October 2011 Archives

1939 Ford pick-up truck

Image via Wikipedia

From Metro News:

None of us are getting any younger, but we're still buying cars. Older drivers may have different needs than younger ones, though, which is why many auto companies are taking aging drivers into account when they design their vehicles.

"The baby boomers have always been an important segment, not only because of their numbers but also because of their affluence," says Sheryl Connelly, global consumer trends and futuring manager for Ford Motor Company. "For them, the car has always been an iconic symbol of status.

"The baby boomers are aging, but they're aging in a way that is also unprecedented. They're not like their grandparents. They're really an active segment, but there are some changes happening that come with aging such as reduced response time, impaired vision and limited range of motion.

Read more:
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http://www.abilitiesexpo.comAbilities Expo Opens In San Jose November 2011

 The Santa Monica, Calif-based Abilities Expo, an event designed for people with disabilities, their families, seniors, veterans, caregivers, and healthcare professionals will be hosting its next show at the San Jose McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, Calif, November 18 through November 20. The Abilities Expo provides a variety of programs tailored for adults, children, and seniors and serves as a forum for companies with disability products and services to connect with the community. These products include adaptive home furnishings, daily living aids, fitness gear and other products to enhance daily life.  

Free workshops are offered on a variety of topics from selecting the right mobility device, canine companions, to finance. The event also includes dance performances, activities for children, technology showcases, and adaptive sports.

For more information visit http://www.abilitiesexpo.com.

The National Association of Blind Veterans, a division of the National Federation of the Blind (NFB), today announced a free lottery for wounded warriors who have lost their sight during Operation Iraqi Freedom or Operation Enduring Freedom.  The winner will receive a free trip to Dallas, Texas, to attend the national convention of the NFB, which will take place from June 30–July 5, 2012. 
Dwight Sayer, president of the NABV, explained that the contest was designed to help introduce more people to the National Association of Blind Veterans and the NFB. 
He said: “All too often, blind veterans,  and wounded warriors who have remained on active duty receive some physical assistance when they return, but there is a great need for basic mobility training, experiential and vocational advice, and the realization that they are not alone.  At the NFB convention, there are around three thousand people, most of them blind or with low vision, and many with tremendous success stories to help encourage someone who is coming to grips with his or her blindness.   We also have a group of blind veterans, who understand in a special way both where the vet is coming from and what he or she is going through.”
The first prize will include airfare to the convention for the winner and a companion, hotel accommodations, the convention registration fee and a banquet ticket, and the opportunity to meet and spend time with a whole organization of blind veterans.  Entry to the contest is available on the National Association of Blind Veterans Web site and there is no charge to enter.  Only one entry per person is permitted. 
For more information about the contest or the National Association of Blind Veterans, please visitwww.nabv.org or call Dwight Sayer at (407) 877-8668.

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Winter Quarter 2012

 Perspectives in Assistive Technology 

David L. Jaffe, MS and Professor Drew Nelson
Tuesdays & Thursdays   4:15pm - 5:30pm
Classroom to be assigned

project student testing an electric motor hybrid drive for a 3-wheeled lever-drive wheelchair
Testing an electric motor hybrid drive for a 3-wheeled lever-drive wheelchair (2011)
project team finishes their slideshow
Project team finishes their slideshow (2011)
photo of vest for rechargable stimulator
A recharging vest for users of implanted Deep Brain Stimulators (2010)
photo of standing and walking aid
A standing and walking aid for improved balance and stability (2010)
Opening Doors project
Opening Doors Project (2009)

Perspectives in Assistive Technology explores the broad spectrum of issues surrounding the design, development, and use of technology that benefits people with disabilities and seniors.

To learn more about this course:

Course Overview
Invitation to Attend
Classroom Location and Accessibility Information

Prospective students:
Course credentials
Student's comments about their course experience
Frequently Asked Questions

Enrolled students:
Lecture Schedule - links to descriptions, handouts, slides, and audio
Team and Individual Project Task Summary
Candidate Team Projects
Project Expenses and Reimbursement
Project Partners
Student Project Resource People
Assistive Technology ME113 Projects from 2006
Individual Projects - Course Assignment
Team Projects - Mid-term   End-of-term Assignments
Who is Disabled? / Questions for Contemplation

Course Solicitations:
Team Project Ideas
Project Coaches and Assistive Technology Users
Team Project Sponsors

Guest Lecturers and Presenters of Candidate Team Projects:
Instructions for Guest Lecturers
Instructions for Presenters of Candidate Team Projects

Community members:
Invitation to Attend

Stanford News article - 03/11/2010
Previous Years' Websites:  2011 2010 2009 2008 2007
Teaching Staff Contact Information
Flyers:  Students: 1 - 2      Coaches
Course Library
Course Resources

Touch Graphics' Talking Tactile Pen


Talking Tactile Pen

Intrepid Museum Announces Multi-Sensory Museum Guide based on Touch Graphics' Talking Tactile Pen

The Intrepid Museum Complex on Manhattan's west side includes an aircraft carrier, submarine, and supersonic airliner arranged along a pier in the Hudson River. Our new audio-tactile booklet presents the layout of the complex, including detailed maps of each level of the aircraft carrier. Using the Talking Tactile Pen, users gets a guided tour of the complex, which can be taken on the exhibit floor, with book and pen in hand, or remotely, at home or at school. Brightly colored touchable images and diagrams show key items along the path. As users touch each item they encounter with the tip of their pen, they hear extensive explanatory descriptions and recordings, including interviews with historical figures and experts on the subject matter. The system embeds detailed instructions for use, and allows user control of volume by tapping "buttons" on the back cover.

The TTP delivers an immersive, multi-sensory experience that deepens engagement with exhibit content and expands museum audiences. TTP Guides can enrich visitor experiences in outdoor venues such as zoos, botanical gardens, on urban walking tours, and in museums and other self-guided exhibit environments. 

Other TTP titles currently in production are:

Audio-tactile books are inexpensive to produce. The vinyl pages are waterproof: just rinse them with soap and water to clean. Museum Guides based on this idea could be sold as souveniers in museum gift shops. Please contact  info@touchgraphics.com for pricing and institutional references. 

Intrepid Booklet Cover
The Intrepid Museum Guide Booklet Cover

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SCUBA and Paralysis

A preliminary study finds that scuba diving may help improve muscle movement, touch sensitivity and post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms in people with spinal cord injuries.

The small pilot study, presented Saturday at the Paralyzed Veterans of America conference in Orlando, Fla., involved 10 wheelchair-dependent disabled veterans who had suffered spinal cord injuries an average 15 years earlier and who underwent scuba diving certification. Pre-dive tests checked the participants' muscle spasticity, motor control, sensitivity to light touch and pinpricks, plus depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms. Eight people completed the program and the study also included nine health controls who served as dive buddies.

