August 2013 Archives

The Access Board's Rail Vehicles Access Advisory Committee will hold its first meeting October 15 and 16 in Washington, D.C. The Board organized this committee in May to assist the Board in reviewing and updating its Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Accessibility Guidelines for Transportation Vehicles. The committee will develop recommendations on updates to sections of the guidelines covering transportation vehicles that operate on fixed guideway systems, including rapid, light, commuter, intercity, and high speed rail.

The agenda for the meeting includes:

  • initial remarks and introduction of committee members
  • consideration of the committee's charter and operating procedures
  • discussion of administrative issues (including dates of future committee meetings)
  • discussion of issues for potential consideration by the committee.

Committee meetings are open to the public, and interested persons can attend and communicate their views on issues of interest during designated public comment periods on each day of the meeting. Organizations or persons not on the committee may also have the opportunity to participate in any subcommittees formed by the committee.

For further information, visit the Board's website or contact Paul Beatty at 272-0012 (v), or(202) 272-0072 (TTY).

Rail Vehicles Access Advisory Committee Meeting
October 15 (10:00 - 5:00) and October 16 (9:00 - 3:00)
Access Board Conference Center 
1331 F Street, NW, Suite 800
Washington, D.C.

Note: An assistive listening system, Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART), and sign language interpreters will be provided. For the comfort of all participants and to promote a fragrance-free environment, attendees are requested not to use perfume, cologne, or other fragrances.

Tourism Website Accessibility

Tourism Web Access.jpg

UnBard TV

UnBard TV is an accessible community, culture and arts TV program where people with and without a disabilty will be able to view mixed art mediums. This will include art, drama, music, dance and multimedia activiites created through a variety of community collaborations. The weekly episodes will be broadcast on Foxtel's Aurora Channel and available on youTube.

The program content will feature artists from around NSW Australia and also feature peak disability and arts organizations such as Accessible Arts, Beyond The Square, Regional Youth Support Services and specific community art projects from local councils.

Episodes are 30 mins long and run over 4 - 6 weeks as a series. Each episode will consist of footage from rehearsals, interviews, behind the scenes, performances, documentaries and short movies. It will be a platform for people to share stories, showcase individual talents, celebrate community achievements and help to inspire others to realise their creative potential. Participation in the program will provide important skills for life and offer potential for supported employment.

Visit the UnBard TV website.

A webinar in the Board's free monthly series will take place October 3 from 2:30 - 4:00 (ET) and will cover accessible surfaces for playgrounds.

 In this session, Board staff and a representative from the National Center on Accessibility (NCA) will present results from a recently completed study on playground surfaces that assessed how well various types of surface systems, including engineered wood fiber, poured in place rubber, and rubber tiles, perform over time. NCA conducted this research with funding from the Board.

For more information, including registration instructions, visit




Report on Federal Mandate for "Inclusive" Playgrounds Airing on 'All Things Considered'


August 27, 2013; Washington, D.C. - Today, NPR News reports on a growing movement, backed by a new federal mandate, to build "accessible" playgrounds meant to include children with disabilities - and releases a first-of-its-kind, community-edited guide to such playgrounds nationwide. "Playgrounds for Everyone" maps 1300+ accessible playgrounds - with features like smooth surfaces, swings with backs or safety harnesses, ramps to allow children to access play towers and slides, or sound-play features like drums or chimes.


And while it's the most comprehensive resource available, the "Playgrounds for Everyone" app is still far from complete. NPR needs the public to identify more playgrounds, and share photos, info and tips for the ones already in the app. Get involved now at:


The app coincides with a report on the issue of accessible playgrounds, airing today on All Things Considered. Robert Benincasa of NPR's Investigations Unit reports that federal law now defines playground accessibility as a civil right under the Americans with Disabilities Act, requiring that structures built or altered after March 2012 to meet those standards. Kids in wheelchairs need smooth surfaces to navigate; some inclusive playgrounds offer Braille or textured materials for kids with sight impairments. But as Benincasa reports, such playground features are cost-prohibitive for many municipalities, leading parents and activists to seek support from local civic groups to raise funds.


