August 2012 Archives

The producers of In Focus with Martin Sheen are pleased to announce an upcoming report exploring how universal design concepts are being incorporated into the American home. 

Martin Sheen.jpg

In Focus with Martin Sheen is an independently produced television program airing on public television stations around the country. The show is hosted by the iconic American actor Martin Sheen. Mr. Sheen has a long history in the entertainment industry as well as a reputation for his philanthropy and work with charitable causes. In Focus Martin Sheenexplores advancements in society on the technological, medical and social fronts.

Universal design is a concept that suggests that homes and businesses should be accessible to people with a variety of disabilities. Architects and interior designers are working to create floor plans for the home that include wide doorways, entrances with ramp access and appliances and fixtures that are within reach of persons in wheelchairs. More and more homes are incorporating elements of universal design to increase access for people with a variety of mobility issues.

In Focus with Martin Sheen is planning on airing the pieces later this year. In Focus with Martin Sheen can be reached through the show's official website at or on Facebook at for more information.

Listen to Color!

Why you should listen to 

Neil Harbisson: Sonochromatic Cyborg Artist


Born with the inability to see color, Neil Harbisson wears a prosthetic device -- he calls it an "eyeborg" -- that allows him to hear the spectrum, even those colors beyond the range of human sight. His unique experience of color informs his artwork -- which, until he met cyberneticist Adam Montandon at a college lecture, was strictly black-and-white. By working with Montandon, and later with Peter Kese, Harbisson helped design a lightweight eyepiece that he wears on his forehead that transposes the light frequencies of color hues into sound frequencies.

Harbisson's artwork blurs the boundaries between sight and sound. In his Sound Portraits series, he listens to the colors of faces to create a microtonal chord. In the City Colours project, he expresses the capital cities of Europe in two colors (Monaco is azure and salmon pink; Bratislava yellow and turquoise).

"Conclusively, this project exists not in the software, or domain of so called 'virtual' reality, but in the reality of Neil's perception of the world, unveiling, quite literally, an invisible architecture of energy."
Adam Montandon

Estudo vai identificar perfil do turista com deficiência

Estudo vai identificar perfil do turista com deficiênciaAmpliar

As propostas para a realização do "Estudo de Demanda do Turista com Deficiência" podem ser apresentadas até 10 de setembro noportal da Unesco.

A iniciativa é do Ministério do Turismo (MTur) e da Secretaria de Direitos Humanos da Presidência da República (SDH) para estimular o desenvolvimento de ações conjuntas que fortaleçam o turismo acessível no Brasil.

O objetivo é levantar informações que identifiquem as características, comportamentos de consumo e necessidades desse público. O trabalho também possibilita conhecer a percepção desse segmento em relação à infraestrutura e ao atendimento nos destinos turísticos, além das barreiras para a realização de viagens.

A proposta é disseminar essas informações na cadeia produtiva do turismo e sensibilizar gestores públicos e privados para a adequação dos serviços oferecidos ao turista com deficiência.

O projeto ainda vai contribuir para a adoção de medidas em busca do cumprimento da Convenção sobre os Direitos da Pessoa com Deficiência, no que se refere à participação dessa população em atividades culturais, recreativas e esportivas.

No âmbito do MTur, são apoiadas iniciativas de acessibilidade urbana, de adaptação de atividades turísticas e disseminação de informações sobre o tema.  

Call for Proposals: Study to identify tourist profile with disabilities


A Call for Proposals to study the profile of travelers with disabilities was issued by Brazil's Ministry of Tourism and the Human Rights Secretariat of the Presidency to stimulate the development of joint activities that strengthen the inclusive tourism in Brazil. Proposals to execute a "Study of Tourist Demand of People with Disabilities" may be submitted until September 10 at the UNESCO portal.


The goal is to gather information to identify the characteristics, behaviors and needs of the consumer public. The work also enables analysis of this segment in relation to infrastructure and service at tourism destinations.


The proposal will be used to disseminate findings to the supply chain of tourism as well as to sensitize public and private managers on the adequacy of services offered to tourists with disabilities.