Full story:


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From The Next Web:

Ankit Daftery

 is an engineering student at the Veermata Jijabai Technological Institute in Mumbai, India and he decided to take it upon himself to add the ability for the blind to type on an Android device. He was convinced he could add Braille support to the mobile platform.

Today, he is starting to turn that idea into a reality. OnlyGizmos brings us this video where the enterprising student earnestly speaks about BrailleType, a simple but ingenious application that will allow blind people to type on a smartphone using the Braille alphabet much in the same way that they use it for reading.

BrailleType gives the user a blank canvas, with the top 90% of the screen available to the user for entering in the characters and a strip at the bottom displaying them as they are typed, in addition to reading them out using Android's built-in text-to-speech synthesiser.

Just like Braille users read text written in the language by feeling the positions of the raised characters with the tip of their fingers, so they can type by touching the display with their fingers according to the established patterns of the Braille alphabet. Take a look at the video embedded below to see Daftery providing a live demo of the app:

Read more: http://thenextweb.com/apps/2011/10/18/brilliant-this-android-app-lets-blind-users-type-on-a-touchscreen-video/
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From Accessibility to Universal Design 

Brazil 3rd meeting.png

The accessibility concept is the cornerstone for the inclusion of persons with disabilities. However, despite the incompleteness of its implementation in public and private spaces, it is imperative to move forward. 

Universal Design principles use and enlarge the vision of accessibility, because they handle with different and equally important elements. In this sense, the idea is not only to make places, products and services accessible, but to consider other needs of users in general, like usability, increasing abilities and safety. 

The Universal Design tries to contemplate, beyond persons with disabilities, the needs of other society's segments, such as elderly, obese, and children, among others. Minding the Universal Design basis, we are working to build a fairer and more inclusive world. 


III International Meeting on Technology and Innovation for Persons with Disabilities - The Universal Design in the Brazilian Industry 

October 24th to 26th, 2011. 

The trademark of the International Meeting on Technology and Innovation for Persons with Disability, which is on its Third Edition, is the organization, coordination and realization of activities toward the diffusion of assistive and innovative technologies. This III Meeting aims to analyze and discuss to what extent the Universal Design principles are influencing the Brazilian industry in the current and future development of products and services designed to meet the demand for functionality, usability and safety. 

In this context, our mission is to raise awareness about and to promote the adoption of these principles, as well as to strengthen - specifically - the Assistive Technology sector in our country, pushing the entire productive chain, from research and technology innovation to manufacturing and selling products and services designed to increase the autonomy and quality of life of persons with disabilities. 

For this purpose, we will invite protagonists of society's productive sectors to present their accomplishments and to discuss about the efforts we must make to widen Universal Design's impact on Brazil. As in its previous editions, there will be an International Seminar and also an Exhibition of products and services developed by Brazilian and foreign universities, research centers, and enterprises, selected by three essential criteria: (i) evident innovation, (ii) unavailability in the market, and (iii) representing a move forward on the rehabilitation process and/or on the daily life activities of persons with disabilities. 

At the same time, the changes through which Brazil will pass during the next years, aiming at the 2014 FIFA World Coup and the 2016 Summer Olympics, represent an unrivalled opportunity for us to conquer profound social improvements, heading a fairer and more inclusive society. 

We invite you all to actively collaborate to the success of this initiative. Send us your comments and suggestions. This event only makes sense with the effective participation of every society's segment. 

This event can only make sense through the participation of every society's segment. 

Join us!

Linamara Rizzo Battistella
São Paulo State Secretary for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities 

Related post:

Accessibility is Not Inclusion


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Brazil 3rd meeting.png

Da Acessibilidade ao Desenho Universal

O conceito de acessibilidade é pedra fundamental para a inclusão da pessoa com deficiência. Porém, apesar de não estar totalmente implementado nos espaços públicos e privados, é necessário avançarmos. 

Os princípios do Desenho Universal fazem uso e ampliam a visão de acessibilidade, porque trabalham outros elementos igualmente importantes. Nesse sentido, a idéia não é apenas tornar locais, produtos e serviços acessíveis, mas contemplar outras necessidades de usuários em geral, como a usabilidade, a potencialização de habilidades e a segurança. 

O Desenho Universal busca contemplar, além das pessoas com deficiência, as necessidades de outros segmentos da sociedade, como o idoso, o obeso e a criança, entre outros. Com a atenção aos fundamentos do Desenho Universal trabalhamos para construir um mundo cada vez mais justo e inclusivo.

III Encontro Internacional de Tecnologia e Inovação para Pessoas com Deficiência - O Desenho Universal na Indústria Brasileira
24 a 26 de outubro de 2011

A marca do Encontro Internacional de Tecnologia e Inovação para Pessoas com Deficiência, que este ano chega à sua terceira edição, é a organização, coordenação e realização de atividades voltadas à difusão de ajudas técnicas e tecnologias inovadoras. Este III Encontro pretende analisar e discutir em que medida os princípios do Desenho Universal vêm influenciando a indústria brasileira no desenvolvimento atual e futuro de produtos e serviços projetados para atender às mais variadas demandas por funcionalidade, usabilidade e segurança.

Neste contexto, nossa missão é promover o conhecimento e a adoção desses princípios, bem como, especificamente, fortalecer o setor de Tecnologia Assistiva no país, incentivando toda cadeia produtiva, da pesquisa e inovação tecnológica à fabricação e comercialização de produtos e serviços voltados ao aumento da autonomia e qualidade de vida das pessoas com deficiência.

Para tanto, convidaremos protagonistas dos principais setores produtivos da sociedade, para apresentar suas realizações e debater sobre os esforços que devemos empreender para ampliar o impacto do Desenho Universal no Brasil. Como nas edições anteriores, haverá Seminário Internacional e Exposição de produtos e serviços desenvolvidos por universidades, centros de pesquisa e empresas, brasileiras e internacionais, selecionados a partir de três critérios essenciais: (i) evidente inovação, (ii) não disponibilidade no varejo convencional, e (iii) representar avanço nos processos de reabilitação e/ou atividades da vida diária das pessoas com deficiência.

Paralelamente, as transformações pelas quais o Brasil passará nos próximos anos, tendo em perspectiva a Copa do Mundo de 2014 e as Olimpíadas de 2016, representam inigualável oportunidade para conquistarmos profundos avanços sociais, rumo a uma sociedade mais justa e inclusiva. 

Convidamos todos a colaborar ativamente no sucesso desta iniciativa. Enviem-nos comentários e sugestões. Este evento só faz sentido com a participação efetiva de todos os segmentos da sociedade!


