Tag Archives: accessibility

Signal Boost: Disability and Access in India

Dear FWD readers,

The Centre for Internet and Society (http://www.cis-india.org), a Bangalore (India) based organization, in association with UNESCO is working on a project on Disability and Access. Part of the project involves identifying and highlighting case studies on the positive use of ICTs (Information and Communication Technologies) in education for persons with disabilities in the Asia Pacific region and identifying inclusive policies in the area of education.

If you are involved in or know of individual/organization based cases of successful applications using ICTs in Education for Persons with Disabilities (primary, secondary, higher, vocational and technical, and life-long learning levels) and infostructures (community multimedia centres, libraries, etc.) in the region and would like to share information on the same, please contact me at deeptibharthur[@]gmail[.]com.

Recommended Reading for 05 August 2010

Warning: Offsite links are not safe spaces. Articles and comments in the links may contain ableist, sexist, and other -ist language and ideas of varying intensity. Opinions expressed in the articles may not reflect the opinions held by the compiler of the post and links are provided as topics of interest and exploration only. I attempt to provide extra warnings for material like extreme violence/rape; however, your triggers/issues may vary, so please read with care.

Raising My Boychick: Vocally crazy: on privilege and the risks and benefits of being out

Openness, vocalness, outness are good for an invisible, marginalized group: we’re here, we’re [crazy], get used to it! It helps to replace highly distorted stereotypes with real faces, real lives, real persons. As more and more people in a group are out, more and more people not in that group know someone who is — and suddenly, they start caring. No longer is it just “those people” who have to worry about discrimination and hatred and violence and the loss of rights and dignity; it is someone you know, someone you might care about, someone you’re willing to stand up for. These are all very good, very important things.

But openness, vocalness, outness can be dangerous, even lethal, for an individual who is marginalized: when someone comes out as mad (or queer, or trans, or a rape or incest survivor, or any other oft-invisible oppressed way of being), they might risk losing their job, losing their children, losing their life. Outness cannot be dictated, imposed, or required. It must not be. It can only be chosen, based on an individual assessment of risk and worth, and the outcome of such calculations will change with each individual, and often with each situation.

Longwindania: PSA

One of my friends is working on a sexual education book for people with disabilities and their partners. Shanna’s very knowledgeable and passionate about responsible queer-positive, disability-friendly, kink-friendly sex education.

Disability on Dreamwidth: New licenses premises access law in Scotland

The Barred! amendment, passed by the Scottish Parliament as part of the Criminal Justice and Licensing Act, requires landlords to show how their premises can be accessed by disabled customers, when they apply for a license. The amendment is an important milestone in Capability Scotland’s Barred! campaign which aims to promote better access to pubs and clubs for disabled people.

Valley News: Temporary Custody

The unknown male subject found in the home? He was actually the 34-year-old African-American who owns the home and has lived there for four years.

And the part about taking him into temporary custody?

Hartford police neglected to say that in the process he was: blasted with pepper spray; struck with a nightstick; handcuffed, wrapped in a blanket and hauled — naked — out of his home, according to a neighbor and what the man says police later told him. When the neighbor tried to tell cops that the handcuffed man on the pavement was the homeowner — not a burglar — he said he was threatened with arrest for interfering in police business.

Moving Hands: Ashley Fiolek: a deaf motocross racer (Thanks to maxporter for the link!)

Today, I watched the final womens motocross race. I was about to fast-forward through it – I dislike motocross and I dislike racing, so it’s not a great combo. But then I noticed that someone was signing, so I hit “play.”

Turns out that the woman who was signing is named Ashley Fiolek. She is a deaf 19-year old who has won gold in the past. The segment that I’d seen was one of those special segments where they take a prominent athlete – usually somebody who is looking to repeat a previous victory – and interview her or him. In this case, they asked Ashley how she got involved in motocross and so forth. She communicates in ASL and uses an interpreter. (According to her bio on Wikipedia, she actually went to a deaf school as a child.)

If you’re on Delicious, feel free to tag entries ‘disfem’ or ‘disfeminists,’ or ‘for:feminists’ to bring them to our attention! Link recommendations can also be emailed to recreading[@]disabledfeminists[.]com

Nominations for the 2010 Captioning Awards (Australia) to Close Shortly!

To give you a bit of background, the Deafness Forum of Australia is, according to their website, ‘the peak body for deafness and seeks solutions and advocates on issues for all Australians who are Deaf, have a hearing impairment or chronic disorder of the ear’. They’ve been working hard to to make cinemas more accessible, for instance, and they’re running Hearing Awareness Week, which is coming up on 22-28 August! They’re also running the Captioning Awards, which are aimed at motivating companies to improve their captioning services.

