nem sabe da existência dele! No ano passado, quando voltava de Brasília para BH, após uma competição de natação, pedi a comissária de bordo que colocasse o cinto em mim. A mulher custou a encontrá-lo. Depois, não soube colocá-lo. Reclamei e ela teve que recorrer à outra tripulação. Quando percebi, apareceram 3 outros funcionários para tentar colocar o cinto em mim. Nem assim, ele ficou 100% certo. Acho que falta treinamento em relação a isso.

Assim como a Mara Gabrilli, também acho muito desagradável ser carregada pelas escadas. Sempre que posso, me recuso. Mas, a pressão é grande. Tanto dos funcionários quando dos familiares que ficam envergonhados com todo mundo olhando. Embora as companhias aéreas falem que possuem pessoal treinado, sempre me deparo com algumas pessoas despreparadas. Em 2008, ao desembarcar no 'submundo' do Galeão/RJ, dois funcionários da Webjet carregaram minha cadeira de rodas. Aleguei que havia visto vários fingers desocupados na pista e que não queria ser carregada. Falei sobre a Resolução da ANAC e nada. Como havia trabalhado o dia todo e já eram 00h 40min, acabei me rendendo pelo cansaço. Saímos debaixo de chuva. Quase caímos. Cheguei ao solo com meu pescoço tombado pra trás. Outra vez, em Vitória/ES, em pleno final de tarde de uma terça feira de carnaval, bati o pé que queria o ambulift para entrar na aeronave. O aeroporto, que é pequeno, estava lotado. O funcionário da Gol queria me convencer de todo jeito. Falou que os vôos estavam atrasados e que demoraria muito para me colocarem lá dentro com o ambulift. Foi juntando gente no check-in... Minhas irmãs e minha prima falaram que estavam morrendo de vergonha com o povo olhando feio pra gente. Como o atendente era bem bonitinho e me garantiu que me levaria em segurança, acabei me rendendo. Mas ele teve que me carregar no colo sem a cadeira de rodas!!

Fico indignada com aeroportos que possuem fingers e obrigam cadeirantes a serem carregados. É muito desconfortável e inseguro. Eu poderia jurar que nunca desceria escadas no Galeão. Doce ilusão!!

Andei de ambulift em 3 aeroportos e foram experiências meio traumáticas. Minha primeira vez foi em Vitória/ES, no carnaval de 2008. Para descer da aeronave, andei de ambulift. Todas as pessoas desceram e eu fiquei à espera. Depois de uns 20 minutos, o equipamento chegou. Só que, por falta de utilização, os funcionários não sabiam operar o equipamento. Lá se foram mais preciosos minutos! Sem brincadeira, devo ter gasto uns 50 minutos para conseguir chegar à área de desembarque! Na volta pra casa, acabei indo pelas escadas por força das circunstâncias. Minhas outras utilizações de ambulift foram em abril de 2010, em Goiânia e Brasília. Fui para uma competição de natação em Goiânia. A descida pelo ambulift foi tranqüila. Já na volta... O ambulift cabia duas cadeiras de rodas, em fila, e o operador. Fui no fundo. A geringonça é aberta, apenas com uma barra nas laterais. O operador do ambulift travou as cadeiras de rodas e começou a operar o equipamento. Na hora de acoplá-lo a porta da aeronave, ele deu uns pulos. Eu morri de medo. A altura é bem grande para arriscar levar um tombo de lá. Foi só minha cadeira se mexer um pouco que me manifestei. O operador me garantiu que eu não cairia de lá. Pode até ser, mas se fosse tão seguro, por que ele estava segurando em uma das barras?rsrs... O Diego, o outro nadador cadeirante, segurou minha cadeira de rodas e me acalmou. Falou que não me deixaria cair de lá; se caísse, ele iria junto. Já, o ambulift que andei em Brasília, é fechado. Parece um container. Fomos 3 cadeiras de rodas e um funcionário. Ainda tinha muito espaço sobrando. O funcionário travou nossas cadeiras de rodas. Sabe-se lá por que, o equipamento começou a pular e as cadeiras de rodas começaram a andar sozinhas mesmo travadas. O funcionário não sabia quem socorria primeiro. Como era a mais leve dos três cadeirantes e, provavelmente, a mais medrosa, tratei logo de fazer um escândalo e garantir ajuda!! Enfim, não gostei das experiências que tive com ambulift!