The project will also contribute to the adoption of measures in pursuit of the fulfillment of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, with regard to the participation of this population in cultural, recreational and sports. (Article 30)


The Tourism Ministry has various initiatives on urban accessibility, adaptation of tourist activities and dissemination of information on the topic.

Air Travel


With Paralympic athletes competing in London this week, the designers at Priestmangoode took the opportunity to rethink air travel for passengers with reduced mobility (PRM). The Air Access concept contains two elements: a wheelchair that can transport passengers onto and off the plane, and a fixed-frame aisle seat on the aircraft which can be mated to the wheelchair to create a regular airline seat.

Access to and from an airplane seat can be an awkward experience for any traveller, but when David Constantine, co-founder of international development organization Motivation, gave a talk at the Priestmangoode offices, the designers decided that something needed to change and that mobility challenges for PRM should be addressed. With over 15 years experience designing aircraft interiors, Priestmangoode is especially interested in the passenger journey--we've written about their Moving Platforms concept focused on getting people to their final destinations more seamlessly and if you've recently been in-cabin on Turkish Airlines, Lufthansa, SWISS, Kingfisher, Qatar or Malaysia Airlines you'll be familiar with their work.

Read more:

UD in Homes

While Fara Espandi hasn't really done the research to full grasp what Universal Design is her article is an indication of just how far UD is penetrating the US housing market:

"As more members of the baby boom generation, which comprises the largest segment of America's population, reach retirement age, many of them show a preference for aging in place, in their own homes rather than moving to traditional assisted living communities," said ERA Justin Realtor professional Fara Espandi. "This trend has created more interest in the designing and retrofitting of homes for maximum ease of use. Heightened awareness of the needs of disabled people of all ages, and increased legislative attention to their rights, including the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), has also helped drive a trend which can benefit all homebuyers."

What has come to be called 'Universal Design' is a set of standards for making every house a welcoming home for inhabitants of all ability levels. 


VisitEngland Guide

VisitEngland, the official travel promotional agency for England, has released a new online guide for travellers with reduced mobility, to coincide with the commencement of the 2012 London Paralympic Games.

As well as offering a warm welcome to the participants in, and visitors to, the Paralympic Games, the new 'Winning More Visitors' online guide is designed to provide access information for visitors to the country that have reduced mobility.

Previously, a survey conducted by the agency reported that around 83 percent of people with reduced mobility had searched for access information online to plan a trip to their favoured destinations, and around 3 percent of them finally managed to locate the information they required.

The research also reported that around 74 percent of people with access needs are likely to prefer visiting a destination that offers the best assistance.

Ross Calladine, the agency's skills, welcome and accessibility manager, said, 'Visitors who have a health condition or impairment - and their travelling companions - spend over GBP2bn each year in England, and our research shows that many of those visitors will choose where to spend that money based on the access information available on destination websites. We have produced Winning More Visitors to help destinations improve their welcome and attract even more of these loyal and valuable visitors.'

The online guide contains travel-planning tools, with details of available transportation, parking space with access options, information on geography from an accessibility point of view, a list of accessible tourism venues including accommodation and attractions, and other relevant information.


UD Keeps Moving Mainstream

From the sAge Companion:

The "Lucky Few" (1929-1945) & "Baby Boomers" (1946-1964) Plan Ahead for Stunning and Functional Homes

The idea of creating a comfortable home is not a new one. As we age it certainly makes sense- as it does throughout a lifetime. And it is possible seamlessly to incorporate accessibility features into our homes- with just a bit of thoughtful planning-so important when you desire the results to be both stunning and functional, and to work for every stage of life. Aging-in-place is a much touted choice these days, and universal design elements incorporated into living spaces support that choice. 

In this article, you will find descriptions of the Energy Efficient Universal Design Elements you may desire consider of you choose to age-in-place (as we call it, Age-in-PALACE© -to stay in your own home. These elements, in addition to being beautiful, and functional also can provide cost savings.


