July 2013 Archives

2 to 13 September: 10th session of the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
The 10th session will take place in Geneva and include the Adoption of concluding observations for Australia, Austria and El Salvador, as well as the Adoption of list of issues for Azerbaijan, Costa Rica and Sweden. (www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/CRPD/Pages/Session10.aspx)

9 to 11 September: 6th International Urban Design Conference
The Conference will be held at the Novotel Sydney Olympic Park.  The conference "UrbanAgiNation" urbanisation | agitation | imagination will examine future density and infrastructure requirements in cities. The call for abstracts is now open. (urbandesignaustralia.com.au)

23 September: High-level Meeting on Disability and Development (HLMDD)
(See item above).  

24 September: Global Partnership on Children with Disabilities (GPcwd)
UNICEF will host the second gathering of the GPcwd. The GPcwd is a network of more than 240 organizations, including Governments, UN agencies, international NGOs, national/local NGOs, Disabled People’s Organizations (DPOs), academia and the private sector, working to advance the rights of children with disabilities at the global, regional and country levels. With a rights-based approach, the Partnership provides a platform for advocacy and collective action to ensure the rights of children with disabilities are included and prioritized by both the Disability and Child Rights Movement.(www.unicef.org/disabilities/index_65319.html;gpcwd@unicef.org).

25 September: Special event to follow up on efforts on MDGs
A special event to follow up on efforts made towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals, in accordance with General Assembly resolution 65/1. (www.un.org/millenniumgoals/summitstroy.shtml)  

13 October: International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction 2013
This year's commemoration will focus on disability. The theme of the Day is: "A Not So Obvious Conversation - Disability and Disasters”.  Commemorative events will also be held at UN Headquarters in New York. (www.unisdr.org/2013/iddr/)  

16 to 18 October: 2nd International Conference of the WFD
The 2nd Conference of the World Federation of the Deaf (WFD) will be held in Sydney, Australia under the theme: “Equality for Deaf People”. (www.wfdsydney2013.com)

24 to 26 October: ICTA2013
The fourth International Conference on ICT & Accessibility (ICTA2013) is organized by the Research Laboratory of Technologies of Information and Communication and Electrical Engineering (LaTICE), of the University of Tunis in collaboration with The Computing Center EL KHAWARIZMI (CCK), with the technical co-sponsorship of IEEE Tunisian Section.  This year’s edition of ICTA has the theme of “Design 4 all”.  (www.icta.rnu.tn/)

On the Tarmac with Delta Airlines



A former professor of philosophy at the California State University, Long Beach, and current head of the Lovevolution Foundation and a Maui, Hawaii, resident was forced to crawl in his nicest suit hand over hand through the main cabin floor of the Delta aircraft, down a narrow flight of stairs and across the tarmac to his wheelchair. There were a great number of people watching, but not helping. Flight attendants gave no assistance.

Delta Airlines was served with a legal complaint number CV13-00365KSC filed on July 23, 2013 in the US District court in Hawaii by D. Baraka Kanaan. Mr. Kanaan, who suffers from paraparesis, a partial paralysis of his legs, which renders him unable to walk, was subject to this appallingly outrageous treatment by Delta Airlines agents.

It was alleged Mr. Kanaan suffered intense physical and extreme emotional suffering as a result of the defendant's action and omissions.

Mr. Kanaan was involved in an accident in 2000 and his condition has deteriorated.

Mr. Kanaan had called Delta Airlines several weeks in advance of his flight and spoke to a customer service representative to confirm that he is disabled, that he would be traveling with his own wheelchair, and that he required the use of an aisle seat and lift to access the aircraft, because he cannot walk.

The Delta representative assured him that all was noted in the company's computer and his PNR, and that he would be received and given reasonable accommodation for his disability.

The Delta flight that he was scheduled on (DL4245) was cancelled on July 26, 2012 for weather-related conditions. Mr. Kanaan was then rescheduled on a flight on a connecting flight on July 27 from Maui to Nantucket, Massachusetts, USA, on DL 4110.

Upon his arrival at Nantucket Airport, Mr. Kanaan was informed by one of the flight attendants that the airline did not have the required safety equipment to bring him from his seat to the airplane door, nor did they have a lift to go down the stairs from the aircraft to the tarmac to retrieve his wheelchair.

The Airline Carrier Access Act (ACAA) and applicable federal regulations require airlines to have such equipment available in order to accommodate disabled passengers such as Mr. Kaanan.

Delta did not.

When Mr. Kanaan asked what his options were, the flight attended said, they could not get him off the plane.

Despite a clearly visible lift at an adjacent gate, Mr. Kanaan was forced to crawl down the aisle of the airplane, down the stairs of the aircraft and across the tarmac to his wheelchair without any assistance from the crew or the use of any mandated safety equipment.

During this entire incident, no efforts were made by Delta Airlines to secure the lift of an aisle chair from Jet Blue or any other airline operating in the airport. Purportedly fearful of liability, the flight crew refused to assist Mr. Kanaan, instead serving as spectators themselves.

