January 2013 Archives


New Report Provides Path for Employers Looking to Leverage New Talent Opportunities

 

NEW YORK, February 7, 2013...Companies that employ people with disabilities reap numerous benefits. Active recruiting and retention of employees with disabilities, including veterans, can both significantly expand the pool of talent and create new business opportunities, according to a new publication from The Conference Board, Leveling the Playing Field: Attracting, Engaging and Advancing People with Disabilities. Among the poignant conclusions reported: Managers who have supervised an employee with a disability are overwhelmingly likely to recommend hiring workers with disabilities.  Over ninety percent of consumers are more favorable toward companies that hire people with disabilities. And yet, 77 percent of companies still do not take advantage of existing tax breaks and other benefits available for hiring workers with disabilities.

The report was prepared by The Conference Board Research Working Group for Improving Employee Outcomes for People with Disabilities - a project funded in part by the Employment and Disability Institute at Cornell University ILR School under a grant from the U.S. Department of Education, National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research, with additional funding from member companies of The Conference Board. The report, authored by Peter Linkow, looks at how employers are building competitive advantage through workplace practices that engage people with disabilities, including recent veterans and older workers.

  "Leveling the Playing Field articulates that a strong workforce is an inclusive workforce and helps employers tactically address this issue," said Mary Wright, program director for the research working group and a contributing author to the report. "Efforts to effectively employ people with disabilities can be considered a metaphor for maximizing the potential of all employees and the performance of an entire organization."

Susanne Bruyère, director of Cornell University's Employment and Disability Institute and contributing expert to the report, confirmed that "employers also report a number of indirect benefits that can result from hiring employees with disabilities, such as increased overall morale, productivity, safety, interactions with customers, and attendance."

Other key findings in the report:

·         More than one in ten Americans has at least one disability. This share of the U.S. population is only expected to grow.

·         Providing federally required accommodations for disabled employees is not expensive. In fact, in many cases employers had no direct costs.

·         People with disabilities and their families represent a population of 54.7 million and earn an estimated $269 billion, representing a significant market in the U.S.

·         Eighty-seven percent of consumers agree or strongly agree that they prefer to give their business to companies that employ people with disabilities.

·         Employers need to develop improved metrics to further advance the hiring, engagement and promotion of employees with disabilities, including veterans.

 

About the Conference Board

The Conference Board is a global, independent business membership and research association working in the public interest. Our mission is unique: To provide the world's leading organizations with the practical knowledge they need to improve their performance and better serve society. The Conference Board is a non-advocacy, not-for-profit entity holding 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt status in the United States.www.conference-board.org

 

 

 

 

The Universal Design Summit 5

UDS5 logo PNGThe fifth installment of the Universal Design Summit (UDS5), a biennial conference dedicated to Universal Design in housing and communities will take place May 6-8, 2013 in St. Louis, Missouri. UDS5 is designed for architects, landscape architects, designers, planners, developers, builders/contractors, remodelers, design students, housing agency staff, non-profit housing organizations, code officials, public health professionals and anyone else interested in Universal Design in housing and in the community.


The Universal Design Summit has always placed emphasis on the practical problem solving potential of Universal Design, rather than on abstract or academic discussions. UDS5 will continue this tradition by showcasing real-world examples of excellent Universal Design and offering workshops and design charettes that allow participants to share their knowledge and participate in the interactive process of Universal Design. This year's summit will also feature opportunities for learning and networking through breakout and plenary sessions, exhibits and a tour of sites in the St. Louis area. Participants interested in the tour should sign up early, as there are limited spaces available. CEU's are anticipated for AIA, AIBD, AOTA, ASLA, IDCEC, NAHB, and NKBA. The NAHB Universal Design/Build course is also being offered by NAHB Remodelers and the St. Louis Home Builder's Association on May 9-10, 2013. Discounts are being offered to those who register for both.


Full story:

http://www.universaldesign.com/built-environment-2/community-urban-planning/1579-universal-design-summit-5.html

Finding a Way

Randy Earle begins his reflection "You Are Cordially Invited to Pave the Way" like this:


Why is it so consistently and persistently hard for event staff, restaurant hosts, movie ushers, rental car agents and other front-line staffers to problem-solve when it comes to disability? Why do so many cite the rules or need to check with a supervisor? Why are those rules and supervisors so inflexible when adapting a situation to fit a particular need? Why are so few inclusive procedures and practices in play?

Not a day goes by when I don't ask myself at least one of these questions.

I have grown accustomed to getting a blank stare upon requesting accommodations, most would be deal-breakers for any other patron or customer, like safe passage or functioning elevators or even workable chairs.

http://wewillfindaway.org/blog/?p=308Read the whole post here:

http://wewillfindaway.org/blog/?p=308

What's Your Everest 2013 Dates Announced!

Mark your calendars for the third annual What's Your Everest (WYE) Climb with No Barriers in Colorado! We'll gather as a group of community members and supporters and tackle a very literal barrier - hiking one of Colorado's highest mountains at over 14,000 feet in elevation! 

WYE Colorado will take place the weekend of May 31st/June 1st. We have yet to determine all of the details - including which mountain we'll climb, but we wanted you to have the dates so you could mark your calendars.

WYE is a symbolic and literal journey utilizing the No Barriers mindset to face a physical challenge! The event is open to anyone who donates or fundraises $500 for No Barriers in 2013. Details will follow soon! 

If you have questions in the mean time, please contact Katie Watkins atkatie@nobarriersusa.org or             970-484-3633      .

Dear Colleagues,

I am a doctoral student in Special Education and Disability Studies at Syracuse University located in Syracuse, New York.  I am conducting an IRB approved research study for which I am seeking participants.


Disability is a human difference that occurs among multiple populations across all locations of the world. Individuals' experiences with disability are diverse and these experiences are vitally important to conversations about equal rights, accessibility, employment and education. The purpose of this research study is to understand the experiences of teaching assistants and graduate assistants with disabilities in higher education.

Are you a teaching assistant or a graduate assistant with a disability?

This study is seeking assistants with disabilities from departments throughout the university. If you are a college teaching assistant or graduate assistant with a disability and are willing to talk about your experiences then I would greatly appreciate the opportunity to speak with you. Your opinion is important and your personal information will be kept confidential. The interview will take about one hour of your time. If you need any disability accommodations or alternatives to speaking over the phone (e.g., using Skype or VP) then I'd be happy to do that.

If you would like more information about this study, please contact me at the following e-mail address:mldamian@syr.edu<mailto:mldamian@syr.edu>.  I will gladly send you the consent form and sample interview questions.

Thank you in advance for your time and consideration of this posting.  If you know of others that may be interested in participating in this research, I ask that you kindly forward this e-mail.

Best,
Michelle L. Damiani

Michelle L. Damiani
Doctoral Student
Syracuse University
School of Education
170 Huntington Hall
Syracuse, NY 13244


Include Asia 2013

The Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design is pleased to announce that the Include Asia 2013 international conference on inclusive design, scheduled for Hong Kong 2-3 July 2013, will now take place as part of Hong Kong's Knowledge of Design Week in partnership with the Hong Kong Design Centre and the School of Design at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

Venue for the conference will be Hong Kong's new Jockey Club Innovation Tower designed by Zaha Hadid Architects.

The extended deadline for abstract submissions is Saturday, 23 February 2013 at midnight (UK time).

Selected Authors will be informed of review decisions on 22 March 2013.