From Appliance magazine:

The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) is accepting entries for the International CES Innovations 2013 Design and Engineering Awards through Sept. 14, 2012. Awards will be accepted for Home Appliances and in 28 other product categories.
The 2013 Best of Innovations Honorees will be announced Nov. 12, 2012 at the association's New York Press Preview and will be showcased at the 2013 International CES.
Two new product categories in 2013 are Tech for a Better World and Accessible and Universal Design Technologies.
Tech for a Better World recognizes technologies that share a common goal and the ability to impact the world in a positive way, either domestically, or around the globe. Accessible and Universal Design Technologies focuses on technologies that have innovative features that enable ease of use by anyone, including, but not limited to, seniors and people with disabilities, regardless of cognitive ability, hearing, mobility, visual or other impairments.
More information can be found here.


From the Kennebec Journal:

Accessibility and Universal Design

The next biggest movement in home design is implementing features that improve accessibility. Twenty-five percent of America's population of more than 300 million are Baby Boomers - people born during the post-World War II years of 1946 to 1964. The last of the Baby-Boom population will reach age 65 in the year 2029. By that time, the Baby-Boom population is projected to be only about 16 percent of the total population. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, by 2030 there will be 70 million Baby Boomers over the age of 75. The median age will increase from 35.5 in 2000 to a peak of 39.1 in 2035. As the Baby Boomers age, home design will need to adapt. 

Twenty percent of home builders expect new construction to embrace aging in place with more universal access in new homes, reports the NAHB. Both the AIA and NAHB note that age-friendly features don't have to be institutional. Simple changes like grab bars, floating vanities that allow for wheelchair access and wider doorways make a big impact on accessibility.

Open Showers

One of the biggest changes in design noted by the AIA comes in the way of showers. "Curbless" showers that are easily accessed by those with limited mobility are finding their way more and more into homes. 

Wet Bathrooms

Another trend in home showers are doorless showers or "wet bathrooms." Rather than create a separate shower unit, more homes have showers without doors that blend seamlessly into the space. 

And while many of these features are green in nature, the survey also found that people still like comfort and convenience. Radiant heated floors scored high as well as linen/storage closets.


From UN Enable:

Are you preparing for 3 December 2012? The theme of this year's commemoration is: "Removing barriers to create an inclusive and accessible society for all". Barriers can take a variety of forms, including those relating to the physical environment or to information and communications technology (ICT), or those resulting from legislation or policy, or from societal attitudes or discrimination.

 Based on this theme, sub-themes can be selected to help remove barriers in areas such as education, employment, transportation, travel and tourism or sports. 

Choose your own sub-theme, so as to address a specific issue of exclusion and accessibility in your community and let us know about it. 

From UN Enable

The Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) published a pamphlet on “Managing change: Mainstreaming disability into the development process” in both English and Arabic. 

The pamphlet reviews the situation of persons with disabilities and the measures and policies being undertaken by Governments in the ESCWA region to address their proper inclusion in economic, social, and cultural life. It outlines challenges and urgent needs as well as positive initiatives. The paper also outlines global and regional frameworks on disability, and addresses the quality of available data and the national policy approaches (welfare-based versus rights-based). The pamphlet concludes with focusing on the need to strengthen the knowledge and policy frameworks in the region, and on the necessity of addressing the needs of persons with disabilities within the context of the Millennium Development Goals. More information:

Porto Alegre deve ser cidade referência no Brasil em acessibilidade entre as capitais-sede da Copa do Mundo de Futebol 2014.


A condição para tanto já existe e pode ser consolidada na Reunião dos Conselhos Municipais e Estaduais e Gestores Públicos das Cidades-sede da Copa do Mundo de 2014, diz o secretário municipal Tarcízio Teixeira Cardoso, de Acessibilidade e Inclusão Social, que representará a capital gaúcha  na programação.


O encontro acontece em São Paulo, de hoje a 18, no ambiente da ReaTech, IX Feira Internacional de Tecnologias em Reabilitação, Inclusão e Acessibilidade.


O convite da União a SEACIS inclui participação na abertura do Encontro Nacional de Órgãos Estaduais e das Capitais Brasileiras Responsáveis pelas Políticas Públicas para as Pessoas com Deficiência e na palestra sobre o Programa Nacional de Direitos Humanos III (PNDH-3) e as Pessoas com Deficiência, de Paulo Vannuchi, Ministro-Chefe da Secretaria de Direitos Humanos da Presidência da República, com a participação dos Conselhos Municipais e Estaduais e Gestores Públicos das Cidades-sede da Copa do Mundo de 2014.