Prof.Dra. Linamara Rizzo Battistella 
Secretária de Estado dos Direitos da Pessoa com Deficiênica

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Touchable Moon Book from NASA

Touch the Moon with your fingers with a Touchable Moon Book from NASA. It is described in Hear and There Audio Magazine. Details on how you can get a copy are below.

This is episode 1 of 3 where we describe the book "Getting a Feel for Lunar Craters". It features tactile diagrams of the lunar surface designed to educate the blind and visually impaired about the wonders of Earth's moon. H&T Correspondent Shawn Klein touches and describes the graphics as the book's author Professor David Hurd and I talk about the science of the moon. In this episode we describe what the full moon looks like and we discuss how the moon was formed. We also give you information on how to order a free copy for yourself.

How to Get a FREE Copy:
To get the Free NASA Braille textured pic Moon book with audio tour go to this pagehttp://hearandthere.net/MOONBOOK.aspx

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Que tal se, ao invés de nos perguntarmos "Qual é o custo de tornar isso acessível?" nos perguntássemos, "O que há de tão especial nesta situação a ponto de justificar a exclusão?"


Historicamente, a acessibilidade foi o bordão de um movimento político surgido a partir da era dos direitos civis nos anos 1970. A inclusão é sua filha - um objetivo que reflete uma rede globalizada, na qual a liberdade de movimento e a participação integral de todos é algo esperado - e reverenciado enquanto direito.

Economicamente, a inclusão expande o seu mercado. Ela faz sentido como um negócio bem-sucedido. A propaganda convence o consumidor de que ele precisa de seu produto - quer ele precise ou não. Criar um produto que comunique, à primeira vista, a ideia de que é utilizável por um consumidor em potencial faz com que o produto anuncie a si mesmo. Os consumidores que, via de regra, são deixados de lado tendem a demonstrar menos entusiasmo em suas lealdades quando descobrem que uma empresa faz um esforço acima da média para satisfazer suas necessidades. Pense no sorriso de uma criança com deficiência quando, ao perceber que o playground permite que ela seja incluída também, corre para brincar nele. Os consumidores adultos não são muito diferentes!

Enquanto a acessibilidade é passiva - deixa a porta aberta, sem obstáculos no caminho - a inclusão ativamente convida você a entrar e a participar da rede humana além da passagem desimpedida. A acessibilidade vê coisas e espaços. A inclusão vê a vida humana.

A acessibilidade olha para trás. Ela percorre meio caminho na direção de padrões ultrapassados e artificiais a respeito do que - e de quem - é "normal". A acessibilidade, com frequência, torna-se "mera adequação", uma obsessão com listas, um receio de que as pessoas com deficiência representem problemas na gestão de riscos. Enquanto desliza de marcha-ré por esse escorregador,  a acessibilidade aceita o desempenho no padrão do "menos pior" - e tem como objetivo apenas o mínimo que possa ser configurado conforme o acordo político da legislação, os regulamentos e a obediência às normas. A acessibilidade estabelece um piso, mas frequentemente parte do pressuposto de que o teto está além do alcance.


A inclusão diz respeito à comunidade

A inclusão olha para a frente. Ela envolve o acolhimento dos recém-chegados por parte daqueles já privilegiados pelo acesso a um bem social em particular. Ela é a resposta hospitaleira - o sinal de uma comunidade saudável.

Enquanto a mera acessibilidade falha ao deixar as crianças com deficiência timidamente às margens de um playground bem-intencionado, a inclusão dá um passo à frente, muitas vezes além do design físico, e educa a comunidade quanto ao potencial do design.

O impacto positivo de um playground sobre uma comunidade pode ser facilmente medido. A inclusão desafia a comunidade a não deixar de medir o impacto do bom design sobre os membros dessa mesma comunidade que costumavam ser excluídos. A inclusão vai além das simples dimensões da infraestrutura física e registra o aumento do capital social, bem como, ao fazer isso, convida novos membros da comunidade a participarem plenamente.

O Instituto para o Design Centrado na Pessoa, em Boston, explica o modo pelo qual o Design Universal (moldado no conceito da inclusão) vai além do simples acesso:

O Design Universal é um framework para o design de espaços, objetos, informação, comunicação e políticas utilizáveis pelo maior número possíel de pessoas, operando na mais ampla gama de situações, sem um design especial ou separado. O Design Universal é, simplesmente, o design, centrado na pessoa, de tudo, com todos em mente.

O Design Universal é também chamado Design Inclusivo, Design para Todos e Design para o Ciclo da Vida. Ele não é um estilo, mas sim uma orientação para todo processo de design que parta de uma responsabilidade para com a experiência do usuário.

O Design Universal e o design ecológico são, confortavelmente, dois lados da mesma moeda, mas em diferentes estágios evolucionários. O design ecológico tem seu foco na sustentabilidade ambiental, e o Design Universal na sustentabilidade social (fonte: www.adaptenv.org).

Design Universal não significa "tamanho único". Um objetivo desses seria impossível. Mesmo no ciclo da vida de uma única pessoa, a estatura, a habilidade e os desejos mudam. Por isso, alguns preferem o termo "Design Inclusivo" para indicar que a inclusão torna socialmente sustentável a melhor acessibilidade, ao permanecer intensamente engajada na solução de problemas com aqueles em desvantagem quanto ao que passa por normal.

Onde mais, exceto num playground inclusivo, os pais das crianças temporariamente não-deficientes podem aprender a lidar com os inevitáveis arranhões, torções e braços quebrados da infância? Haveria um local de encontro mais natural para esses pais se beneficiarem do conhecimento prático e da resiliência de pais cujos filhos têm deficiência?

E quanto àqueles tentados a justificar a mera acessibilidade devido a fundos insuficientes? Ao argumentar com aqueles que controlam as despesas, responda com os custos de manter áreas de recreação "especiais" separadas, segregadas e estigmatizadas.

Em tempo de eleição, lembre os tomadores de decisões do valor de se ter constituintes (previamente ignorados) com uma lealdade entusiástica. Playground também dá votos.

A acessibilidade é um fazer para - uma tarefa do século XX. A inclusão é um fazer com - uma visão do século XX1. Qual das duas abordagens torna as comunidades mais fortes?


Scott Rains escreve sobre viagem e outros assuntos de interesse para as pessoas com deficiência. Seu trabalho aparace em muitas publicações e no site RollingRains.com. Ele é o fundador do fórum global sobre turismo inclusivo Tour Watch e trabalha em todo o mundo como um defensor do turismo inclusivo. Seu email é srains@oco.net.

