May 2012 Archives

La Vicepresidencia de la República del Ecuador y el Banco Mundial organizan el primer encuentro continental por la inclusión de las personas con discapacidad "América Solidaria", que se llevará a cabo en Quito, los días 11 y 12 de junio de 2012, en la Capilla del Hombre. 
34 países del continente americano asistirán al evento, donde especialistas y líderes en la promoción de los derechos de las personas con discapacidad de Brasil, Chile, Ecuador, España y Estados Unidos disertarán sobre mejores prácticas y políticas públicas en esta materia. 
El objetivo de este evento es lograr establecer una política común a nivel continental sobre discapacidad, con el fin de promover la inclusión y la inserción de este grupo de atención prioritaria. Asimismo, se busca impulsar la ratificación de la Convención de los Derechos de las Personas con Discapacidad de Naciones Unidas.

La Misión Solidaria Manuela Espejo servirá como uno de los programas referentes  para emprender acciones concretas en este campo.


Declaración de Quito por una América Sin Barreras

En Quito, los Vicepresidentes de Argentina, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Perú y Venezuela, y los representantes de las Repúblicas de Bolivia, Brasil, Chile, Cuba y Panamá se han reunido los días 9,10 y 11 de diciembre de 2010, con ocasión de la I Cumbre de Vicepresidentes "América sin Barreras, por la Democracia y la Solidaridad".

Los Vicepresidentes y Representantes oficiales de los países se hacen eco de la Declaración de Mar del Plata, del 4 de diciembre de 2010, que condena cualquier intento de subvertir el Estado de Derecho y ratifican su apoyo a los sistemas democráticos que encabezan los primeros mandatarios de cada país.

Confirman la histórica trayectoria de solidaridad con los pueblos hermanos en respuesta a las diversas crisis humanitarias y desastres naturales y antrópicos ocurridos en la región, y en contexto aseguran que será política permanente de cada país.

Ratifican los principios contenidos en la Convención de las Naciones Unidas sobre los Derechos de las Personas con Discapacidad, así como en otros instrumentos internacionales en materia, en particular sobre los de la mujer, los niños y niñas, los adultos mayores y las personas con discapacidad, con énfasis en aquellas en condiciones les tornan más vulnerables.

Observan con preocupación que, no obstante los esfuerzos de la comunicad internacional, aún subsisten personas con discapacidad en situaciones de marginación que menoscaba su derecho a una inclusión plena en todos los aspectos de la sociedad.

Invitan a revalidad la Red Interuniversitaria Latinoamericana y del Caribe sobre la Discapacidad y Derechos Humanos que se conformara en la ciudad de Buenos Aires con el acompañamiento del Ministerio de Salud, Conadis y Unseco, el 25 de abril de 2009, donde se firmó la declaración de Buenos Aires.

Resaltan la importancia de los programas y acciones desarrollados por los países miembros del Organismo Andino de Salud-Convenio Hipólito Unánue (ORAS-CONHU), Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Perú y Venezuela, en su respectivos ámbitos nacionales y particularmente, la aprobación de la Política Andina en Salud que, con apoyo de Cuba y Venezuela, han sido desplegadas en países de la región como "Moto Méndez" en Bolivia, "Manuela Espejo", Ecuador, "Todos con Voz" en Nicaragua, "Live to Live" en San Vicente y las Granadinas y "José Gregorio Hernández" en Venezuela, logrando como resultado un registro y diagnóstico integral de personas con discapacidad, la adopción de políticas públicas y la implementación de programas de acción.

Afirman la importancia de formular políticas públicas inclusivas para tratar la discapacidad de forma transversal e integral, desde la perspectiva de los derechos humanos y con un abordaje intersectorial que supere el paradigma asistencialista.

Líneas de Acción

Con estos antecedentes la Declaración de Quito, por una América sin Barreras, plantea las siguientes siete líneas de acción para lograr la plena integración social de las personas con discapacidad.

1Expresan el irrestricto respaldo a la gestión democrática de cada país así como la voluntad de un trabajo constante y sostenido por la consecución de las metas y objetivos que se han planteado para mejorar la calidad de vida de todos los habitantes, sin excepción, en un ambiente de paz, equiparación de condiciones a fin de igualar oportunidades y la justicia social.

2Ratifican, con determinación, que todos los seres humanos nacen iguales en dignidad y derechos y dotados de la posibilidad de contribuir constructivamente al desarrollo y bienestar de la sociedad, por lo que se debe promover la participación de todas las personas, incluidas las personas con discapacidad.

3Reafirman los valores y principios de respeto de la dignidad inherente, la autonomía individual -incluida la libertad de tomar las propias decisiones- y la independencia y la aceptación de las personas con discapacidad como parte de la diversidad y la condición humanas; la igualdad de oportunidades; la accesibilidad; la igualdad entre hombre y mujer; el respeto a la evolución de las facultades de los niños y las niñas con discapacidad y a su derecho a preservar su identidad , que constituyen el fundamente moral contra la discriminación en razón de la discapacidad.

4Ratifican su compromiso de orientar y fortalecer las políticas, programas y acciones, tanto nacionales como regionales, destinadas a la prevención, atención, rehabilitación e inclusión de las personas con discapacidad.

5Resaltan la importancia de establecer redes de cooperación Sur-Sur para desarrollar iniciativas conjuntas, teniendo en cuenta las experiencias exitosas implementadas por los países de la Región. En este contexto, los Vicepresidentes acuerdan reforzar la coordinación e impulso de políticas de atención prioritaria dirigidas a personas con discapacidad, con miras a la consolidación de una "América solidaria y sin barreras".

6Coinciden en la importancia de fortalecer y mejorar la cooperación internacional, con el fin de llevar adelante las medidas necesarias para promover la oferta de satisfacer la demanda de cooperación técnica, servicios de poyo, tecnologías de la información y ayudas técnicas, y cubrir la brecha actual que existe entre ambas en la región.

7Consideran prioritario que la población de los países participantes cuenten con información y acciones oportunas y eficaces para la construcción de una América sin Barreras para las personas con discapacidad, mediante el fortalecimiento de la capacidad de respuesta de los países; en prevención, atención en salud, habilitación/rehabilitación e inclusión de las personas con discapacidad.

Fuente:

http://www.americasolidaria.net/index.php/2012-06-02-15-53-02/declaracion-de-quito-por-una-america-sin-barreras

Travel and tourism (T&T) is an increasingly important driver of economic prosperity and social progress. It is estimated that the T&T sector accounts for about 9 percent of GDP and employment worldwide. For ASEAN, the sector has long been considered as critical for the creation of the ASEAN Economic Community. The potential of T&T in the region is indeed enormous. The region is blessed with a wealth of natural and cultural heritage. It possesses a long tradition of tourism, and is strategically located at the heart of Asia. The extraordinary diversity of ASEAN countries further enhances their attractiveness. Yet, despite the many benefits of T&T, numerous obstacles continue to hinder its development. Using a unique methodological framework, The ASEAN Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report 2012 identifies the obstacles to address and the strengths to leverage for ASEAN to unleash the potential of T&T.


Full report as PDF:
http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_TTCR_ASEAN_Report_2012.pdf

Autistic Globetrotting on CBS

See the news coverage of Autistic Globetrotting here:

Access training from ETCAATS

Access training from etcaats
View more presentations from Scott Rains

ColorADD

ColorADD explicado en Espanol.