Representante da primeira capital brasileira a concluir um Plano diretor de Acessibilidade, atualmente em exame na Câmara Municipal de Porto alegre, o secretário Tarcízio Cardoso participara da Apresentação nacional do Plano Diretor da Campanha da Acessibilidade, porDenise Granja, presidente do Conselho Nacional dos direitos da Pessoa com Deficiência - Conade, e José Antonio Lanchotti, conselheiro nacional da Pessoa com Deficiência.


Como um dos redatores do documento, Tarcízio Teixeira Cardoso também participará da avaliação do Plano de Ação da Década  das Américas pelos  Direitos e Dignidade das Pessoas com Deficiência 2006-2016, estudo a ser introduzido por  Izabel de Loureiro Maior, subsecretária nacional de Promoção dos Direitos da Pessoa com Deficiência da Secretaria de Direitos Humanos da Presidência da República, e moderado por Flavia Maria de Paiva Vital, coordenadora-geral de Informação e Comunicação da Subsecretária Nacional de Promoção dos Direitos da Pessoa com Deficiência da Secretaria de Direitos Humanos da Presidência da República. 


Online survey launched on promoting the empowerment of people

An online survey on promoting the empowerment of people was launched by DSPD/DESA to help promote the priority theme selected by the Commission for Social Development for 2013 and 2014.

DSPD has also piloted a new project called United Nations Social Development Network (UNSDN) to share knowledge and good practices among social development professionals worldwide on ageing, civil society, cooperatives, disability, employment, family, indigenous peoples, poverty, social integration, technology and youth. 

UNSDN is uniquely positioned to disseminate information and knowledge produced by the United Nations system in the area of social development, particularly on the three core issues of poverty eradication, employment generation and social integration. UNSDN will act as a major interface between DESA’s work in the area of social development and that of its partners involved in advancing the global social development agenda. More information:  


From UN Enable:

The fifth session of the Conference of States Parties will be held from 12 to 14 September 2012 at UN Headquarters in New York. This year’s Conference will focus on women with disabilities, children with disabilities and technology and accessibility. 

Updated information now available on the United Nations Enable website includes: 

  • Provisional agenda of the Conference
  • List of 33 side-events
  • details of roundtable sessions

Prior to the convening of the Conference, a Civil Society CRPD Forum will be organized on 11 September by the International Disability Alliance (IDA) with the support of DESA. The Forum will provide an opportunity for NGOs, DPOs (organizations of persons with disabilities) and others, to coordinate their involvement in the Conference of States Parties and in the preparatory process for the High-level meeting of the General Assembly on disability and development to be held on 23 September 2013. UNICEF will host a Global Partnership Forum on Children with Disabilities in the afternoon of 14 September. More information:  

119 ratifications of the Convention
153 signatories to the Convention
72 ratifications of its Optional Protocol
90 signatories to its Optional Protocol
Benin ratified the Convention and its Optional Protocol on 5 July 2012
Djibouti acceded to the Convention and its Optional Protocol on 18 June 2012
Ghana ratified the Convention and its Optional Protocol on 31 July 2012
Liberia ratified the Convention on 26 July 2012
Nauru acceded to the Convention on 27 June 2012

The meeting of the Washington Group (WG) will be held at UNCC in Bangkok and hosted by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP). The meeting will discuss: i) the results from further analyses of data collected from countries using the WG Short measure questions, and country experiences; ii) additional work on extended set on functioning; iii) methodological issues facing the WG including the development of questions for children, and the issue of designing questions for the measurement of environmental barriers and participation; iv) summary of the country reports, and an update on other Washington Group and collaborative activities; v) WG governance issues; vi) objectives of the 13th meeting; and vii) next steps. More information:

A critique of exclusion-through-accessibility by Bill Forrester of Travability:

We often talk about Inclusion vs Access. Here is a stark contrast. An inclusive playground environment with wheelchair swings and another example of a "special" facility complete with restricted entry sign. What sort of message does that send? The sad thing is that groups like Rotary think they are doing the right thing.