Outra coisa que me deixa indignada é o descaso/demora nas respostas da ANAC. Sempre que tenho problemas, abro uma ouvidoria. Desde 2008, aguardo resposta de um chamado sobre a utilização de cadeira de rodas motorizada em viagens aéreas. Nas outras vezes em que reclamei, após meses, fecharam meu chamado informando que a empresa aérea havia informado que recebi o atendimento correto e que lamentavam caso eu estivesse insatisfeita. No final das contas, reclamar junto à ANAC e nada, foram quase a mesma coisa.

Enfim, o descaso com passageiros com deficiência ainda é grande. Já me cansei de reclamar sobre isso nos meus textos. Já tivemos algumas melhorias. Mas, ainda falta muito. Tem funcionário que nem sabe que a Resolução 009/007 da ANAC existe!! O treinamento dos funcionários é bem falho! É raro encontrar um funcionário que sabe transferir, corretamente, um tetraplégico para o assento do avião. Já perdi as contas das vezes em que fui: apertada/agarrada por funcionários que não sabiam me carregar, trombei alguma parte do meu corpo no avião, fiquei com a calça caindo ou com o sutiã aparecendo... Viajar de vestido ou saia, só estando com uma lingerie bem bacana e com a depilação em dia! Nunca que se sabe que tipo de funcionário irá nos atender.

Acho importantíssimas atitudes como essa da Mara Gabrilli. Sou suspeita para falar dela, pois sou fã de longa data. Quem sabe com o grito de uma deputada federal as companhias aéreas passem a nos respeitar mais. Eu me lembrei de uma matéria que li sobre o Marcelo Rubens Paiva, na qual ele comentava sobre o desrespeito nas viagens aéreas. Achei fantástico quando ele bateu o pé e só entrou na aeronave depois que ela estava vazia - conforme estabelece a Resolução 009/007 da ANAC. A tripulação teve que solicitar que os passageiros descessem da aeronave para que o cadeirante fosse embarcado. Só depois disso, é que os passageiros voltaram para aeronave. Outra coisa desagradável é a troca de assentos nas primeiras filas. Já fui obrigada, por exemplo, a me sentar na 6ª fileira, mesmo tendo solicitado assento preferencial com 1 mês de antecedência, porque na primeira fila estavam viajando uma mãe com duas filhas maiores de 9 anos. Como a cliente possuía cartão fidelidade, era vip e tinha mais preferência que pessoas com deficiência. Infelizmente, em muitos casos, para fazermos valer nossos direitos, somos taxados de chatos e chiliquentos. Mas, se não reclamarmos, fica mais difícil mudar a situação.

Stowage for Ground Operations - Train the Trainers
Quarterly live webinar series

Attend this 60-minute live webinar which is aimed for ground ops trainers, supervisors and customer service reps where we do a short presentation then hands-on training


Introductions and background information
What is an assistive device
Who uses them

Review of Open Doors Org stowage CD
Discussion Topics
How to read and interpret diagrams and designs
Lifting techniques and stowage techniques
Applicable laws and regulations
Action pictures and videos

Hands on training--What to do if there is damage
Handling, dismantling and general "kick the tires"
Power wheelchairs
3 and 4 wheeled scooters 
Manual chair

Goals of session
1. Feeling more comfortable and educated about handling assistive devices.
2. Understanding those who use these assistive devices.
3. Understanding of where to find the answers if there are any questions

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See the World with Context Travel

Context Travel, the walking tour company for intellectually curious travelers, announces its new Mobility Program. The program combines a selection of a la carte accessible tours with customized trip planning and support services. This program was created through a careful consultation with accessible travel experts, docents and former clients with mobility concerns.

Since its inception, Context Travel has aimed to provide transformative experiences for intellectually curious travelers. However, due to the physical nature of some cities, this often excluded access for travelers with mobility concerns and physical disabilities. With the creation of this program, Context establishes itself as an innovator in the field of accessible travel, being the first urban tour company to offer personalized and informed services for travelers with disabilities.

The services and features of the program include:
- a collection of specifically designed itineraries, considering all physical factors (walking surfaces, walking pace and distance, accessibility of sites visited, availability of accessible bathrooms and dining establishments nearby)
- a team of docents who have been trained in leading mobility-friendly itineraries
- a client resource document for each city, which include: wheelchair rental information, accessible taxi and transfer options, accessible travel resources and trip planning sites
- pre and post-booking assistance for creation of a personalized travel itinerary.