Buddha Tree - Thailand

Image by srains via Flickr

This is a reminder that the webinar "Telling Our Stories: Interview with Scott Rains" presented by Anthony Tusler will take place tomorrow, October 20th at:

10:00 Pacific Daylight Time
11:00 Mountain Daylight Time
12:00 Central Daylight Time
1:00 Eastern Daylight Time

Join us at the specified time for your timezone by clicking the link below:


To run a check of your system's compatibility, go to the Elluminate/Blackboard Collaborate Support page.

If this is your first time attending a webinar in our Elluminate classroom we recommend you arrive 10 minutes early to check your Audio Setup.

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From Access Today October 2011

While the US Department of Justice has been garnering headlines over the last year for adoption of the new 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design, the 
NCoA Logo.png2012 International Building Code has quietly come on the scene as The new accessibility standard. In many ways, the new 2012 IBC may have far more reach for making recreation facilities accessible. For the first time in the IBC history, the model code includes technical provisions for recreation facilities.   
According to International Code Council Senior Staff Architect, Kim Paarlberg, "Recreational scoping requirements (i.e., what, where and how many) have been in the IBC since its inception in 2000. What is new is that the technical criteria (i.e., how to) provide access to specific recreational facilities (i.e., pools, playgrounds, etc.) has been added." This means that any new construction or renovation of existing recreation facilities are now required to be accessible  where state and local code authorities reference the 2012 International Building Code (in addition to the DOJ 201 ADA Standards). While the 2010 ADA Standards are only part of a civil rights law that requires a complaint to be filed for enforcement to ensue, accessibility as part of a model building code would fall to enforcement by local building code officials. In reality, any entity required by the local authority to gain a building permit, have drawings reviewed, or be inspected prior to occupancy would have to follow the accessibility requirements for recreation facilities set forth in the 2012 IBC. As a result, a local building code official might also be inspecting a new golf course, sports field, fitness center, amusement park, swimming pool or playground for compliance with the accessibility requirements of the 2012 IBC.
Enveloping the revisions from the ADA accessibility guidelines into the IBC is yet one more step the International Code Council and US Access Board have taken to achieve harmonization between the two standard-writing agencies. Paarlberg works closely with the Access Board to continually track areas requiring revision and clarification between the two documents. Paarlberg further comments on the advantage of the ADA accessibility standards combined into the 2012 IBC, "DOJ has limited staff and resources to enforce ADA compliance. Code officials see plans before the project is even started, and are inspecting during construction. This is a more cost effective time to make corrections rather than after construction is completed."

Full story:
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Interdependence 2012 Global Conference and Exposition
May 15-18, 2012 - Vancouver, Canada

  "More than one billion people in the world live with some form of disability.
 In the years ahead, disability will be an even greater concern because its prevalence is on the rise. This is due to ageing populations and the higher risk of disability in older people."

World Report on Disability, The World Bank and WHO (2011)
A global effort is needed now to address health & accessibility issues common to all of us
Interdependence 2012 creates the environment to engage various stakeholders and perspectives that shape our world. An engaging program will foster open dialogue from a broad range of sectors including government, design, tourism, major games and events, information technology, standards councils, researchers, health care professionals and the community.

The Rick Hansen Foundation and the Rick Hansen Institute present Interdependence 2012. This international conference will accelerate progress toward a healthy and inclusive world through two complementary pillars: accessible communities for all, including an aging population and people with disabilities; and research towards a cure for paralysis after spinal cord injury (SCI).

Over 2,500 global leaders and influencers will gather to showcase ground-breaking innovations, share insights and identify solutions to some of the critical challenges being faced in the fields of accessibility and SCI research.
promo-4 2
*Photo courtesy of Tourism Vancouver
Keynote Speakers
  • Dr. David Suzuki Co-founder. David Suzuki Foundation. Canada
  • Ray Kurzweil Inventor, Author, Entrepreneur. Kurzweil Technologies. USA
  • Dr. Michael Fehlings Neurosurgeon, Professor, Researcher. Canada
  • Rick Hansen Honorary Chair of Interdependence 2012. Canada
Conference and Exposition Details

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Art Beyond Sight

What Is Awareness Month 

This is a time when museums, schools, libraries and sighted and blind people from around the world come together to jointly address the problem of making pictorial literacy and access to the world of art a reality for all blind people.

Many people believe erroneously that art is primarily a matter of visual appreciation.
Dr. Marc Maurer, president, National Federation of the Blind

Conventional wisdom predetermines what blind and visually impaired people can and cannot do. It predetermines a lack of interest in the field on the part of these people and has denied them the experience of learning about art and architecture... One and a half decades ago there were few who dared to think that a difference could be made in this field. Today in many countries very appealing initiatives have arisen.
Pedro Zurita, former Secretary General, World Blind Union, Madrid, Spain

Why Awareness Month:

Art Beyond Sight Awareness Month is an outreach effort on all levels, operating simultaneously within and across institutions, within and across communities. It is an opportunity for professionals and institutions to raise public awareness about making art and culture a part of life for adults and children affected by sight loss. During Awareness Month, we can educate parents, teachers, school administrators, recreational counselors, librarians and museums about the benefits of art education and museum visits for children and adults with sight loss; for example, art can be a powerful tool in fostering Braille literacy.

The collaborative seeks to empower community institutions to create long-lasting visual arts programming, by offering proven methodologies, by training staff on accessibility and sensitivity, and by inviting local blind and sighted people to participate in educational and inclusion activities.

Training is a crucial element of Awareness Month. The collaborative will provide an annual full-day crash course on program-planning basics, sensitivity training and other skills. Join us to jump-start your program or brush up your skills. Art Beyond Sight also holds regular telephone conferences and meetings to discuss issues and brainstorm strategies and solutions.

All this must part of a two-pronged approach: institutional development and outreach to individuals. Many blind people do not feel welcome at museums or simply do not view themselves as museum-goers or artists, and do not take advantage of even the most-developed, up-to-date programs. However, once involved in the arts, many people with sight loss find museum-going a rewarding activity that opens up a range of new experiences possible through art. Thus, while assisting educators and museums to develop programs and provide resources, Art Beyond Sight Collaborative and Awareness Month also provides ways to let blind people know about arts programming in a way that encourages their participation.

Goals of the Art Beyond Sight Collaborative:

The collaborative's primary goal is to make art accessible to people who are blind or visually impaired. To this end, AEB formulates, evaluates, documents, and disseminates research findings, as well as print and multisensory educational programs and materials, relative to rendering art-making, art appreciation, cultural history, and aesthetics accessible to people who are blind or visually impaired.

The Art Beyond Sight Around the World Collaborative recognizes that art education and exposure to the arts are crucial for advancement of many key issues in the education and rehabilitation of people who are blind. ArtWorks is a series of initiatives designed to use art as a tool in overcoming many of the daily living issues faced by people who are blind. Those initiatives include: the community participation through the arts program, art therapy and self-expression through the arts, skills development through the arts, full intellectual access to the world of art, collaborative learning through the arts, employment in the arts and at museums, and art into curriculum.