You can nominate in the following categories: Free to Air TV Captioning Award, Subscription TV Captioning Award, Advertising Captioning Award, Best New Captioning Initiative Award, Live Event Captioning Award, DVD Captioning Award, Roma Wood Community Award, Best Promotion/Consumer Education Campaign Award, Most Consistent Captioning Award and Members’ Choice Award (the last only if you are a member of the Deafness Forum). Here is the Captioning Awards page and here are the nomination forms.

Nominations close Friday 6 August, so get them in now!

Recommended Reading For 27 July 2010

Warning: Offsite links are not safe spaces. Articles and comments in the links may contain ableist, sexist, and other -ist language and ideas of varying intensity. Opinions expressed in the articles may not reflect the opinions held by the compiler of the post and links are provided as topics of interest and exploration only. I attempt to provide extra warnings for material like extreme violence/rape; however, your triggers/issues may vary, so please read with care.

Actress Marlee Matlain, a pale, middle-aged woman with medium blonde, hair past her shoulders, and who is hearing impaired uses sign language as she addresses guests marking the 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the law designed to eliminate discrimination against people with disabilities and to make buildings more accessible by wheelchair, on the South Lawn of the White House, Monday July 26, 2010, in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Actress Marlee Matlain, a pale, middle-aged woman with medium blonde, hair past her shoulders, and who is hearing impaired uses sign language as she addresses guests marking the 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the law designed to eliminate discrimination against people with disabilities and to make buildings more accessible by wheelchair, on the South Lawn of the White House, Monday July 26, 2010, in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Feminist Law Professors: CFP: Aging as a Feminist Concern, Jan. 21-22, 2011 Emory University School of Law

Aging is a feminist issue. The elderly, especially the oldest of the old, are disproportionately female. Among the elderly, women are more likely than their male peers to face a number of challenges, including poverty, disability and isolation. Yet, the legal academy, including feminist legal theorists, is only just beginning to pay attention to old age and its implications. This workshop will advance this agenda by bringing together a diverse group of scholars to explore the relationship between feminist theory, law and policy, and the concerns of the aging. We will focus on understanding how the relationship between age and gender can be theorized, as well as exploring how feminist legal theory can inform policy and law in the U.S. and abroad.

PR Newswire: As ADA Turns 20, Harris Interactive Survey Finds Lifestyle and Economic Gaps Still Remain Between Americans With and Without Disabilities

“We are privileged to live in a country that committed 20 years ago to equalizing rights and opportunities for people with disabilities,” said NOD President Carol Glazer. “The disability rights movement lags behind other civil rights movements and we have to catch up. There is a role for everyone. Governments need to remove disincentives for people with disabilities so they can start to work. Businesses need to realize the enormous contributions workers with disabilities can make. Schools need to prepare students with disabilities sooner for the world of work. And Hollywood should routinely feature more people with disabilities in their TV shows and movies.”

NPR: RI Rep. Langevin Presides over House for 1st Time

Langevin said his temporary turn wielding the gavel marks an important step for people with disabilities and he hopes it inspires others.

“What a powerful symbol of inclusion and opportunity for anyone who wants to serve in the United States Congress,” he said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press on Monday. Congress has become increasingly accessible in the past decade for people with disabilities, he added.

Post-gazette.com: Pennsylvania getting up to speed on assisted living care

Now that it’s an official designation, the door is open for the state’s 1,400 personal care homes to apply for assisted-living status, which carries higher standards in terms of larger living space, private bathrooms, kitchen appliances, resident independence and other aspects.

No facility is required to change to meet the requirements of the new category — and it’s impractical for most older and smaller homes to do so — but if they don’t, the door is closed to them to market themselves as “assisted living.” They also will be shut out of new government funding that is supposed to cover facilities’ cost of caring for a limited number of low-income, assisted-living residents sometime in 2011.

“If indeed the state starts funding assisted-living services, it will of course encourage more providers to get into it,” said Ron Barth, president of PANPHA, a state trade group of nonprofit long-term care operators.

NPR: How the Disabilities Act Has Influenced Architecture

[Audio at the link with transcript]

Prof. PONCE DE LEON: So I have a private practice, and we designed a library for Rhode Island School of Design about now six years ago. And in the project, we designed with universal design principles.

So for example, when we designed the cubicles for the library, no two cubicles are actually the same. We used software that allows you to design for variation as a way of creating a whole range of cubicles that had different sizes, differing height tables, different height seating, different widths, so that we could accommodate many different body types in a very subtle way.