Once Mr. Kanaan was in his wheelchair and made it to the airport terminal without assistance, he filed a complaint and spoke with Dough Dole of Delta's Salt Lake City disability desk. He was given a reference number and was offered a US$100 voucher.

During this call Mr. Kanaan specifically and adamantly informed Mr. Dole that he would be flying out from Nantucket to return to Maui in 2 days and that he would need the proper equipment for his return trip. Mr. Dole assured Mr. Kanaan that the proper equipment was available at Nantucket airport and would be made available to Mr. Kanaan for his return trip.

Two days later Mr. Kanaan's return flight, DL4245, was again delayed. When boarding finally began, Mr. Kanaan was again informed that the necessary equipment, an aisle chair and a lift, were unavailable, but that they could provide a piece of cardboard to put down so that his clothes wouldn't get dirty.

Again, Mr. Kanaan was forced to crawl across the tarmac, up the stairs of the Delta aircraft, down the aisle, and hoist himself into his seat on the aircraft, which was physically painful. Again many passengers watched this transpire, causing grave embarrassment and a feeling of dehumanization.

It appears such complaints are nothing new to Delta. Just a year before, Delta received no less than 5,000 complaints against it and was ordered to pay record-breaking fines for this egregious mistreatment of disabled passengers.
Some of the complaints included:

- Delta left a blind woman alone in a wheelchair on a moving walkway.

- Delta failed to bring an 81-year-old man to a hotel after canceling his flight. The man had to sleep in a wheelchair.

- An elderly couple in wheelchairs missed an international flight because Delta failed to board them.

- A woman who needs a ventilator to breathe was removed from a Delta flight, which was a return flight, because the Delta flight crew inexplicably determined that her ventilator and medical equipment could not be brought to the plane.

This time Delta offered Mr. Kanaan 25,000 Skymiles as a compensation. Mr. Kanaan found this offer insulting and refused to accept it.

Mr. Kanaan was then connected with Delta's corporate headquarters. There, Mr. Kanaan was told he was speaking to the highest person available, a women named Rachel, who provided Mr. Kanaan with a corporate case number. To literally add insult to injury, Rachel offered an even smaller amount of Skymiles. When Mr. Kanaan declined, Rachel terminated the phone call, hanging up on him, saying there was nothing more Delta could or would do.

ETN today called the same number (404-773-0305) and finally was connected to a recording saying due to many complaints, Delta was unable to answer the call and to try again later.

Statement of the National Disability Leadership Alliance on the 23rd Anniversary of the Signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act
July 25, 2013

This week, people with disabilities across the country are celebrating the 23rd anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This was the first comprehensive federal civil rights statute protecting the rights of people with disabilities. The ADA established that people with disabilities have equal opportunity in employment, state and local government, places of public accommodation, and telecommunications. 

Despite the ADA's promise of equal opportunity for people with disabilities, it is clear that more work must be done so that people with disabilities are to be valued as equal citizens and welcomed in all aspects of American life. Today, far too many people with disabilities are forced to live in institutions, forced to receive unwanted treatment, denied programs and services, or to be paid less than minimum wage. On a regular basis, our civil, constitutional, and parental rights are disregarded or stripped away. 

Our lives and expertise are not valued equally - with dire consequences. Healthcare professionals refuse to communicate with us, overrule the decisions we make or those made by our authorized surrogates; law enforcement and the courts too often fail to treat those who kill people with disabilities the same as those who kill nondisabled people, particularly when an individual has been killed by a family member. 

Our very freedom of movement can be deprived and our rights stripped from us on the basis of arbitrary and capricious decisions about our capacity. Furthermore, the voices of people with disabilities are frequently ignored in favor of parent and provider organizations that speak about us, without us. Policymakers have ignored our expertise about our own lives, issues and desires, instead of allowing providers, academics and family members to speak for us even though we may have very different priorities and interests. For those in the disability community from diverse communities, the discrimination that they face as people with disabilities is compounded by issues of race, gender, religious affiliation and sexual orientation.


The Americans with Disabilities Act became law because the disability community rallied together in an unprecedented way. We must now work together again to take the next step in advancing our rights, including the following: 

We must assure that America's 57 million people with disabilities are able to participate fully in society by updating accessibility standards, including those related to nonvisual access by people who are blind and non-auditory access by people who are deaf or hard of hearing, to address newly developing technologies and assuring that people with disabilities have access to the modern assistive devices necessary to fully participate in American life, from hearing aids to screen readers to complex rehab technology.

We must assure that people with disabilities have real economic opportunities by eliminating the discriminatory employment laws and rules that allow people with disabilities to be paid less than minimum wage, by creating incentives for employers for hiring and promotion of people with disabilities, by expanding customized, supported work opportunities including self-employment, paid community service, job restructuring and other flex arrangements and by fostering new opportunities for youth with disabilities transitioning from school that promote competitive integrated employment.