   


 ColorADD por Miguel Neiva em TEDx


 

Universal Design

Excerpt:


The contemporary model of disability explicitly recognizes that both the social and physical environment are factors in the disablement process (see, for example, World Health Organization 2001; Brandt and Pope 1997) and that the process is not a direct causal relationship but, rather, highly probabilistic, i.e. impairment may have different impacts depending on the person, the environment and the resources available. This model recognizes that the social and physical environment is an enabling context that has a great impact on the experience of disability and the process of rehabilitation. It also recognizes that the process of disablement is actually universal and highly variable. Environment, as in the case of any child who has no way of reaching a school, can create limitations on activity and participation, even without the presence of impairment. Furthermore, the impact on two people with the same impairment can be very different, depending on personal factors. For example, a family who can afford private transportation could bring their child to school if there was no accessible public transit, while a family without those means cannot.

Accessible design can be defined as design that does not discriminate against people with disabilities. Universal design, in contrast, is generally defined using the "Mace" definition, originating in the United States, 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" (Mace 1985, Mullick & Steinfeld 1997, Ostroff 2001).

Full article: http://cirrie.buffalo.edu/encyclopedia/en/article/107/

 

On March 30, 2007 Ecuador joined the United Nations Convention (CRPD) for the purpose of promoting and strengthening the protection of the rights of persons with disabilities.

On consistency of the international instruments adopted by the country, the May 23, 2007, rose to state policy attention and prevention of disability, delegating implementation to the vice presidency, through the program "Ecuador without Barriers .

Ecuador adopted in 2008, the new Constitution, which mentions in 21 articles and a transitional provision to defend the rights of persons with disabilities and the state's responsibility in its implementation.

With this legal framework in June 2001 the Vice President of the Republic signed an interagency cooperation agreement with almost all state institutions to engage both the execution of the joint mission Manuela mirror and then Joaquin Gallegos Lara Program.

The Manuela Espejo Solidarity Mission is a bio psycho social study for clinical genetic study and record georeferencialmente all people with disabilities nationwide. For his part, Joaquin Gallegos Lara program comes after the Manuela Espejo Mission found the most critical cases of people with severe physical or intellectual disability living in an environment of poverty, being often leaves on long shoots.

The Solidarity Mission is a cross-mirror Manuela unprecedented in the history of Ecuador, which at first was a scientific study - a physician to determine the causes of disabilities and meet the bio psycho social reality of this population from the biological point of view , psychological, social, clinical and genetic, in order to delineate actual government policies, which cover multiple areas like health, education and social welfare.

This research arises from the lack of serious statistics that allow the public to make decisions or plan programs to prevent or respond effectively to people with disabilities.

For the first time in the history of the country, hundreds of physicians, geneticists, psychologists and specialists in Health, accompanied by military and community guides traveled to the most remote and hidden from the different provinces of Ecuador, in order to register and pay medical care to a population that has been marginalized for many years.

DIAGNOSIS

The Mission was born thanks to the agreement signed between the Republics of Ecuador and Cuba, where 229 Cuban medical specialists and 120 Ecuadorian met the first phase of diagnosis in the medical-scientific research of the causes of disabilities, giving a complete diagnosis in areas in the country have had barely begun, and clinical genetics.

Daily quartets Manuela Espejo Solidarity Mission, composed of specialists in health, community guide, driver and a soldier held intense hikes, transported on horseback or in canoes, to find people with disabilities even in remote areas.

From July 2009 to November 2011, the brigades of the Manuela Espejo Solidarity Mission visited 331 1'286 households in 24 provinces and 221 cantons of Ecuador, studying and locating 294,611 people with disabilities, who are dealt with comprehensively in the context of the response phase.

As part of the study of Manuela Espejo Solidarity Mission conducted 825,576 medical care to people with disabilities or family members. 21,062 inquiries were made also of geneticists and other specialists 35,257 queries, 26,327 cases were critics who were treated by urgent and timely public health network.These data show a prevalence of 2.43% of people with disabilities nationwide.

ACTIONS TO UNDERTAKE THE MINISTRIES THAT INVOLVED IN THE PHASE RESPONSE

On November 15, 2009, 14 ministries and institutions signed an agreement with the vice-presidency in order to coordinate actions and programs to help people with disabilities identified by the Solidarity Mission "Manuela Mirror" in the context of the response phase.

The Ministry of Social Development Coordinator propitiate public policies that allow the creation of a National Disability Prevention, to change the reality of this population lives exclusion.

The Ministry of Economic and Social Inclusion is committed to implementing programs to protect and promote the development of people with disabilities.

The Secretary of Peoples, Social Movements and Citizen Participation seek to strengthen social programs supported by community partners.

SENPLADES falling within the state development plan the activities planned by the various institutions in the second phase of the Mission Manuela Espejo.

The Economy Ministry will direct the resources of priority in order to comply with the planning of the various institutions.

The Ministry of Defence logistics support tasks as well as storage, transportation and distribution of aid needed by people with disabilities.

The Civil Registry will develop a plan for issuing identity cards for people with disabilities, either in operation or collective household visits.

The CONADIS register all people with disabilities identified in the Mission Manuela Espejo, information that will help the medical classification of disability by the Ministry of Health.

The Ministry of Health will monitor cases of people with disabilities, providing medical care in all units under management, prioritizing critical cases.

The Ministry of Housing will build and repair homes of people with disabilities identified by the Mission, in critical condition. It will facilitate the delivery of housing bonds included in the planning and architectural accessibility criteria.

The Ministry of Labour Relations is committed to developing strategies for self-sustainability, employment centers, training programs and labor inclusion for persons identified by the Mission Manuela Espejo.

The Ministry of Education will promote the education of persons with disabilities identified in the Mission Manuela Espejo and training.

The Ministry of Industry is committed to supporting microenterprise development and creation of productive enterprises for people with disabilities and their families.

Post support the activities of Ecuador operatic delivery and distribution of aids required, and allows the use of their channels to facilitate the distribution of information material.

The World Summit on Destinations for All will be held in Montréal 19 to 22 October 2014. addressing the themes of Tourism, Culture and Transportation for People with Restricted Physical Ability.

The number of international tourist arrivals is expected to climb to one billion in 2012.  Persons with physical limitations account for roughly 15% of the population  and this number should continue to rise given the aging

Thumbnail image for destinations-for-all-2014.jpg

 demographic. Like everyone else, people with disabilities travel for business and pleasure, to visit friends and relatives, and to discover other ways of life, just with slightly greater difficulty.

How do we accommodate tourists with disabilities? Are our infrastructures, buildings and establishments adapted to be easily accessible to all? Can we safely aspire to reach international accessibility standards and benchmarks? Do "accessible" rooms in Montréal and elsewhere around the globe live up to the world traveller's expectations? How can a disabled person be sure his or her chosen destination is truly accessible? Is our front-line staff properly trained to host these guests and provide appropriate services? Which best practices from the tourism, culture and transportation industries should be considered model practices? What measures should these industries take to substantially facilitate the participation of individuals with disabilities in cultural and tourist activities?

Those are just some of the questions that will be discussed at the DESTINATIONS FOR ALL World Summit that is set to take place in Montréal from October 19 to 22, 2014.

The Summit's sub-heading expresses the actual scope of the topic at hand:


TOURISM, CULTURE AND TRANSPORTATION: A COMMON STRATEGY AT THE INTERNATIONAL LEVEL

In fact, the major sector-based organizations from the tourism, culture and transportation industries will be invited to unveil at least two changes they undertake to make to significantly improve travel and tourism conditions for persons with disabilities.

This World Summit should also prompt partners to join in an effort to make accessibility benchmarks and standards uniform across tourist establishments, attractions and transportation services.