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From the Times of India:

Sanchi, the world heritage site, about 56 kms from the state capital, will soon become the first barrier free site in the world for physically 

Sanchi Stupa.png

challenged people. The initiative in this regard has been jointly taken by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and Arushi, a voluntary organisation that works with people with disabilities.

"We had approached the ASI in the year 2000. After much effort, this project is finally getting realised and will be completed by the month end. Pathway tiles for the disabled are being constructed around the Stupas for easy access and manoeuvrability. Braille inscriptions and accessibility to other amenities like toilets and canteen area for the physically challenged make this structure universally design friendly,"Anil Mudgal, Arushias founder said.

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West face of the United States Supreme Court b...

Image via Wikipedia

Desde Bengala Legal por  Izabel Maria Madeira de Loureiro Maior:

Amigas e amigos, tenho uma história interessante para partilhar com vocês. Ano passado, vivi uma experiência inédita em Washington, a bonita capital dos Estados Unidos. Nem imaginava que existisse um intenso turismo noturno que roda a cidade mostrando os pontos principais. São cerca de duas horas e meia, saindo da Grande Estação do metrô, em microônibus com guias, sendo que alguns desses veículos dispõem de acesso facilitado para pessoas com mobilidade reduzida e para as pessoas cadeirantes. Os passeios em transporte acessível são tão procurados que você precisa chegar antes para garantir seu espaço. Saibam que os locais visitados ficam repletos de turistas do país e do exterior. Esse tipo de visita é uma novidade para nós brasileiros, pois requer segurança e organização, entretanto é muito procurada em outras cidades.

A capital Washington concentra museus, marcos referentes aos pioneiros e presidentes, a famosa Casa Branca (atualmente moradia da família Obama), o Capitólio (sede do Legislativo que tem uma cúpula alta que não pode ser ultrapassada por nenhuma outra construção) e a maior coleção de livros do mundo, na Biblioteca do Congresso. À noite, não se podem visitar essas construções internamente, mas a iluminação e os arredores dão uma excelente noção da beleza e da conservação desses prédios históricos.

É claro que ajuda muito falar ou entender as informações em inglês, mas cada vez mais o espanhol se espalha naquele país e facilita que brasileiros se comuniquem e possam conhecer melhor o que foram visitar. Mesmo assim, ninguém deve se espantar com esse item, já que as excursões brasileiras oferecem guias que falam português (mas ainda não há intérpretes de língua de sinais, em qualquer dos idiomas).



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One hesitates to endorse any disability simulation as having he lasting impact attributed to it in the enthusiasm of the moment. However, here is the simulation approach writ large for your evaluation:

Ever wonder what it would be like to have a visual impairment? Lighthouse has created a vision simulator to experience just that in an effort to inform, educate, and sensitize the public about low vision. Using filters to simulate retinitis pigmentosa, glaucoma, hermianopia, diabetic retinopathy and macular degeneration, you can experience some of the obstacles that a person with a visual impairment experiences daily


 Hailed as a groundbreaking, unique, and never before "seen" exhibition, DIALOG IN THE DARK will lead visitors through a series of New York City environments, highlighted by city-centric scents, sounds, temperatures, and textures, in complete darkness.

Relying on blind and visually-impaired guides, exhibit-goers will "see NYC" and visit many well know landmarks without the sense of sight while armed with an authentic walking cane.  Imagine taking a rumbling subway to your favorite location or maneuvering the crossroads of the world in Times Square while not being able to see a thing. Rest assured, the sounds and the smells (both pleasant and NOT SO PLEASANT) will all be there to greet you.  But will that be enough to guide your safe passage?

DIALOG IN THE DARK will forever change your perception of what it means to be blind or have low vision.  Come see New York without seeing it.


DIALOG IN THE DARK will forever change your perception of what it means to be blind or have low vision.  Come see New York without seeing it.
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   The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), in its ongoing effort to ensure equal access to air transportation for all travelers, today proposed a regulation that would require airlines to make their websites accessible to individuals with disabilities and ensure that their ticket agents do the same.  DOT also proposed that airlines make automated airport kiosks at U.S. airports accessible to passengers with disabilities. U.S. airports that jointly own, lease or control such kiosks with airlines would also have responsibility for ensuring the accessibility of automated airport kiosks. 
"I strongly believe that airline passengers with disabilities should have equal access to the same services as all other travelers," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.  "The Department of Transportation is committed to ensuring that airline passengers are treated fairly, and today's action is part of that effort."

                Under the proposed rule, airlines would be required to make their websites accessible to persons with disabilities over a two-year period.  Websites would be required to meet the standards for accessibility contained in the widely accepted Website Content Accessibility Guidelines.  The requirement would apply to U.S. and foreign carriers with websites marketing air transportation to U.S. consumers for travel within, to or from the United States.  Small ticket agents would be exempt from the requirement to have accessible websites. 
In addition, airlines and airports that use automated kiosks for services such as printing boarding passes and baggage tags would have to ensure that any kiosk ordered 60 days after the rule takes effect is accessible.  Standards for accessibility would be based on standards for automated transaction machines set by the Department of Justice in its 2010 Americans with Disabilities Act rule.  This requirement would apply to U.S. and foreign carriers and U.S. airports that own, lease or control automated airport kiosks at U.S. airports with 10,000 or more annual boardings.  The proposal asks for comment on the cost and feasibility of retrofitting existing kiosks to make them accessible.

                This proposal is the latest in a series of DOT rulemakings to implement the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA).  In the ACAA rule issued in May 2008, DOT required carriers, among other things, to make discounts available to passengers with disabilities who cannot use inaccessible web sites and therefore must make telephone or in-person reservations. Also, if passengers with disabilities are unable to use the kiosk because it is not accessible, carriers are required to provide equivalent service, such as having an airline employee assist in operating the kiosk.  However, these provisions do not give passengers with disabilities, especially those with visual and mobility impairments, independent access to the websites and kiosks, and in this final rule the Department committed to exploring how to make websites and kiosks accessible.
Comments on the proposal are due within 60 days of publication in the Federal Register.  The proposal is available on the Internet at www.regulations.gov, docket DOT-OST-2011-0177.  In addition, the Department has partnered with Cornell University's eRulemaking Initiative (CeRI), Regulation Room, designed to improve the public's ability to understand and participate in this rulemaking process. A goal of the CeRI team is to make Regulation Room as accessible to as many users as possible.  This partnership supports President Obama's open-government initiative.  People wanting to discuss and learn about this proposed rule should go to www.regulationroom.org.