UD and Clutter

From Sarah Pruett:

I recently went to the local book fair and picked up some books on organization. The first book I'm going to read through is called Complete Home Storage (Sunset Book). As I flipped through some of the chapters, I decided it might be helpful to blog about the new things I've learned regarding ways to organize. Why?

1. I want to learn more ways to organize based on making things functional and that work with the concepts of universal design.

2. I feel like there are multiple ways to organize spaces and this book gives many examples on different ways to do so.

3. I don't have a ton of money to buy lots of storage items and containers. Through mypinterest boards and this book listed above I'd like to showcase great ideas to organize on a budget that suits different styles.

Full article:

Michael Berens, director of Research and Knowledge Resources for the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) will deliver a presentation on design for Baby Boomers, titled Welcome Home: Universal Design, Sustainable Design, and Baby Boomers.

The session will present the results of a nationwide survey to prioritize the features of home design important to prospective buyers within the baby boom generation.

The survey outcomes are to be used as the programmatic basis for studios for architectural, planning, interior, and industrial design students and professionals to design dwellings within an intergenerational neighborhood.


Universal Design: Accessibility Exhibit

On the Architecture Boston Expo:

When it comes to making spaces accessible, the devil is in the details. ABX will feature an interactive exhibit revealing these details, including two ramps, toilet rooms, and kitchenettes, meant to look identical to one another. One will be universally designed and easy to use, while the other will have common design errors (sometimes quite subtle) making it difficult or impossible to use.

ABX attendees are encouraged to navigate through the space with a wheelchair, scooter, crutches, or a cane -- all will be provided. They will be assisted by volunteers with (real) disabilities and members of the BSA Access and Design for Aging committees, who will both ensure that attendees are safe, and can explain the design distinctions that make one side much more user-friendly than the other.

Blog Action Day 2012

Welcome back to Blog Action Day for 2012. 

As previous participants of Blog Action Day, I am pleased  to share with you three important announcements.

1. Blog Action Day will be held on October 15, 2012,
2. Our theme is "The Power of We" - you can use the #powerofwe hashtag, and
3. Registrations for Blog Action Day are now OPEN.

Why did we choose The Power of We?

We choose this theme for a few reasons. 

Firstly, the popularity of the subjects Community, Equality, Transparency/Anti-Corruption and Freedom, in the theme poll we ran via Facebook and Twitter, over te last few weeks.

Secondly, we felt that Blog Action Day needed to reflect the ever growing movements of people working together for positive social change.

Whether using digital tools like blogs, social networks and mobiles, or meeting face to face in local community halls, neighbours house, andpublic streets. Greater numbers of people have been coming together to make change, either for their own communities or the world at large.

For the team at Blog Action Day, we see The Power of We as a celebration of people working together to make a positive difference in the world, and we hope you take part and register your blog for Blog Action Day. 

Ideas for how you can discuss "The Power of We" 

For Blog Action Day, you might profile a person or a group who inspire you, talk about your own efforts to make change, or highlight a cause that has been successful for using people power to make a difference.  

There are hundreds of examples you could choose from such as; fighting for healthier meals for kids in schools, protecting people's rights in countries far away, stopping practices in industries that hurt the environment and communities, challenging authorities to listen and act for the people. 

Or, you may want to focus on historical social change movements such as the Suffragettes movement, campaigns against slavery or civil rights.

If you are active in a movement, you might even want to discuss the strategies and tips of how to organise to encourage other people to make change happen.  

Getting ready for Blog Action Day

As Blog Action Day gets closer (just under seven weeks away) we will be sharing thoughts from our NGO partners, previous Blog Action Day participants and interesting individuals about our theme, and ask them to provide suggestions and materials that you can use for your blogs on October 15, 2102.

Also, over the next few weeks we will be increasing our communications with a weekly email, as well as regularly updates, content and opportunities via our website and social media channels. 

The team at Blog Action Day can't wait to see what you all blog about and we really hope that you enjoy taking part in Blog Action Day on October 12, 2012.