Press Release --


If you're tired of long airport lines, excessive baggage charges and ever-changing TSA regulations, then pick up a copy of 22 Accessible Road Trips; Driving Vacations for Wheelers and Slow Walkers($21.95, Demos Health, June 2012) and prepare to hit the road. Penned by accessible travel expert Candy Harrington, this new travel guide highlights driving routes throughout the Continental US, and includes detailed access information for wheelchair-users and slow walkers.
 
Each chapter features a themed driving route that can be completed in 2-3 weeks. Unlike other road trip books, 22 Accessible Road Tripsalso includes information about accessible lodging, sights, trails, and attractions. From a towing service that can transport wheelchair-users, to a wheelchair-accessible cabin in the Smokies, and even a historic canal boat that features roll-on access, there's no shortage of helpful resources in this guide .
 
Filled with off-the-beaten path finds, unique roadside attractions and rural driving routes, each chapter also includes:
  • A map illustrating the route.
  • Unique restaurants along the way -- not necessarily fine dining, but definitely memorable.
  • Information about airports and accessible van rentals in gateway cities, for folks who want to do a fly-drive trip.
  • Ideas to customize the route -- to make it longer, combine two routes together or even do day trips from gateway cities.
 
The book also includes information on seasonal road closures, the optimal time to drive each route and special events and festivals along the way. "Timing is essential in many cases," emphasizes Harrington. "For example there are only two times a year you can swim in FDR's healing Warm Springs pools; if that's your desire, plan accordingly.
 
This inclusive travel guide differs from Harrington's previous titles, in that it's notexclusively for wheelchair-users and slow walkers. Says Harrington, "This book is for everybody - able-bodied travelers, stroller-pushing parents, and people who just love road trips, as well as folks with mobility issues."
 
Known as the guru of accessible travel, Candy Harrington has covered this niche topic exclusively for the past 15 years. She's the founding editor of Emerging Horizons and the author of several accessible travel titles, including the classic, Barrier-Free Travel: A Nuts and Bolts Guide for Wheelers and Slow Walkers. She also blogs regularly about accessible travel issues at www.BarrierFreeTravels.com.
 
22 Accessible Road Trips; Driving Vacations for Wheelers and Slow Walkers($21.95, 318 pages, paperback, ISBN: 978-1-9363-0326-7) is available at your favorite bookstore, by calling (800) 532-8663 or atwww.22AccessibleRoadTrips.com.

  Engaging in the process of Universal Design helps identify barriers to inclusion and understand the nature of the challenges to be overcome. If we want to understand why an idea so practical and powerful as Universal Design is not universally applied we need to look at the purpose served its opposite - design for exclusion.

Physical exclusion by design is what society does to criminals through prisons and for those who are ill through hospitals. Historically architects borrowed from prisons and hospitals to design special institutions to house people with disabilities. In all cases someone is being protected and someone isolated even when they are the same person "isolated for their own protection."

 

Western civilizations have historically used charitable institutions to care for people with disabilities. However, when people with disabilities are confined to institutions, they are rarely found in public spaces or living in residential neighborhoods; thus, it appears that it is unnecessary to provide accessibility to the community outside the institutions. Not only is the inmates' spoiled identity reinforced by the message that they cannot take care of themselves or participate productively in society, but the lack of accessible environments in the outside community also reinforces the belief.

 

~ From Chapter1: Barriers and the Social Meaning in Universal Design: Creating Inclusive Environments p. 17

 

The error perpetuates itself because those who are stigmatized are not imagined as users, citizens, neighbors, or customers.

 

So, what is a "spoiled identity?" Sociologists use the word "stigma" to mean the same thing.

 

por  Helena Quintana Minchin.jpg

Erving Goffman, one of the most influential sociologists of the twentieth century, defined stigma as:

 

The phenomenon whereby an individual with an attribute is deeply discredited by his/her society [and] is rejected as a result of the attribute. Stigma is a process by which the reaction of others spoils normal identity. (Goffman, 1963).

 

Gerhard Falk, author of more than fifty scholarly works, wrote in Stigma: How We Treat Outsiders:

 

All societies will always stigmatize some conditions and some behaviors because doing so provides for group solidarity by delineating "outsiders" from "insiders" (Falk, 2001).

The book, Unraveling the Contexts of Stigma, by Campbell and Deacon summarize Goffman's ideas of sigma as universally including persons with these characteristics:

Soccer.jpg

§                    Overt or External Deformities

§                    Deviations in Personal Behavior such as mental illness

§                    Tribal stigma such as race


Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_stigma


They go on to suggest three main ways to challenge stigma:

 

  1. Educate individuals about non-stigmatising activity
  2. Legislate against discrimination.
  3. Mobilize community members in anti-stigma efforts

 

Each way suggests a primary actor:

 

1.       Non-stigmatized individuals can be educated

2.       Government can legislate

3.       Stigmatized and non-stigmatized individuals can join in solidarity

Today we are suggesting a fourth actor: Business. Produce products that enable greater interaction between abled and disabled people. Let non-stigmatizing products redefine societal and cultural attitudes toward PwDs. Find the need in the market and sustain yourself through profit with PwD participating fully in the economy.

 

  Engaging in the process of Universal Design helps identify barriers to inclusion and understand the nature of the challenges to be overcome. If we want to understand why an idea so practical and powerful as Universal Design is not universally applied we need to look at the purpose served its opposite - design for exclusion.

Physical exclusion by design is what society does to criminals through prisons and for those who are ill through hospitals. Historically architects borrowed from prisons and hospitals to design special institutions to house people with disabilities. In all cases someone is being protected and someone isolated even when they are the same person "isolated for their own protection."

 

Western civilizations have historically used charitable institutions to care for people with disabilities. However, when people with disabilities are confined to institutions, they are rarely found in public spaces or living in residential neighborhoods; thus, it appears that it is unnecessary to provide accessibility to the community outside the institutions. Not only is the inmates' spoiled identity reinforced by the message that they cannot take care of themselves or participate productively in society, but the lack of accessible environments in the outside community also reinforces the belief.

 

~ From Chapter1: Barriers and the Social Meaning in Universal Design: Creating Inclusive Environments p. 17

 

The error perpetuates itself because those who are stigmatized are not imagined as users, citizens, neighbors, or customers.

 

So, what is a "spoiled identity?" Sociologists use the word "stigma" to mean the same thing.

 

por  Helena Quintana Minchin.jpg

Erving Goffman, one of the most influential sociologists of the twentieth century, defined stigma as:

 

The phenomenon whereby an individual with an attribute is deeply discredited by his/her society [and] is rejected as a result of the attribute. Stigma is a process by which the reaction of others spoils normal identity. (Goffman, 1963).

 

Gerhard Falk, author of more than fifty scholarly works, wrote in Stigma: How We Treat Outsiders:

 

All societies will always stigmatize some conditions and some behaviors because doing so provides for group solidarity by delineating "outsiders" from "insiders" (Falk, 2001).

The book, Unraveling the Contexts of Stigma, by Campbell and Deacon summarize Goffman's ideas of sigma as universally including persons with these characteristics:

Soccer.jpg

§                    Overt or External Deformities

§                    Deviations in Personal Behavior such as mental illness

§                    Tribal stigma such as race


Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_stigma


They go on to suggest three main ways to challenge stigma:

 

  1. Educate individuals about non-stigmatising activity
  2. Legislate against discrimination.
  3. Mobilize community members in anti-stigma efforts

 

Each way suggests a primary actor:

 

1.       Non-stigmatized individuals can be educated

2.       Government can legislate

3.       Stigmatized and non-stigmatized individuals can join in solidarity

Today we are suggesting a fourth actor: Business. Produce products that enable greater interaction between abled and disabled people. Let non-stigmatizing products redefine societal and cultural attitudes toward PwDs. Find the need in the market and sustain yourself through profit with PwD participating fully in the economy.