Full papers will need to be submitted by 1 May 2013

Best wishes


Off the Hook

This short film tells the story of accessibility and finding personal freedom from physical barriers through the mountain bike, the trail, and the river. Even without fully functioning legs, the fluid motion of the hand cycle combined with the trail and meandering trout stream create a deep sense of rhythm.

 

Ned is a disabled outdoor enthusiast, and in a wheelchair. He pursues an independent life style in and around his home town of Telluride, Colorado, a community serviced by a free, green, and accessible gondola transportation system.

 

Off The Hook is upbeat and close up, depicting a better than average day in the life of Ned. From bed, to wheelchair, to hand cycle, he makes his way onto pristine Rocky Mountain fly fishing waters via mountain bike trails. Like the river, his journey flows and turns, can be fast or quiet, and in this moment, if he manages to catch a fish or two, that would be "off the hook!"


Off The Hook from Craig Stein on Vimeo.

The US Access Board is organizing an advisory committee to assist in the review and update of its ADA Accessibility Guidelines for Transportation Vehicles and seeks nominations for membership. The Rail Vehicles Access Advisory Committee will develop consensus recommendations for the Board's use in updating sections of the guidelines that cover vehicles of fixed guideway systems, including rapid, light, commuter, intercity, and high speed rail. The committee's work will not extend to portions of the guidelines that address buses and vans, which the Board is already in the process of updating.

The Board seeks to include representatives from rail vehicle manufacturers, transit providers, disability groups, and other stakeholders and interested parties on the committee. The committee will be balanced in terms of interests represented. A notice issued by the Board provides further details, including application instructions. The deadline for applications is April 1.

Meetings of the advisory committee will be open to the public and will provide opportunities for all interested parties to provide information. Its work will be conducted in accordance with regulations governing Federal advisory committees. Committee membership is voluntary, and members will not be paid or reimbursed for their services.

For further information, visit the Board's website or contact Paul Beatty at rvaac@access-board.gov, (202) 272-0012 (voice), or (202) 272-0072 (TTY).

Children.jpg

The US Access Board has released for public comment proposed requirements for accessible shared use paths used by pedestrians, bicyclists, and others for transportation or recreation. These requirements would supplement guidelines the Board is developing for public rights-of-way that were previously made available for comment.

The proposed rights-of-way guidelines, which cover access to sidewalks, streets, and other pedestrian facilities, provide requirements for pedestrian access routes, including specifications for route width, grade, cross slope, surfaces, and other features. The Board's proposal would apply these and other relevant requirements to shared use paths as well. It also would add new provisions tailored to shared use paths that address grade, cross slope, surfaces, and protruding objects. One provision, for example, specifies that the grade of shared use paths not exceed 5% or, if contained within a street or highway right-of-way, the general grade of adjacent street or highway but includes an exception where constraints imposed by terrain, infrastructure, or other factors make compliance impracticable. In addition, curb ramps and blended transitions located along shared use paths would be required to extend the full path width.

This supplemental rule is responsive to feedback the Board received from the public on its proposed rights-of-way guidelines as well as on separate guidelines it is developing for trails and outdoor developed areas. Comments from the public on these rules urged the Board to specifically address access to shared use paths since they are distinct from sidewalks and trails. Shared use paths, unlike most sidewalks, are physically separated from streets by an open space or barrier. They also differ from trails because they are designed not just for recreation purposes but for transportation as well. In addition, the Board invited comment on this subject in an earlier notice.

The proposed supplemental provisions on shared use paths are further described in a published notice which includes instructions for submitting comment. The deadline for comments is May 14, 2013. For further information, visit the Board's website or contact Scott Windley at row@access-board.gov , (202) 272-0025 (voice), or (202) 272-0028 (TTY).

Milan, 14 February 2013. This International Conference is held at the BIT Fair, organised by UN World Tourism Organisation and the Permanent Committee on Tourism Ethics, hosted by the Presidency of the Council of Ministers at the Office for Tourism Policies of the Department of Regional Affairs, Tourism and Sport.

Designed as an un-conference, the meeting will provide a valuable opportunity for discussion on the importance of accessible tourism as a factor of economic growth and a powerful leverage for profitable business and job creation.

Minister for Regional Affairs, Tourism and Sport, Piero Gnudi and UNWTO Secretary General (World Tourism Organization), Taleb Rifai, will open the event.

During the debate, international and national entrepreneurs, who have distinguished themselves for a fully accessible tourism offer, will answer questions raised by students in tourism management
from the most representative Italian universities.

The event will see the launch of the Italian national call for proposals of the European project EDEN 2013 on accessible tourism, aiming at identifying emerging tourism destinations, pursuing tourism development strategies based on accessibility. The call for proposals, as well as the application forms, is downloadable from the webpage: http://www.affariregionali.it/ from the date of the launch.

Simultaneous interpretation English-Italian available.

Date: 14 February 2013

Time: 2.00 - 4.30 p.m.

Place:  Sala Gemini, BIT Fair, Fiera Milano, 20017 Rho, Milan.

Programme

OPENING ADDRESS

  • Piero GNUDI, Minister for Regional Affairs, Tourism and Sport
  • Taleb RIFAI, Secretary General - United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)

INTRODUCTION

  • Calogero MAUCERI, Head of Department for Regional Affairs, Tourism and Sport

DEBATE
Moderator: Armando PERES, Professor, Faculty of Arts,Tourism and Markets, IULM Milan

Mara MANENTE, Director, CISET. The market size for Accessibility in tourism

Questions by the students in tourism management from Ca' Foscari (Venice), IULM (Milan), and
Campus (Lucca) will be answered by:

  • Magnus BERGLUND, Disability Ambassador - Scandic Hotels
  • Roberto VITALI, President - Village for all
  • Franco VITALI, Director - Holiday Village Florenz
  • Roberto DITRI, President - Vicenza Fair
  • Marco MAGGIA, CEO - Ermitage Bel Air Medical Hotel
  • Elena DAVID, CEO - UNA Hotels&Resorts
  • UMBERTO MICHETTI, Managing Director - Starhotels International (in video-conference from New York)

For further information: ethics@governo.it


Source:

http://www.accessibletourism.org/?i=enat.en.events.1403

On February 13 from 6-8pm, the New York Mobility Club is holding a free seminar called "Accessible Travel: What You Need to Know." Guest speaker Mary Peterson, CTC, of Able to Travel (a United Spinal Association program) will give the inside scoop on how people with physical disabilities can enjoy traveling trouble-free, with important tips on dealing with hotels, cruise lines, air carriers, and more.

The event is sponsored by Bussani Mobility Team and will take place at the company's new Smithtown, NY, showroom (401 Middle Country Road).

The New York Mobility Club is a local community group that supports people living with physical disabilities. A free community service, it is friendly place where people with disabilities and their loved ones can go to talk and learn about all sorts of resources to help them live more independent and fulfilling lives. The atmosphere is uplifting and positive. Participants share their stories, challenges and successes.

At each session, a guest speaker gives the main presentation on one of many topics including health and fitness, travel, finances, relationships, home improvement, and mobility solutions. Also included are social activities, refreshments, and giveaways...all in an accessible environment. Easy parking is provided.

The New York Mobility Club meets monthly on the second Wednesday of each month. Sponsored by Bussani Mobility Team, the group is an extension of the company's primary mission and promise to its customers: "If You Can Dream It, We Can Get You There." For more information or to RSVP, call 888-690-7709 or email dcaiazzo(at)wegetyouthere(dot)com.