To guarantee the benefits and capabilities of this program, Context Travel will be conducting an annual roundtable discussion with its in-house staff and a panel of accessible travel experts.

"Our mobility program has always existed in a nebulous way - we worked with travelers with a variety of mobility concerns but did not have a formal set of systems and services in place," says program coordinator Megan McDonnell. "I see this program as setting a standard for other like-minded travel companies. This program is an ideological partner of our sustainable travel initiatives - this program supports inclusiveness and is a way to give back to a segment of the population that is not well served by the normal standards of the travel industry."

Founded by National Geographic writer Paul Bennett and graphic designer Lani Bevacqua, Context is a network of English-speaking scholars and professionals - including art historians, writers, architects and gastronomes - who organize and lead didactic walking seminars in several world cities, including: Florence, Rome, Venice, Naples, Paris, London, New York, Istanbul, Philadelphia, Madrid, Athens, and Boston. Travel + Leisure has named Context one of the top European tour companies for its innovative approach to travel and the depth of its programs.

Moscow, 12 to 13 March 2011.

The seventh annual ITM - INTOURMARKET brings together hosted buyers & travel 

Panorama of Moscow, Borodinsky Bridge near rig...

Image via Wikipedia

professionals from all Russian regions with Russian & 

international tourism key players.

At the conference on accessible tourism on Sunday 13 March, ENAT President Lilian Müller is an invited speaker, alongside representatives of the Ministry of Sport, Tourism and Youth Policy of the Russian Federation and other major industry partners.

This is the first event where the ENAT network will be presented to a predominantly Russian audience of tourism industry professionals.

Russia has seen unprecedented growth in outbound tourism in the last few years. The country, which abounds in heritage sites, enjoys the status of being one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world.

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Jaunted likes Delta's new Delta Assist on Facebook. The site even has this foornote:

Disability Assistance
Call 1-404-209-3434
Customers with hearing or speech disabilities please: Dial 711.

Preliminary looks by web accessibility experts report no immediately apparent major design errors.*, ** Could it be that social media once again is fomenting a revolution?

What have your experiences been with Delta Assist? Does the site work with your AT? Is the service positive?


1. The "How Can We Help" heading does not <h2> heading tags (violates .22(d) )

2. The decorative image of header.jpg does not have a null Alt attribute (violates  .22(a) )

3. Form fields do not have explicit labeling (violates .22(n) ).  However, they are keyboard accessible. ~ TecAccess

From the Facebook page:

What is Delta Assist?

At Delta, we recognize that the airline industry has room for improvement. While our fliers are looking to social media to share feedback and find solutions, we're listening. Delta Assist, our customer service group, is committed to delivering these solutions in Facebook.

Why bring Delta Assist to Facebook?

We love our fans and appreciate your participation and feedback on our Facebook page. We've listened to feedback on the wall and wanted to give our customers a safe and secure forum for sharing comments and getting the support they deserve. The Delta Assist Facebook tab offers 24/7 support within the Facebook environment.

Delta already participates in conversations on the wall. Why would I use the Delta Assist Facebook tab?

Facebook is great for a lot of things. However, as a public environment, the Facebook wall is not optimally suited for one-on-one customer support, gathering detailed feedback or engaging in conversations with strong dialog. Unfortunately, brands do not have the ability to share private messages on Facebook. The Delta Assist tab provides users with the ability to share their feedback and support communications with Delta in private and with confidence.

What can I expect when I send a message via Delta Assist in Facebook?

When a community member sends a message to the Delta Assist team via Facebook, they will receive an on screen notification that their message has been sent and an automated email confirmation with a ticket number for future reference.

We will do our best to provide a timely response to all messages. Users should receive an email response to all messages within 24-72 hours. We're working in close partnership with all of the appropriate teams across the Delta organization to circulate feedback with key stakeholders and provide the best possible solutions. If you have follow-up questions or require real-time support, please be in touch (using the ticket number provided) via this tab, on Twitter or by phone at (800) 221-1212.

If you need real-time support, please contact us on Twitter or by phone at (800) 221-1212.

Will Delta Assist in Facebook ask me to provide personal information?

Delta Assist has been built to provide as much privacy as possible within the limits of social media. We will never ask for anyone's personal information in public. In order to deliver the best possible solutions, we will ask for your name, email address, Delta SkyMiles® number (when appropriate),the topic of your message and, if needed, your address. We will not share any of this information with anyone outside of the Delta organization or send customers any marketing messages they are not already registered to receive.