 

Pre-Presentation: REATECH 2012

Human beings change things in ways no other animal does. We see patterns around us and we recognize them. We invent patterns and we impose them.

The process by which we intentionally change things is design. Design requires a little bit of engineering, a little bit of art, and a lot of imagination.

At moments designing is intensely solitary. At other moments it can hardly be distinguished
from play. Engineering is about making something but with special emphasis on the 
properties and relationships comprising that thing. That "thing" is most often valued for its
Jumping for Joy.jpg
 usefulness. Art is about communicating. It's "usefulness" may simply be that it evokes a human response. Design engages in a process of mediating between what is practical and what is evocative to make real a pattern that has been imagined. Art can be designed. Technology can be designed. It is the special job of the designer to ask, "For whom?"

Society has traditionally designated one group of people to sit on its edges and observe. They observe with little ability to effect change. They observe with little ability to participate in society. However, they have found their power, spoken up, and so transformed the process by which we intentionally change things. They have changed design

This group is the community of people with disabilities. Their tool for changing how we make change is Universal Design or, to expose its secret even more clearly with its other names "Design for All," "Lifespan Design," or "Inclusive Design."

I want us to think about how the creation of a place, a product, or even a policy might use the following seven guidelines of Universal Design. They address:

Body fit 
Comfort 
Awareness 
Understanding 
Wellness  
Social integration 
Personalization 

These guidelines make most sense when we keep in mind the definition Universal Design:

Universal Design is a framework for the design of places, things, information, communication and policy to be usable by the widest range of people operating in the widest range of situations without special or separate design. Most simply, Universal Design is human-centered design of everything with everyone in mind.

Universal Design imagines people with disability - the powerless but all-seeing observer that previous philosophies of design excluded - literally "by design" even if on;y through ignorance.

Here is an example of one extremely successful company that is built 100% around the concept of Universal Design. It is called Smart Design. They sell their products under the brand OXO:

 (Time 2:05 minutes)

Let's look again at the guidelines given above. Specifically the are the Seven Goals of Universal Design by Edward Steinfeld:

1. The design is accommodating of a wide a range of body sizes and abilities - That's Body fit 
2. The design keeps demands within desirable limits of body function and perception - That's Comfort
3. The design ensures that critical information for use is easily perceived - That's Awareness
4. The design makes methods of operation and use intuitive, clear and unambiguous - That's Understanding
5. The design contributes to health promotion, avoidance of disease and  protection from hazards - That's Wellness
6. The design treats all groups with dignity and respect - That's Social integration
7. The design incorporates opportunities for choice and the expression of individual preferences - That's Personalization

But the core secret hidden in Universal Design:"design for the extremes of human diversity." Not surprising that this would be the historic contribution of the disability community through UD inventor and quadriplegic, Ron Mace.

(Time 2:29)

It was an architect who was also quadriplegic that championed Universal Design, Ron Mace. Because his idea became popular during a time of worldwide protests by people with mobility impairments insisting on removal of architectural barriers Universal Design get associated with concrete design solutions - ramps, curb cut, lever door handles. Universal Design is never product, a predetermined building style, or a checklist of regulations. 

"Universal design is a search for design strategies that bring benefits for all." It is an accident of history that people with disabilities invented and spread insistence that design create for all, even marginalized, people. "Universal Design, at its most elemental level, seeks to make our built environment, products, and systems as enabling as possible; in other words, it seeks both to avoid creating barriers in the first place and, through intelligent use of resources, to provide as much facilitation as possible to reach human goals."

ANSA McAL (Barbados) Limited is embarking on a Fully Accessible Barbados (FAB) programme in association with the Barbados Council for the Disabled. 

Mrs. Roglyn Hinds, Group HR Manager recently announced this after a joint meeting with the Council. She said, "We are delighted to partner with the Barbados Council for the Disabled in line with our goal of ensuring accessibility and inclusivity for all of our stakeholders. Fully Accessibility Barbados (FAB) is a programme of evaluation and recognition that seeks to accredit properties for their level of accessibility to a variety of persons with and without disabilities; not only the structure but also in terms of the general treatment of patrons with challenges. The FAB standards and criteria are based on international accessibility requirements." 

Mr. Nicholas Mouttet, Group CEO also noted, "All of our physical locations will be assessed in line with international standards of access and accommodations made in line with recommendations. ANSA McAL (Barbados) Ltd. is the first commercial entity within the private sector to embark on the FAB accreditation programme."

Roseanna Tudor, Operations Manager of the Barbados Council for the Disabled noted, "by embarking on this journey, ANSA McAL through its subsidiary companies is making a contribution to our wider goal of focusing on universal design to create an inclusive society. This also raises the standard of service delivery by incorporating a 'universal design'. This is an approach to the development and improvement of products, services and the environment so that they are usable by as many people as possible regardless of age, ability or situation".


Source:

Disability Inclusive Research Collaboration Conference (DIRCC), Research Rights: Disability Inclusion Change, 13-14 June at the University of Sydney. The conference is being organised by a group which includes organisations of and for people with disability, and universities and their research centres.

A series of workshops will be run across the two days where participants will hear how people with disability have been actively engaged in planning, doing research and disseminating findings. All workshops will be interactive and aimed at participants learning about specific research strategies that have proved to be inclusive.

Workshop presenters will:

  1. Overview the projects that they have been involved with either as people with disability or as co-researchers with people with disability.
  2. Facilitate a series of activities where participants will learn how to make research more inclusive and accessible for and with people with disability.

Keynote Speakers

Professor Christine Bigby, is Leader of the Living with Disability Research Group, at La Trobe University. Christine has an established national and international reputation for her research on ageing with a lifelong disability and the social inclusion of adults with intellectual disability. The focus of her work is policy issues, program effectiveness and the quality of front line practice to support engagement and inclusion.

Dr. Sally French is an Associate Lecturer at the Open University, UK where she teaches health, social care and social science courses. Her current research interests include the history of disability and the experiences of disabled people in health and social care. Much of her work in the area of Disability Studies has its roots in her earlier work as a care assistant and a physiotherapist and her experiences as a disabled person.

Dr. Edurne Garcia Iriarte is Director of the M.Sc. in Disability Studies at the School of Social Work and Social Policy, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland. Edurne has worked at both the University of Illinois at Chicago and the National Institute for Intellectual Disability, Trinity College Dublin where she has supported people with disability to join research teams as co-researchers.

The following is an excerpt from a 2010 article of the  Global Universal Design Commission, Inc. (GUDC):

Universal design increases usability, safety, health and social participation through the design and operation of environments, products and systems in response to the diversity of people and abilities. It is a way of thinking that can be applied in any design activity, business practice, program or service involving interaction of people with the physical, social or virtual worlds.

The Principles of Universal Design have been used to define the concept of universal design worldwide. From these Principles, a set of Universal Design Goals can be identified to provide clear and measurable outcomes that apply accross all design scales. The first four are related to support for activities. The fifth is focused on health and environmental quality issues and the last three are related to support for social participation:

  • Body fit - accommodating a wide a range of body sizes and abilities
  • Comfort - keeping demands within desirable limits of body function and perception
  • Awareness - ensuring that critical information for use is easily perceived
  • Understanding - making methods of operation and use intuitive, clear and unambiguous
  • Wellness - contributing to health promotion, avoidance of disease and  protection from hazards
  • Social integration - treating all groups with dignity and respect
  • Personalization - incorporating opportunities for choice and the expression of individual preferences
  • Appropriateness - respecting and reinforcing cultural values and the social and environmental context of any design project.
Full article:

An Italian patriot mght tell you  that if you trace most good ideas to their roots some brilliant Italian has probably already written about it.

