Category Archives: environment

Does fashion care about disabled people and the purple pound?

Britain’s disabled population has a spending power of £80bn, yet, as a frustrating shopping trip to Mayfair proved, many clothes shops are completely inaccessible

Kelly Knox modelling Teatum Jones AW17Catherine Teatum and Rob Jones have a positive understanding of practical issues affecting disabled shoppers.

Britain’s disabled population has a spending power of £80bn, yet, as a frustrating shopping trip to Mayfair proved, many clothes shops are completely inaccessible

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Since childhood, fashion has always given me joy. It has allowed me to present myself to the world as the person I am and strive to be, irrespective of the physical limitations of my disability. But in the five years since severe illness forced me to use a mobility scooter to get around, online retailers have become my primary access to new trends, owing to poor accessibility on my local high street. Recently, I heard about a disability charity’s campaign to improve shop access and wondered whether navigating luxury fashion stores on four wheels would be any less challenging. It seemed logical that designer labels, which often shell out millions to create opulent showrooms, would invest in basic equipment for access. So I ventured into Mayfair – one of London’s most expensive areas to shop – to explore the AW17 collections up close.

From the moment I rode out on to New Bond Street, I was beset by obstacles. It started with attempting to enter a designer store with a stepped entrance, then performing a red-faced U-turn outside because sales staff couldn’t provide a ramp.

As I continued around Mayfair, I discovered boutique after boutique with stepped entrances and no access ramps. Often staff delivered this information with an expression of bewilderment as to why anyone would require one, and nearly half of the shops I visited said they didn’t have lifts to access upper floors.

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Read full article at Source: Does fashion care about disabled people and the purple pound? | Global | The Guardian

A better world for wheels on Google Maps

Starting today, we’re calling on Local Guides, a community of people who contribute their expertise about places on Google Maps, to add more wheelchair accessibility attributes to the map. If each of our tens of millions of Local Guides answers three of these questions every day for two weeks, we can gather nearly two billion answers to help people who rely on this information every day.

More than 65 million people worldwide need wheelchairs. I became one of them after an accident eight years ago, and I discovered what it’s like to navigate the world on wheels.

As I learned, those of us with mobility issues need information about places before we arrive. Does the art museum have a stair-free entrance? What about the cafe across the street? And is there an accessible restroom at that new restaurant?

Google Maps now offers answers that allow me—and millions of others on wheels—to find accessible places. Because anyone can identify and label wheelchair-friendly locations directly on the map, it’s easy to share this knowledge around the world. But not everyone knows this tool exists, so we want to do more.

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Read full article at Source: A better world for wheels on Google Maps

There’s Always Something to be Done: Liz Henry on Being Disabled in Tech

Liz Henry, with plastic framed glasses, purple blue hair, and a hoody, sits in the Longmore Institute. Her motorized wheelchair is to her left.

Liz is currently the release manager for Mozilla, and has worked in two eras of tech: the 1990s and the mid-2000s to the present. She learned her computer skills from tinkering with computers from a young age, and having the freedom to experiment. In addition to her work in open source software, Liz is a blogger, writer and translator, and is involved in hackerspace projects. Liz deals with mobility impairments, and chronic pain from those impairments, that have a significant effect on how she can work.

The structure of Liz’s work at Mozilla has many benefits for her because of her mobility impairments. Instead of working on a traditional hourly schedule, she has longer timeframes, like six weeks to work on a project. This means that even if she is not productive over a specific hour or even a day, she is very productive over the course of those six weeks. In addition to this, Liz often works remotely with a distributed team who are in many different time zones around the world. It is not important that everyone be working at the same time. It’s more important that communication is strong, persistent, and frequent.  If she has a flare-up and is unable to leave the house she still has the possibility of getting work done. She often thinks, as she is working from bed, that this job is perfect for people with mobility issues.

In addition, the fact that her physical condition can change at a moment’s notice means that she is very good at contingency planning. And since software release, as she describes it, can be  “a constant disaster,” this skill is very helpful in her workplace. In her opinion, anyone with a disability who has managed their own healthcare competently, with all the medical, insurance, and government bureaucracies, has many skills needed in software project management – tracking a complex process and coordinating work across several teams.

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Read full article at Source: There’s Always Something to be Done: Liz Henry on Being Disabled in Tech – Disability Remix Blog

The Potential of IoT Technologies for People with Disabilities

The Potential of IoT Technologies for People with DisabilitiesWhile being able to dim your lights, lock your doors, and adjust the thermostat using voice commands or a simple interface on your smartphone may seem like convenient novelties to some, for disabled individuals these can be essential to maintaining a safe, healthy, enjoyable home life. For example, a quadriplegic who cannot physically open their front door could speak into their smartphone and the door would automatically open. They could also create a variety of profiles that change the lighting and turn on specific devices once they’ve entered the house, making possible what otherwise would have required a caregiver’s constant assistance.

As another example, a person with little to no vision could use appliances throughout their home with greater ease, and a deaf person could receive security alerts about disturbances they might not have noticed on their own. And while these are helpful for people who are disabled, there is no need to be completely cut off from outside assistance as these devices can also be used to alert caregivers and family members of any issues that may need their attention.