How can I share feedback on Delta Assist in Facebook?

We would love to hear your thoughts, ideas or feedback. Please use the Delta Assist tab and select the "other feedback" topic option. We built this tool for you, our fliers, and we're always looking to improve the Delta experience. We look forward to hearing from you!


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Accssible River Cruises?

There's a long-standing debate among river cruise operators and sellers about whether river cruising is a friendly form of travel for the disabled. 

The issue surfaced again during a river cruise and small-ship seminar at the 2011 Travel Weekly LeisureWorld and Home Based Travel Agent Show and Conference in Las Vegas, Feb. 15 to 17.

See the coverage in Travel Weekly in a note by Michelle Baran:

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Apesar do Workshop utilizar o lazer e turismo como um cenário, os ensinamentos passados podem ser aplicados em qualquer área de nossa sociedade. É um workshop diferenciado, porque além de tratar da parte física e arquitetônica, também mostra o lado do atendimento e hospitalidade, aos diferentes tipos de deficiência, numa abordagem completa e de qualidade. Será fornecido uma apostila para um melhor acompanhamento da aula, além de um livro digital com inúmeros materiais para servirem de apoio para um aprofundamento muito maior nos assuntos abordados.
O Workshop irá acontecer na mesma época da Reatech - Tecnologias em Reabilitação, Inclusão e Acessibilidade, a maior feira internacional do segmento na América do Sul. Assim os alunos poderão conhecer as novidades do mercado, tendências além de estar em contato direto com pessoas com deficiência de diversas partes do Brasil. Então este curso vem surgir com uma proposta inédita no Brasil, feito por profissionais gabaritados, com uma abordagem da melhor qualidade. Será uma oportunidade única de realizar troca de contatos e experiências com pessoas e profissionais das mais diversas áreas.  
Local do Curso: Top Tower Offices - Rua Vergueiro, 1.421 - 12° andar - Bairro Paraíso - São Paulo/SP (à 50m da estação Paraiso do Metrô)
Data: 15 e 16 de abril de 2011
Horário: 9h00 às 18h00
Estudantes: R$380,00
Profissionais: R$450,00
Obs.: Pagamento efetuado até dia 15/03 tem R$30,00 de desconto para estudante ou profissional
Itens inclusos: Coffe-break e material didático
Inscrição e informações: ou tel.: (11)2225-1421
Mais informações, clique no link a seguir

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From the AIA blog:


The AIA Young Architects Forum (YAF) and the AIA Committee on Design (COD) invites architects, students, and allied design professionals to submit sketches to the international 2011 YAF/COD Ideas Competition. Visit the competition website.

In this unique sketch competition, submitters are asked to explore the concept of Universal Design as well as their overlap with values of social and environmental sustainability.

Winners will be announced and will have their work exhibited at the American Institute of Architects (AIA) 2011 National Convention and Design Exposition in New Orleans, Louisiana, May 12-14, 2011. Selected entries will be displayed on the AIA website.


Over the past decade, the planning and operation of the Olympic and Paralympic Games has been fundamentally re-defined, guided by an emphasis on inclusion, as well as social and environmental sustainability.

In 2009, the City of Tokyo, Japan was one of several cities selected as a finalist to become the Host City for the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic games. The International Olympic and Paralympic committees ultimately awarded the Games to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - but Tokyo again is in the process of compiling a bid for the 2020 Games.

Inspired by the recent trajectory of thought and action exhibited by the IOC and IPC, the American Institute of Architects invites designers to participate in a design competition intended to build upon the efforts of the past decade by proposing a vision for Tokyo's bid for the 2020 Games that is guided not only by socially- and environmentally-sustainable principles, but also by the concept of Universal Design.

Universal Design has been defined as "the design of products and environments to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design." This definition was developed by the architect Ron Mace, FAIA, an architect and the founder of the Center for Universal Design at N.C. State University. In recent years, architects and designers in the US and abroad have come to recognize significant and growing overlaps between Universal Design principles and emerging values of social and environmental sustainability.