Vitruvian Chart.GIF

Vitruvius wrote about architecture. Michelangelo drew the Vitruvian Man as a summary so he didn't have to carry around all those heavy books. Ron Mace invented Universal Design to remind Vitruvius and Michelangelo that some of us read books while sitting down. In fact, that American architect Ron Mace noted, some of us read the world from that position. Ron too was a tetraplegic.

Vitruvian cadeirante.jpg

When you realize that someone accessible to you is the source of something valuable, like good insights, it becomes natural to direct your time and attention to them with new passion. Simple observation becomes an active inquiry - an appreciative active inquiry. The other person is respected as valuable specifically because they are different. As they hold a sustained, but different, gaze on the world they scan the world for ways that they do or do not fit into it. Sharing a future with that person engages you in their struggle to eliminate the barriers that sometimes only they can see.

Anteka.jpg

Universal Design looks at the world and imagines it beyond the barriers it has constructed. It can do that because Universal Design has first imagined people who are different moving into the world from the margins to inhabit it with full access to participation. 

Universal Design is a framework for the design of places, things, information, communication and policy to be usable by the widest range of people operating in the widest range of situations without special or separate design.


Universal Design is the sustained gaze from  from the outside asking what it would take to be on the inside. Looking - and living - from the margins, Universal Design sees how resources are arranged to serve systems of power - systems that exclude by design.

Universal Design arose when Ron Mace, and others intimately familiar with the experience of disability, arrived at a consensus on how to use some very specific skills. In 1997 these skilled professionals gathered in North Carolina for a "Vitruvian Moment" to capture what are now known as the Seven Principles of Universal Design. Around the world these principles interacted with local knowledge generating alternative names such as design-for-all and inclusive design. The impulse there was to emphasize the dialogic and iterative nature of Universal Design to counterbalance a heuristic "comply-with-a-checklist-of-features" mentality that "excluded the excluded" from the very design process for their inclusion!

The dialogue reflecting on the practice of Universal Design has recently begun to converge on a new consensus emphasizing enculturation (Universal Design - India) and reasserting process (the Seven Goals of Universal Design.)

Can we achieve a new "Michelangelo Moment" where we new appreciation of difference can be captured in a brief and graphic way?

Dance Troop with Wheels.jpg



Universal Design and the ICF

Universal Design and the ICF




'Get It Together' by Rick Miner

A note from Rick Miner: 'Get It Together' was Produced, Directed and Edited by Rick Miner. This real life documentary went on to win multipule national and international awards. 'Get It Together' gave Rick the priviledge in 1976 of becoming a voting member in the Motion Picture Academy of Arts & Sciences. This film is a remarkable true story of a disabled young man who became a recreational therapist in the rehab center where he recovered from an auto accident that paralized him from the waist down. Jeff Minnebraker started the era of wheel chair sports, building his own wheel chairs, teaching himself and other to play tennis, basketball and football. 'Get it Together' became Rick's showcase film launching his film & television career. Produced with personal funds, it was distributed through out the world inspiring other people. Filmed in 16mm on a very small budget, this film still inspires people to overcome their shortcomings.

Human beings. 


We are all pretty sure that we would know one when we see one, right? Maybe sitting next to you right now. There's one. Along the drive home wrapped in their car. Out on the beach
Soul-Surfers.jpg
 wrapped in nothing much at all.

We would be surprised to look in a mirror and not see a human being. In fact, the fear of such unrecognizability of our own identity is part of many horror films.

Human beings. 

Animals that make tools. Animals that radically change their environment. Animals that strive for a certain "something" beyond. You can call it perfection, success, holiness, happiness, beauty, or justice.

We make tools for ourselves to help us reach our goals. We select our goals based on what we value.

Yet, there is something of the horror film if we look in the mirror of our built environments, if we 
Thumbnail image for wheel-chair-ramp-with-no-end.jpg
examine our stock of tools, and critically examine the policies we establish. Certain human beings are not reflected or are reflected in a distorted way. Certain human beings are not valued. Undervalued they are excluded in the "normal" course of things. Our buildings, products, policies and underlying values systematically exclude similar groups across cultures. 

Sociologists talk about these traditionally marginalized groups as having a "spoiled identity." They are stigmatized.

In 2006 the authors Campbell and Deacon identified three universal and historical forms of stigma in the book Unraveling the Contexts of Stigma

    • Tribal stigma - affiliation with a specific nationality, religion, or race that is considered outside the norm.
    • Known Deviations in Personal Traits - being perceived rightly or wrongly, as weak willed, domineering or having unnatural passions, treacherous or rigid beliefs, and being dishonest
    • Overt or External Deformities - having a visible disability.

The concept Universal Design is an act of moral jiu-jitsu by one subset of the historically stigmatized with their "spoiled identities" - the community of persons with visible disabilities. 

Universal Design (also known as Inclusive Design or Design for All) is at once a radical and utter rejection of the stigma and false understanding projected upon people with disabilities. It is a powerful glance from the periphery of society toward the poverty of mainstream aversion to normal human difference and diversity. 

Universal Design is a blueprint for inclusion that exposes unwaveringly the injustice of "exclusion by design." It demands that human difference be accounted for in real concrete acts. It requires that those traditionally excluded precisely for their difference be given voice at every stage of tool, environment, and policy creation.

What is remarkable about Universal Design is that it has from the outset emphasized that it is a path to the humanization of those who are not yet disabled and, as such, wield a certain degree of privilege (until the natural processes of accident or aging strip them of their tenuous hold on privilege.) 

Contrary to the stereotype of the "angry disabled" Universal Design is an affirmation of the
Sophon-Shimjinda---moto.jpg
 value of interdependence. It is a recognition of the limits on all human beings and a pragmatic approach toward that "something beyond."

As the Institute for Human Centered Design reminds us:

Universal Design is a framework for the design of places, things, information, communication and policy to be usable by the widest range of people operating in the widest range of situations without special or separate design. Most simply, Universal Design is human-centered design of everything with everyone in mind...It is not a design style but an orientation to any design process that starts with a responsibility to the experience of the user. 

Universal Design textbook.jpg
As Edward Steinfeld and Jordana Maisel amplify in Universal Design: Creating Inclusive Environments, Universal Design is "a process that enables and empowers a diverse population by improving human performance, health and wellness and social participation."

The goal of universal design extends beyond eliminating discrimination toward people with disabilities. A universal design benefits everyone or, at least, a large majority. Moreover, to avoid stigma, it engages the aesthetic realm as well as the pragmatic because it has to appeal to everyone. Universal design is about dealing with barriers as artists or scientists would. It demands creative thinking and change in perspective...

There is a typical trajectory in architecture as societies develop more advanced perspectives on disability. The first stage is the architecture of exclusion, usually by neglect. The second is one of dependence through development of a legal framework and physical environment that eliminates discrimination and removes barriers to independence. We are now moving toward a new stage in many societies: the architecture of social participation, with the goal of equality in opportunity through universal design.

Why use a travel agent?