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Read full article at Source: The Potential of IoT Technologies for People with Disabilities

Canada’s new accessibility laws should focus on employment, inclusive buildings, transport 

The priorities, which were laid out in a report and released by the federal government Monday, summarize eight months of consultations held with Canadians from coast to coast. Carla Qualtrough Qualtrough, the minister tasked with crafting laws to make Canada more accessible to people with disabilities, says employment will be a key focus of her efforts.  (JUSTIN TANG / THE CANADIAN PRESS)   By MICHELLE MCQUIGGEThe Canadian Press Mon., May 29, 2017 Public consultations on Canada’s first national law for d……

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Read full article at Source: Canada’s new accessibility laws should focus on employment, inclusive buildings, transport | Toronto Star

Google Maps now lets users add wheelchair accessibility details for locations 

Back in December, Google finally added accessibility details to Maps. It was a long awaited addition, but an extremely welcome one for the more than three million people in the U.S. who require wheelchair accessibility. As we noted at the time, however, the available information still left a lot to be desired. Maps has currently collected accessibility data for almost seven million places, but even with databases like Wheelmap, there were still some pretty big gaps across the country.This week, Google’s l

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Read full article at Source: Google Maps now lets users add wheelchair accessibility details for locations | TechCrunch

New Vision-Impaired User Interface – Virgin Australia

 

Image of ‘Welcome Aboard’ main menu

Virgin Australia has become the first airline in the Asia Pacific region, and the second airline in the world, to introduce an in-flight entertainment (IFE) user interface for passengers who are blind or have low vision.

The new interface increases accessibility to IFE content through simplified screen layouts, larger icons and voice prompts. It will be available soon on Virgin Australia’s entire fleet of Boeing 777-300ER aircraft which feature a seatback entertainment system, and is being rolled-out on the Airbus A330 fleet in May and June 2017.

The airline’s wireless IFE system is available on its Boeing 737-800 and Embraer E190 fleets, and is accessible to vision impaired passengers via screen reader software available on their own devices.

Virgin Australia General Manager, In Flight Experience, Tash Tobias, said in the launch announcement on 19 April 2017 that “we are determined to ensure travel with Virgin Australia is enjoyable for all of our guests and we are delighted to introduce this new user interface for guests who are blind or have low vision.”

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How a Smart Home Empowers People with Disabilities

While advances in personal technology continue at a rapid pace, at times their designers seem to forget about the population that could perhaps benefit from it the most. Stabelfeldt says just the ability to charge a phone with a wheelchair didn’t even exist until a few years ago.

But features like Apple’s “Home” app allow Stabelfeldt to control a variety of smart accessories in his house — from door locks and window shades, to lights and his garage door. The best part for Stabelfeldt? He can command Apple’s intelligent digital assistant Siri to work it all.


A Game Changer
“We put a lot of time and effort into making sure our products are as accessible as possible for all users,” said Apple’s Sarah Herrlinger. She has worked at Apple for nearly 14 years and is their Senior Manager of accessibility policy and initiatives.

“For some people, doing something like turning on your lights or opening a blind or changing your thermostat might be seen as a convenience, but for others, that represents empowerment, and independence, and dignity,” she told NBC News.

“HomeKit and Switch Control and Siri have given me a lot of value and a lot of opportunities to demonstrate that I’m a quality man and I’m a man of integrity,” Todd Stabelfeldt. “To get up every day and go to work: Everybody’s valuable, everybody has worth, everybody should have the opportunity to demonstrate it.”

Changing Places > Home

The Changing Places Consortium launched its campaign in 2006 on behalf of the over 1/4 of a million people who cannot use standard accessible toilets.This includes people with profound and multiple learning disabilities, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, as well as older people. To use the toilet in safety and comfort, many people need to be able to access a Changing Places, which have more space and the right equipment, including a height adjustable changing bench and a hoist.

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Read full article at Source: Changing Places > Home

Accessibility in the classroom—tools that impact my students – Office Blogs

Creating a collaborative, inclusive classroom has many moving parts and pieces—and finding the right balance can be challenging. As a special education teacher, I am constantly on the hunt for technology and tools that give students with disabilities an environment that is personalized, differentiated and yet as close to their peers’ experience as possible. I have been an itinerant teacher, a distance education math teacher at a residential school and currently a resource room teacher—without the resource room.

When I work with my students and determine how to meet their needs, I think a lot about their accommodations rather than their modifications. The outcomes for a student can have a very dramatic effect on their learning.

In my accompanying blog post, “Accommodations versus modifications in an inclusive classroom,” I outline the important differences between accommodations and modifications to accessibly personalizing student learning. With Windows 10 and Office 365—free for teachers and students—I have been able to find and use many of the accommodations that I have been looking for making consumption of materials, content creation, collaboration and organization possible for students using the same technology and tools as their peers.

These tools help my students to consume content, create content, collaborate inclusively and stay organized.

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Read full article at Source: Accessibility in the classroom—tools that impact my students – Office Blogs