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"Findability precedes usability in the alphabet and on the web. You can't use what you can't find." Peter Morville - Ambient Findability

But what happens when you can't "find" the alphabet?

Well, that might be because you are print-disabled person and the information that you seek exists but is in a format that is not findable with the assistive technology (AST) that you use.

The Reading Rights Coalition points out that:

George Kerscher coined the term "print disabled" (circa 1988-1989) to describe persons who could not access print.

The definition is as follows:

print disabled, noun; print-disabled, adjective.

A person who cannot effectively read print because of a visual, physical, perceptual, developmental, cognitive, or learning disability.

When used as an adjective, the word should be hyphenated, e.g. print-disabled person.

(outdated) The Higher Education Opportunity Act defines "print disabled" as "a student with a disability who experiences barriers to accessing instructional material in non-specialized formats, including an individual described in Title 17 of the Copyright Act."

The Google Library Project Settlement defines "print disabled" as "User is unable to read standard printed material due to blindness, visual disability, physical limitations, organic dysfunction or dyslexia."


Data Conversion Laboratory dives deeper with George Kerscher into solutions based on XML and the DAISY format in this interview. An excerpt:


 What does all this mean for people with disabilities?

George Kerscher:

 RFB&D launched its digital service on September 3, 2002. This marks the transition from more than 50 years of analog (with the last 25 years being on 4-track cassette). The powerful navigation of the DAISY format makes the cassette obsolete. And I predict a rapid adoption of this technology. Once we start to use text encoded in XML, we can begin to deliver full text synchronized with full audio multimedia product. This dual reinforcement ... see it and hear it at the same time ... is what we believe will make a real difference in the education of all persons with print disabilities. I believe it will revolutionize education for this disability group. No kidding, we are on the verge of a breakthrough that will change the lives of people with print disabilities.

Read the full interview:

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Image by Getty Images via @daylife

by Shirley Barber

"Do you know what my favourite part of the game is?
The opportunity to play"

How Barbados is leading the way with adaptive sports

Barbados has been synonymous with cricket since the 1800's so it was not surprising that the island was also in the forefront with it's creation of the first blind cricket program in the Caribbean in 2001.


Inter territorial matches have since been played with   much success.  Barbados hosted the first regional   tournament in 2006 and in the same year,  became  the first territory to establish the Barbados Blind Cricket Association.  This was followed by the creation of the Jamaica Visually Impaired Cricket Association, T & T Blind Cricket Association. (Trinidad and Tobago) and Guyana Blind Cricket Association


There have been many "firsts" for Barbados, so at a time when global awareness of accessibility and inclusion are at the forefront,   might Barbados   once again demonstrate its   leadership by expanding its blind cricket program to include an all  disability program?


Cricket  and How it  has Survived  and Evolved into Including Persons with  all Disabilities


The earliest cricket  may have developed by the 8th century or earlier from   ancient bat-and-ball games from the region   between   North India and Pakistan.  The trend traveled through Persia (now called Iran)   and into Europe and Great Britain.  Initially, the game was called "creagh" or "cricke"   by the Normans who conquered England in 1066.


Cricket was banned from 1300 - 1500 A.D. as monarchs and British barons   favoured archery (which would serve as a military advantage) over  "such a disreputable activity that only idlers, gamblers and dissolute characters played".   Outlaws such as Robin Hood were rumoured to having been excellent players along with famous political leader Oliver Cromwell.


Deaf Cricket


Interestingly, the idea of "adaptive sports" came in the form of deaf cricket as far back as 1895 when the first deaf cricket interstate match was held in South Australia.   In Great Britain, deaf cricket started out as a Great Britain Team (part of the British Deaf Sports Council)   with a trip in 1988 to the West Indies by a squad of 15 players to play some matches against local teams.


Blind Cricket


In 1922,  blind cricket was developed by Australia.    At the time of a Test Match,  two creative residents thought "blind people could play cricket as well, and put rocks in a tin can" and began to play a crude version of the  modern day cricket .


Blind cricket  has also been played in England and Wales since the 1940's.  While the England and Wales Cricket Board,  established in 1997 in the U.K.,  is  the single national governing body for all cricket in England and Wales and provides access to the sport of cricket for persons with disabilities,  the British Blind Sport (BBS) and Blind Cricket England and Wales (BCEW) are the organizations who are responsible for the day to day running of the sport.