This year's design problem, to create a master plan for the Olympic Village and a design for a representative mixed-use building that includes athlete housing, will provide entrants with the opportunity to explore these overlaps. Successful solutions will demonstrate a commitment to Universal Design, as well as social and environmental sustainability, throughout the Village during its Olympic, Paralympic, and Legacy modes by creating designs that will allow the Village to play a vital role in the ongoing development of the City of Tokyo - not only for the short-term as athletes' housing during the Games, but also for the long-term as a catalyst for infrastructural revitalization once the Games have closed.


The following section outlines the submission requirements, registration fees, eligibility details, and judging criteria. For more information, please contact AIA Honors & Awards at

Entries may be submitted anytime between January 14, 2011 and March 14, 2011

Visit the competition website.

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Delta Airlines (N394DL), Boeing 767 Spotting i...

Image via Wikipedia

On February 17, 2011 Delta Airlines received a hefty $2.5 million fine for "egregious" and repeated discrimination against travelers with disabilities. 

Specifically Delta violated the Air Carrier Access Act (14 CFR Part 382) related to boarding, disembarking, making connections, and reporting. 

Following the crisis management playbook Delta negotiated a series of offsets - basically agreeing to create some of the infrastructure necessary to treat travelrs with disabiities as customers rather than as a risk to be managed - in exchange for cash payment of the fine. They arranged to have a vendor simultaneously issue a "character reference" press release, published a statement by a non C-level executive, and sat out the 48-hour news cycle for the story. Mainstream media obliged by fundamentally reprinting Delta's press release. 

Individual bloggers with disabilities and organizations promoting inclusion in tourism made up the bulk of the reporting and analysis. Businesses who understand people with disabilities to be their market provided further analysis of the situation. 

Bill Forrester summarizes the situation in an article entitled "Will Accessibility Fines Spell Sunset for Some Airlines?"  here is how is article begins:

There has been some debate about whether the new fines being levied on the airline industry for breaches of accessibility legislation, as a result of the record fine imposed on Delta, has the potential to put an already financially stressed industry out of business. Discount airlines in Australia have been using the same argument for some time. I think there needs to be some context put around the fines and its potential affects on the industry.

The Context

Every business operates in an environment and a set of rules set by the community. Those rules embody the values and expectations of society and change over time. The current set of rules relating to accessibility are just one of a raft of rules affecting the aviation industry that include aircraft safety, workplace safety, noise regulations, environment restrictions etc. Every business has to structure its operations to remain profitable in the particular environment in which it operates. Those rules are the same for all players as they have to be to maintain a level playing field.

Industry Structure and Compliance

It has also been said that the financial margins of the industry are low and that it cannot absorb large financial penalties. Let's be very clear on something...

For the full story:

Related articles
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Brazilian councilwoman from São Paulo  Mara Gabrilli reports having to wait two hours to deplane at Guarulhos International Airport in São Paulo, late on Wednesday March 2. According to aThumbnail image for Mara Gabrilli.jpg spokesperson for the congresswoman, upon arriving in Brasilia in a TAM aircraft, at around 21 hours, she was inside the aircraft waiting for a ambulift - a motor vehicle with a lift, which carries passengers with disabilities in transit. 

Contacted by the G1, TAM's press office said it was 
investigating what happened and s of 8:50 a.m. on Thursday (3) there has been no feedback about the case.
According to the congresswoman, who uses a wheelchair, in addition to the lack of equipment, the aircraft did not stop with the skybridge - the tunnel that leads passengers from the plane to the terminal. "They wanted to carry me down the airplane stairs, slippery, in heavy rain. She refused and 
said he would not leave the plane while there was no safe mans to do so.

Still, according to Mara, the airlines exerted "psychological pressure" that she allow herself to be carried"They said it could take more than three 
hours until a ambulift arrived, but I insisted that I would not be carried," she says. 

Mara Gabrilli describes the current situation as  total disregard for  
passengers who have disabilities. "Even the airport in Brasilia has 
wheelchair passengers every night. I was told that  TAM has, on average, six wheelchairs per night and in Guarulhos the ambulift has been broken for a month and a half."

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Desde G1:

A deputada federal Mara Gabrilli (PSDB-SP), portadora de tetraplegia, afirma ter esperado duas horas para conseguir desembarcar no Aeroporto Internacional de São Paulo, em Guarulhos, na noite desta quarta-feira (2). Segundo a assessoria de imprensa da deputada, ao chegar de Brasília em um avião da TAM, por volta das 21 horas, ela ficou dentro da aeronave à espera de um ambulift - veículo motorizado, com elevador, que transporta passageiros com deficiência em locomoção.