Tripology offers an exhaustive answer in 101 Reasons to Use A Travel Agent the first five reasons listed being:

Do I Fit.jpg

1. Convenient One-Stop Shopping

2. Consumer Advocate 

3. Expert Guidance 

4. Save Time

5. Choice

Source: http://www.tripology.com/101-reasons-to-use-a-travel-agent-a/

In Forbes Larry Olmsted suggests in Why You Need A Travel Agent, Part 1:

 .the bottom line is that they know more than you do, they are better connected than you, they have access to benefits you can't get otherwise, they can often beat any other prices available (even online, yes), and after you have planned everything, they provide a safety net during your trip that you simply won't get by booking yourself or buying insurance. 

Source: http://www.forbes.com/sites/larryolmsted/2012/01/20/why-you-need-a-travel-agent-part-1/

I want to propose a different approach. It borrows an idea from the GLBT community as interpreted by the sociologist, Erving Gofman.

Gofman wrote on the concept of stigmatization. A stigma is a way of marking an individual or 

Interdendent.jpg

group with an wanted set of characteristics that serves to isolate that group from opportunity and establish barriers to their full participation in society. Gofman assigned individuals to one of two categories - the stigmatized and normals. He then identified a subset within the normals:

    1. the stigmatized are those who bear the stigma;
    2. the normals are those who do not bear the stigma; and
    3. the wise are those among the normals who are accepted by the stigmatized as "wise" to their condition (borrowing the term from the homosexual community).

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_stigma

The entry on Social Stigma at Wikipedia goes on the elaborate:

The wise normals are not merely those who are in some sense accepting of the stigma; they are, rather, "those whose special situation has made them intimately privy to the secret life of the stigmatized individual and sympathetic with it, and who find themselves accorded a measure of acceptance, a measure of courtesy membership in the clan." That is, they are accepted by the stigmatized as "honorary members" of the stigmatized group. "Wise persons are the marginal men before whom the individual with a fault need feel no shame nor exert self-control, knowing that in spite of his failing he will be seen as an ordinary other." Goffman notes that the wise may in certain social situations also bear the stigma with respect to other normals: that is, they may also be stigmatized for being wise.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_stigma

While it is true that the wise may share in the stigma they are also much more likely to be immune to it when working as an expert and advocate on the behalf of travelers with

Amizade.jpg

 disabilities - one of the three groups universally considered to be stigmatized.

Operating like a "secret shopper" a travel agent can help limit the challenges that one tackles while traveling to those one chooses for the thrill or personal fulfillment involved instead of making the very act of travel planning an exhausting endurance test.

On a more personal level the relationship one allows a wise travel agent to have with you can facilitate the unique needs of some travelers with disabilities. These can sometimes include sensitive information such as medical, stamina, personal care, communication, or assistive equipment needs.

Unknown to some travelers, travel agents are trained to ensure a high quality of satisfaction for their clients through the practice of qualification interviews when a customer first contacts them. Companies such as RoadID have developed innovative combinations of stylish medical alert accessories that provide access to medical and emergency contact data for first responders and can be a part of that process. Agencies such as Italy's Carlo Besta National Neurological Institute are engaged in ongoing research on how best to improve collection and communication of the needs of travelers with disabilities to travel professionals.

It is also the case that a travel agent may become passionately engaged as an ally for travelers with disabilities. In fact, that is rather likely. Numerous studies show that the one significant predictor of significant attitude change toward persons with disabilities is personal contact with them.

In that case, it is helpful for a traveler with a disability too be not only an articulate self-advocate but what amounts to a mentor in the travel agent's professional development.

I suggest some attitudes for self-advocatcy in the New Mobility article reprinted below, Disability Pride and World Travel as well as in the piece, Accessibility is Not Inclusion

From Xavier Mesalles.jpg

The second element, becoming a living resource for the professional development of your travel agent requires all the skill and dedication of a consultant, teacher, and friend.  A good foundation would be to orient the travel agent to the various Models of Disability as explained by Deborah Kaplan in Definition of Disability 

Also helpful is familiarity with the concept of stigma and thinking about how to combat it.

Bruce Link and Jo Phelan[12] propose that stigma exists when four specific components converge:

1.      Individuals differentiate and label human variations.

2.      Prevailing cultural beliefs tie those labeled to adverse attributes.

3.      Labeled individuals are placed in distinguished groups that serve to establish a sense of disconnection between "us" and "them".

4.      Labeled individuals experience "status loss and discrimination" that leads to unequal circumstances.

In this model stigmatization is also contingent on "access to social, economic, and political power that allows the identification of differences, construction of stereotypes, the separation of labeled persons into distinct groups, and the full execution of disapproval, rejection, exclusion, and discrimination." Subsequently, in this model the term stigma is applied when labeling, stereotyping, disconnection, status loss, and discrimination all exist within a power situation that facilitates stigma to occur...

 Stigma, though powerful and enduring, is not inevitable, and can be challenged. There

wheelz2.jpg

 are two important aspects to challenging stigma: challenging the stigmatisation on the part of stigmatizers, and challenging the internalized stigma of the stigmatized. To challenge stigmatization, Campbell et al.[16] summarise three main approaches.

1.     There are efforts to educate individuals about the non-stigmatising facts and why they should not stigmatise.

2.     There are efforts to legislate against discrimination.

3.     There are efforts to mobilize the participation of community members in anti-stigma efforts, to maximize the likelihood that the anti-stigma messages have relevance and effectiveness, according to local contexts.

 

In the end, the very act of you getting out to travel is educational for the industry. How much more valuable as you are able to recruit allies and identify the wise among travel professionals along the way.

Jim A. Kuypers wrote on "frames" and framing analysis. He wrote:

Framing is a process whereby communicators, consciously or unconsciously, act to construct a point of view that encourages the facts of a given situation to be interpreted by others in a particular manner. Frames operate in four key ways: they define problems, diagnose causes, make moral judgments, and suggest remedies. Frames are often found within a narrative account of an issue or event, and are generally the central organizing idea." [4

Currently those framing the adoption of Universal/Inclusive Design by the travel and hospitality
Barrier Free Travels cover.jpg
 industry include such writers as Candy Harrington at Emerging Horizons, Simon Darcy at Accessible Tourism Research, Sandra Rhodda at Access Tourism NZ, Dimitrius Buhalis at Bournemouth University, members of SATH and ENAT.

The overview on frame analysis at Wikipedia lists four ways of aligning the desired frame with the consensus frame of a given group:

    • Frame bridging 
    • Fame amplification 
    • Frame extension 
    • Frame transformation

Frame bridging

 is the "linkage of two or more ideologically congruent but structurally unconnected frames regarding a particular issue or problem" (Snow et al., 1986, p. 467). It involves the linkage of a movement to "unmobilized [sic] sentiment pools or public opinion preference clusters" (p. 467) of people who share similar views or grievances but who lack an organizational base.

Frame amplification

 refers to "the clarification and invigoration of an interpretive frame that bears on a particular issue, problem, or set of events" (Snow et al., 1986, p. 469). This interpretive frame usually involves the invigorating of values or beliefs.

Frame extensions

 are a movement's effort to incorporate participants by extending the boundaries of the proposed frame to include or encompass the views, interests, or sentiments of targeted groups.

Frame transformation

 is a process required when the proposed frames "may not resonate with, and on occasion may even appear antithetical to, conventional lifestyles or rituals and extant interpretive frames" (Snow et al., 1986, p. 473).

When this happens, new values, new meanings and understandings are required in order to secure participants and support. Goffman (1974, p. 43-44) calls this "keying" where "activities, events, and biographies that are already meaningful from the standpoint of some primary framework transpose in terms of another framework" (Snow et al., 1986, p. 474) such that they are seen differently. There are two types of frame transformation:

Domain-specific transformations such as the attempt to alter the status of groups of people, and
Global interpretive frame transformation where the scope of change is quite radical as in a change of world views, total conversions of thought, or uprooting of all that is familiar (e.g. moving from communism to market capitalism; religious conversion, etc.).