Physical, Emotional and Learning Disabilities


Along with the blind and deaf cricket,  the  Hampshire Cricket Board which was setup in 1998 in the U.K., has developed  categories and programs for persons with physical, emotional and learning disabilities,  HCB, whose mission statement is "to provide a cricketing future for all" has one of the most advanced disability cricket programs

in the country and works with professional players and coaches in assisting players with disabilities in training and competition .   


One of the newest programs HCB has launched is the Bluebird Care Elite Player Development Program for cricketers with disabilities who have international potential.   Hampshire Talented Athlete Scheme was formed to provide support services to these talented athletes based on their performance levels. 


The HCB also supports the Hampshire Visually Impaired Cricket Club in providing  opportunities for the blind and partially sighted.  


Cricket as Youth Development


Cricket for Change was setup in 1981 and targets disadvantaged youth as well as disabled youth.  Just recently, the team has traveled  to Trinidad and Tobago to introduce a new program called "Street20" which is a crime reduction program proven to be very successful  in the U.K.   As well, the team traveled to Jamaica in 2009  to launch The Courtney Walsh Foundation which replicates the Cricket for Change programs   specifically for  males and females 18 - 21.


Rules and Regulations


In disability cricket, the rules and regulations are disability specific, however there is no recognized international cricket for people with physical disabilities at the   present,  therefore the rules are based on a domestic structure called DSE profiling system for athletes with physical impairments also known as the Coaches Guide to Functional Ability.




Recognition for Barbados


Barbados already receives   recognition   for its excellence in regular and blind cricket as well as being a cricketing destination.  Through the "Fully Accessible Barbados" initiative launched by the BCD in 2005, Barbados has taken leadership in   creating a culture of inclusion.  The island is also known for its  mantra  of "can do" in the cricket world.  The cricket community along with the regular community has recognized and acknowledged what talented cricketers can contribute to the game rather than what their limitations are.


With 14,000 persons with disabilities on the island,   (in England and Wales there are between 3,000 and 4,000 persons with disabilities playing regular or occasional cricket at present),  creating an all disability cricket program would be welcomed.  Such a program would give persons with all types of disabilities an opportunity to play the sport of their island where they could develop their self confidence and social skills.   As well, the camaraderie along with the exhilaration and excitement of international competition can be experienced for the first time.


Barbados could introduce programs similar to the Hampshire Talented Athlete Scheme to recognize and support those disabled cricketers who demonstrate exceptional performance and could be considered for international competition


The island  could draw on the  expertise  of other cricket boards such as the Hampshire Cricket Board and the English and Wales Cricket Board. As well, Barbados could seek the support and input from non profit organizations such as BARNOD, Barbados Council for the Disabled,  Disabled Peoples' Organization of North America and the Caribbean (DPOC) and Disabled People's International.    There are ample resources to access with the deaf, physical, learning, and emotional disabilities programs already in place.  The combined efforts could  serve well to set the ground work for education and  training programs to encompass all the Caribbean islands and beyond.







Cricket for Change, Street20 and The Courtney Walsh Foundation would be excellent programs to integrate into the cricket world of Barbados.  Although the crime rate is low in Barbados, it is a known fact that sometimes poverty goes hand-in-hand with disabilities and where there is poverty, there is crime; particularly among youths. Street20  has been successful in reducing crime amongst the youth stating that  "the more kids play the more skills they develop, they learn cooperation, discipline and working with a team without getting angry;  it has had a lot of success bringing communities together ",


Barbados as the Caribbean's Champion and Host of Disability Cricket


On May 31, 2011, Hampshire Cricket announced   that the Barbados Tourism Authority will become the Official Twenty20 Shirt Sponsor and Travel Partner to Hampshire Cricket and The Rose Bowl.  Upon a previous visit to Barbados, Hampshire Cricket Group Commercial Director, Zac Toumazi said that Barbados' facilities and hospitality were   "second to none" and that "We hope that, in our own way, we can bring awareness to the jewel in the Caribbean that is Barbados."


Might there be a possibility that similar arrangements can be made with disability cricket?  Perhaps the Barbados Tourism Authority could consider reciprocal agreements with disability cricket programs in England, Australia, India, Pakistan, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Bangladesh and Nepal


If Barbados were to host  all disability cricket tournaments, the potential for increased tourism would be significant.  Regular cricket teams already visit Barbados annually and Test matches, especially between England and Australia alone bring in thousands, so the numbers would increase substantially.