Procurada pelo G1, a assessoria de imprensa da TAM informou que estava apurando o que ocorreu e até as 8h50 desta quinta-feira (3) não havia dado retorno sobre o caso.

Segundo a deputada, que faz uso de uma cadeira de rodas, além da falta do equipamento, a aeronave não parou junto ao finger - túnel que leva os passageiros diretamente do avião ao terminal. "Queriam me carregar pelas escadas do avião, escorregadias, debaixo de muita chuva. Não aceitei e disse que não sairia do avião enquanto não houvesse segurança", disse a deputada.

Ainda, segundo Mara, teria ocorrido inclusive "pressão psicológica" para que ela descesse carregada. "Afirmaram que poderia levar mais de três horas até que um ambulift chegasse ao local, mas insisti que não desceria carregada", conta.

Para Mara Gabrilli, a situação atual é de total descaso com os passageiros que possuem deficiência. "Apenas o aeroporto de Brasília recebe 30 passageiros cadeirantes todas as noites. Segundo me contaram, a TAM desembarca, em média, seis cadeirantes por noite só em Guarulhos e estava com o ambulift quebrado há um mês e meio.

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The originally stigmatized concept of Universal Design is now the "Wow Factor" - as young moms and silver-haired grandfathers catch up with quadriplegic architect Ron Mace (after 30 years.)

Now let's see hotels catch up!

Homes That Help You Take Aging in Stride
Feb. 17, 2011
More homes are being built with "universal design" features that will help boomers stay in their homes as they age. But these features no longer evoke a hospital room -- and they're appealing to a younger demographic, too. Amy Hoak reports.

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Features Touchscreen Navigation, Speech Recognition, Web and Email Access, and Nuance's Vocalizer® Text-to-Speech


Terrassa (Barcelona), Spain, March 2nd, 2011

Today, Code Factory is delighted to introduce Mobile Accessibility, a screen-access application that allows people who are blind or have low vision to use an Android phone in an intuitive, easy and simple way. Mobile Accessibility is the first accessible Android application that permits intuitive touchscreen navigation of Android phones, featuring text readback via natural sounding voices powered by Nuance's Vocalizer® text-to-speech technology.

"Mobile phones have proved to be among the fastest-changing consumer technologies in the world - particularly with the advent of the Android platform. So making mobile phones accessible to the blind and visually impaired is therefore challenging, fascinating, thrilling and totally exciting all at the same time," explained Eduard Sánchez, Code Factory's CEO. "There was no doubt that we would target the  Android platform, as we very quickly realized that there was a real need in this specific market for an accessible solution that can provide a user-friendly experience for all blind and low-vision consumers. Mobile Accessibility allows everyone, from beginners to the most tech-savvy, to use an Android phone, no matter if it has physical keys or is touchscreen-only."

Mobile Accessibility is two products in one:

·         A suite of 10 accessible applications (Phone, Contacts, SMS, Alarm, Calendar, Email, Web, Where am I, Apps and Settings) that have been specially designed for the blind and visually impaired. They all have a simplified interface whose textual information is spoken using Nuance Vocalizer® voice synthesis.
·         A screen reader that allows users to get out of the suite and navigate the standard interface of their phone.
"Mobile Accessibility provides both access to the mainstream apps of the phone and access to special apps for blind people. Why? Because our philosophy has always been to allow our users to use the phone the same way as everyone else. However, we also believe that having some special apps for the most common tasks can be extremely useful if it means gaining in productivity," added Eduard Sánchez.

The major features of Mobile Accessibility are the following:

·         Touch navigation: You can use Mobile Accessibility not only with the trackball or the physical keyboard of your phone, but also with its touchscreen! Simply move your finger around the screen and the voice synthesis will read the text located under your finger. Or if you prefer, you can also swipe up/down/right/left and tap on the screen to navigate through the interface. And if you wish you can enable sound and vibration feedback.
·         Easy to input text: In or outside the Mobile Accessibility suite you can use the touch QWERTY keyboard as well as the speech recognition to write text quickly and easily. Imagine writing an SMS or an Email using your voice only.
·         Voice synthesis: Code Factory has been making mobile phones accessible to the blind and visually impaired for many years now, and they know that the voice matters... and a lot! For Mobile Accessibility, Code Factory has partnered with Nuance® to leverage its trusted Vocalizer text-to-speech technology, providing consumers with natural sounding voice readback.
"With around 314 million visually impaired persons around the world, we believe that it's our joint obligation to facilitate access to information and mobile communication to everyone" says Arnd Weil, VP & General Manager Automotive / Consumer Electronics, Nuance Communications. "By offering screen reader functionality for Android phones using Nuance Vocalizer, Code Factory gives blind and visually impaired persons access to one of the most important mobile platforms with the market's most natural sounding and intelligible voices."