All the best

Karina and Jason and the rest of the Blog Action Day team
PS. Don't forget to register for this year's event via our website

On Disability Culture

From the Syracuse University Disability Cultural Center:

What is disability culture?

"Disability culture" and "disability cultural pride" are terms referring to a wide variety of movements and subcultures that promote the idea that disability can be part of one's identity, as are race, class, gender and gender identity/expression, sexual orientation, national origin, linguistic background, religious/philosophical beliefs, etc.  To many people who have never thought of disability from this perspective before, it can be tempting to wonder, "Why would someone be proud of having a disability?"  Indeed, disability cultural pride is complex.  As a general rule, people who adopt disability as part of their identities do so as a way to express happiness and pride in who they are, and to talk back against societal norms that often tell them that they are "broken," or need to be "cured."  This does not mean that having a disability is always a pleasant experience, or that the only people asserting disabled identities are those who consider themselves merely to be "different."

Rather, it's about seeing your disability(ies)--both the positive and challenging aspects--as part of what makes you unique, and choosing to define yourself on your terms.  (Similarly, who's to say that life without a disability is always a piece of cake?)  It's also important to remember that "disability" is not always something physical or obvious.  Anyone, whether they identify as quadriplegic, deaf, autistic, blind, emotionally variant, as someone with an intellectual/developmental disability--or any other identity, including nondisabled/able-bodied--is welcome to join the DCC in engaging with the idea of disability as culture, pride, and identity.

Certain disability cultural subgroups will deliberately capitalize the first letter of the label they use to identify themselves.  This is done to show a sense of connection to the larger community of people who identify in this way, rather than just describing a "condition."  The American Deaf community is one group that is known widely for doing this; other examples include some people identifying with the Autistic and Blind communities.  Similarly, some people with disabilities may identify themselves using terms that some might consider to be offensive, such as "crip," "gimp," and "mad."  This is often done as a way to show pride in one's identity, and to "reclaim" words that have traditionally been used to demean people whose minds or bodies varied from the "norm."  This is similar to how some individuals have reclaimed the word "queer."  However, these terms can, at times, still have derogatory meanings, especially if used by people outside of an "in-group" of those who choose to identify themselves in these ways.


This article in the Guardian with sample itenieraries and resources from around the world shows just how far we've come:

Blind travellers
Holidays for blind or visually impaired people, and sighted travellers (who get substantial discounts) can be booked through Traveleyes (08448 040 221, Itineraries include six days in Edinburgh and Skye, for £799pp (£199 sighted travel assistants), two weeks in Brazil and Argentina (£3,399/£1,999 including flights), a tour of Kerala, India, or of Vietnam, or to hear the best music in the US's deep south. Blind bloggers to read include Tony Giles (, and Canadian Ryan Knighton, who wrote a great piece for the Observeron his trip to Cairo ( collates useful websites with holiday ideas for blind travellers. For advice about air travel and travelling with guide dogs, visit

Travellers with learning difficulties
Netbuddy ( helps carers and families travelling with someone with learning difficulties to plan a break, from accommodation to independent activities, with personal recommendations and tips. TheDisability Holidays Guide ( lists all sorts of trips, from city stays and beach holidays to respite breaks.

Earlier this year, this paper ran a story about Seahorses, a B&B on the Isle of Wight run by people with learning difficulties, for learning-disabled and mainstream guests. For information and reservations: 01983 752574,

According to Abta, under European law (regulation 1107/2006), all passengers who have a disability can receive assistance when they fly, free of charge. For information visit

Much more here:



The first responsibility of government is to its individual citizens.


Individuals also associate by birth or choice. These associations cluster needs to form civil society (family, race, language, church, NGO, union, business.) Government has responsibility to civil society as representative of individuals.


Disability crosscuts all individuals and associations of civil society because:


All individuals are embodied and all bodies differ in capacities (functionality)

Disability is a measure of the success of the interaction of functionality of an individual with their environment


Thus government responsibility goes beyond healthcare and social. Government responsibility includes designing social, physical, information, and policy environments designed for the intentional sustained inclusion of citizens with the broadest range of capacities operating under the broadest range of circumstances.