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Coat of arms of Barbados

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Bonnie Leonce has published a warm article on my Barbados trip here on page 8: Inclusive Tourism

The Barbados Council or the Disabled also published this story today. It is quite clear from my conversations with Minister Sealy and his competent staff that Barbados really "gets" this issue:

’Inclusive’ tourism a welcome addition

The Barbados Tourism Industry welcomes inclusive tourism to the product mix says Mr. Richard Sealy, Minister of Tourism.



 though we have achieved a significant level of success, much more is needed to make Barbados a fully accessiblemarket for locals and visitors alike. The destination must cater to all types of disabilities,” explained Minister Sealy at the Ministry of Tourism  Inclusive Tourism Symposium entitled “Working towards a Fully Accessible Barbados” (FAB) on Tuesday, October 4th, 2011 at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.


The Minister launched an appeal to encourage businesses to retrofit their facilities to accommodate the disabled members in our community and suggested to new businesses to ensure that their architectural designs are functional to ensure the comfort of all guests.


He pointed out, “In Barbados we have continuously carved out niches within the industry such as sports, health, heritage, etc., we now welcome Inclusive Tourism to the product mix.”


The Minister explained the economic value to including disabled visitors. He reported, “According to the United Nations, 650 million people or ten percent of the world’s population is disabled. A portion of that ten percent lives in or wants to travel to the Caribbean. Interestingly, Barbados’ number one source market, the United Kingdom has approximately ten million persons living with disabilities and in England alone, 2.7 million that travel annually.


Similarly, in our second largest market (The USA), there are twenty-two million disabled persons who have travelled at least once in recent times. In Canada, our fourth largest source market, disabilities account for twenty-five billion in consumer spending. Implicit in these figures are the likelihood that Barbados receives a number of disabled guest on a yearly basis.”


He said based on these figures, “We would like to know that our guest are able to freely enjoy all that we have to offer without the constraints of inaccessibility. This demands that we upgrade with haste. This is particularly evident in some of the most recently refurbished hotels which have incorporated into their designs wheelchair ramps, handrails, specially equipped bathroom and accessible parking. The Ministry will pursue the goals of a Fully Accessible Barbados with vigour as we do other aspects of our tourism products.”


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The new Bandar Tasik Selatan integrated transport terminal (ITT) has achieved a 75% score on disabled-friendliness from a recent audit conducted by the Committee on Universal Design and Built Environment.

Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil said the results were beyond satisfactory as the multi-transport terminal covers most of the needs of the disabled.

She added that the audit included the Express Rail Link (ERL) and Keretapi Tanah Melayu (KTM) stations.

The audit was conducted on September 22 in collaboration with the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL), International Islamic University of Malaysia, RapidKL, Keretapi Tanah Melayu Bhd, ERL and associations representing the disabled.

The ITT, which was opened on January 1 this year, served primarily as a bus terminal for south-bound buses while the terminal is also an interchange for rail services such as KTM Komuter, Light Rail Transit (LRT) Ampang Line, ERL and RapidKL buses.

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Buddha Tree - Thailand

Image by srains via Flickr

Tourism operators worldwide have begun catering for an increasing group of travellers, those with disabilities and the ageing, and many Australians have taken the lead. 

There's no denying Australians love to travel but for some it can be more of a challenge than for others. 

Tourism facilities for people with disabilities have improved greatly over the past decade or so, but with an ageing population it's becoming more important than ever. 

Bruce Cameron, from Easy Access Australia, says people with disabilities can feel enormous anxiety before going on a holiday somewhere new. 

"It can be hard to get information and when you do, you don't always know if it's correct,'' he says. 

Tourism researcher Simon Darcy, Associate Professor at UTS Business School, says it is a great opportunity for Australian tourism operators to position themselves for a competitive advantage. 

"If they really want to cater for accessible tourism, they need to design products that are of an equal experience rather than a second-rate experience,'' he says. 

"Sometimes you pay $500 a night for an accessible room only to look at the back laneway when everyone else is looking at Sydney Harbour. Some hotels complain the accessible rooms don't get used very much but when we look at them we think 'no wonder'.'' 

Here are some destinations that have made steps in the right direction:

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On Isabele Ducharme and Keroul

When Isabelle Ducharme travels in Quebec, she doesn't leave home without her handy map of the Accessible Road.

Ducharme has been wheelchair-bound (sic) since she incurred a spinal-cord injury in a car accident about 20 years ago and now is an expert on travel issues faced by people with restricted mobility. The Accessible Road, a detailed guide to tourism attractions that are adapted for people with limited mobility, is one of her projects.

"I loved travelling even before the accident, so tourism seemed like the perfect thing afterward," said Ducharme, who is chairperson of the board of Kéroul, a one-stop trip adviser for travellers who are physically challenged, or visually or hearing impaired. Short for "Québec roule" (Quebec moves on wheels), Kéroul works to ensure that the approximately 900,000 Quebecers who have mobility restrictions can enjoy the best of the province - without travel restrictions.

Based in Montreal and sponsored by the Quebec government, Kéroul rates and certifies the province's cultural and tourism sites and its lodging establishments according to their accessibility.

Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/health/Country+Roads+Travel+K%c3%a9roul+Accessible+Road/5478050/story.html#ixzz1aR5MyQuY
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Marco Antonio Bonilla es um promoter ambiental en Chapultepec.

From CNN.com:

Traveling with children is difficult, but when children have wheelchairs or communication problems, it can be overwhelming for parents to plan even a weekend getaway.

"You cannot pick up and go like everyone else does. You have to plan your trip very carefully," says Jani Nayar, executive coordinator of the Society for Accessible Travel & Hospitality.

About 2.9 million youths ages 17 and younger have a disability, according to the 2009 American Community Survey. Even if it requires extra planning, Nayar says, it's important for children with disabilities -- whether they're blind, deaf, autistic or use a wheelchair -- to "get out of the house and travel like any other child."

Michell Haase, founder of TravelinWheels.com, a site that offers travel tips for disabled people, suggests that families "start small."

"It doesn't have to be the big trip to France," she said.

For families that haven't traveled before, Haase suggests driving to a nearby city and trying a hotel stay. In 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act required that hotels provide accessible amenities. But when booking a room, Haase says to be specific about your needs.


From Mena.com:

There are 650 million tourists with disabilities in the world and a significant number of those want to see the world, the Caribbean included.

This was revealed by Minister of Tourism, Richard Sealy, who was speaking at the Inclusive Tourism Symposium held yesterday at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.

Noting that it was important to engage in a forum such as this, Minister Sealy remarked: "We must remind ourselves that we are all one step away from an accident or health related challenge that can render us disabled." He added that it was crucial for everyone to recognise the value of creating accessible spaces for all.