We must strengthen the ADA's integration mandate so that people with disabilities have the services and supports they need to live in their own homes and apartments in the communities of their choosing. We must end the institutional bias in the Medicaid program by requiring that every state participating in Medicaid pay for home and community based services so that every individual who is eligible for Long Term Services and Supports under Medicaid is guaranteed their federally protected right to a real choice in how they receive services and supports. We must reform the services and support systems that are now based on arbitrary medical or governmental labels to remove conflicts with the principles laid out in the ADA and assure that people with disabilities have the opportunity for full integration by developing and funding service and support approaches that promote the cross-disability and "most integrated setting" concepts that underpin the ADA. 

We must assure that people with disabilities - including those with chemical or electrical sensitivities - are able to access the full range of affordable, accessible and integrated housing options in the communities of their choosing. We must assure that all newly constructed, federally assisted single family homes and townhouses include basic accessibility so that these homes are not being built to exclude people with mobility disabilities. 

We must end our broken and arbitrary system of guardianship and substituted decision making, in accordance with Article 12 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. For too long, the legal capacity of people with disabilities who require assistance with their finances and/or healthcare or who have expressed desires inconsistent with those possessed by their family members have been permanently stripped and denied to them. By putting in place a stronger infrastructure for supported decision-making, our community can facilitate the provision of support where people require it while not requiring a loss of legal capacity as a pre-condition for receiving such support. Additionally, we must work to restore the legal capacity and rights of the many people with disabilities who currently suffer under a system of guardianship with no acknowledgement of, or recognition for, the preferences of people with disabilities independent of their guardians.

We must assure that the lives of people with disabilities of all ages are equally valued, protected, cared for and preserved as the lives of nondisabled people. Healthcare providers must always communicate with persons with disabilities including through interpreters and other auxiliary aids and services to ensure equivalent healthcare services. Healthcare providers must never use perceived quality of life judgments, the cost of care, or other factors to overrule the decision to receive life-sustaining healthcare made by a person with a disability or their authorized surrogate. Healthcare providers must also zealously provide suicide prevention services for people with disabilities of all ages that are equivalent to the suicide prevention services they provide for nondisabled people. As such, we should never encourage or provide the means for any individual to commit suicide. 

We must assure that violence in any form against people with disabilities is not tolerated, and the prosecution and sentencing for homicides of people with disabilities must be treated in the same manner as homicides of people without disabilities. With the recent addition of disability as a protected class under the federal hate crimes statute, federal investigators and prosecutors must work to bring cases against those who take the lives of people with disabilities because of their disability, particularly when the perpetrators are a member of the victim's own family. We must assure that adequate funding is provided to support programs that assist people with disabilities who are victims of crime, including training for first responders, the creation of accessible shelters, and victim rights programs. We must ensure that the justice system is accessible to people with disabilities, using the ADA as a tool to support restorative justice. We must develop strong working relationships between the disability community and the justice system to address violence against people with disabilities. 

We must assure that the constitutional and civil rights of people with disabilities of all ages are safeguarded, particularly with respect to self-determination and direct communication. It is critical that these safeguards are in place regardless of the individual's actual or perceived capacity to make and communicate their own decisions. People with disabilities should not be subjected to forced treatment - including forced medication and hospitalization, and disability should never be used as a reason to diminish or remove our rights as parents.

We must protect children with disabilities from the use of aversives (painful stimulation used as negative reinforcement), as well as seclusion and restraints in schools by establishing strong, comprehensive national standards, an effective enforcement mechanism and the involvement of the disability community on effective alternatives for positive behavior change.

We must protect and vigorously enforce accessibility requirements in the Help America Vote Act so that every American can vote privately and independently and so that poll workers have the training they need.

We must create a bipartisan Congressional Task Force on human genetic technologies and disability rights to ensure that research and the results of research on these technologies include the voice of people with disabilities. 

We must confront and condemn organizations that speak about people with disabilities without us. Too often, organizations run without the voices of the people they purport to serve lobby policymakers to deprive the rights of people with disabilities, silence the voices of organizations run by people with disabilities and place their own ideologies and financial self-interests before the real needs and preferences of our community. Policymakers must acknowledge the necessity of hearing the voices of organizations run by and for people with disabilities as the primary stakeholder in policy discussions about disability, and people with disabilities must have substantive involvement in making the policy decisions that impact our lives. Finally, we must expand and support with funding the disability-led peer support and advocacy organizations that truly empower people with disabilities instead of channeling funds into outdated medical model organizations. 


Since 2008, leaders from the organizations that make up the National Disability Leadership Alliance have developed strong working relationships with each other. We understand the power our community has by working together more effectively on a common agenda. We are preparing detailed recommendations that propose administrative and legislative approaches to achieve the goals we describe above. We are also expanding our national community by organizing teleconference calls to use them to promote greater understanding of these issues, to explain how we are all impacted by them, and to explore strategies to work together to achieve the necessary changes.

As we celebrate the 23rd anniversary of the signing of the ADA, excitement is already building and planning has already begun for the quarter century anniversary. Today, we call on policymakers to work with us to achieve this vision so that - on the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act - we will not just be celebrating disability rights victories from a quarter century earlier, but heralding a new day in our movement.


