April 2013 Archives

ReaTech 2013

At REATECH 2013.


Woodworkers Discover Universal Design

From Woodworking Network:

Cabinetry, hardware and component engineering that feed the growing 'Universal Design' movement are the dominant trend at KBIS 2013 - along with mixed and contrasting colors, reclaimed wood and updated classic and rustic designs. Glass is also figuring big in many of the cabinet designs on view here.

The Universal Design approach - which mixes in features of accessibility, and fixtures that allowr consumers to comfortably age in place, in home interior appointments. On the show floor, this results in hardware and component solutions like pull-out shelves instead of lazy suzans, slide-open and tambour doors that don't impede access or obstruct walkways, and servo-motorized door and drawer hardware  that put hard-to-reach within easy reach, especially for aging boomers who are getting less limber.



A culture shift is taking place in senior living architecture and design, as firms look to eliminate existing "nursing" elements in favor of new features that foster social engagement and technology advancement.

For skilled nursing facilities (SNFs), that might mean eliminating traditional nursing stations to make way for resident engagement and technology, while for other assisted living and independent living it can mean implementing design elements into units that can accommodate all age types and physical abilities.

Largely, there has been a push for universal design, or a solution that produces building features that are usable and effective for everyone, not just people with disabilities or physical limitations.

Full article:


Venezia accessibile

Mappa della Venezia accessibile

La mappa della Venezia accessibile

La mappa sull'accessibilità del centro storico e delle isole di Venezia (ottobre 2012) è stata realizzata dal Servizio Città per tutti in collaborazione con l'Ufficio EBA Eliminazione Barriere Architettoniche. 
La mappa fornisce sinteticamente il maggior numero di informazioni e di indicazioni pratiche per favorire alle persone con disabilità motoria di visitare la città. 
Da un lato viene messo in evidenza il grado di accessibilità delle varie insule determinato dalle presenza/assenza delle linee di trasporto pubblico, differenziando con vari colori le aree accessibili con vaporetto (colore verde), quelle accessibili con motoscafo, con ponte "agevolato" o servoscala (colore verde chiaro) e quelle non accessibili con i mezzi di trasporto pubblico (colore bianco). 
Dall'altro lato, per rispondere nel modo più esaustivo possibile alle richieste di turisti o cittadini che vogliono visitare la città, sul retro della mappa sono state raccolte tutte le informazioni relative a: 
- sportelli informativi del Comune e della Provincia di Venezia; 
- terminali turistici (stazione ferroviaria, Aeroporto, stazione marittima); 
- parcheggi; 
- fermate del trasporto pubblico di navigazione; 
- servizi igienici pubblici; 
- ponti "agevolati" (con servoscala, elevatore o a gradino agevolato). 
Nel 2010 il Comune di Venezia ha deciso di rimuovere i servoscala collocati sui ponti poichè non garantiscono il servizio a cui erano destinati. In attesa di soluzioni alternative che ripristinino nuovamente l'accessibilità alle insule, vi invitiamo dove possibile ad utilizzare i mezzi pubblici acquei ACTV.

Per ulteriori informazioni inviare un messaggio a cittapertutti@comune.venezia.it oppure compilare il modulo di richiesta informazioni online


IBM and Carnegie Mellon University To Create Smarter Infrastructure Lab

Collaborative Research Will Aim To Make Cities and Businesses More Intelligent

PITTSBURGH--IBM (NYSE: IBM) and Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) announced today that they will create a collaborative research lab at the university to undertake research and create technologies to help cities, governments and industries worldwide develop smarter infrastructures.

The new lab is part of the Pennsylvania Smart Infrastructure Incubator (PSII) and will be located within theDepartment of Civil and Environmental Engineering on the CMU campus in Pittsburgh, PA. The (PSII) is a Commonwealth of Pennsylvania economic development initiative to create an incubator for advanced infrastructure technology in partnership with industry and the state. The lab is planned to be operational in the fall of 2010.