Physically Integrated Dance Summer Intensive
August 4-10, 2013
Oakland, CA
Application now open!

Dancers, choreographers and teachers with and without disabilities
from the US and abroad are invited to attend AXIS' annual Summer
Intensive located within a thriving dance and disability hub. This
week-long creative laboratory is guaranteed to push your limits and
break new ground as you experiment, collaborate, and create.
Attendees will participate in a creative exchange alongside AXIS'
talented dancers as all share their knowledge and experience.

Includes:
* Physically Integrated Contact Improvisation
* Technique, Choreography & Performance
* Evening Video/Film Showing
* Final Informal Showing

Tuition: $500 (Limited Scholarships available)
Does not include Room, Board, or Travel

Apply By April 24th, 2013, 5pm:
www.axisdance.org/education/summer-intensive/
* Spaces are limited and will fill fast

Questions?
Contact Christy at 510-625-0110 or info@axisdance.org
 

 Feature length documentary about the rise and fight of the disability
rights movement *

Weird and Wonderful is a feature length documentary about the rise and
fight of the disability rights movement. It features interviews and
extraordinary archival footage from around the world as activists who
fought for disability rights recall the issues, battles, characters,
leaders and triumphs of the disability rights movement from the 1960's
to today. The names of activists are not famous yet they are people who
have literally changed the world we live in: Bob Kafka, Colin Barnes,
Johnny Crescendo, Lesley Hall, Kitty Cone, Zona Roberts, Mike Letch, and
many more have changed our schools, buildings, buses, footpaths, offices,
workplaces, houses and most of all they have changed our perceptions
when it comes to what is possible with a disability. 

These stories come from the UK, America and Australia and are woven
together to tell a compelling cultural and political story from the
earliest murmurings of protest from those segregated in institutions
through a series of extraordinary battles that disabled people fought to
be seen, heard and participate in society.

Research for this film began in 2008 and filming took place in the UK,
Switzerland and America in 2010 followed by further filming in Australia
through 2011 and 2012. Archives from across the world have been
collected and we are currently creating an assembly edit. So far this
project has attracted a total of $125,000 from Film Victoria, the City
of Melbourne, Screen Australia, A Churchill Fellowship, the Victorian
Department of Human Services and Yooralla. The money so far has paid for
research and filming in Australia, the UK, Switzerland and The USA.
Interviews have been recorded, much archival footage has been uncovered,
and assembly edit is well underway. the next step is that the Pozible
crowd funding dollars will be used to pay editor Rob Murphy to create a
fine cut. From there we will be seeking completion funding to pay for
archival rights and final grading and sound mixing. The money for the
edit is a crucial stage in getting this project into shape so the
structure, style and tone of the film can be fully appreciated. 

A short teaser for the film has been created and you can watch it here:

http://vimeo.com/58515647

You can explore this project further here: www.wierdandwonderful.net On
this website you can see tasters of some of the stories from the film,
as well as written articles that relate to the stories and characters in
the film.

Making this film has been an amazing and challenging adventure. As a
filmmaker Weird and Wonderful is really important to me as I've been
making documentaries about disability and disability rights for nearly
20 years and I wanted to make a film that draws on the knowledge I've
accumulated over the years and showcases many of the amazing people and
stories I've come across. I also really wanted this film to be part of a
meaningful discourse about disability and to signal a move on from
stories that focus solely on "inspirational heroes" and "tragic victims".
I hope you'll want to be a part of this exciting and important
documentary by supporting this crowd funding campaign.

http://www.pozible.com/project/14914 


From: Frank Hall-Bentick 
fhallbentick@optusnet.com.au


NFB Logo.gif 
 
The National Federation of the Blind (NFB) is the nation’s oldest and largest nationwide organization of blind people.  As the voice of the nation’s blind, we represent the collective views of blind people throughout society.  All of our leaders and the vast majority of our members are blind, but anyone can participate in our movement.  There are an estimated 1.3 million blind people in the United States, and every year approximately 75,000 Americans become blind.  
 
 
The NFB’s three legislative initiatives for 2013 are: 
 
·        The Fair Wages for Workers with Disabilities Act 
This legislation phases out Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act, which allows employers to pay disabled workers subminimum wages.  By ending this exploitative, discriminatory practice, disabled Americans will receive equal protection under the law to earn at least the federal minimum wage and reach their full employment potential.   
·        The Technology, Education and Accessibility in College and Higher Education Act 
Electronic instructional materials and related technology have replaced traditional methods of learning in postsecondary settings.  Although it would be inexpensive to create e-books, courseware, applications, and other educational devices and materials in accessible formats, the overwhelming majority of these materials are inaccessible to disabled students.  This bill calls for minimum accessibility standards for instructional materials, ending the “separate but equal” approach to learning.
·        Equal Access to Air Travel for Service-Disabled Veterans (HR 164)
The Space Available Program allows active-duty military, Red Cross employees, and retired members of the armed services to travel on military aircraft if there is space available.  HR 164 reverses the exclusion of 100 percent service-disabled veterans who were discharged before retirement and entitles them to the program’s privileges.   
 
 
The real problem of blindness is not the loss of eyesight; it is the misunderstanding and lack of information that exist.  Given the proper training and opportunity, blindness can be reduced to a physical nuisance.  Blind Americans need your help to achieve these goals and reach economic security and full integration into society.  Supporting these measures will benefit more than just the blind, as promoting our economic welfare increases the tax base.  We urge Congress to hear our demands for equality and support these legislative initiatives.  


 
The Fair Wages for Workers with Disabilities Act of 2013
 
 
Current labor laws unjustly prohibit workers with disabilities 
from reaching their full socioeconomic potential.
 
 
Written in 1938, Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) discriminates against people with disabilities 
by allowing the secretary of labor to grant Special Wage Certificates to employers, permitting them to pay workers with disabilities less than the minimum wage.  Despite enlightened civil rights legislation prohibiting discrimination on the basis of disability, this antiquated provision is still in force, with some disabled workers making only three cents an hour. 
 
The subminimum wage model actually benefits the employer, not the worker. 
Subminimum wage employers receive taxpayer and philanthropic dollars because the public believes they are providing training and employment for people with disabilities.  The executives use the substantial proceeds to compensate themselves with six-figure salaries on the backs of disabled workers they pay pennies per hour.  People who raise their own standard of living while taking advantage of those who do not have the same rights as every other American are engaging in discrimination, not charity.  
 
This discrimination persists because of the myths that Section 14(c) is:
 
Myth 1…a compassionate offering of meaningful work.  Although the entities that engage in this practice demand the benefits that come from being recognized as employers, subminimum wage work is not true employment.   These so-called employers offer days filled with only repetitive drudgery for which workers are compensated with third-world wages, leading disabled employees toward learned incapacity and greater dependence on social programs.
 
Myth 2…an employment training tool for disabled workers. Fewer than 5 percent of workers with disabilities in subminimum wage workshops will transition into integrated competitive work.  In fact data show that they must unlearn the skills they acquire in a subminimum wage workshop in order to obtain meaningful employment.  Therefore Section 14(c) is a training tool that perpetuates ongoing underemployment.
 
Myth 3…a controversial issue among the disability community. More than fifty disability-related organizations and counting support the repeal of Section 14(c) of the FLSA, and many former subminimum wage employers have abandoned the use of the Special Wage Certificate without terminating anyone.  Only entities profiting from this exploitive practice refuse to acknowledge that it is discrimination.   
 