National Disability Leadership Alliance (NDLA) is a national cross-disability coalition that represents the authentic voice of people with disabilities. NDLA is led by 14 national organizations run by people with disabilities with identifiable grassroots constituencies around the country.

Springboard Consulting, LLC® is pleased to announce the 2013 ASIA-PAC Region DISABILITY MATTERS honorees:


AXA Life Insurance
    Deutsche Bank    Goldman Sachs   UNIQLO/FAST RETAILING


Accenture    Cisco    Mindtree Limited  •  Thomson Reuters    Wipro


IndiGO Air
The Disability Matters Awards annually honors companies in the areas of: Marketplace, Workforce and Workplace that through innovative programs result in the successful outreach, recruitment, support and retention of candidates, employees and/or customers who have a disability. This year's winners will be honored at the inaugural 2013 ASIAPAC Region DISABILITY MATTERS Conference, on September 19, at Cisco's Globalization Centre in Bangalore, India.
The honorees represent the best of the best when it comes to the commitment required and actions necessary to successfully mainstream disability. These forward-thinking companies achieve their diversity vision through implementing cutting edge disability initiatives which improve performance, employee development, retention, and build market share.
"I am proud of in which ways companies are proactively seeking innovative approaches to include persons with disabilities weather they are customers, stake holders and/or employees. We are pleased and honored that Cisco is hosting this most important corporate event, along with this year's partner, Community Business and sponsors to include ABB, Accenture, as well as Intuit. Global sponsor is Ingersoll Rand", said Nadine Vogel, CEO of Springboard Consulting LLC.
The Inaugural ASIA-PAC Region DISABILITY MATTERS Conference will feature executive presenters from best practice corporations along with thought leaders, experts from academia and the non-profit sectors.
Companies interested in becoming a sponsor, or purchasing tickets, will find details by visiting: http://www.consultspringboard.com/category/disability-matters/disability-matters-2013-ap/.
For additional information please contact: Sigrid Senamaud: 001+ 973 813 1677 or Sigrid@consultspringboard.com

Travel Tips from Tyrone Cook

  • Tips:

  • When booking your trip, always tell the airline, cruise company or train company that you are a wheelchair user (or have any other mobility needs).
  • Let them know if you require assistance and if you do, what kind. If you are blind or deaf, make sure they are aware of this then they know you may not see or hear important information.
  • If going overseas, insure your wheelchair or other mobility aid. Although companies like Air New Zealand do their best to be careful with your equipment, things do happen during travel.
  • If going on a cruise, their accessible cabins are first in, first served unless you are willing to pay more and get a mini suite or a more expensive one.
  • When booking restaurants, always prebook early and alert them if you are a wheelchair user, this allows them to seat you appropriately. I recommend you arrive at the shows early too as there are only a number of wheelchair accessible spaces and they usually on one floor. I recommend you attend at least one show, they are well done and will have you in stitches.
  • Be prepared that on cruise boats, the ships going to the shore for day visits are not wheelchair accessible unless you can walk a little and the chair can be folded up. 

The Reader's Digest Partners for Sight Foundation is dedicated to increasing the self-reliance and dignity of blind and visually impaired persons. The foundation has issued a Request for Proposals for initiatives that align with its mission to assist the visually impaired and blind in leading independent and productive lives.

Through the RFP, the foundation seeks to fund sustainable projects with broad, practical applications and measurable outcomes. Priority will be given to new initiatives, but projects currently in development and requiring additional funding in order to be implemented will be considered as well.

In the first year of funding, grants of up to $300,000 will be awarded to qualified projects. Based on proven results, additional grants of up to $200,000 each will be awarded for up to two additional years.

To be eligible, organizations should be tax exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, although other options will be considered. The foundation does not award grants to individuals, lobbying organizations, medical research institutions, endowments, or charities operating outside the United States, or organizations or entities whose primary function is fundraising.

Brief pre-proposals must be received no later than September 30, 2013. Upon review, selected organizations will be invited to submit full proposals -- including a more detailed grant request, project narrative, and proposed budget -- which will be due by the end of January.

For complete program information and application guidelines, see the Reader's Digest Partners for Sight Foundation Web site.

Link to Complete RFP

The U.S. International Council on Disabilities (USICD), National Council on Independent Living (NCIL), Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund (DREDF), and the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights are hosting a press conference for the Disability Treaty (CRPD) on

Thursday, July 25, at 12:45PM on the lawn of the U.S. Capitol Reflecting Pool.  More details are below.

Please reserve 12:45PM-1:15PM on your calendars and gather as many colleagues as you can to be present for the press conference.

Events including CRPD: Thursday, July 25

10:30AM-11:30AM NCIL March to the Hill with CRPD banner

11:30AM-12:30PM NCIL Rally with CRPD signs


1:30PM-2:00PM Heading to Sen. Hatch office, Hart 104


If you can attend the press conference and/or other events please RSVP Eileen Magan atemagan@usicd.org

Kéroul will participate in the 6th Session of the Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities at UN Headquarters, New York, July 17-19 2013.