The App: How to Participate


"Playgrounds for Everyone" is designed to be a community-edited guide to accessible playgrounds. NPR's news apps team has identified 1300 and counting nationwide. Many more are unaccounted for. To participate:


1.      Identify accessible playgrounds, and add them to the database. Do any have smooth, resilient surfaces that are accessible to wheelchairs, or are their surfaces sand or wood chips, which wheelchairs cannot navigate?


2.      Characterize the local play opportunities for disabled children. There is space on each playground page to add comments, tips and even photos of key features.


3.      Provide feedback. Go to the accessible playgrounds app, test it out, add to it and comment.


As home design fundamentally changes to accommodate aging-in-place by applying Universal Design it becomes one of the primary market forces assuring the success of Inclusive Tourism - with the world in their reach travelers will simply not pay for lodging and tourist destinations that are a step down from the safety and convenience of home.

The challenge for hotel, resort, and transportation designers is how to incorporate Inclusive Design and not merely add accessibility features that look and feel institutional.

As home design fundamentally changes to accommodate aging-in-place by applying Universal Design it becomes one of the primary market forces assuring the success of Inclusive Tourism - with the world in their reach travelers will simply not pay for lodging and tourist destinations that are a step down from the safety and convenience of home.

The challenge for hotel, resort, and transportation designers is how to incorporate Inclusive Design and not merely add accessibility features that look and feel institutional.

Taller de Diseño Universal

Desde e-Consulta:

El tres por ciento del total de habitantes en el Municipio de Puebla padece algún tipo de discapacidad, por ello el Sistema Municipal DIF puso en marcha el Taller de Diseño Universal, con el objetivo de fomentar una cultura de respeto hacia este sector de la población, así como facilitar la accesibilidad arquitectónica, administrativa y de comunicación de las personas con discapacidad.

El Director General de este organismo, Joaquín García Vinay, informó que de acuerdo a datos  del Censo de Población y Vivienda INEGI 2010, en la ciudad de Puebla habitan 1 millón 539 mil 819 personas, de las cuales el tres por ciento tiene algún tipo de discapacidad, es decir  46 mil 977 personas.

"La encomienda que tenemos las diferentes áreas del Gobierno Municipal de Puebla es la de innovar tanto en materia de capacitación como en los proyectos, para contar con los mecanismos que nos permitan construir infraestructura adecuada para todos los sectores, en especial para uno tan importante como son las personas con discapacidad", puntualizó.


From Travolution:

A travel start-up which is aiming to create a new global standard for accessible hotel accommodation has gone live and is looking for hotels to sign up. is the concept of wheelchair user James Price who was paralysed in a diving accident in 1999 when he was 21 years old.

A television presenter for the BBC Holiday Show and director for GB Wheelchair Rugby, Price is more active than many able-bodied people and is a passionate traveller.

- See more at:

Soldiers to Summits (S2S)

SideStix will climb another mountain

This year's Soldiers to Summits (S2S) expedition will take a team of 12 service men and women (including one veteran using SideStix), alongside world-renowned mountaineers including Erik Weihenmayer, into the breathtaking landscape of the Peruvian Andes Mountains. 

Using mountains as both a metaphor and training ground, S2S helps veterans overcome adversities and reclaim their lives. Regardless of physical, mental or emotional challenges, Soldiers to Summits teaches participants to embrace a "No Barriers Mindset". Through transformative journeys, participants walk away with skills that not only serve them in the mountains but benefit them throughout the rest of their lives: to set ambitious goals, to build world-class teams, to find creative ways to overcome obstacles and to serve others in need.

New Website for Smarthyam


The new website for Anjlee Agarwal's organization, Samarthyam, has been posted. The URL is

DREDF: 34th Anniversary Celebration

Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund
Invites You to Join Our 34th Anniversary Celebration
Tuesday, September 17, 2013, 5:30-8:00PM
Ed Roberts Campus, 3075 Adeline Street, Berkeley, California

Twenty-one disabled women activists from Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Latin America and the Middle East have arrived to the U.S. for our 7th international Women's Institute on Leadership and Disability (WILD) Exchange Program being held this month in Eugene, Oregon.