The IBM Smarter Infrastructure Lab at Carnegie Mellon University will develop technologies that are consistent with IBM's Smarter Planet initiative, IBM's offerings in Business Analytics and Optimization, and CMU's work within itsCenter for Sensed Critical Infrastructure Research. The new lab will be a focal point and catalyst for collaboration with like-minded research colleagues from IBM Research and across CMU including their engineering, architecture, public policy and business schools. It will also be an important resource at Carnegie Mellon University to educate and train future scientists and engineers to build smarter cities.

At the lab, researchers will collect and analyze massive amounts of data about the physical condition and energy efficiency of buildings, water pipelines and other infrastructure on which governments, businesses and societies depend. One of the research initiatives the lab will undertake is to explore physical infrastructures with innovative digital sensor networks that will produce large amounts of new data that will be acquired in real-time and integrated with advanced analytical tools. Such analysis will be directed to detect patterns, understand exposure to risks, and help predict outcomes of management and operational decisions with greater certainty.

"At Carnegie Mellon, we've been working for a number of years on interdisciplinary research to help better manage critical infrastructure using advanced technologies. Our goal has been to deploy a variety of sensors to collect significant amounts of new data that can be analyzed and turned into actionable information so that people who build, maintain or manage infrastructure can do so in a more efficient and cost effective manner," said James H. Garrett, Jr., the Thomas Lord professor and chair of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. "IBM's much appreciated support will help establish a new, state-of-the-art lab where we will be able to showcase research and technology development on our Pittsburgh campus. In addition to supporting us with technology and analytical tools, our collaboration with IBM will also enable highly valuable interactions with IBM researchers worldwide in this domain."
Government agencies at the municipal, city, state and federal level along with businesses from diverse industry sectors will be invited to partner with the lab.  Some of these partners will make data from their diverse infrastructures available to the lab while others may provide complementary technologies or support additional research activity. The lab will also be integrated with a new Collaboration and Distance Learning Center to be located in CMU's Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, where leaders can meet -- either physically or virtually -- to learn how smarter infrastructures can make them more competitive.

"Making the infrastructure of our cities, communities, and industries more instrumented, interconnected and intelligent can make it more sustainable from both an economic and an environmental perspective," said Wayne Balta, vice president, corporate environmental affairs and product safety, IBM. "With Carnegie Mellon University's renowned reputation in engineering and IBM's leadership regarding a Smarter Planet and business analytics, this new lab can drive innovation and develop new technologies to help leaders worldwide optimize their use of finite resources."

Contacts: Randy Zane / IBM Media Relations / 914-945-1655 / rzane@us.ibm.com
                Chriss Swaney / Carnegie Mellon / 412-268-5776 / swaney@andrew.cmu.edu

Eight out of 10 workers with disabilities prefer the option to telecommute to other sought-after perks; paid time off tops list

(CHICAGO) May 7, 2013 -- Workers with disabilities say telecommuting is a key workplace benefit, with eight out of 10 (81.1%) saying they would like the option to telecommute at least part time, according to a national survey released by Think Beyond the Label, a private-public collaborative that helps businesses and the public workforce system connect to job seekers with disabilities.

Telecommuting was the second-ranked workplace benefit (39.3%) in the national survey released today, surpassing flexible spending programs, which help pay for costs such as healthcare and commuting (14.2%), onsite fitness centers and services (2.0%) and free or subsidized meals (0.8%) as the most wanted employee perk, just behind paid time off (42.5%), such as for maternity leave.

More than a perk

Less than one-third (28.7%) of respondents say their employer currently offers telecommuting, though more than half (67.1%) say they would work for a company even if it did not offer telecommuting at least part time. Still, telecommuting can be more than a perk for some people with disabilities. Of respondents who say they telecommute:

-More than one-third (37.1%) telecommute because their employer lets them

-One in five (20%) telecommute because their office is located far away from where they live

-17.1% telecommute to accommodate a disability

-4.3% telecommute because of inadequate public or private transportation options

"People with disabilities, like anyone else, look for jobs that offer strong workplace benefits such as telecommuting," says Barbara Otto, CEO of Health & Disability Advocates, the Chicago-based policy and advocacy organization that operates Think Beyond the Label. "This survey underscores the need for moreemployers to offer telecommuting as a way to cast a wider net for talent and open up more full-time employment opportunities to all workers, regardless of a disability."