The Fair Wages for Workers with Disabilities Act of 2013:  
 
Discontinues the practice of issuing Special Wage Certificates.  The secretary of labor will no longer issue Special Wage Certificates to new applicants.  
 
Phases out all remaining Special Wage Certificates over a three-year period.  Entities currently holding Special Wage Certificates will begin compensating their workers with disabilities at no less than the federal minimum wage, using the following schedule:  
·        private for-profit entities’ certificates will be revoked after one year; 
·        public or governmental entities’ certificates will be revoked after two years; and 
·        nonprofit entities’ certificates will be revoked after three years.  
 
Repeals Section 14(c) of the FLSA.  Three years after the law is enacted, the practice of paying disabled workers subminimum wages will be officially abolished, and workers with disabilities will no longer be excluded from the workforce protection of a federal minimum wage.  
 
 
For more information contact:
Anil Lewis, Director of Advocacy and Policy
National Federation of the Blind
Phone: (410) 659-9314, Extension 2374    email:alewis@nfb.org
 

Always a Little Smarter about Design

People with Disabilities in Sport

Only a Wheelchair

Aaron Fotheringham

International Design for All Foundation Awards 2013

 

International Design for All Foundation Awards 2013

The deadline for submitting entries to the awards is 17 February 2013. Entering is easy - all the details are available on the Awards website. 

The Awards offer an opportunity for public bodies, private companies and not-for-profit organisations to gain international recognition for the projects they have undertaken in the field of Design for All. In addition, any individual or organisation can send their ideas for user-centred design projects in Living Labs, in order to find the best design solutions for everyday problems through the involvement of real-life end-users.

You can find more news and events by visiting: Design for All Foundation and Towns and Cities for All.

Send your opinions and proposals foundation@designforall.org

Design for All Foundation, C/ Piquer, 29, Baixos 1 
08004 - Barcelona - Tel. 
+34 93 470 51 18 - Fax +34 93 371 76 49

Join the #HowCoolisThat Video Contest

Video Contest

IHCD's Inclusive Sports Initiative Launches

#HowCoolIsThat
VIDEO CONTEST

On December 10, 2012, UN Human Rights Day, our team at Inclusive Sport Initiative launched a video campaign on social networks and other social media platforms addressing mainstream media coverage of disability sports.

Our aim is to increase awareness about how disability sport is truly part of mainstream sport. Through this campaign we have been encouraging everyone to share their feelings, thoughts and reactions on social media using #HOWCOOLISTHAT. For this we have been showing and sharing highlights of disability sports posting videos, pictures and stories.

As we would like to make this campaign bigger and move the dialogue around mainstream coverage of disability sport forward, today we are launching a Video Contest as part of our campaign. Through this competition our Inclusive Sport Initiative team wishes to engage as many people as possible and encourage their expression and thoughts through the creation of videos. In the video submissions we are asking people to make their Case for Why Mainstream Media Should Increase Coverage of Athletes with Disabilities and Disability Sports.

For details on the video contest please see the text below. Feel free to share it on any social networks and websites!

The Inclusive Sport Initiative at the Institute of Human Centered Design launches
#HOWCOOLISTHAT VIDEO CONTEST

Make Your Case for Why Mainstream Media Should Increase Coverage of Athletes with Disabilities and Disability Sports
AND WIN:
1. $100 Gift certificate to the store of your choice
2. $100 gift certificate to the IHCD store!

TO PARTICIPATE:

Create a maximum 2 minutes video following these guidelines:

Your video must aim to make your case for mainstream media to increase coverage of athletes with disabilities and disability sports in the United States and worldwide.

Your video must include the #HOWCOOLISTHAT hashtag.

Your video must include video of athletes with disabilities and/or disability sports of your choice.

TO SUBMIT YOUR VIDEO:

Upload your video on YouTube and then either:

1. Send the link to the email address:howcoolisthat100@gmail.com

Or

2. Post the link on our Facebook Page: Inclusive Sports Initiative

DEADLINE:
Your video must be emailed to us or posted to the Facebook page
before February 15, 2013

YOUR VIDEO ENTRY WILL BE JUDGED ON:
- Your creativity in the integration of the #howcoolisthat in your video
- Your creativity in the use and integration of athletes with disabilities and disability sports video
- Your strategy to make the case for more mainstream media coverage of athletes with disabilities and disability sports.

WE ARE PLEASED TO INTRODUCE THE PANEL OF JUDGES:
Beth Bourgeouis, US Paralympics/USOC
Peter Carlisle, Octagon
Natalia Dannenberg, International Paralympic Committee
Brian Hendrickson, NCAA
Nancy Monsarrat, Nike
Steve Raymond, ESPN
Justine Rice, Boston Globe
Mike Tollin, Tollin Productions
Alex Wolff, Sports Illustrated

Thank you for your participation!

The Inclusive Sports Initiative Team:

Eli Wolff
Aurélie Panowiak
Mary Hums
Ted Fay

A Day on Earth with Human Diversity

Glide-Path.png

 

Glide-Path is a free-to-the-passenger web-based system that enables the passenger to enter more information about their specific needs, which can be accessed by airlines, airports and assistance providers to improve the quality of the service they deliver.

 

Passengers requesting assistance often experience frustration due to the actual process for making requests,

  • separate requests for each journey/airline
  • different information required on different forms
  • details not passed to the airport staff
  • sometimes it's a telephone call, sometimes a fax, sometimes online forms

 

And finally, just when think you've told the airline everything possible, you get to the airport and they have no idea of exactly what assistance you need.

 

With Glide-Path it's 3 simple steps:


  1. You tell us just once about you and your assistance needs
  2. Tell us about your journeys (this will automatic from your booking in later versions)
  3. You sit back while we ensure your details and needs are communicated to both the airline and the assistance team at the airport.

Occasionally, if medical clearance is needed, we will ask for you to supply additional information from you doctor.

 

Glide-Path offers facilities to register details of Assistance Dogs, people who will escort you on your journeys and the give you space to register needs not normally covered by Airline forms.

 

We can't guarantee that the airline and airport can meet all your needs, but we can guarantee that they have had the opportunity to know about them.

 

"We didn't know you were coming" won't cut it anymore.

 

At Glide-Path we have many years of experience in aviation and have been looking at the problems facing elderly and disabled air travellers, particularly addressing the problems miscommunication causes. For airlines, airport and service providers this improved communication and access to detailed information, will facilitate a more effective and efficient service.

 

This service will go live in early 2013. In advance of this launch our test site http://www.glide-path-test.co.uk/ can be accessed to create test accounts, view our easy to use input screens and enter data. We would appreciate any feedbackinfo@glide-path.co.uk

 

Fiona Quinn

Glide-Path Limited

Tel 0844 706 723

Mob 07917 868 502

 

Images: Disability and Sports

A Career Shift to Universal Design

Rosemarie sitting on bathtub deck.jpgRosemarie Rossetti says accessible features add value to new houses 

Rosemarie Rossetti's 3-year-old dream house became instantly useless in 1998 when an 80-foot tree fell on her while she was bicycling.

Paralyzed from the waist down, Rossetti was suddenly faced with inaccessible entries, wall plugs that were too low, counter-tops that were too high, bathroom doors that were not wide enough and shower stalls that were impossible to use without help.