He said that in addition to the social benefits of a fully accessible Barbados, the economic benefits could not be ignored. He observed that in Barbados' fourth largest source market, Canada, persons with disabilities accounted for $25 billion in consumer spending; while in England, which is also one of this country's largest source markets, 2.7 million persons with disabilities travel annually.

While the Tourism Minister lauded the progress made thus far in ensuring that hotels were compatible with the needs of guests with disabilities, he noted that "even though we have achieved a level of success, much more is needed to make Barbados a fully accessible market for locals and visitors alike".

This was echoed by Dr. Scott Rains, Inclusive Tourism Consultant and featured speaker at the symposium, who asserted that catering to persons with disabilities extended to educating staff on how to interact with individuals with different needs. He also stated that persons with disabilities experienced the world 'through their disability', and creating environments that served their needs often proved beneficial for everyone, especially retirees or the 'silver tsunami'; persons who had the time, money and desire to travel.

Full story:
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Universal Design features open floor plans

Open floor plans are commonly used in Universal Design.

Quote start"The best aging-in-place retrofits are essentially invisible, they fit so seamlessly into a home," says Sam Hagerman, President of Hammer & Hand. "'Universal Design' is good design that serves everyone, regardless of ability or mobility."Quote end

Aging in place is an idea whose time has come as increasing numbers of adults seek to take charge of where and how they will age. In celebration of National Aging In Place Week (October 10 - 16, 2011), Hammer & Hand announces the launch of its Universal Design Services, featuring new home safety assessments and aging-in-place retrofits.(http://hammerandhand.com/universal-design)

"Today more and more adults want barrier-free homes where they can 'age in place,'" explains Stacey Foisy, Certified Aging In Place Specialist with Hammer & Hand. "Instead of selling their homes and moving into retirement facilities, homeowners are modifying their living spaces to accommodate their evolving lifestyles and needs. Folks want to remain independent."

Aging-in-place modifications needn't feel "institutional" or make one's home look like a retirement facility. Instead,Universal Design retrofits and remodels employ design principles that dovetail with good contemporary design: things like open floor plans, generous stepless entries, spacious hallways, no-lip showers, varied counter heights, and the like.

"The best aging-in-place retrofits are essentially invisible, they fit so seamlessly into a home," says Sam Hagerman, President of Hammer & Hand. "'Universal Design' is good design that serves everyone, regardless of ability or mobility. For example, lever-style door handles are great for the aging, but they're also really convenient for a parent returning home with arms full of groceries and kids in tow. It's design that's aimed at everyone."

Examples of age in place retrofit measures that allow homeowners to age at home safely include:


  • Stepless entries.
  • Wider doors.
  • Covered porches.


  • No-lip or roll-in showers with height-adjustable or hand-held shower heads.
  • Lowered bathroom sinks with roll-under clearance.
• Elevated toilets with grab bars.

• Ample maneuvering clearance. 
• "Rocker" light switches that are easer to turn on.


  • Varied countertop height.
• Roll-under clearance beneath sink. 
• Lowered cooking surfaces.

• Safe lighting throughout the home, especially for stairways and outdoor walkways.

Hammer & Hand offers 90-minute home safety assessments to evaluate existing barriers to aging-in-place and to recommend retrofit measures. The firm guides clients through the design-build process, drawing on its cadre of independent designers when necessary. Hammer & Hand's career carpenters carry out the actual retrofits.

"Since Hammer & Hand's inception, our central mission has been to make buildings serve people better," says Hagerman. "We're proud to be adapting living spaces to allow people to age at home with dignity and peace of mind."

Hammer & Hand's newly launched Universal Design services can be found on the web athttp://hammerandhand.com/universal-design.

About Hammer & Hand 
Hammer & Hand is dedicated to stewardship of the built environment through craft and science, everything from handyman repairs to barrier-free retrofits to high performance Passive House structures. Based in Portland, Oregon, the remodeler and builder can be reached at http://hammerandhand.com or by phone at 503-232-2447.

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We're excited to announce that Wheaton Park District in Wheaton, Ill., is the grand prize winner of the Together We Play™ essay contest for their Sensory Garden Playground Initiative!

We're also proud to announce the five runner-up winners of Together We Play:

  1. City of Gig Harbor, Wash.
  2. The FUNdation, South Elgin, Ill.
  3. Princess Alexa Foundation, Keller, Texas
  4. Kate's Kause, Elmira, Ontario, Canada
  5. City of Lewiston, Maine


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This week, Art Beyond Sight interviewed Claudia Setubal, Program Manager and School Readiness for the museum, The Please Touch Museum-Children's Museum of Philadelphia, to learn more about its recently opened Access/ABILITY, a traveling exhibition developed by the Boston Children's Museum.

Art Beyond Sight (ABS): How did the access/ABILITY exhibition come to be hosted at the Please Touch Museum? From what I understand, it was a traveling exhibition, so why did you feel it was important that access/ABILITY came to the Please Touch Museum?

Claudia Setubal (C.S): The exhibit was developed by the Boston Children's Museum; Please Touch Museum has a temporary exhibit space that houses various changing exhibits that correspond to our programming throughout the year. Access/ABILITY tied in with the museum's efforts to reach out to all children, and especially those families who might be hesitant to visit because of real or perceived barriers.

In 2009, Please Touch Museum launched the Autism Access program, designed to encompass all areas of the museum's programmatic structure, from a traditional visit, to special events and mobile programming. The program creates a comprehensive welcoming structure for families of children with ASD through staff training, tools for visiting (such as social stories, special maps and quiet rooms), mobile programming and special events for families.

The Access/Ability exhibit fit nicely into the museum's mission of "enriching the lives of children by creating learning opportunities through play" and provided an opportunity to engage our general public in the work we have done with children of varying abilities.

ABS: How did your previous experience influence and help the educational programs that were part of the exhibition?

C.S: We had worked with a number of Autism organizations in developing the Autism Access program, and specifically in designing mobile programming that could bring the museum experience to children who might have a harder time adjusting to a visit. We learned that having a mobile option was useful for groups that may be hesitant to come to unfamiliar locations. As part of the access/Ability exhibit's auxiliary programming, we developed an Access Kit that showcased some of the adaptable technologies used for people of varying abilities. The kit can be brought to schools or used on the gallery floor for programming.

We had the outstanding opportunity to work with the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Education staff cross-trained with child life specialists and art therapists to evaluate the accessibility of our programs. At Please Touch Museum, we continually examine the role that universal design plays in the museum. By creating programs that are open-ended, child-directed, and process-driven, we find that families feel welcome and excited about learning through play. Our theater staff developed a new puppet character named Melita. Melita has Cerebral Palsy and uses a wheelchair. We added adaptive technology to the Program Room including wheelchair accessible tables and universal cuffs.

ABS: How did the community and participants respond to the exhibition?