In conclusion, creating a disability cricket program   could reaffirm Barbados' position as leader in accessibility, inclusion and adaptive sports in the Caribbean.  Moreover,   this  positive endeavour could contribute significantly to the enhancement of the initiative of  "Fully Accessible Barbados".




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Beach wheelchair tour by ENTER vzw.

The United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) is convinced that the facilitation of tourist travel by persons with disabilities is a vital element of any responsible and sustainable tourism development policy.

Announcing a new tri-lateral agreement with external partners, FundaciĆ³n ONCE and the European Network for Accessible Tourism (ENAT), the UNWTO aims to provide guidance in this area to policy makers, destinations and tourist enterprises.

Read the full article here:

Visit the UNWTO's dedicated webpage on Accessible Tourism

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MS Majesty of the Seas, one of Royal Caribbean...

Image via Wikipedia

The primary sources of tourism income for the Caribbean economy are also the countries with the highest tourist expectations of physical accessibility, disability-aware customer service, and legally-mandated disability rights practice: 

    • USA 
    • Canada
    • The countries of the European Union

Do Caribbean states measure up to customer needs once passengers disembark en masse from the cruise ships, saunter leisurely from yachts, or tumble expectantly from airborne sardine cans?

Although there is little evidence as prominent as Barbados' Fully Accessible Barbados each island has a degree of awareness. To what degree is this awareness institutionalized in the policy, staff, and programming of the Caribbean Tourism Development Company? 

So far, accessibility information is not there on CTCD's Caribbean site:

The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) and the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) are relaunching their marketing and business development unit, known the Caribbean Tourism Development Company (CTDC), a jointly owned and operated, private, for-profit entity created in 2007. The revitalized CTDC will market the Caribbean brand through licensing, merchandizing, advertising, and the sale of vacations via its website. The website, which will be redesigned, will include among other features, an integrated booking platform that specifically caters to the Caribbean's smaller hotels.

One of the new CTDC's emphases in the initial stages will be on reviving intra-Caribbean vacation travel. Funding for the CTDC will come from both the public and private sectors, with the joint owners each committing seed funding to be supplemented by CTO member countries. The new CTDC board of directors will include six members each from the CTO and the CHTA, with the leaders of the two organizations, CTO Chairman Richard "Ricky" Skerritt and CHTA President Josef Forstmayr, as co-chairs.

The CTDC is a marketing and business development unit owned equally by the CHTA and CTO. Its mission is to own, promote, protect, advance and enhance the Caribbean brand. The CTDC combines the resources of the Caribbean region's destinations, accommodations and service providers to create a cohesive business unit that is able to identify commercial opportunities and allow the members of CHTA and CTO to benefit collectively from those opportunities in ways that individually they could not. In all its endeavors the company will engage only in activities that honor the Caribbean brand and benefit the members of CHTA and CTO. 

For more information, visit

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This September I want to meet Victor Cooke in Barbados. 

He clearly has studied his ecosystem and honed a hands-on immersion and narrative about the island. Victor can be a key collaborator in shaping a "Fully Accessible Barbados." We will all benefit to the expent thatresources like Fieldfare and the National Trails Accessibility Center in the US partner with his organization, Eco-Adventures Barbados, and Barbadian government agencies.

Fieldfare works with people with disabilities and countryside managers to improve access to the countryside for everyone.

For countryside service providers we provide advice and training services, supported by our research into national standards for accessibility under the BT Countryside for All Project.

Fieldfare have recently created a new website Phototrails is an innovative concept that allows users to view countryside routes through a series of photographs and descriptions of the path features, taking in surface, path width, gradients, barriers and amenities such as seats, disabled parking, and accessible toilets, all of which, to some, is important information to know before making the decision on whether to visit a site or not. 


 Some of the trails, and trips, and experiences waiting in Barbados will remain the province of Erik Weihenmayer and his strolls up Mt Everest with his white cane or Paralympian Kurt Fearnly crawling the Kokoda Track. Still there must be some "Stop 'n Stare" routes on the Rock that I can manage. 