Rossetti has turned that awareness into a career as a speaker, trainer, consultant and writer who promotes accessibility in the home building industry.

She is scheduled to moderate a discussion on "Universal Design" and accessibility at a Jan. 29 Housing and Construction Summit sponsored by the Home Buildings Association of Greater Grand Rapids (HBAGGR) at the Pinnacle Center in Hudsonville.

To test and demonstrate her principles, Rossetti and her husband, Mark Leder, have built a national demonstration home and garden, the Universal Design Living Laboratorywww.udll.com in metropolitan Columbus, Ohio.

For the full article by By Jim Harger | jharger@mlive.com  see:

http://www.mlive.com/business/west-michigan/index.ssf/2013/01/accessible_housing_became_her.html

Imtiaz Muqbil is a longtime supporter of Inclusive Tourism. Hear him speak on Peace Trough Tourism at the TEDx event:


 

Launched in August 1998, Travel Impact Newswire provides coverage of big-picture issues and trends that impact global travel & tourism. Distributed every week to 45,000 senior industry readers worldwide, mainly in the Asia-Pacific and Middle East.

24 Soi Chidlom, Bangkok, Thailand 10330. T: (66-2) 2551480, 2537590. Fax: (66-2) 2544316. Email: imtiaz@travel-impact-newswire.com


The 29th annual Pac Rim Conference is April 28-29, 2013 at the Hawaii Convention Center in Honolulu. Moe info here:  www.pacrim.hawaii.edu


Interdependence is and ought to be as much the ideal of man as self-sufficiency. Man [and woman are] social being[s]. Without interrelation with society he cannot realize his oneness with the universe or suppress his egotism. His social interdependence enables him...to prove himself on the touchstone of reality.
--Mahatma Gandhi

The independent living movement has provided social justice for persons with disabilities and has paved a pathway for the achievement of self-determination, equal opportunities, self-respect & self-worth, and happiness. The movement has greatly changed and broadened living choices for persons with disabilities, and has liberated many from the constraints of government institutions. But we do not exist truly independent of others, and we all rely on a network of support and help. Living with a disability in today's world can be challenging for those who strive to live independently. What happens when the help that's expected turns to abuse at the hands of a caregiver or those trusted with our wellbeing? What do we do when natural support within communities does not exist? How do we prepare our communities as the largest generation - the baby boomers - in America heads into their golden years? With budget cuts slashing medical insurance and services that so many people depend on, the provisions needed to live a healthy and happy life are in shortage. Now is the time for all of us to reach out and support each other.

There are many constructs and barriers that are broken down within the walls of our homes which still define, and in some cases hold up, our outside world. This year at Pac Rim, Living In(ter)dependently will focus on how we are evolving and adapting to live interdependently and independently in communities that are often built for the able-bodied. Questions and topics to be submitted for consideration as presentations, posters, or papers include:

What is being done or can be done to implement universal design as a standard in the building industry?
What is being done or has been done in communities to ensure that people with disabilities are not forgotten in times of disaster?
Present best practices for caring for and providing proper training to care givers and personal assistants.
How, with the help of assistive technology, can communities realize and utilize the strengths of persons with disabilities so they can be included and viewed as contributing members of society?
What are the repercussions of budget cuts on independent living centers and the independent living movement? What are some solutions to the problems that have surfaced because of these repercussions?
How have families adapted to today's society and implemented independent living?
How is community leadership and ownership encouraging or discouraging independent living?
How is accessible tourism, or lack of, encouraging or discouraging those who live independently to travel?
What are the challenges, on personal levels and within communities, presented by having a growing number of diverse aging citizens and what are some adaptations to these challenges? For example, how can communities band together to cope with budget cuts to medical insurance?
Why is it import to participate in sports/recreation, laughter, healthy interactions with others, or alternative means of healing and what are the effects that these things have on the success of independent living?
How can international communities utilize each other's independent living movements and what are some best practices that can be transplanted and fulfilled from country to country, community to community?
Current initiatives being taken for older persons with disabilities to continue to participate in the socio-economic and cultural life of society.
Current research to making acquisition of services more streamlined, implementing person centered planning as an organizational standard, and providing formal and informal mechanisms for sharing resources and integrated services.
Current progressive policies that focus on the oversight of independent living centers, and the policies employed within them which promote and make independent living safe, free from abuse and exploitation.
What is the nature of our responsibility to one another in order to ensure that all diverse humans are cared and provided for?
Additional proposals are welcomed on other topics relevant to Living In(ter)dependently. We welcome creative ideas and workshops.

We welcome proposals in any presentation format. Please see presentation formats on our Web page at:http://www.pacrim.hawaii.edu/submissions/presenters/formats/. Please check the criteria for each format and ensure that you have the appropriate number of presenters for your chosen format. You may submit proposals online at: http://www.pacrim.hawaii.edu/submissions or send your proposals via email to prcall@hawaii.edu.

END


Get on With Life!

Photo of Design for All Foundation posters collage

NEWS ARCHIVE of the 
   Design for all Foundation

Call for entries to the International Design for All Foundation Awards 2013

Call for entries to the International Design for All Foundation Awards 2013

We are delighted to announce that entries are now being accepted to the International Design for All Foundation Awards 2013. The deadline for submitting entries is 17 February 2013.

The main aim of the awards is to recognise the efforts of private companies, not-for-profit organisations and public bodies across the world to promote equal participation by all in the construction of society. In so doing, they also aim to draw international attention to best-practice examples within the different areas of Design for All.

The award categories for this year's edition are as follows:

  • Project undertaken by a not-for-profit organisation.
  • Project undertaken by a government or other public body.
  • Project undertaken by a private company or professional.
  • User-centred design in Living Labs: Project proposal.

The award ceremony will take place on 20 March 2013 during the International Design Biennial in Saint-Étienne, organised by the Cité du design, which takes place from 14 to 30 March under the theme "Empathy, or the experience of the other".

For further information and to read the competition terms and conditions, visit the award website.

Multiple Perspectives On Access Inclusion & Disability

INTERSECTIONS & INDEPENDENCE

April 16 - 17, 2013

 

 

Proposals for concurrent sessions at this year's Multiple Perspective's conference are due January 6th  16th Student PostersMarch 12th .  Submit a proposal and join our featured speakers

 

 

This year's theme focuses presenters on the frictions, synergies and synthesis that occur at the boundaries of multiple  roles, identities and perspectives within individuals and between them.  Some possibilities to consider:

·        Exploration the overlapping and often at odds influences of models of disability; 

·        Universal Design, independence and identity;

·        How disability influences gender,  ethnic and racial identities or how they influence disability identity development;

·        Representations of disability in art, literature, media and science.

·        Variations in privilege and oppression across identities and roles;

·         Locating disability: person, place or attitude.

·        Trends in law, education, business, public policy, ...

 

Preference will be given to presentations that encourage conversations across the typical boundaries (care and independence, education and employment, research and practice, business and government, rights and charity ...) or focus broadly on difference by incorporating parallels and contrasts with race, gender and ethnicity.  

 

Past programs and conference updates as they become available can be found at: http://ada.osu.edu/conferences.htm.

 

To be on the mailing list for the conference, send e-mail to ADA-OSU@osu.edu

 

The Multiple Perspectives Conference is made possible thanks to the generosity of the Ethel Louise Armstrong Foundation Endowment Fund and ongoing support from The Ohio State University's Office of Diversity and Inclusion.