As part of its participation, Kéroul has the opportunity to present the first World Summit Destinations for All to be held in Montréal, October 19-22, 2014. This event aims to accomplish the following:

a) To make a decisive push forward on the determination of a set of international norms and standards with regards to accessible tourism and transportation;

b) To highlight the economic benefits for destinations to be fully inclusive and accessible, and to develop and enhance accessible tourist products;

c) To establish a world partnership and a common international strategy to develop universal accessibility for infrastructure and tourism services, transport services, and to increase the availability of information on different destinations' accessibility.

Keroul's presentations at the Conference of States Parties will demonstrate how theWorld Summit Destinations for All will support the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and how the Summit will contribute to determine what the targets will be after 2015.

Kéroul and its partners view tourism as a means of integration. Assessing whether a destination is accessible can mean verifying the accessibility of tourist services, accommodations, restaurants, transportation, urban infrastructures, attractions and shops. The first market segment to benefit from a destination's increased accessibility is the local population. Developing accessible destinations is also an investment that can be profitable in terms of hosting travellers with disabilities, an important and growing part of the world's population, currently estimated at 15%. Few businesses have the luxury of ignoring this significant market segment, which will only increase in the coming years with an aging population.

Tourism permits an international integration: those with disabilities want to know if they can find lodging and have accessible restaurants when they reach their destination. The accuracy of such information vis-à-vis internationally recognized standards becomes thus an essential consideration in their decision to travel or not.

More about the Summit...

The World Summit will prompt international organizations to join in an effort to make accessibility benchmarks and standards uniform across tourist establishments, attractions and transportation services.

Keroul and JPdL International are the official organizers of the Summit. The UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the International Social Tourism Organisation (ISTO), and the European Network for Accessible Tourism (ENAT), are some of the international organizations involved in the guidance of this Summit.

October 19 to 22, 2014 a

For more details about the Summit, visit


email destinations2014@jpdl.com

From Kristina Bagramian in the Ukraine:

Imagine that problem arises every time you want to leave your apartment, use public transportation, cross the street and get into a café or museum. What if this problem stands in the way of getting to your university, place of work, or of getting medical assistance?

Many people with disabilities in Ukraine face such difficulties every day.

In order to try to tackle this problem, the United Nations (UNDP, UNICEF, ILO, and WHO) joined forces with the Government and civil society organizations in Ukraine to promote policies that take into account the needs of people with disabilities.

The United Nations programme is encouraging the adoption of accessibility and universal designstandards by a wide variety of actors within society - from municipalities to private sector companies.

Universal design is a concept that states that all products, infrastructure, buildings, transport and services should be designed in way that makes them usable and accessible to as wide a range of people as possible.

Universal design is not only for people with disabilities but also for elderly people, parents with strollers, people with different body sizes and functional limitations.

Although awareness of universal design principles in Ukraine is quite low, I like to think that  there is a great level of ingenuity in the country that we could tap into to raise awareness of the issue and, perhaps most importantly, come up with solutions.

Just think of these amazing Ukrainian students who invented gloves that convert sign language into speech!

Could we work with other citizen experts to make universal design popular in Ukraine? I certainly like to think so!

So here's an invitation for interested organizations and individuals, both nationally or internationally, who are interested in joining our journey:

  • Do you have experience to share of promoting universal design and making sure the universal design principles are taken into account when designing public spaces, buildings, transport, products and services?
  • Have you developed or invented interesting solutions that can showcase the value of applying universal design principles to policy makers? Do you think they could be applicable in the Ukrainian context? Would you be interested in sharing your story?
  • Are you interested in co-developing a knowledge base (in Ukrainian and Russian) that decision-makers and community members can use to improve their understanding of universal design principles?

All pointers and suggestions are most welcome.

We are up against a major challenge - but I know that there is plenty of experience and energy that we can draw upon to make a real difference.


Comprehensive Accessibility/Special needs content on all

Royal Caribbean branded ships now available on SNG website


Fort Lauderdale, FL July 15th, 2013 - Continuing its commitment of "Delivering an Accessible World", Special Needs Group® (SNG) announced today that comprehensive access/special needs content for the Royal Caribbean International fleet is now available and can be found in the SNG Web Portalhttp://www.specialneedsatsea.com/cruise-accessibility/royal-caribbean/


SNG President and CEO, Andrew Garnett remarked: "We hope to have to have all ships serving the North American Travel Agent Distribution System loaded on our site by the end of the year. We are working closely with the Lines' Access Departments to insure content  integrity. When completed, it will represent the most robust, singular content source for Accessible and Special Needs content for Sellers of Cruises. All individual ship features, services, etc...that are meaningful and essential to this Client segment are listed in a user-friendly format."


Garnett concluded: "We have fleets of Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Club Cruises slated for release dates of July 22 and 29th, respectively. Additional Cruise Line release dates will be announced in early August".