Inside the Mobile Accessibility suite of accessible applications you can do the following:

·         Phone: Make calls, answer calls, hear the caller ID and manage your call log.
·         Contacts: Manage your contacts, even those from social networks such as Facebook.
·         SMS: Compose and read short messages. Manage conversations.
·         Alarms: Set your alarms.
·         Web: Full web browser experience, similar to what you can find on your PC. Jump by the control of your choice (links, paragraphs, headings, forms, etc.) to navigate faster to the information of your interest. Bookmark your favourite webpages.
·         Calendar: Create, edit and delete a calendar entry. View all events per day, week or month.
·         Email: Full access to your Gmail account
·         Where am I? : GPS application that gives you updates on your current location.
·         Settings: Change ringtone. Configure feedback and notifications (vibration or audio). Configure keyboard echo, punctuation verbosity, speech pitch and rate, etc.
·         Quick access to date and time, phone status information such as battery level and network coverage, number of missed calls and unread messages, etc.
To hear Mobile Accessibility in action listen to videos and audio demos at

Mobile Accessibility supports all Android phones from version 2.1 and above. Please note that voice recognition is only supported with version 2.2 and above. Note also that if you want to use the screen reader functionality of Mobile Accessibility you will need a phone with physical navigational controls such as a trackball or trackpad. You can find more information about Android phones here.

At the time of this release Mobile Accessibility is only available in English, but soon Code Factory will release other versions of Mobile Accessibility for Spanish, Italian, German, French and Portuguese. Note that Mobile Accessibility doesn't support multiple languages at one time. If you buy the English version of Mobile Accessibility you will not be able to use it in another language like French or Spanish. There will be a specific version of Mobile Accessibility for each language and each version will have to be purchased separately.

You can now get a Mobile Accessibility Demo from the Android Market and try the product for free for 30 days:

·         Mobile Accessibility Demo US

·         Mobile Accessibility Demo UK

(From the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development)

The round-table on disability-inclusive development is a broad dialogue format to inform and exchange on what the CRPD and inclusive development means for German development actors.

The Round-table convened for the second time on November 2nd 2010. Representatives from more than 30 German organizations (DPOs, NGOs, private companies, Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare etc.) followed the invitation of the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) to the round table on disability-inclusive development. The main focus of the one-day-event was the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), its innovative aspects, and the possible and necessary steps towards the realization of inclusive development, especially with regards to Art. 32 CRPD (International Cooperation).

Presentations by international experts gave "food for thought" on two main issues: human rights expert Marianne Schulze from Austria presented the CRPD in the international human rights framework and its opportunities for development cooperation. Kristen Pratt, director of AusAID's disability-inclusive development team, introduced Australia's disability-inclusive "Development for All" strategy. GIZ, the German implementing agency for international cooperation (formerly GTZ)[1], has a long-standing tradition to cooperate with AusAID in this field. This cooperation will be strengthened further in future at international as well as partner country level, also by GIZ's participation in AusAID's expert Disability Reference Group, which provides strategic guidance in the implementation and monitoring of the "Development for All" strategy.

The results of working group discussions on challenges to inclusive development and possible ways forward were presented to and discussed with Gudrun Kopp, the Parliamentary State Secretary of BMZ. Ms. Kopp underlined the importance of ensuring accessibility and disability inclusion in all relevant efforts of German Development Cooperation. Ms. Kopp underlined her personal commitment to this cause and singled out that the issue of inclusive development must be increasingly addressed in bilateral government negotiations. She also announced that BMZ will develop a strategy on inclusive development in 2011 to make current approaches more systematic and coherent.



[1] GIZ was formed on 1 January 2011. It brings together the long-standing expertise of the Deutscher Entwicklungsdienst (DED) gGmbH (German Development Service), the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) GmbH (German Technical Cooperation) and Inwent - Capacity Building International, Germany. As a federally owned enterprise, GIZ supports the German Government in achieving its objectives in the field of international cooperation for sustainable development.

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