 

THIS YEAR'S FEATURED SPEAKERS:

 

Harilyn Rousso: The Ethel Louise Armstrong Lecture On Disability Art & Culture -  "Don't Call Me Inspirational"

Disability activist, feminist, psycho-therapist, writer, and painter. President of Disabilities Unlimited Consulting Services, founder of the Networking Project for Disabled Women and Girls, coeditor of Double Jeopardy: Addressing Gender Equity in Special Education and author of Disabled, Female and Proud! and soon to be released  Don't Call Me Inspirational: A Disabled Feminist Talks BackHer book and her session confronts body image, sexuality, bias, discrimination, and condescension from a personal perspective.

http://bancroft.berkeley.edu/collections/drilm/collection/items/rousso.html

 

 

Laura Rothstein: The Ken Campbell Lecture on Disability Policy  "Section 504 at Forty: An Overview of the History of Disability Discrimination Issues for Higher Education"

Professor and Distinguished University Scholar, Louis D. Brandeis School of Law at the University of Louisville takes note that September 26, 2013, marks the 40th Anniversary of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act which required that programs receiving federal financial assistance not discriminate on the basis of "handicap" (in the language of the day).  The enormous impact of this law (and later the Americans with Disabilities Act) on higher education was not foreseen in 1973 however, disability issues on campus have evolved.  The challenges and complexities of technology, shrinking resources, increasing mental health concerns, and other issues make it critical for our community to embrace not only the letter but the spirit of disability rights law.

http://www.law.louisville.edu/faculty/laura_rothstein

                                                                             

           

Dr. Kim Nielsen: "Disability History of the United States"

Professor of Disability Studies at the University of Toledo who spent more than five years chronicling American history from before  the European arrival to the present.  Like her most recent book, A Disability History of the United States, her presentation  illustrates how concepts of disability have shaped the American experience in relation to immigration, establishing labor laws and justifying slavery and gender discrimination. Her work includes powerful stories spanning narratives of women being involuntarily sterilized to accounts of veterans returning with disabilities securing civil rights.

http://utoledo.academia.edu/KimNielsen

 

 

 ­­­­­____________________________

Hosted by: 
The Ohio State University and located at the Blackwell Hotel and Conference Center on the Columbus Campus

"As social movements mature, they begin to look beyond the 'letter of the law', which emphasizes ethics and values, and promulgate systemic changes in attitudes, behaviors and institutional structures."  - Leslie Kanes Weisman

What is "Multiple Perspectives"?

As a modern land grant university Ohio State University's mission includes serving the community.  Since 2001 The Ohio State University's ADA Coordinator's Office has hosted Multiple Perspectives On Access Inclusion & Disability.  The conference offers a unique opportunity for professionals, scholars and advocates to discuss the full spectrum of disability issues and experiences.  The annual gathering provides a forum for individuals and organizations to share their knowledge; broaden their perspectives; and increase community resources through the synergy of collaboration

"I was able to attend last year's Multiple Perspectives Conference and thought that the content and quality was absolutely excellent."

Each year Multiple Perspectives strives to present a program that can serve as a catalyst for change; providing a springboard for collaborations among individuals with and without disabilities working in education, business, government and non-profits.  The Conference's presenters have included faculty, entrepreneurs, authors, artists and advocates as well as representatives from The U.S. Access Board, The EEOC, The Ohio Civil Rights Commission, The American Institute of Architects, The U.S. Department of Education, and The Department of Justice. 
 
"I walked away from each session knowing far more than when I entered; I left each session invigorated; and, I left each session tingling with the excitement of being in an environment where I can relate intellectually and experientially with others."  

 

The Audience At-A-Glance

250 to 300 participants

74% are Ohio residents
71% of the participants influence or make purchasing decisions about accessible products & services
69% of the participants have a disability
20% are officials from Federal, State, County or City government
18% are college and public school faculty 
15% represent private business
13% represent disability rights advocacy groups
13% are college service providers
11% are students 
08% are architects
07% sit on State, County or Municipal boards representing people with disabilities.

 

Join Our Partners

Hosted by The Ohio State University's ADA Coordinator's Office, the conference is made possible with collaboration and support from organizations as diverse as the participants. Funding for the Ethel Louise Armstrong Student Poster Competition, Ethel Louise Armstrong Memorial Lecture, and various other portions of the conference is generously provided by the Ethel Louise Armstrong Foundation Endowment Fund. Past supporters of the conference include:

Ability Magazine

ADA-OHIO

American Bar Association

American Institute of Architects

Association on Higher Education And Disability

City Of Columbus

Columbus Advisory Committee On Disability Issues

Disability Studies Quarterly

Great Lakes Disability Business Technical Assistance Center

Ohio ADA Coordinator's Network

Ohio Governor's Council On People With Disabilities

Ohio Rehabilitation Services Commission

The Ohio State University

·         Wexner Medical Center

·         Wexner Center for the Arts

·         John Glenn School for Public Affairs

·         Knowlton School of Architecture

·         Moritz College of Law

·         College of Humanities

·         ADA Coordinator's Office

·         Office of Diversity And Inclusion

·         ASL Program

·         Disability Studies Program

·         Digital Union

·         Multicultural Center

·         Office For Disability Services

·         Web Accessibility Center

 

In the first video of a two-part series, New York-based firm Smart Design examines the intersection between Universal Design principles and the limitations of public bathrooms.


 


Culture in the Further Development of Universal Design

Scott Rains, D. Min

srains@oco.net

Blue.jpg

Reprinted from Design for All India:


By now most readers of Design for All India have a healthy grasp of Universal Design. Many, perhaps most, have become highly competent in its application as is evident from the articles appearing in past volumes and today. Beyond technical mastery of the Seven Principles, knowledge of best-of-breed solutions, and familiarity with allied concepts such as Visitability, Adaptive Technology, or anthropometrics there is a cultural component to this design approach that is unquantifiably - but undeniably - transforming Universal Design. By systematically and thoroughly examining this cultural component in the coming decade we will discover the true nature of Universal Design to be social sustainability.

Defining the Cultural Component

There are two ways to define this cultural component.

The first is to take the generally accepted meaning of culture as a social system involving ethnicity, nationality, language, arts, shared values or some combination of these elements to define a coherent and dynamic system. The second is to apply the term culture to that system in relationship to persons with disabilities as a whole (pan-disability culture) or as various sub-groups (blind, deaf, deaf-blind, spinal cord injured, post-polio cultures).

Research into response to Universal Design in this first domain is still in its infancy. A rich body of literature will result from future inquiries into adoption, rejection, and adaptation of Universal Design by cultures as they have been traditionally defined. Such study can provide a complementary approach to other inquiries into disability in the field of Disability Studies.

Historically Universal Design arose in the 1970's as a product of the Disability Rights Movement in the United States. Closely associated with the work and teaching of North Carolina architect and quadriplegic Ron Mace it began to gain widespread acceptance in the 1990's through a dissemination process that has not been well documented. One theme in that documentation will be the interplay between the cultural values embedded in Universal Design, either intentionally or unintentionally, and those held in locations where it is introduced.

Anecdotal evidence indicates integration of Universal Design in Japan's Mitsubishi, Toto, NTT DoCoMo and a uniquely Korean appropriation of Universal Design at Samsung. Reference to the Tao and the principle of balance symbolized in Tae Kuk are being integrated into the approach as applied to product design by the latter. Research by Thai scholar Antika Sawadsri (2006) on affective responses to Universal Design in Tai domestic settings is the first of what ought to be a series of similar studies done around the world. Such a micro-scale look at cultural factors involved in receptivity to Universal Design will provide uniquely targeted guidance to social planners and businesses attempting macro-scale Universal Design projects in the same social conditions.