C.S: We invited various partners, including Inglis House, The Melmark School, The Center for Autism, and Easter Seals to the opening day of the exhibit. We received positive feedback from the majority of our partners, who were thrilled that we were hosting the exhibit and wanted to participate in the effort to get the word out.

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Design to Include Kids

Determining how a child fits into the kitchen or bathroom masterplan has become a part of the process of accommodating shifting families and lifestyles. In fact, "a concept that's universal--a concept that allows for actual living--is, simply put, truly good design," says Faith Sheridan, a Seattle-based interior designer.

Place appliances in easy-to-reach places. "If you're looking to avoid bending down, install appliances in the wall," Sheridan suggests. Conceal refrigeration and pantry space below the counter and behind cabinets, adding ease for those who can't reach up high. "Microwaves are usually what kids learn to use first," says Shannon Seip, co-author of "Bean Appetit: Hip and Healthy  Ways to Have Fun with Food," (Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2010). "Build confidence in the kitchen by placing your microwave at a level everyone in the family can access. Allowing your kitchen space to function for the whole family is key."

Design kitchen islands at lower heights to accommodate chefs and taste-testers of all ages and abilities. Sheridan recommends a lower counter height of anywhere from 30 to 36 inches. Seip suggests having one section of the counter 18 inches lower than the rest to create a cooking area for pint-size chefs--one that will also be suitable for bar seating and for displaying decorative items.



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SideStix is excited to announce that it has been awarded not one, but two awards at this year's MS Society da Vinci Awards Ceremony. The Awards recognize SideStix Forearm Crutches as being a leader in innovation in adaptive mobility and transportation technology.

With the help of you, our loyal fans, we were able to bring in enough YouTube video votes to beat out seventeen competitors. This included entries from both GMC and MIT. The winner of the Leo (People's Choice) Award is based solely on fan votes, making us this year's winner by a large margin. Below is Sarah and Kerith's acceptance speech which was shown live at the award ceremonies.

If winning the Da Vinci Leo Award wasn't exciting enough, SideStix also had the honour of receiving a da Vinci Award in the Transportation and Mobility category. An impartial panel of expert judges representing the technology and disability communities selected the finalists and da Vinci Award winners in each category. Below is the video played at the ceremony of Sarah and Kerith with our video's film maker, Veronica Alice, accepting the award.

We want to thank our fans and user's most of all for the support which allowed us to take home the Leo Award. We would also like to thank the disability community for recognizing the worth of our innovations. Finally, we would like to again thank the MS Society of Michigan for holding the da Vinci Awards to recognize innovation in areas which truly improve the quality of life for people living with disability.

Keep your eyes and ears open for more news from SideStix Ventures. With your continued support we are moving closer to our goal of providing the best forearm crutches allowing our users to remain comfortable, active and healthy!



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During the month of September, legislative developments focused on providing economic opportunities to Americans through the recently proposed the American Jobs Act [H.R. 12].  Among other things, the bill promotes the expansion of broadband Internet into less accessible regions of the country.  In particular, rural Americans, including people with disabilities, may benefit from this provision if passed into law. 
Regarding regulation, various government agencies worked during the month of September to enhance technology access by people with disabilities.  The Department of Transportation is implementing new rules to make air travel more accessible for people with disabilities.  Websites and ticketing kiosks will now be mandated to be accessible to people with disabilities.  The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) continues to focus on the Next Generation 911 (NG 911) framework.  Of immediate concern are different forms of emergency communications, such as photos and video.  These may be more fully utilized.  Given that Americans with disabilities frequently rely on alternate means of communication, the FCC's attention to this issue is particularly notable.  Finally, there was a general move this past month to expand communications into rural areas. 
The National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) has approved funding for the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Wireless Technologies (Wireless RERC) until 2016.  Based at the Georgia Institute of Technology and Shepherd Center in Atlanta, the Wireless RERC will continue to work in areas such as NG 911, as well as conduct research into policies that promote accessible wireless technologies and services.  There will also be an expansion into accessible app development.  Thank you to all those in government, industry, and non-governmental organization (NGO) partners who supported us and continue to show support for the Wireless RERC's ongoing projects.  


John Morris, Ph.D.

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Coat of arms of Barbados

Image via Wikipedia

Shirley Barber has published another article in the "Makeover" series at RollingRains.com

These articles are a series of suggestions for simple changes to existing tourism products that make them more appealing to travelers with disabilities and that signal to the industry that we are a viable market. 
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Advocate Sees Greater Purpose 
For Internet Communities and Games in Caregiving

 By  Ginny Grimsley:       Ginny@newsandexperts.com

Being a caregiver is the toughest job that no one ever talks about.

According to the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP, more than 65 million Americans are caregivers to family members with a vast array of illnesses, including Alzheimer's disease, advanced diabetes, Parkinson's disease and many others. 

According to government statistics, they experience a higher risk of stroke, double the rate of chronic health conditions and enjoy a 40 to 70 percent increase in the rate of suffering from depression. In addition, they cost businesses in the country more than $33 billion in lost productivity according to an AARP study, which makes job security an additional source of stress.

"What's more is that caregivers never give themselves a break," said Sharon Brothers, a social worker with nearly two decades experience with caregivers and their families. "Most caregivers are adding this role on top of their work, their children, marriage and other commitments. Just finding time for a break can seem impossible, given the increased demands on an already busy life."

Brothers is also executive vice president of Caregiver Village (
www.caregivervillage.com), an omnibus Internet community and resource hub for caregivers that includes expert forum hosts and even an online caregiver game. Her view is caregivers need real tools with a side order of recreation to relieve their stresses.

"Caregivers really value contact with other caregivers who share their experiences and challenges," Brothers said. "Despite the large numbers of people affected, you'd be amazed how alone they often feel. And the truth is that no matter the situation that made them a caregiver, many of the challenges they face are the same. They have more in common with each other than just about any other group of Americans."

The lack of recreation is also a factor, which is why Brothers and the Caregiver Village team created an interactive online game for caregivers to help them enjoy a little guilt-free entertainment.

"Computer games are being used productively in a wide array of critical pursuits," Brothers said. "Just recently it was announced that a group of gamers used a puzzle game they created to help AIDS researchers map a key enzyme that could be used as a protease inhibitor for AIDS patients. Researchers had worked for 10 years to unlock the code that gamers deciphered in three weeks. If they can use games to save lives, we figured we could use a game that is based on the mission of caregiving to offer people a little relief from their daily grind. We've divided the game into episodes that can be played in a short amount of time and we've embedded information that can help caregivers in their mission. That way, they don't have to feel guilty about playing it - they're actually learning from it. At the end of the day, we believe some of these elements can help bring a little stress relief to people whose days never truly end."

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