Otto cites Fortune's100 Best Companies to Work For in 2013, where eight of the top 10 companies offer telecommuting options, and DiversityInc's Top 10 Companies for People with Disabilities, where flexible work options are a criterion for the award.

Productivity enhancement

Most workers with disabilities (73.5%) say they believe telecommuting makes them more efficient in their jobs, and the majority (70.6%) says they do not require accessible or assistive technologies to perform their jobs remotely. For those who do require technologies (29.4%), the majority of the solutions cost less than $500:

·Nearly half (48.6%) use a keyboard or mouse solution

·Four out of 10 (40%) use accessible tablets and smart phones

·About one-third (34.3%) use communications tools such as dictation software or speech-to-text programs

·Nearly one in four (24.3%) use adjustable-height desks

·About one in five (21.4%) use a screen reader

Think Beyond the Label 2013 Online Career Fair Series

To help employers recruit more qualified workers with disabilities, Think Beyond the Label is partnering with Brazen Careerist on a series of online career fairs. Past and upcoming participating employers include AT&T, Boeing, NextEra Energy, Pearson, The Hartford, Union Pacific, United Health Group, University of North Carolina, the University of Southern California and more.

DATES: May 21, July 30 and Oct. 22

TIMES: 1.00 pm - 4.00 pm Eastern Time

SIGN UP: Online registration is available now

About the Survey

This survey was commissioned by Think Beyond the Label and conducted April 15 to April 26, 2013. This online survey reflects a sampling of more than 200 respondents who are employed or seeking work; the majority (93.2%) self-identified as a person with a disability. Approximately two-thirds of survey participants (65.3%) have a bachelor's degree or higher, and the majority (85.8%) hold six or more years of job experience.

Why French Kids Don't Have ADHD

French children don't need medications to control their behavior.

In the United States, at least 9% of school-aged children have been diagnosed with ADHD, and are taking pharmaceutical medications. In France, the percentage of kids diagnosed and medicated for ADHD is less than .5%. How come the epidemic of ADHD--which has become firmly established in the United States--has almost completely passed over children in France?

Is ADHD a biological-neurological disorder? Surprisingly, the answer to this question depends on whether you live in France or in the United States. In the United States, child psychiatrists consider ADHD to be a biological disorder with biological causes. The preferred treatment is also biological--psycho stimulant medications such as Ritalin and Adderall.

French child psychiatrists, on the other hand, view ADHD as a medical condition that has psycho-social and situational causes. Instead of treating children's focusing and behavioral problems with drugs, French doctors prefer to look for the underlying issue that is causing the child distress--not in the child's brain but in the child's social context. They then choose to treat the underlying social context problem with psychotherapy or family counseling. 

This is a very different way of seeing things from the American tendency to attribute all symptoms to a biological dysfunction such as a chemical imbalance in the child's brain.

Send this man out of the country where he can do some real good for people.

Seoul Park.jpg
A key funder just pulled out of a project and another wants to talk sponsorship but on her turf -- in São Paulo, Brazil at the ReaTech disability expo. I'm in an odd dilemma.

The project will create a network of alliances and a series of resources allowing travelers with disabilities to travel throughout Brazil once they are there for the 2016 Paralympics and Olympics and for the FIFA Soccer World Cup next year. The expo on April 18 will bring key stakeholders together. I need to I need to get down there to bring them to agreement on the project and secure their funding. 

In other words, I need a few people to chip in on the cost of airfare and a hotel. Will you contribute?

I can't give complete details on the major project until after the Brazilian government signs on but I can promise that I won't just be spending time on the beach after the negotiations this trip.

Pro bono I'll be: 

(OK, only after all that will I go to the beach and spend a day learning from Brazil's flagship beach accessibility program AdaptSurf.) 

 So if you click right here, you can say, "I helped!"


Thank you!

From Jane.jpg

Rachel Adelson makes a humorous but effective point about Universal Design with a reference to the movies in What We Can Learn About Aging in Place from Jurassic Park?

As the experts overlook the 25% of the world's population with disabilities as a market...