SIEGEL: So depending on one’s individual needs, one’s individual size, or for example if one used a wheelchair, you could find a space that would work for you in that.

Prof. PONCE DE LEON: Exactly. You’re actually acknowledging that we all have different degrees of abilities. So at RISD, since you have a student body that is there for four or five years at a time, there was a great possibility that a student may find actually their favorite spot, maybe because their legs are longer than the average or maybe because their height is a little shorter. And it enabled us to embed different ranges of abilities within the design of the space.

If you’re on Delicious, feel free to tag entries ‘disfem’ or ‘disfeminists,’ or ‘for:feminists’ to bring them to our attention! Link recommendations can also be emailed to recreading[@]disabledfeminists[.]com

Quick Press: Action For Access

Passed along to me via email is this downloadable and printable survey, Action for Access.

You go to the website, and follow the instructions for download. The survey can be taken to locations on the map, then matched up (to my understanding) with the online version, to rate local businesses and establishments in the UK on their accessibility.

There are instructions for following up on the information you provide.

If anyone is interested, or has tried this survey and followed up on it, I would be interested to know how successful they found it (or even how accessible they found the survey itself).

Recommended Reading for 23 July 2010

Warning: Offsite links are not safe spaces. Articles and comments in the links may contain ableist, sexist, and other -ist language and ideas of varying intensity. Opinions expressed in the articles may not reflect the opinions held by the compiler of the post and links are provided as topics of interest and exploration only. I attempt to provide extra warnings for material like extreme violence/rape; however, your triggers/issues may vary, so please read with care.

Cube: Modern Warfare 2: Gaming with a Disability, Junkyard talking with Ian (MW2 Gameplay/Commentary)

I was able to get an opportunity to talk with Ian who is paralyzed from the middle of the chest down. Not letting his situation dismay him from playing video games he has been able to adapt and come up with a solution to overcome his disability.

Sustainable Diet: Common Ground Organic Farm & Veteran Cooperative

[donation solicitation at the end of article]

The model-of-care has been successfully demonstrated with over 60 Marines, veterans and military families at the current program called Operation Recovery.  The model-of-care is now positioned to expand and serve hundreds of active duty, veterans and their families through a financially sustainable program called, The Common Ground Organic Farm and Veteran Cooperative. Mr. Bornt has a lease-option and an opportunity to purchase the ideal property for the expansion – a 70-acre farm with existing residences and infrastructure within 40 miles of downtown San Diego and 28 miles from Camp Pendleton.

The potential of the veteran farm cooperative has generated collaborative interest from Camp Pendleton Marine Corps command and Chaplains, Balboa Hospital ASYMCA, Alliant University, Palomar Collage, the VA PTSD clinic and many other local and national veteran service agencies. The farm will provide a safe, familiar decompression zone, immediate veteran employment, veteran short-term housing, and peer-to-peer treatment training and veteran micro-enterprise development.

Wheelchair Diffusion Blog: Marine Veteran Invents Powered Beach Wheelchair

Blaker states that he was inspired and motivated by his Marine buddies, some of whom suffered injuries that made mobility difficult.

“I worked on cobras and hueys the avionics systems, so that’s where I got all my understanding of electronics and what not,” explained Blaker.

Blaker served six-years as a Marine, and was stationed all over the world, and after finishing his service, he now spends his time building wheelchairs that work on the beach. He was inspired to extend the freedoms non-handicapped people enjoy to those who still want to experience the beach.

Rhivolution (Dreamwidth): Practicing my dropkick skills: OCD

So I saw the book Saving Sammy at the public library, and after picking it up and skimming the inside cover, I sort of couldn’t bear to read it, mostly because the subtitle is ‘Curing the Boy Who Caught OCD’.

Caught. OCD. Cure.

Now, for those of you not aware, a few years back, the US National Institute of Health concluded that in some children with sudden onset OCD and/or Tourette syndrome (henceforth TS), the conditions appeared after the children had had a strep infection, and that this could possibly be causal. Your bog standard OCD and TS are, apparently, slow onset in pre-pubertal cases, and these cases came on rapidly, like a switch was thrown. This proposed condition is called PANDAS, an acronym for something I’m too spoon-less to write out here involving strep and pediatrics and psychiatric disorders and stuff.

Teach Me Tonight: CFP: Fat Studies Edited Anthology

CFP for fat studies edited anthology

Julia McCrossin and I were approached at the PCA/ACA Conference by a publisher and asked to put together a fat studies anthology. The result is the call for papers listed below. Please feel free to distribute far and wide with our thanks.