Below is an example of framing the debate by another active contributor in the area of Inclusive Tourism, Bill Forrester of Travability.

Throughout the history of this campaign for social change we see an emphasis on domain-specific change for persons with disabilities such as begun by SATH evolving toward meta-constructs such approaching global interpretive frame transformation with Forrester's writings suggesting an economic model of disability.

The Age-friendly products competition invites design professionals and students to rethink domestic objects for today's senior citizens, which for the most part are in good health, are familiar with technology and have high product-quality standards. 

The competition aspires to the prospective creation of new collections of beautiful, practical and functional objects, while promoting a design culture focused on the specific needs of an increasingly important population segment. 

The deadline for submissions is 3 July 2012

AGE-FRIENDLY PRODUCTS
A call for ideas promoted by: Domus - architectural, design and art monthly published by Editoriale Domus
Under the Sponsorship ofLN-A, a foundation fighting against the lack of self-sufficiency

Framework
This competition promotes the design of a new generation of products with a high aesthetic worth and performance to meet the needs of seniors. 
The longer life expectations and changed social and economic conditions of the elderly in advanced economies have turned retirement into a second life that brings independent living and, often, fresh enterprise. 
The quality of this new life must feature products and services that embrace and sustain this new independence and enterprise with an elegant, discreet, comfortable and eco-friendly approach to the changed physical and cognitive capabilities.


Most of today's seniors are in good health, are familiar with technology and have high product-quality standards; they have a certain financial independence and want to be surrounded by good-looking, practical products. These are carefully designed and attractive, still usable when sight, movement, strength, resistance, and the senses are slightly weaker. 

Competition Aims 
This competition invites the design world -- professionals as well as university and academy students -- to design beautiful and sustainable objects to help seniors live their everyday lives in their domestic environment. 

Objects that are beautiful, intelligent and easy to use, as well as being environmentally and socially sustainable. 

The main aim of the competition is to promote a design culture focused on the specific needs of an increasingly important population segment, a design that can channel aesthetic and innovative design values into the creation of new lines of age-friendly products. 
The competition aspires to the prospective creation of new collections of beautiful, practical and functional objects promoted by leading Italian and worldwide design companies. 



This 2012 International Day of Persons with Disabilities will be observed on 3 December 2012. The theme will be "Removing barriers to create an inclusive and accessible society for all". The United Nations has invited communities to focus on aspects of society and development, including, but not limited to, removing barriers to education, employment, transportation, travel and tourism or sport, across all societal groups.

For more information, go to:
http://www.un.org/disabilities/default.asp?id=1597 

After decades of discussion the Seven Principles of Universal Design were codified in 1997. As early as the 1970's Universal Design was being proposed to the US government by the disability community as the appropriate foundation for civil rights. Promoters of Universal Design quickly honed in on physical accessibility of public buildings.

Many of the first-generation champions of UD had mobility impairments such as Ron Mace who was a quadriplegic and an architect. They observed that the practical impact of physical inaccessibility was marginalization of the disability community. In a very concrete and literal sense people with disabilities were being excluded by design.


A community found its voice in a built environment that had enforced exclusion for generations. Indeed, there was never a Golden Era of inclusive design to look back to with nostalgia. There was no treasure trove of design solutions waiting to be found and applied. The failure to imagine people with disabilities as fully equal participants was pandemic.

The first item of business was to rebuild the old while imagining the new. Accessibility, understood as independent access by persons with mobility impairments, was required. Architectural barriers removal was the order of the day. Small victories - a municipal order that all damaged sidewalks or curbs that occurred at a street corner must be replaced by a wheelchair ramp for example or all busses in a transit fleet will have wheelchair lifts.


As important as transforming the physical environment was it was only a strategic first step. Propelling the vision forward was the chant, "Nothing about us without us." Universal Design is first and foremost inclusive design where the proper expertise is recognized as residing in the user. Palpable to those who applied Universal Design as people with disabilities or their allies was a sense of pride - individual pride but always pride in a community. The philosophy of personal and community empowerment evolved hand-in-hand with a re-imagining of the built environment. 

The new inclusive environment established points of cultural stability where the life experience of those previously shunted aside could become the new normal. The Ed Roberts Campus in Berkeley and Access Living in Chicago are the flowering of this effort. The Virginia G. Piper Sports and Fitness Center for Persons with Disabilities demonstrates a further evolution - a center devoted to a self-empowered sports and fitness lifestyle.

Grand-Opening-Poster.jpg

Yes, Josh Sundquist has a few unique ways to make you laugh. In this video he illustrates the phrase, "As busy as a one-legged man in a butt-kicking contest." It's ok to laugh. Just Don't Fall.

Travelers with Disabilities


Journeys Without Barriers

From India:


Travel can be a rough proposition for the differently-abled, and Journeys Without Barriers (JWB) strives to smoothen it out. Three passionate women -- Gouthami, 

India.jpg

Shivani Gupta

and Vidhya Kalyani RamaSubban -- are behind this start-up.

When approached by individuals, groups, NGOs or interested communities for travel to a destination in India, JWB makes that specific place accessible to the differently-abled and senior citizens.

A CHANGE FOR THE BETTER

"Before we chalk out an itinerary, we visit the place, and check how accessible they are. We look at the washrooms (if they need ramps) and the ticket counters (if they must be lowered) at popular tourist spots, and work at making them accessible. The accommodation can be anything, including a homestay, guesthouse or hotel. Since Ladakh has many hotels, we decided not to build one ourselves, but to tie up with a few. When they are renovating or adding an extra room to their premises, we work with them to make it suitable for the customers. Basically, we help these people run this as a business enterprise," she says.

"Sometimes we ourselves identify groups for such travel. Projects will soon be launched in Chennai (in Kovalam) and Delhi," says Vidhya.

Read about how Realtors work with the ADA (and ADAAG) through Property Condition Reports. This article from Globe.com is by S. Ira Grossman:

Accessibility Surveys or "ADA Surveys" are used during real estate transactions and development to identify potential accessibility issues with a property, often done during due diligence in conjunction with a Property Condition Report.  Though
equalhouseop.gif
 not solely governed by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) (there are many other accessibility codes that may apply depending on the state and local codes), an ADA Survey generally looks at the same main concerns regardless of the property location.  The main items an ADA Survey covers are discussed below.  

 

Route of travel: 

An accessible route of travel shall be provided to all portions of the building and from the public way to an accessible entrance. To the extent feasible, the route should coincide with the route typically used by the general public.

Bathing and Toilet Facilities

 (Sanitary Facilities): Where bathing facilities are provided, at least one shower or bathtub, toilet and lavoratory support facilities shall be accessible. No less than 1% of all facilities shall be accessible. In multi-accommodation spaces wheel chair maneuvering fixture clearances shall be provided.

Elevators and Wheelchair Lifts: 

Elevators require sufficient maneuvering space for wheel chairs.  Passenger elevators shall be on an accessible route, located near a major path of travel.  Wheel chair lifts can only be used under very specific circumstances.

Kitchens:

 Kitchens require very specific clear spaces, counter heights and cooking heights.

Signs and Identifications:

 There are very specific requirements for signs.  The manufacturers can provide a lot of assistance for this area.  California is alone in requiring all signage plans be submitted for review.

Controls and Operating Mechanisms: 

Access to controls, dispensers, receptacles, outlets and switches.

Fitting and Dressing Rooms:

 Minimum number of dressing rooms, size, and clearances.