Experts from the travel and tourism industry are calling out for the introduction of measures that create easier access to travel worldwide during a session at the Arabian Hotel Investment Conference on Sunday.

The global travel and tourism industry contributes massively to the global economies.

"It accounts for one in every 11 jobs... nine per cent of global GDP," said Geoffrey Breeze, executive director at the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC).

However, despite the industry's positive developments, there remains the issue of barriers to travel. These include visa restrictions, inadequate infrastructure, restricted approaches to taxation and employment, Breeze said.

Source: http://gulfnews.com/business/aviation/air-travel-must-be-easily-accessible-experts-1.1179545

From The Times of India:

They make up nearly 20 per cent of our population. Here are those who've made tourism accessible for the disabled.

In 2010, the Ministry of Tourism released some figures for hoteliers to chew on â€" 18.11 per cent of the population (186 million folks) stand to benefit from accessible travel, a phrase used to describe suitable travelling conditions for persons with disability (PWDs). This includes everything from toilets to availability of assistants who can communicate in sign language. They even issued guidelines to the Archeological Survey of India and four- and five-star hotels on how to be accessible. However, the ground reality is far from perfect in most tourist-friendly locations.

Read the full story:


Let's Learn from Meg

Unfortunately Meg's videos are not closed-captioned for full accessibility. 

 Dancing with Can Openers

Feeding the Oven

The Singapore Accessible Building Code.


Universal Design Summit 5

Creating Livable Homes & Communities

May 6-8, 2013 in St. Louis, Missouri

Good Universal Design

As North America's only conference focused on universal housing and neighborhoods, the Universal Design Summit 5 continues to provide exceptional content on universal design in housing, sustainable community design, and affordability to create living environments usable by all. In May, the conference will add significant content on remodeling, accessibility and commercial projects.

European Beach Access Best Practices from Elsa Integracio.

Building a new home in a kid-friendly neighborhood wasn't the only priority for Julie Brocklehurst and Andrew Boland. In fact, their entire house had to be custom kid friendly. With their 8-year-old son, Brennen, in a wheelchair, they needed to design a functional, comfortable space that would work well for him for years to come. 

Working with Carter Home Designs and an occupational therapist from Janeway Children's Health and Rehabilitation Centre, the couple created a smart open-concept home tailored to the family, from a playroom basement that is accessible from the outside to wider hallways and other amenities.

Read more and see photos at:

The Universal Design Mark Awards are voluntary standards for inclusion set forward by the Building and Construction Authority of Singapore. They were established in 2012.


From Kao:

We strive to deliver "user-friendly products" by focusing on "accessibility," "safety" and "usability".

Kao Venn.jpg

The Accessibility symbol website is an accessibility databank, featuring a collection of relevant pictograms and general information on accessibility signeage.

The databank is based on the 'Accessibility symbol project' conducted by the 'Helsinki for All' project and interest groups in 2010-2011. The purpose of this project was to compile and design pictograms indicating accessible functions and general public services that need to be accessible and clearly signposted.

The databank includes symbols designed and drawn in the course of the project as well as existing accessibility symbols already in use. In many cases, the new symbols are based on existing ones. The symbols designed in the course of the project form a coherent series that can be deployed on service maps, indoor signs, outdoor signs and online publicity. The symbols were designed by Kokoro & Moi Oy.

In addition to accessibility symbols, there are many general service symbols in the databank. There are also pointers to standards and design directives featuring pictograms.

The pictograms in the databank are divided into the following categories:

The databank now has its first collection of pictograms, and it will be added to from time to time.

Note that not all of the symbols in the databank are free for use; there are standard and official symbols for whose use a separate permit must be obtained. Information on whom to contact regarding the use and availability of these symbols is included in the databank. All of the symbols developed in the 'Accessibility symbol project' may be used freely for non-commercial purposes. You can find all those symbols here.

The symbols developed in the project may be downloaded in JPEG format and AI (vector graphics) format. Some of the symbols compiled from other databanks are available in EPS format in addition to JPEG.

Source: http://www.hel.fi/hki/HKR/en/Helsinki+for+All/Accessibility+symbols

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