Embracing the "Loud, Proud, and Passionate ®" theme, WILD women are participating in intensive seminars, workshops and site visits, team building activities such as an outdoor challenge course and river rafting, and staying with local families. These activists, representing diverse disabilities, bring expertise in fields such as law, policy, business, human rights, youth empowerment, education, health, media, HIV/AIDS, and violence prevention.

During WILD we also host the Gender, Disability and Development Institute (GDDI) where delegates meet with representatives from international development agencies later this month. This innovative retreat goes beyond rhetoric and workshops to engage participants in direct dialogue about strategies for including women and girls with disabilities in development projects throughout the world.

For live updates about the program, follow us on our social media and blog. The WILD program is made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), with technical support provided by the USAID-funded Leadership, Management, and Governance project. WILD is also supported by generous sponsorship of local businesses and families in Eugene and Springfield.

European Commission logoUnder the Specific Programme: Preparatory Action "Tourism and accessibility for all", the European Commission has issued an Open Call for projects that will foster accessibility in local tourism development agendas, strategies and practices.

Call Deadline: 22/10/2013
Call Number: 102/G/ENT/PPA/13/511


The specific objectives of this call are:

  • To foster adaptation of tourism products and services to the needs of people with special access needs
  • To promote equal opportunity and social inclusion of people with special access needs
  • To improve skills and training with relation to accessibility in the tourism supply chain
  • To help mainstreaming accessibility in all segments of the  tourism supply chain, while at the same time creating a seamless chain of accessibility in tourism
  • To promote, market and disseminate best practices in accessible tourism
  • To provide adequate support and guidance to SMEs
  • To enhance  the quality and diversify the offer  of accessible tourism experiences in Europe

Expected results

The proposals should aim at achieving the following expected results:

  • New partnerships and better cooperation amongst local authorities/relevant tourism authorities and agencies,  tourism operators, in particular SMEs, training providers and disability stakeholders
  • A stronger focus on accessibility in local tourism development agendas and strategies
  • Creation of a "critical mass" of accessible destinations, attractions, sites and tourism-related services, as mainstream products providing quality and value-for-money
  • Better trained staff, better skills, higher satisfaction levels form travellers and a  more positive image of the destinations concerned, thus boosting the overall image of Europe as a tourism destination
  • Attracting more tourists, and maintaining viable tourism flows in the low-season.
  • Positive returns for businesses, especially SMEs and micro-SMEs

Maximum EU Contribution per project : € 125.000

Further information

For information about the Call and application forms, please visit the European Commission website.


Access Board Webinar: Open Question and Answer Session (September 4)

The next webinar in the Board's free monthly series will take place September 4from 2:30 - 4:00 (ET) and will feature an open question and answer session with Board accessibility specialists. Questions are welcome on the Board's accessibility requirements and rulemaking activities, including the ADA and ABA Accessibility Standards, the Section 508 Standards, new standards being developed for medical diagnostic equipment, public rights-of-way accessibility, and other topics related to the Board's work. For more information, including registration instructions, visit

The Access Board's Rail Vehicles Access Advisory Committee will hold its first meeting Oct. 15 and 16 in Washington, D.C. It will recommend updates to guidelines covering transportation vehicles for intercity, rapid, light, commuter and high speed rail. Meetings are open to the public with designated public comment periods held each day. To learn more, visit the Board'swebsite, email Paul Beattyor call him at 202.272.0012(v) or 202.272.0072 (TTY).

2013 Travel Exchange

Hello everyone,

We are looking for contact information for disability experts, DPOs, and 
disability NGOs based in Botswana. Any type of disability would be helpful.

Our objective is to gather their experiences, recommendations, and 
eventually organize a conference, among other activities in that 
country. Please contact us via the following e-mail address:

Your assistance is truly appreciated,

Fernando H. F. Botelho, Ashoka Fellow

Director - F123

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