If you have any questions, please feel free to email either Julia or me. Our addresses are listed below. Huge thanks, and I look forward to hearing from many of you! 🙂

~Lesleigh Owen

If you’re on Delicious, feel free to tag entries ‘disfem’ or ‘disfeminists,’ or ‘for:feminists’ to bring them to our attention! Link recommendations can also be emailed to recreading[@]disabledfeminists[.]com

Recommended Reading for July 6, 2010

jadelennox (DW): How to fight ableism: some easy steps

So I thought it might be valuable to gather together some ways in which able-bodied people can do something about ableism in the world. Then, next time a person is feeling frustrated about ableism, and is thinking about doing some signal boosting of, say, some crappy thing the writers did on the latest episode of Glee, maybe that individual would have the option of committing to spending the same amount of time doing some more concrete fighting of ableism. Not that I’m critiquing the kind of signal boosting that a lot of us do on the blogosphere! But I’m assuming some people would find utility in hearing about other things they could do that might be useful.

Venus Speaks: Between the Lines

Today I realized something: How my disabilities shape the words I do, and more often don’t, say.

For instance: Whenever anyone uses the word “crippled”, I spot it from a mile away. Context doesn’t matter – it could be in anything – a novel, a newspaper article, a headline. “Recession cripples the American economy”, or “The onslaught cripples the meager defenses” or simply “crippling blow”.

Lauren McGuire at Sociological Images: On Disability and the Public Service Announcement [accessibility warning: embedded content lacks transcripts]

Disability-related PSAs cover a wide range of topics, but generally there are three main categories that the message falls into: how people with disabilities are viewed/treated by society, their value in the job market and society, and what their lives are like. Although these are pretty straightforward messages, there is a great deal of variety in the ways in which these basic messages are presented.

Michael Le at Racialicious: An Open Letter to Racebending.com Detractors

It’s easy to draw comparisons between the Airbender casting and an English actor playing an Irish one, or a Spanish actor playing an Italian actor. But it’s not really the same, and the reason is that Hollywood and media don’t consider whether an actor is Irish or Spanish or English. They think of that actor as “white.” The same is not true of actors who are Asian or Latino, who have to fight over the few roles specifically written for those ethnicities. And a lot of times, even when a role is steeped in Asian culture, even when a role is based on real-life individuals of Asian descent, those roles still go to white actors.

Garland Grey at Tiger Beatdown: CRAWLING OUT OF BED: Internalized Ableism and Privilege

In the two years since I have learned things about my own body. I have learned that once my knees start wobbling, GAME OVER. There is no powering through. There is no mystical internal light of determination that I can draw on – if I keep going my body will fail me. This has been a humiliating lesson to learn. But I can still walk. I can still exercise within limits and these limits expand the more I push them. I have also learned how much privilege I carry. I don’t have chronic insomnia like other members of my family. I’ve never lost a job because of being hospitalized, like my friends with Fibromyalgia. If I’m spending time with someone, and I don’t want to have to go into the whole story I can take an anti-inflammatory and ignore the pain, or blame it on fatigue.

Wii Fit Making Exercise More Accessible?

A black box containing a Wii Fit Plus sits on top of a white box with grey and bright green letters containing a Wii Fit Balance Board.I read recently in an issue of Family Circle Magazine (DON’T JUDGE ME!) (There was a fried chicken recipe I wanted to try out!) that “Japanese research” (could they be any more vague and list any fewer resources?) indicates that using a Wii Fit burns just as many calories as doing moderate exercise. There was no resource listed, nothing. Just a blurb stating that there was some research going on in Japan telling us that the Wii Fit was good for us. I have read on random gaming and parenting boards that there is hubbub about the Wii Fit that it is exercise vs. still being “just a video game”…

Now, I don’t really care about calories as much (or at all) as I do having access to some kind of exercise or movement that I can do without having to leave my house and trek all the way up to the base, or pay for a pricey gym membership, or exhaust my silverware drawer trying to get there, or trying to get through a class of exercise that is of a safe level for my body. Sometimes I need to move. I’ve found our Wii Fit to be small chunks of movement that I can handle when I am ready for some, and unlike a yoga class, something I can stop quickly when I am out of resources. I could go on…but you get the idea. I still prefer a good swim when I have a good day, but we all know that our bodies do not always give us what we want…

Having a Wii Fit in my house has been something useful for me, and I acknowledge that there is quite a bit of privilege there as well. There are disabilities that don’t make the amount of movement required for the Wii Fit accessible at all. It isn’t affordable for everyone (and we had the console already when the balance board was released, but the board is not required for all the games), and the games aren’t released in all countries. Even on a good day I can not always use the board safely, and sometimes my old issues with eating disorders can’t handle some of the game details that include measuring your weight and abilities to balance…

But the Wii Fit has made exercise, and moderate amounts of movement, available to some people for whom it wouldn’t otherwise have been available and accessible.

