Recommended Reading for December 29

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Wheelchair Dancer: Charity, One Non-Person At A Time

I am angered by the exploitation of individuals for organizational support. In part, I know that this is “how it’s done.” A local organization whose facilities and services I use called me to “get my story.” They were going to use me for fundraising. I was on the phone for half an hour; the interviewer struck me as greedy. Greedy for the details of my tragedy and overcoming. Greedy for the story of my pain and recovery. I didn’t have a good feeling about this, but I hung in.

Then, my interviewer dropped a bombshell.

Astrid at Astrid’s Journal: Care Packaging for the Blind

Even though even mildly disabled people with visual impairments, may have difficulties with domestic care and organizational tasks that require access to information, if you can carry out your own personal care, all you are supposed to need is some “help” (which the hours you’re approved for are not enough for), “stimulation” and “guidance”. Have the people who created this guide, ever met a single blind care user, who could explain to them their real care needs?

Media Access Australia: Social Media Accessibility Review [note that MAA focuses on sensory disabilities]

Media Access Australia has ranked the following services in order of accessibility:

1. Facebook: Facebook has made great efforts to include a wealth of accessibility features and is a good choice for people with disabilities.

2. Skype: Skype has delivered an accessible product, but they must be conscious that new versions maintain the good work done to date.

3. YouTube: YouTube has put a lot of work into the accessibility features of their site and this has been backed by a recently launched centralised accessibility portal offered by Google, YouTube’s owners.

4. Flickr: Flickr is only somewhat accessible. It still has some way to go before the site will be open to all users, but the launch of an accessible lab shows promise.

5. Twitter: Twitter has grown rapidly over a short period of time and the site has fallen short of introducing a number of easy to install accessibility features.

6. MySpace: MySpace is an inaccessible site. It has failed to deliver an accessibility policy and has no evidence of accessible design built into the service.

BBC: Rape complaint woman reaches settlement with police [WARNING]

In the first known case of its kind, a woman who made a rape complaint which was not investigated properly has reached an out of court settlement with police. Catherine says the man who raped her knew he was targeting a particularly vulnerable woman. […]

Catherine first spoke to the police in December 2005. In February 2006, she contacted them to find out how the investigation was going. Nothing at all had been done. It hadn’t been recorded as a crime.

A sergeant later said that the paperwork had been on his desk and he had forgotten about it.

Center for American Progress: How to Close the LGBT Health Disparities Gap

Furthermore, many LGBT people face outright hostility from their health care providers. One of the few existing studies of the transgender community shows that up to 39 percent of all transgender people face some type of harassment or discrimination when seeking routine health care.

Similarly, a general lack of data on LGBT people makes it difficult for doctors and other health care providers to learn about the LGBT population’s needs. This lack of information and data is reflected by the fact that most medical schools do not offer any coursework or instruction on the health needs of LGBT people.

The Globe and Mail: Nearly 50 MDs back doctor alleged to have abused welfare food forms

“A ruling against Dr. Wong would result in physicians becoming far more cautious in how they fill out the forms … and the end result from that, of course, will be less money being available to people living in poverty to be able to meet their basic needs,” said Toronto family physician Gary Bloch. […] Ontario’s special diet program allows people on social assistance to get extra money for special dietary needs if they have diabetes or celiac disease, or are obese.

2 thoughts on “Recommended Reading for December 29

  1. The report on social networking sites is interesting and confirms my experiences with Facebook and Myspace as a visually impaired user. I find Facebook easy to use and Myspace used to be straightforward a couple of years ago (despite the inaccessibility of the music player) but now I never go on it. Not only is their no audio version of the capture when you join but Myspace insists on regularly asking you for the capture before you send messages or even log in. I have sent many e-mails to the site and received no reply so I have abandoned it. A shahme as it was better for bands and artists wishing to share their music (some of whom are probably visually impaired, though Myspace obviously isn’t aware of that!) than Facebook is, but if I can’t use it independently then there’s no point. The article is right, Myspace are cutting off a whole section of their users who will now go to Facebook.

  2. @Rainbow: Gah! People seriously don’t realize how inaccessible those CAPTCHA things really are… heck, I’m sighted, and I sometimes have trouble reading the things because of characters that aren’t completely clear, poor contrast, and so on. The worst one by far that I’ve ever seen was case-sensitive (i.e., upper and lowercase matter), but included letters like “X” and “O” whose case isn’t distinguishable without context.

    And the audio alternatives are getting less and less intelligible, because they have to add so much background noise… much of which also sounds like it could be numbers! I like what ReCAPTCHA has done; instead of using random digits mixed with even more random noise, they now have you transcribe a sample of undistorted real-world speech.

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