In other news, SNG celebrated an Accessible Travel Milestone as the 1250th SNG Certified Accessible Travel Advocate was recorded. The program, launched in November of 2011 has attracted a growing audience of North American Travel Professionals. Information on this groundbreaking initiative can be found at http://www.specialneedsatsea.com/certification-program/

Sustainable Trails For All Conference will be held September 24-25, 2013 at Crotched Mountain Foundation:

1 Verney Drive
Greenfield, New Hampshire

With the upcoming release of the Federal Trail Accessibility Guidelines, communities and land 
trusts need to know how to sustainably build hiking trails that provide access for everyone. This conference will help you understand the guidelines and will provide an overview of the techniques and handson skills needed to build sustainable hiking trails that provide enjoyment for all. 

Whether you work with n existing trail or are contemplating a new trail, this conference is for you! 

Peter S. Jensen & Associates, LLC and
Crotched Mountain Foundation 

More info:


Are you a traveller with particular access requirements? Do you have a disability, or do you regularly travel with young children?


The European Commission is conducting an online survey in order to better understand the demand for accessible tourism, undertaken by GfK, theUniversity of SurreyProAsolutions andNeumannConsult.


The aim of this survey is to research the travel patterns and behaviour of people with specific access requirements. The topics covered in the questionnaire are designed to gain an understanding of your personal situation, your travel experiences and your thoughts about travelling in future, so that we can build up a picture of the demand for accessible tourism.


The survey results will be used for a report identifying options for improving the range of accessible tourism services, which will be widely disseminated among and evaluated by stakeholders in the sector, and your responses will ultimately help inform future policy.


To participate, register atwww.accessibletourismsurvey.com and enter your email address to receive a link to the questionnaire. The survey will be open until 22 August 2013.


We would also be very grateful if you could circulate this email to anyone who may be interested in participating.


Kind regards



Francesc Aragall
Director General
Tel: +34 93 470 59 99
Fax: +34 93 371 76 49

UAIA 2014 Set For Chicago

Universal Access in Airports, hosted biennially by ODO since 2006, will return to the organization's home town of Chicago in October 2014. 

This 2-day conference, which brings together various stakeholders in aviation, offers an open exchange of ideas and best practice solutions on customer service and accessibility for travelers with disabilities and seniors. Exact dates and conference hotel to be announced shortly.

The theme of this year's International Day of Persons with Disabilities is: “Break barriers, open doors: for an inclusive society for all”. The Day highlight and elaborate practical and concrete action to include disability in all aspects of development, as well as to further the participation of persons with disabilities in social life and development on the basis of equality. Activities to commemorate the Day will work to highlight progress and obstacles in implementing disability-sensitive policies, as well as to promote public awareness to break barriers and open doors to realize an inclusive society for all. (www.un.org/disabilities/default.asp?id=1607)

DESA, as the global focal point on disability issues of the UN system, organized its inaugural global forum to promote a dialogue on the post-2015 development framework and disability. The Forum held at UN Headquarters from 19 to 20 July, immediately following the closing of the sixth session of the Conference of States Parties, worked to contribute to on-going discussions toward a post-2015 UN development framework through exchange of experiences and ideas for disability-inclusive development.

Discussions covered the post-2015 development frameworks and specifically focused on: disaster risk reduction and disability inclusion; and accessibility for sustainable and equitable development for all: transportation, infrastructure and access to basic public services.
The Forum consisted of two interactive panels and a dialogue presided by H.E. Ambassador Dejan Sahovic, Deputy Chef de Cabinet of the Office of the President of the General Assembly.

The Forum contributed to an energetic and robust exchange of experiences and ideas on inclusion of the disability perspective in development. The Forum worked to expand networks of Member States, experts and civil society and academic organizations, as well as informal networks of practitioners on specific development issues. DESA will be working to strengthen partnerships with and among participants to continue dialogue and action towards a disability-inclusive post-2015 international development agenda.  

The Forum was sponsored by the Governments of Brazil, Kenya, Philippines and Thailand, and the World Bank, Disabled People's International (DPI), the Global Partnership for Disability and Development (GPDD), Leonard Cheshire Disability (LCD) and Rehabilitation International (RI).

Further details and presentations are available at:www.un.org/disabilities/default.asp?id=1611.

Online Survey

We have made a customer survey to gather visitors' views about the accessibility of tourism services and find out where improvements may be needed.

The survey has just 14 questions and will probably take you less than 10 minutes to complete.

Data collected in this survey will be treated anonymously and we do not ask for any information which can identify individual persons. We will not identify individual businesses that may be mentioned in answers, unless we have their permission, in advance, to do so.

If you live and travel in one of the European Union Member States or have visited an EU country in the last two years (that is, since June 2011), we would like to hear about yourexperiences and impressions of accessible tourism services in Europe.

Follow this direct link to the online Accessible Tourism Suppliers' Survey:   
(You will need to copy it exactly like this, as once you put it in the browser the URL changes).