What are your thoughts, gentle readers? Have any of you used the Wii Fit and been pleased with it, as I have? What are your major complaints with the idea that it is an accessible form of exercise/movement? Love it? Hate it?

Photo Credit: Keith Williamson

Recommended Reading for 4 June, 2010

Warning: Offsite links are not safe spaces. Articles and comments in the links may contain ableist, sexist, and other -ist language and ideas of varying intensity. Opinions expressed in the articles may not reflect the opinions held by the compiler of the post and links are provided as topics of interest and exploration only. I attempt to provide extra warnings for material like extreme violence/rape; however, your triggers/issues may vary, so please read with care.

Clyde, a blind border collie, with his assistance dog Bonnie. The two dogs are lying on the grass together.

This is Bonnie and Clyde! Clyde is a vision-impaired Border Collie and Bonnie is his assistance dog. Photo by Flickr user Lisa, licensed under Creative Commons.

Wheelchair Dancer: What Kind Of Life?

I don’t have the sense that I am kicking back slightly, leaning into life differently, because things matter less/differently now because I am disabled now, because I had a successful life beforehand. I don’t feel on a daily basis that I can let myself off the hook now because I manage to live, achieve, and make it. Disability isn’t a soft position for me. Since becoming disabled, I’ve remade my life, yes, but I have remade it in such a way that it is perhaps fuller and certainly physically harder and less comfortable (at work at least) than it ever has been. My life is more intense. Every small success means more because I have had to work harder for it than I ever had to in my previous life.

Cusp at L’Ombre de mon Ombre: Medical professionals and communication (ETA: Evidently this blog was closed after this Recommended Reading went up? If the author would like me to remove the link altogether, please email?)

Why is it then in such situations I always come to a point, no matter how much I rehearse my attitude and responses, where I feel like I’m at school and must do as I’m told: that I’m standing the in my nice grammar school uniform waiting to have whatever someone else thinks is good for me, done to or metered out to me ? I hate that feeling and hate myself for having that feeling 36 years after I have left school.

Jo Tamar at Hoyden About Town: A month of detention without review

Imagine a world in which you could be held by a government agency, against your will, for up to a month.

If you have a mental illness, that is now a real possibility.

Philip Wen at Sydney Morning Herald: Federal funds frozen for disability enterprises

Funding is regularly reviewed. The last deal was a three-year contract agreed under the Howard government, passing on an effective increase of less than 3 per cent a year. That deal expires next month.

But when the funding for next year was announced in this year’s federal budget, ADEs were in for a rude shock. The government had frozen funding, with no increase for indexation.

Shiva at Biodiverse Resistance: The fuzzy boundaries of accessibility

Both these conversations got me thinking: the first about what exactly i consider venues or events that are inaccessible to me, and whether i would expect my friends to boycott them because of that, and the second about whether it really is possible, even if desirable, to have a personal policy of boycotting all inaccessible events or venues. In both cases, the fuzzy, blurry question is – to me anyway – that of where the boundaries of the concept of “accessibility” lie.

Margery A. Beck at Associated Press: Appeals court: Union Pacific did not discriminate

She said in her lawsuit she did not know the evaluation was a mental health exam, and that Union Pacific used it to change her diagnosis and disability to a mental health condition, rather than a physical one.

Based on the mental health diagnosis, Norman’s long-term disability benefits were terminated, reinstated upon appeal, then terminated again, the lawsuit said.

Where About Us But Without Us Leads

On 1 June 2010, E. Fuller Torrey MD wrote an op-ed column for the New York Times, “Make Kendra’s Law Permanent.” Dr Torrey is the founder of the Treatment Advocacy Center (TAC), a nonprofit group whose sole purpose is to lobby states for the passage of so-called assisted outpatient treatment (AOT) laws like Kendra’s Law in New York and Laura’s Law in California. The New York law is named after Kendra Webdale, who was killed by Andrew Goldstein in 1999.

Dr Torrey and TAC will tell you Mr Goldstein had untreated schizophrenia. They’ll tell you people like him are dangerous, they’ll tell you people like Mr Goldstein are often so sick they don’t understand they’re ill and need treatment, and they’ll tell you they know best. They won’t tell you that Mr Goldstein had been seeking treatment desperately and been turned away repeatedly.1 Continue reading Where About Us But Without Us Leads