As successful application and adaptive enculturation of Universal Design occurs there will be impact beyond the predictable further inclusion of persons with disabilities into the economic mainstream. From the earliest conversations leading to what we now know as Universal Design pioneer Elaine Ostroff was involved in the arts and incorporating Universal Design. Other positive secondary effects of adoption will include the importation and fabrication of new materials, dissemination of new designs and new construction methods, and the economic enhancement of those able to consult, design, or build according to a culturally appropriate but inclusive norm as populations age. In areas where an age-inversion causes the numbers of elderly to exceed those of youth, adoption of enculturated Universal Design in infrastructure, products, and services will become necessary not only for social cohesion but as a user demand due to the natural conservatism common with aging.

Defining Universal Design

In order to pursue this research priority and ensure meaningful and generalizable results it is important that researchers share a common definition of Universal Design. That definition is found in the Seven Principles of Universal Design but requires ongoing attention to evolving definitions of disability and to local permutations of Universal Design such as Design for All.

The Principles of Universal Design are:
1. Equitable Use: The design does not disadvantage or stigmatize any group of users.

2. Flexibility in Use: The design accommodates a wide range of individual preferences and abilities.

3. Simple, Intuitive Use: Use of the design is easy to understand, regardless of the user's experience, knowledge, language skills, or current concentration level.

4. Perceptible Information: The design communicates necessary information effectively to the user, regardless of ambient conditions or the user's sensory abilities.

5. Tolerance for Error: The design minimizes hazards and the adverse consequences of accidental or unintended actions.

6. Low Physical Effort: The design can be used efficiently and comfortably, and with a minimum of fatigue.

7. Size and Space for Approach & Use: Appropriate size and space is provided for approach, reach, manipulation, and use, regardless of the user's body size, posture, or mobility.[1]

Adaptive Environments describes Universal Design as:

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 is also called Inclusive Design, Design-for-All and Lifespan Design. It is not a design style but an orientation to any design process that starts with a responsibility to the experience of the user.

Current trends are toward a functional rather than a medical diagnostic approach to defining disability. The World Health Organization (WHO) reinforces that with its International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF 2001). This aligns well with the third of the three theoretical models of disability - Charity, Medical, and Social (or "Social Interpretation" see Gabel, "Disability Studies in Education"[2].) The latter defines disability as an interaction between function and environment.

Rudiger Leidner of NATKO made a distinction between US conceptualizations of Universal Design and a European reformulation known as Design for All in his 2006 presentation "Tourism Accessible for All in Europe":

"...the main difference between the D[esign] F[or] A[all] idea and similar approaches such as "Universal Design" is that the targeted users should be involved in the process of product development."[3]

The designation as Lifespan Design referred to in the citation from Adaptive Environments above captures the observation that human functionality changes through the natural course of maturation and aging. It reminds designers that the value of a product is not the only its durability through time. Predictable changes in the functional abilities of the user may prove to be more important measures of value. Large-scale changes in the ratio between the young and the old are poised to be socially disruptive in ways that immediate adoption of Universal Design can mitigate.

Studies to determine the culturally contextual rationales for accepting Universal Design will become increasingly essential. Already the narrative behind Universal Design projects for seniors or for people with disabilities differs. Public perception of the social value of publicly-funded Universal Design projects takes on added importance in times of scarcity of public resources.

The aging segment of the population appears to figure more heavily than the disability community in Japan's adoption of Universal Design. While in the US arguably the strongest non-governmental promoter of Universal Design, the non-profit AARP through its Home Design resources, conferences, and workshops educates on the concept without reference to its origins in the Disability Rights Movement or its foundation in disability culture. This appears to be a deliberate marketing strategy to present only images of "healthy" attractive seniors.

These and other examples serve to alert us to the reality that Universal Design applied to infrastructure may equally benefit both seniors and people with disabilities while the political discourse attached to such projects may work to drive a wedge between two groups with common interests and needs.

Culture(s) of Disability

Disability culture or disability cultures offer a second window of inquiry into the meaning and maturation of Universal Design as a global phenomenon.

Some have theorized that while definitions of disability have been imposed by non-disabled persons cultures of disability have risen up to protect the interests, identities, and political voice of those gathered into these categories. Current understandings emphasizing the multiplicity of social categories any individual is involved in and the multifaceted interactive nature of resistance to social movements' demands for change provide a fluid definition of culture and energize artistic production with a disability "voice." Colin Barnes and Geoff Mercer provide an overview of the topic in Chapter 21 of the Handbook of Disability Studies entitled "Disability Culture."[4]

Defining, distinguishing, and uniting disability cultures remains problematic. One can list examples of distinctiveness: deaf culture maintains its own languages, blind culture it own institutions, and mobility impaired culture its own politics.

Conflicts arise when specific design solutions are confused with Universal Design itself.

The usefulness of curbs at corners for orienting blind pedestrians and the necessity of curb cuts for wheelchairs lead some to question the "universality" of some solutions commonly associated with Universal Design. It is important to recall that Universal Design is a design approach not a catalog of solutions or any specific construct such as a ramp or a flashing fire alarm. Universal Design understood as design and not a canon of prescribed solutions is capable of generating outcomes that address the unique needs disability groups with differing functional abilities.

The questions arise for professionals, "Who is responsible for maintaining that clarity of definition at the academic level? At the level of professional discourse? When working with stakeholders and clients?"

Language is a knowledge management system. Careful use of language is called for to both adequately communicate the process of Universal Design and to facilitate competing cultural values existing even within the disability community.

The "Culture" of Construction

The phrase "construction of culture" is commonplace in post-modernist discussions of the nature of culture. Similarly the "construction of disability" is a phrase indicating the social, and thus changeable, nature of the concept and social system known as disability. In such dialogue "avoiding the (re)construction of disability" is a responsibility of those who claim to be working in the interest of social inclusion such as practitioners of Universal Design. Part of that responsibility is to avoid design that stigmatizes.

There are also professional mandates upon those who work with designers in the fabrication phase of products and spaces. We might designate these as part of a "culture of construction" that seeks to resolve all discussion to specifications and measurements that are actionable within their domain of responsibility. The influence of this approach can also manifest from within the disability community.

Examples include accessibility auditor trainings that do not include an introduction to Universal Design principles or to the process and place of design in project development. The results are then evident in accessibility auditing survey tools that proscribe rather than describe. Mandated minimum accessibility standards from building codes are fashioned into check sheets or other proscriptive heuristics for gathering data. This data is then published in directories of building accessibility. The tools are thus unable to capture innovative (universally designed) solutions and the auditors unprepared to recognize them as good design. This self-defeating approach rewards businesses for mere minimum compliance and penalizes those who solve design problems in novel ways.

One museum designer reported a usability study of one of her projects conducted by persons with disabilities[5]. They immediately flagged the lack of the typical (stigmatizing) artifacts of "accessibility": grab bars and tactile navigation in colors, materials, and textures that broke the integrity of the design of the space, Braille captioning that was easily located visually, etc. After an orientation with the designer they agreed that the design's non-traditional integration of handholds, navigation aids, and placement of Braille were superior as well as non-stigmatizing.