The National Trails Accessibility Center for the US notes that, when building accessible outdoor paths:
The minimum requirements found in the NPRM are based on several principles developed through the regulatory negotiating process. They include: 
A woman walks with a man using a wheelchair along a rocky trail.
The ultimate goal is to provide trail access for all to nature's wonders while protecting the environment through which these new trails pass.

-Peter Jensen, Trail Designer 
Open Space Management and Member of the Regulatory Negotiating Committee

 Protect resource and environment 
Preserve experience 
Provide for equality of opportunity 
Maximize accessibility 
Be reasonable 
Address safety 
Be clear, simple, and understandable 
Provide guidance 
Be enforceable and measurable 
Be consistent with ADAAG (as much as possible) 
Be based on independent use by persons with disabilities

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A report from WPTV:


From the sea... to the slopes... Ed Gallagher is doing it all-blind! 

He thought he would never sail again, until he came up with a remote guidance system. 

Genoa, named after Ed's guide dog, is a camera mounted inside these glasses. It's hooked up to a computer that Ed carries with him. It has a microphone and ear piece...allowing Ed to use internet video call...and call someone to talk him through the process. 

But the idea behind this isn't just for the extreme. Ed see's this helping visually impaired people do just about everything.. 

Ed can even go shopping by using a remote guide. Ed's system isn't fool proof. You can see there are downfalls including unpredictable internet service. But even with a few bumps along the way, Ed says it's worth it. 

BACKGROUND: According to the World Health Organization, 314 million people in the world are visually impaired, and 45 million of those are completely blind. In the United States, four million people live without sight. Though there are many causes of blindness, such as Glaucoma or other diseases of the eye, increasing numbers of people are blind because of conditions relating to old age and longer life expectancies. 

About 82 percent of visually impaired people worldwide are over the age of 50. Blindness can also be caused by cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, and blinding trachoma, among other things.

THE SYSTEM: While many blind people can get around thanks to canes or guide dogs, a Genoa Services guide can help with other things. For instance: reading signs or menus, counting change, or even picking out groceries. Blind users wear hands-free equipment (such as hats or glasses) with a camera and earpiece and communicate with their sighted guide. 

Through Skype video software, the sighted guide can see what the blind user looks at and can talk to him or her through the earpiece. It's important to note that Skype is not the required type of Internet Video Call for users. At this point - according to Ed Gallagher - any type of Internet Video Call will suffice. Though the system is dependent on a wireless internet connection, it gives its blind users new freedom and independence. (SOURCE:

THE FUTURE: Genoa Services will be available to 50 users in the San Francisco Bay Area this year, according to the Genoa Services website. Later in the year, they plan to expand to other locations, given adequate funding. Ed Gallagher, the man behind Genoa Services, envisions call centers full of guides for blind people on the go. Those interested in using the service or being a volunteer guide can send an email to Genoa Services for more information. (SOURCE:

PROBLEMS: The Genoa system is not without problems and potential issues. After all, this is a developing technology ... although one with presumably a very high upside. 

The top concern is shaky Internet service. This can, obviously, cause problems if a user is using heavy (and possibly dangerous) machinery like a car or a boat (like Ed). Ed is hopeful these kinks can be worked out very soon, thought it's likely there may need to be a more "close to home" cooperation between users and guides. 
For More Information, Contact:

Scott Plakun 
Genoa Services 

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The Barbados Disability Council coordinates a network of 19 stakeholder groups:

In 1976, out of a meeting to address the needs of Barbadians with disabilities, the "Barbados Council for the Handicapped" was born at the home of Chief Justice Sir William Douglas. Two months later the Council was officially launched at the Annual General meeting of the Barbados Association for Mentally Retarded Children...

A cherished programme of the council was launched in November 2005 with the unveiling of the Fully Accessible Barbados (FAB) Awards. These awards seek to recognize those facilities, which have made a conscious effort to be accessible to persons with disabilities.

Among some of the more recent programmes of the Council are:

  • Community-Based Rehabilitation programme;
  • The employment of a part time Physiotherapist;
  • The "Nothing About Us Without Us" t-shirt campaign;
  • The distribution of Parking IDS and Parking Reminder Fliers;
  • The "A Voice of Our Own" monthly article in the Nation Newspaper;
  • The production of accessibility guideline brochures.

The Council's affiliates have reached a total of nineteen organizations representing a wide cross section of interests and specialties.