You may forward this email to any friends, family members or consumer / advocacy associations who may be interested, so they may also fill in the survey form.

The survey is open until 30 September 2013 but we would like to analyse the "first wave" of results already in August, so please answer early if you can.

The results of the survey will be published online and disseminated at a European seminar hosted by the European Commission, scheduled for early 2014.    

(A parallel study will take an in-depth look at the economics and market demand for accessible tourism, with a more detailed questionnaire survey). 

If you are a tourism supplier in Europe or serving Europe-inbound markets, please answer the Suppliers' Survey!

Background information 

Accessible Tourism refers to tourism services that are suitable for people with disabilities or others who have specific access requirements when travelling or in destinations, accommodation, attractions, restaurants or other tourist facilities and activities.

A growing number of tourism suppliers in European countries, cities and regions are making adjustments to their offers and services to cater for this large and growing market.

We are now seeking the experience and advice of visitors to learn how accessible offers, facilities, transport and other tourism  services are working in practice and how they could be even better.   

Over the next half year ENAT and partners will map out the supply of accessible tourism services in all 28 Member States and carry out a "performance" check of what is on offer.

The study has been requested by the European Commission DG Enterprise and Industry, Tourism and Cultural Instruments Unit, in order to assess the need for possible policy support for this area.

You can find more information about the accessible tourism supply study here.

From Travel Impact Newswire

Australians with disability will be supported to attend conferences across the country, thanks to $350,000 from the Gillard Government under the National Disability Conference Initiative.

Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Carers Amanda Rishworth, today announced 34 conference organisers will receive grants of up to $12,000 to assist people with disability and their carers to attend a range of disability-focused conferences in 2013-2014.

"Conferences are a wonderful opportunity for people from all walks of life, including disability advocates and leading academics, to come together to learn and share experiences," Ms Rishworth said.

"Conferences support professional development and provide an opportunity for people with disability to further develop their leadership skills. Sadly, people with disability can still face barriers in accessing them. It is through initiatives like this that the Gillard Government is helping ensure that people with disability have the same opportunities as other Australians to fulfill their potential and participate fully in community life.

Read more: http://www.travel-impact-newswire.com/2013/06/australia-makes-its-conferences-more-accessible-for-people-with-disability/#ixzz2ag4TOMqz

The High-level Meeting of the General Assembly on Disability and Development (HLMDD) will take place at UN Headquarters on 23 September, the day before the opening of the General Debate of the 68th session of the General Assembly. The meeting is expected to adopt an action-oriented outcome document in support of the aims of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the realization of the Millennium Development Goals and other internationally agreed development goals for persons with disabilities.

Currently, the draft outcome document is in its final phase of the negotiation process. The document is a result of an extensive preparatory process that began in 2012 and consisted of informal consultations, online and regional consultations to ensure that concerns of all stakeholders were taken into account. The co-facilitators of the meeting, Philippines and Spain, will be taking necessary steps for the final phase of the negotiation of the outcome document.

Text of the draft outcome document is available in a letter from the President of the General Assembly to Member States and posted on his website at: http://www.un.org/en/ga/president/67/letters/pdf/High-level%20meeting%20on%20Disabilities%20-%205%20July%202013.pdf  

The final programme for the HLMDD, consisting of an opening plenary, two round table discussions, and a closing plenary, is still being developed by the Office of the President of the General Assembly. Round Table One, “International and regional cooperation and partnerships for disability-inclusive development.” will be co-chaired by Philippines and Spain. Round Table 2, “Post-2015 development agenda and inclusive development for persons with disabilities”, will be co-chaired by Finland and Tunisia.  (www.un.org/disabilities/default.asp?id=1590)

The UN Department of Public Information in collaboration with DESA has produced a short promotional video featuring Stevie Wonder, a UN Messenger of Peace and world renowned celebrity and performer. In the short video, Stevie Wonder calls on support for the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to be "signed, sealed and delivered by all countries, for everyone's sake". (http://webtv.un.org/watch/stevie-wonder-supports-the-un-convention-on-the-rights-of-persons-with-disabilities/2553535888001/)

The sixth session of the Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (COP) was held from 17 to 19 July 2013 under the theme “Ensuring adequate standards of living: empowerment and participation of persons with disabilities within the framework of the CRPD.”

The Conference is a unique global mechanism that allows for exchange of experience, ideas and best practices for implementation of the Convention, as well as for the building of multi-stakeholder partnerships for practical action. The Conference serves as a catalyst to realize the human rights and development of persons with disabilities, as well as to advance a disability-inclusive society for all.

While the number of States Parties to the Convention continues to grow, other stakeholders, including organizations of persons with disabilities, are increasingly becoming important partners in the implementation of the Convention, particularly in the common endeavor toward an international disability-inclusive development framework.
More than 650 participants attended this session with almost 300 representatives from civil society organizations.  A record number of 75 statements were delivered during the general debate, including 12 statements at the Ministerial level. A total of 26 side-events were organized, including the multi-stakeholder Civil Society CRPD Forum, coordinated by the International Disability Alliance with the support of Disabled People’s International (DPI), Disability Rights Fund (DRF), the Global Partnership for Disability and Development (GPDD), Human Rights Watch (HRW), the International Disability and Development Consortium (IDDC) and Rehabilitation International (RI), co-sponsored by the Governments of Australia, Bulgaria, Mexico and New Zealand, and DESA.