The full range of the rights of persons with disabilities was captured by the United Nations in the document "Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities" (CRPD). Article 30 of the CRPD establishes rights beyond mere survival and subsistence. Article 30 makes explicit the right to sports, leisure, and tourism.


Thus the United Nations CRPD Article 30 speaks to governments about their unique obligations to their citizens with disabilities in relation to major sporting events as leisure, sport, and tourism. In such events public space and financial resources are spent in ways that must result in an infrastructure and cultural legacy that is accessible and inclusive.


In the case of Brazil CRPD Article 30 directs Copa 2014 and Rio 2016 to be accessible and inclusive to both spectators and participants but what of the practical realities of prioritizing citizens over foreigners?


In practical terms are there any elements of Copa 2014 or Rio 2016 planning and implementation where effective action providing accessibility and inclusion of foreign guests with disabilities does not also provide the same for citizens?

There is an almost perfect convergence of the needs of domestic and international tourists with disabilities for Copa 2014 and Rio 2016.


Where relative prioritization of tasks differs citizens should come first. However, be aware that the long term income possible from the accessibility of foreign tourism is a strategic resource available for maintenance of the accessible infrastructure required by citizens.


2012 Independence Expo-Orlando

United Spinal Association presents the 2012 Independence Expo-Orlando for people with disabilities of all ages, exploring health, mobility, work, travel, and recreation.

The Independence Expo-Orlando is free and open to the public.

It will be held on Friday, August 24th & Saturday, August 25th at the Marriott World Center in Orlando, Florida.

"Explore Your Abilities" is this year's theme.The Expo will also offer wheelchair sports and cooking demonstrations.

The Independence Expo-Orlando features more than 50 Vendor Exhibits (21 of which are new)faturing:

Able to Travel accessible travel agency will provide attendees support in planning the vacation of their dreams, including accessible trips to Israel, Galapagos, Ireland and the Amazon, as well as a host of wheelchair-friendly Caribbean Cruises.

Walgreens will provide free blood pressure screenings, measuring of body mass index and counseling on any medication questions. Permobil will showcase its latest line of mobility products. The National MS Society/Mid Florida Chapter will share resources and advocacy tips. UsersFirst will offer strategies and resources for people with disabilities. Canine Companions for Independence will introduce attendees to some of their highly trained and lovable assistance dogs.

Register at or by calling toll free 800-404-2898. Attendees are automatically entered in a free raffle drawing to win many great prizes held throughout the 2-day event. 

On-site registration and free parking is also available. Complimentary Wheelchair Accessible Van Service will be available from the hotel's parking lot to the main convention hall

Expo doors open 10 a.m. on Friday and 11 a.m. on Saturday.

Fit for the Job?

From Universal

Picture People vs EEOCJessica Chrysler was hired to be a photographer for The Picture People in 2007. Hiring managers were aware that she was deaf before she was hired. In order to communicate with customers, she wrote notes to them, the same manner in which she'd interviewed for the position. The company found her note writing to be "cumbersome and awkward" for the customers, moving her to the lab where her hours were cut significantly and she ended up leaving her job.

Shortly after, the EEOC sued the company for not fully accommodating Jessica. Surprisingly, the District Court sided with The Picture People, asserting that oral communication was paramount to the function of the position that was held. Even after appealing this notion, the EEOC's claim was still denied on the same premise that studio personnel must be strong in verbal communication.

This decision speaks volumes regarding our current laws governing the workplace.

For more information, please click here.

Find more important news at:

Wheeling Through Winston-Salem

From the Winston-Salem Journal:

When I retired Jan. 1, 2007, I was looking forward to many years of fun activities and travel. For the first three years, I was realizing that dream. Then I was admitted to a hospital, critically ill and diagnosed with myasthenia gravis. That first admission lasted a month. Since then, I have been an inpatient two more times. It has been tough going, but I have graduated from being totally unable to walk to a rolling walker.
Myasthenia gravis is an autoimmune neuromuscular disorder that causes weakness of the voluntary muscles. I've learned a lot about this disease and how to live with it, and in the process have become schooled in the challenges that people with limited mobility have to cope with on a daily basis.
When I think about going out, whether to the grocery or a concert, I have to think through the process from beginning to end to make sure I am not going to encounter a challenge that I cannot overcome. I can tell you that at times it is frustrating for one with my independent nature.