The auditors working from an internalized list of "accessibility features" had themselves failed to realize that the designer had achieved both accessibility and avoided reconstructing disability through stigmatized solutions. It must be remembered that even stakeholders with disabilities may need training in the tools such as Universal Design that are available to designers.

The Travel and Hospitality Industry as Locus of Transformation

The travel and hospitality industry will be the site of the next major developments in Universal Design.

A typical legislated strategy for social inclusion employs the language of rights. It mandates access to government properties and services in the name of citizenship, human, or civil rights. It extends the argument to the business sector and mandates compliance through threat of sanction.

Such a strategy is sound and within the purview of government. Yet it is not sufficient.

Persons with disabilities in numerous countries report accessibility requirements that conflict within the same jurisdiction, corruption that allows regulations to be ignored, and a general failure on the part of those regulated to imagine any accommodation beyond the mandated minimum.

A parallel approach is to use the industry's profit motive to achieve accessibility, employment, & attitude change for the benefit of the disability community.

Aside from metropolitan transit and national rail systems the infrastructure of transportation and lodging - of tourism - is under private ownership. In the language of private business the laws protecting the rights of people with disabilities place them in the category of cost center or as legal risks of lawsuits to be managed. While establishing a necessary legal baseline against discrimination such laws evoke a resistance response that, in practice, prevents business from imagining people with disabilities as a lucrative customer base.

Over the past several years the disability community has had some success gaining the attention of the tourism industry with research such as that done by the Open Doors Organization that US travelers with disabilities alone spend an average of $13.6 billion annually on travel.[6]

During this period I have been researching, refining, and promoting a reconciliation of these two approaches to social change where legislative scaffolding sustains the market for profit-based incentive. While some countries may never adopt national civil rights legislation for people with disabilities, approval of the UN Declaration on the Rights of People with Disabilities will radically change the business and legislative ecosystems and raise expectations in the disability community. Tourism remains largely unprepared for the future impact of this UN document. As a global industry that is increasingly being held accountable to social responsibility metrics such as the inverse of Universal Design - Green Design[7] - tourism may become more receptive than governments themselves to accommodating persons with disabilities.

I have proposed to the Echoing Green Foundation the creation of a series of strategically located Centers of Excellence promoting Universal Design within the travel and hospitality industry. We call this application of Universal Design to tourism Inclusive Tourism and Inclusive Destination Development.[8]

Each Center of Excellence will work to standardize the diversity of accessibility laws, disseminate accessibility guidelines for hotels, train travel & hospitality industry staff, and promote the education and hiring of persons with disabilities in the industry. At the local level we will increase accessibility of the tourist destinations hosting the Centers and train a core of persons with disabilities as self-sustaining regional experts in Inclusive Tourism.

Expected outcomes include increased tourism infrastructure accessibility (hotels, airports, and transit systems), greater self-reported social inclusion of people with disabilities and disabled peoples' organizations (DPOs) (i.e. people with disabilities hired in the industry and DPOs contracted as travel industry suppliers), as well as people with disabilities positively portrayed as valued customers marketing by the industry.

This project will engage industry's self-interest in profit by recruiting and training an overlooked workforce, product development for this under-served market, best practices dissemination to an awakening industry, and marketing a new image of disability completing a feedback loop that encourages more in the disability community to travel.

Conclusion

Cultural factors influence the adoption of projects involving Universal Design as well as the development of the approach itself. These cultural factors include social groupings traditionally understood as cultures. They also include the communities of persons with disabilities as an aggregate and as sub-cultures differentiated by disability.

Universal Design, as a product of disability culture, represents an authentic voice of disability culture when understood as a design process and not a catalog of sanctioned and static design solution or "accessibility features."

Yet as a voice competing among other social systems and cultures Universal Design must be clearly articulated and intentionally directed.

One area of promise for shaping the Universal Design of the future is in dialogue with the cultures into which it is introduced. One vehicle for animating such a dialogue is the global travel and hospitality industry operating out of the profit, in addition to the rights and entitlement, motive. A network of Centers of Excellence of Inclusive Tourism and Inclusive Destination Development offers a scalable and sustainable mechanism for the continued development of Universal Design as an authentic voice of the disability community worldwide.

- 30 -

 

 

Dr. Scott Rains writes daily on travel and issues in the tourism industry of interest to people with disabilities. His work appears online at www.RollingRains.com andhttp://withtv.typepad.com/weblog/travel/ . Rains' articles have also appeared in New Mobility, Emerging Horizons, Contours, Accessible Portugal, Audacity, Travel and Transitions, eTur Brazil, Turismo Polibea, [with]TV, and Disaboom among others.

For his research on the topic of Universal Design and the travel and hospitality industry he was appointed as Resident Scholar at the Center for Cultural Studies of the University of California Santa Cruz (2004-05).

He is active as a consultant and speaker.

[1] Compiled by advocates of Universal Design in 1997. Participants are listed in alphabetical order: Bettye Rose Connell, Mike Jones, Ron Mace, Jim Mueller, Abir Mullick, Elaine Ostroff, Jon Sanford, Ed Steinfeld, Molly Story, Gregg Vanderheiden. The Principles are copyrighted to the Center for Universal Design, School of Design, State University of North Carolina at Raleigh [USA].The Principles established a valuable language for explaining the characteristics of Universal Design. They are in common use around the world, sometimes with slight modifications, primarily one or two principles grouped together. Source: Adaptive Environments

[2] One hallmark of disability studies is its adherence to what has been called a "social model of disability" (Abberley, 1987), first suggested by Vic Finkelstein (1980) and other disability rights activists, in which disability is understood as a form of oppression. Although "social model" is the most common usage of the concept, I agree with Vic Finkelstein (2001, ¶. 2) that the phrase "social interpretation" is a better and more inclusive representation of disability studies standpoints. In this paper, I use "social model" to refer to the traditional historical-materialist version of the social interpretation of disability. In contrast, I use "social interpretation" to refer to the wider array of disability theories in disability studies (e.g., disability identity, disability embodiment, disability discourse). As a whole, social interpretations of disability contrast with typical educational views wherein "disability" represents innate individual deficits. In disability studies, the disability-as-deficit notion is referred to as a clinical or medical model and is rejected as the basis for understanding the lived experiences of disabled people because it tends to pathologize difference and rely upon expert knowledge (i.e., physicians, special educators, rehabilitation counselors) to "remediate" difference (Society for Disability Studies, Guidelines for Disability Studies, ¶ 3). Disability Studies in Education: Readings in Theory and Method (2005, New York: Peter Lang) Source:http://www.nl.edu/dse/SusanGabel.htm

[3] Source:http://www.rollingrains.com/archives/Tourism_for_all_in_Europe_Leidner_2006.pdf

[4] Handbook of Disability Studies, Gary L. Albrecht, Katherine D. Seelman, Michael Bury, 2001 Sage Publications , ISBN 076192874X


[5] Personal communication, 2004

[6] Open Doors Organization, 2005

[7] It [Universal Design] has a parallel in the green design movement that also offers a framework for design problem solving based on the core value of environmental responsibility. Universal Design and green design are comfortably two sides of the same coin but at different evolutionary stages. Green design focuses on environmental sustainability, Universal Design on social sustainability. Source:http://www.adaptiveenvironments.org/index.php?Itemid=3&option=Content

[8] Sources: http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/travel_with_disabilities/114773 andhttp://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/travel_with_disabilities/115176

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