With a view to enabling the broadest possible participation, the live webcast from the Conference, for the first time, included sign language interpretation and closed-captioning.

During the course of the two formal and one informal roundtable discussions, participants set out concrete ideas to improve and implement policies and programmes concerning social protection and poverty reduction; disability-inclusive development in national, regional and international processes; as well as community-based rehabilitation.

The last segment on the implementation of the Convention by the UN system included presentations by OHCHR, UNISDR, UNICEF, UNDP, UNWTO, World Bank and DESA. DESA also reported on the progress of the Inter-Departmental Task Force on Accessibility of the United Nations Secretariat and made an announcement concerning on-going work to establish an Accessibility Centre at UN Headquarters.  The Chair of the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the Special Rapporteur on Disability of the Commission for Social Development also reported on their respective mandates.

In his closing statement, the President of the Conference H.E. Ambassador Macharia Kamau, stated that the Conference was best positioned to spearhead the mainstreaming of disability in all aspects of the work of the United Nations. He also proposed that the Conference consider strengthening its financial and institutional foundation to carry out its important work.

The outcome of the Conference will be documented in a post-sessional report, which will be issued shortly. (www.un.org/disabilities/default.asp?id=1606) 

European Inclusive Tourism Suvey

The European Commission has launched two surveys to gather information about the accessibility of tourism facilities. 

The surveys are part of a study which aims to map "accessible tourism services" across Europe and find out tourists or business people with disabilities specific needs when travelling. Tourism businesses and travellers with a disability or special accessibility needs can share their experiences in accommodation, travel, attractions and restaurants or in other tourist facilities and their satisfaction of travelling, reporting the barriers they might face. 

The completely anonymous surveys are running between June and September 2013. The results will converge in a report aiming to identify options for improving accessible tourism services.


BRANZ is an independent research, testing, consulting and information company that provides resources and advice for the building industry.

"Human behaviour isn't the only factor behind injuries in the home - structural aspects can play their part, which is why ACC is supporting BRANZ's new resource on universal design," says ACC Programme Manager Megan Nagel.

"Universal design describes buildings that are safe, aesthetic, and accessible to all people. Examples of universal design features include level access ways, non-slip surfaces, and wider doorways and passageways.

Ms Nagel says that approximately 40% of the roughly 1.7 million claims Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) receives each year are for injuries that happen in or around the home.

"It makes sense to incorporate universal design ideas when planning your home. They will make your house safer by reducing the risks of trips and slips, while also ensuring it can accommodate your physical needs as they change over time, for example because of age or injury.

"It costs very little to incorporate universal design features at the blueprint stage, especially compared with the cost of modifying an existing home. It is also a smart investment for the future. As New Zealand's population ages, there will be a growing demand for safer homes with better access," says Ms Nagel.

To see the universal design resource, visit: www.branz.co.nz/universal_design

Simple tips to help prevent injuries at home include:

- Clean up spills in 'wet' areas (i.e., kitchen, bathroom and laundry)

- Run appliance cords along the wall rather than across the floor

- Replace blown bulbs to keep walkways well lit at night

- Fasten mats and rugs to the floor

- Clean up toys and clutter, especially in areas with high foot traffic

- Install outdoor lighting to make it safer coming and going in the dark

- Remove moss from paths, especially during winter.

DREDF and National Senior Citizens Law Center Release New Advocate's Guide on California's Coordinated Care Initiative (CCI)

The Advocate's Guide to California's Coordinated Care Initiative helps advocates understand the Coordinated Care Initiative (CCI), a new state program that is changing the way people who have both Medicare and Medi-Cal (referred to as dual eligible beneficiaries) and other seniors and people with disabilities get their health care in eight California counties.

The Guide includes a description of the CCI, information on who will be included, how they will be affected, why California is implementing the CCI, and when and where the new program will be taking place. The Guide, which will be updated as program rules are developed, also includes a pull-out table that advocates can use to determine which beneficiaries the CCI includes and how it affects them.

The National Senior Citizens Law Center and the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF) coauthored the guide.

From NWI.com
Just as the "green" movement focuses on environmental sustainability, "universal design" focuses on social sustainability.

While environmental concerns are at the heart of the green movement, universal design recognizes that all people exist somewhere on a wide continuum of human ability - we all pass through childhood, periods of temporary illness or injury and old age. If you design for all the abilities on the continuum, you create environments, products and services that will be easier for all people to use, regardless of their abilities, age or current state of health.

Ronald L. Mace, Founder and former Program Director of The Center for Universal Design at North Carolina State University, collaborated with a group of architects, product designers, engineers and environmental designers to develop the "Seven Principles of Universal Design" in 1997. 



Monthly Archives