Update on London Access

Three more London overground stations become step free

Station improvements to make three stations on one of London's main Olympic rail routes more accessible for the Olympics and Paralympic Games have been completed.

Camden Road and Gospel Oak stations now have two new lifts, to carry passengers between street level and the platforms. At Hackney Central, two new lifts have been installed from the existing footbridge.

All three projects have been funded by the Department for Transport's Access for All programme, which aims to make travelling by train easier for everyone, especially those with reduced mobility, those with young children or people with heavy luggage.

Dave Ward, Network Rail's route managing director, said: "'The improvements made at these three stations will make them accessible for all and is part of a wider programme to build a bigger, better railway. Thousands of spectators travelling on this line will reap the benefits of these improvements during the Games and for years to come."


Universal Design in Museums

The Boston Museum of Science is taking a unique approach to enable its exhibits to become more accessible to people with special learning needs. In an exclusive interview, Anna Lindgren-Streicher, Project Manager, Research & Evaluation, spoke about the path the museum has taken over more than 25 years to enable people with disabilities to enjoy the museum.

"The museum began designing exhibits to be handicap accessible over 25 years ago," she said. "The first area that was addressed was physical handicaps." Betty Davidson, a museum volunteer turned exhibit maker, began designing natural history habitat exhibits with dioramas including tactile artifacts and manipulatives such as deer antlers that could be handled. She added audio descriptions and scent so visitors could experience more authentic exhibits.

Over the last five to ten years the museum has actively addressed accessibility to learners with a wide range of disabilities, including autism, learning disabilities and cognitive disabilities.


DC Metro Goes Retrograde?

From the Washington Post:

Advocates for people with disabilities say Metro's plans to make SmarTrip cards more accessible to riders by installing new vending machines at every rail station fall short in one crucial area: The new machines are not expected to be immediately accessible to all people with limited vision.

The machines, which are scheduled to make their debut Sept. 1, have no audio feature. Riders who are blind or have impaired vision or those with cognitive impairments may find them difficult, if not impossible, to use, disability advocates said.

"In this day and time I can't imagine how . . . the Metro system [is] purchasing things and then . . . installing them and paying for them and they are not accessible to everyone," said Denise Rush, who is blind and serves on Metro's Accessibility Advisory Committee (AAC). "It is not acceptable. It is ludicrous."


Universal Design for Public Programs online workshop

Universal Design for Public Programs online workshop

August 21, 2012
Online Workshop

You (or someone from your institution) is invited to attend a free, one-hour online workshop on Universal Design for Public Programs.

The workshop will be Tuesday, August 21st, 1 - 2 pm EDT.

What is the workshop about?
The workshop will focus specifically on the NISE Net's Universal Design Guide for Public Programs. Workshop facilitators will give a brief introduction to the guide, look at some examples of universal design in programs from the NISE Net catalog, and will have an expert advisor on hand to answer questions. If you are interested in learning more about developing or implementing public programs (such as interpretation carts, stage demonstrations, and science theater) that are inclusive of the wide range of museum visitors, including those with disabilities then please join us. See the attached brief agenda for more detail.

We're also testing out using the Adobe Connect online platform for short web-based trainings and conversations. This is a bit of an experiment, and we'll be interested in hearing your take on the system!

What is Universal Design?
Universal Design (UD) is 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.

You can find and download the guide online at:

How do I sign up?
Please RSVP using this survey gizmo link if you're able to attend:

Agenda at a Glance
1:00 - Overview of universal design and universal design for learning in a museum context
1:15 - UD Programs Concept 1 - Repeat and reinforce the main ideas and concepts
1:30 - UD Programs Concept 2 - Make multiple entry points and multiple ways of engagement available.
1:45 - UD Programs Concept 3 - Provide physical and sensory access to all aspects of the program

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