The Barbados Council for the Disabled continues to share a vision with our membership and that is, integration and equality of opportunities for all persons with disabilities. The Board of Directors and staff are committed to these objectives and we welcome the support of all persons in the achievement of these goals.

In July I'll be in Barbados. Most people can probably write a list from here to the back door with all the reasons they would like to have a week on a Caribbean island. Few would include one of my motivations -- to play darts.Barbados Darts Festival.jpg

Yes, as in Justin Dart, except the target will be a cork bullseye and not the traditional targets who wandered into range of his sharp tongue. In fact, Justin might have agreed that Barbados has a lot going for it in terms of inclusion of our people.

For the past couple years Barbados has hosted a Darts Festival in the fall. I'd like to meet Wayne Mardle

I know that July is a bit off season. I figure it's better that way. Less crowded. Anybody else who happens to be in the room when I get my hands on darts has more options for scurrying out of range.

But there are some darned fine darts players who use wheelchairs. Just ask Russ Strobel about all the Australians who use the Wildfire 137 Dart Frame - one that allows darts to be an inclusive sport.

Maybe darts,and the October 31 to November 10, 2011 Barbados Darts Festival can become a new itinerary item for a "Fully Accessible Barbados?" 

If so, I'm giving fair warning. For insurance purposes I probably should be assigned to the "soft-tipped darts league"!

Wheelchair Dart Frame


From Russ Strobel

A special wheelchair dart frame has been developed to further the call for a recognised lowered dartboard height for wheelchair players. The unique design allows wheelchair players to compete fairly against able-bodied players on same dart frame for the first time ever.

With dart boards set at appropriate heights on each side of the rotating backboard wheelchair dart players can now throw and retrieve their own darts as well as score games for other players.

This piece of equipment represents the culmination of a four year project by local Yarram resident and Victorian Darts Council Vice President Russ Strobel to research an appropriate dartboard height for wheelchair players and develop a piece of equipment that removes all obstacles to their inclusion at darts events and leagues.

The Wildfire 137 dart frame will be displayed for the first time at the Victorian Open Darts Championship in Morwell on the 13th and 14th June where information and practical demonstrations of the difficulties wheelchair players have faced up until now will be given. It's hoped that the Darts Federation of Australia will now consider approving the revised dartboard height thereby paving the way for wheelchair players to enter our sport worldwide by throwing at a suitable and fair height.

Russ is interested in hearing from any interested wheelchair sports people prepared to hone their skills on the new dartboard height with a view to possibly competing in a demonstration event at a National competition during 2011. Coaching is freely offered to those interested.

Email: Russ Strobel at VDC Vice President to register your interest.

Wheelchair Dart Frame

Reprinted from Deadeye Darts:

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With inclusive play in the air Marcela Abadi Rhoads looks at the broader question, "How does Universal Design serve children?"


In the 1991 version of the Amercians with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines, did not have any provisions for children.  So even though facilities were accessible to different disabilities, there were still barriers for children.

In 1994 Texas adopted the Texas Accessibility Standards and added an entire section just for children.  Section 2 of TAS shows how high drinking fountains, water closets, lavatories and grab bars need to be mounted...among other things.  So for the past 16 years, Texas has been designing for children with disabilities.

After a visit to Morgan's Wonderland where she examines both the physical and the sensory/emotional aspects of design she writes:

I typically deal with the disabilities that are written down as part of the ADA and I typically just deal with the built environment when I do my consulting work.  But this weekend my eyes and mind were open to a huge and untapped world!  While at the Texas Society of Architects convention in San Antonio, Texas I was priviliaged to attend one of the tours to a park called "Morgan's Wonderland".  It is an amusement park for children with special needs.  And what an amazing place!!!!  The first thing you notice is that it does not look or feel like it is a "special" amusement park.  It looks like a fun and safe place for all children.  What a treat (the only complaint I had was that when we went the park was closed so I was not able to see how the children enjoyed the park...Next time)

Follow Marcela at her blog Abadi Accessibility News for exploration of interesting topics and a tradition of exploring the building code underneath it. 

With interest rising in access and inclusion beyond simply mobility issues the travel and hospitality has a proof-of-concept at Morgan's Wonderland. Congratulations to the park's architect Kyle Tostenson from Luna Architecture and to all those extending the reach of the ADA to children.

For more on play read Suzanne Robitaille's, "Why Can't American Girls Dolls Have Disabilities, Too?"