Space Allowance and Reach Ranges:

 Wheelchair passage width, turning space size and approach, forward and side reach.

Fixed or Built-in Seating and Counters:

 Minimum number, size, knee space, height of work surfaces, sales and service counters, teller windows and information counters.

Access to Employee Areas:

 In general, all employee areas must be accessible including individual work stations. Exceptions are security areas and areas not customarily occupied.

Floor Surfaces:

 Floors of accessible routes, rooms and spaces shall be stable, firm and slip-resistant.  Allowable level changes are defined.  Requirements for carpet and gratings on accessible routes defined.

Storage:

 Where fixed cabinets, shelves, closets or drawers are provided in areas where access is required, at least one of each type shall be accessible.

Next up, I'll discuss what can be done when a property is not in compliance with accessibility codes. 


Universal Design in Singapore

New buildings in Singapore will soon be required to go beyond creating a barrier-free environment, and be fitted with universal design features. This is aimed at making buildings more accessible and user-friendly for visitors of all ages and needs. 


 It started with ramps and barrier-free walkways for wheelchair users and the less mobile. Now, the Building and Construction Authority wants buildings to cater to the needs of all users. It is currently reviewing the accessibility code for new buildings and those undergoing major renovation works, to make it mandatory to include universal design features. This could include providing nursing rooms, family car park lots and wider corridors. 

 The review is expected to be completed by the end of this year. Many buildings now come equipped with handicapped toilets. Such toilets are retrofitted with grab bars and have enough space for a wheelchair. But it is not just what is inside that counts. Good design means that the entrance to the toilet should also be accessible, and even the location of the toilet is important. Professor Keith Bright, Emeritus Professor for Inclusive Environments at University of Reading, said: "Those are the next challenges for Singapore, not just to remove physical barriers, but...there are other factors that affect people's lives. For example, if you have to get assistance wherever you go, it might be accessible, but it removes sometimes the dignity or the independence." 

 Accessibility in buildings has improved over the years, following concerted efforts by the government to push for a barrier-free environment. Almost all public buildings now have an accessible entrance, easy-to-navigate first floor, and handicapped toilet on the first floor. And nearly nine in 10 buildings along Singapore's premier shopping belt, Orchard Road, have achieved basic accessibility. But many existing private buildings remain a challenge for the less mobile. Private buildings owners cite high costs and disruption as key obstacles. Dr John Keung, CEO of the Building and Construction Authority, said: "We are talking to the industry, talking to building owners that while these are real concerns - cost and impact on operation - we also need to look from a longer-term perspective. If you make a building more accessible, it can also widen your catch of customers." 

 To date, just S$6 million has been disbursed from the S$40 million Accessibility Fund, set up to help private building owners defray part of the cost. Another S$2.5 million worth of grants is being processed. The Accessibility Fund was started in 2007, and pays for up to 80 per cent of the cost for providing basic accessibility features to existing private buildings. The fund has now been extended till 2016, to encourage more private building owners to come onboard.

As the Baby Boomer generation has started to retire and will continue to over the next 20 years, and the number of individuals with special needs continues to increase, the accessible travel segment is taking the travel industry by storm and will only continue to grow. In fact, it is the fastest-growing segment in the travel industry. This once-considered niche market is now very much mainstream. Therefore, it is more important than ever for travel professionals to have the knowledge, skills, and communication abilities to tap into the accessible market.

Twenty% (63 million) of Americans have a disability, and approximately 10 million aged 15 and older use a walking aid such as a cane or walker. This group may include many "slow walker" individuals who don't consider themselves disabled, but who could benefit from special needs products and services.

Studies show that 24 million disabled Americans would travel or travel more frequently if their special needs were met.

Supporting the fact that the accessible travel segment is now a mainstream market:
- Each year for the next 20 years, 4 million Baby Boomers will turn 65 in the U.S. alone.
- Between 2006 and 2016 in the U.S., the age 50+ population will have grown by 22 million; the age 18-49 population will have grown by 1 million.
- Over 40 percent of Baby Boomers will be retiring with some form of disability, raising the total value of the accessible travel segment to over 25 percent of the travel market by 2020.
- In 2009, households headed by adults aged 65 and older... had 47 times as much net wealth as the typical household headed by someone under 35 years of age.
- By 2015, the Baby Boomer generation will command 60% of net U.S. wealth and 40 percent of spending.

"The accessible travel segment will continue to grow considerably over the next few decades, and it's imperative that travel professionals be prepared to accommodate travelers with special needs," said Andrew Garnett, president and CEO of Special Needs Group. "Having the knowledge of how to work with and cater to this segment will not only benefit travel professionals' businesses, but it will help them to deliver an accessible world."

Desde El Mundo:

La Confederación de Personas con Discapacidad Física y Orgánica de la Comunidad Valenciana (Cocemfe CV) ha alertado de la falta de habitaciones adaptadas en los hoteles rurales gestionados por la Diputación de Castellón Cardenal Ram de Morella y el Palau dels Ossets de Forcall.

La entidad dirigió un escrito al presidente de la Diputación, Javier Moliner, para que se garantizara el cumplimiento de la Ley 1/1998, de 5 de mayo, de la Generalitat Valenciana, sobre Accesibilidad y Supresión de Barreras Arquitectónicas, Urbanísticas y de la Comunicación (y el Código Técnico de Edificación) en ambas instalaciones.

Según indica Cocemfe, tras esta petición, la entidad provincial se ha puesto manos a la obra y ha informado sobre las gestiones que ha realizado para atender las necesidades del colectivo, y se ha asegurado que vigilarán el cumplimiento de estas demandas.

El escrito de Cocemfe CV también incluía referencias al hotel Martín El Humano, ubicado en Segorbe, que no es competencia de la Diputación, sino del Ayuntamiento de la localidad. Según la contestación de la Diputación, han dirigido también este escrito al consistorio segorbino para que puedan tomar las medidas oportunas.

Carlos Laguna, presidente de Cocemfe CV, ha mostrado su agradecimiento por la sensibilidad mostrada por el ente provincial y ha señalado la accesibilidad como uno de los aspectos prioritarios para sus asociados. "La accesibilidad es un pilar esencial para la integración del colectivo de personas con discapacidad en igualdad de condiciones; y, para fomentar el diseño universal, se requiere de la implicación de todos los agentes sociales, especialmente de las administraciones públicas". "Y la actuación de la Diputación en este tema debería ser un modelo a seguir en otras administraciones".

Asimismo, ha destacado que el ocio, la cultura y el turismo deben ser accesibles a cualquier persona, independientemente de que tenga o no limitaciones en su movilidad.

Cocemfe CV ha querido recordar la necesidad de contemplar criterios de accesibilidad en las distintas zonas de los hoteles, desde el acceso exterior -aparcamiento, entrada al edificio- y primer contacto -vestíbulo, recepción-, pasando por el resto de zonas comunes -salones, zonas de restauración, espacios de ocio- hasta llegar a las zonas privadas -habitaciones y cuartos de baño-.

Asimismo, ha puntualizado dos problemas en referencia a la accesibilidad en los hoteles. Por un lado, el hecho de que en ocasiones no haya ninguna habitación adaptada en un hotel o solamente disponga de una, con lo cual, varias personas con discapacidad o grupos no pueden alojarse en el mismo sitio.

Por otro lado, la entidad ha referido que una habitación adaptada al detalle puede dejar de ser funcional para las personas con movilidad reducida con un solo fallo, como podría ser una barra mal colocada, lo que haría inútil el esfuerzo realizado.

Monthly Archives