News You Can Use
When we find useful information related to assistive technology or disability, we'll post it here.
October 30, 2008: CNN Discusses the Future of Universal Design
A story published on the CNN Web site on October 30, 2008 discusses the future of universal design and asserts that the gap is narrowing between products designed for the general population and those designed for people with disabilities. Dr. Don Norman of Northwestern University is quoted as advocating an "accessible activity-centered" approach to design that looks at the job a person needs to achieve in using a particular technology when designing a product to fulfil that function.
Link to source: http://www.cnn.com/2008/TECH/science/10/30/design.approaches/.
September 5, 2008: Free Online Training Available for Emergency Responders Who Work with People with Disabilities
The Public Health Foundation is offering a free internet course for health professionals who may work with people with disabilities in times of disaster. Specific training covers disability etiquette, terminology, and communications and assistance techniques during disasters for assisting people with disabilities. Course participants will become familiar with various disaster assistance needs of persons with sight, mobility, hearing, and cognitive disabilities. Instruction is given in the video by professional educators with one educator being a person with a disability to enhance the experience of acquainting the audience with disabilities. The course also has a component requiring creative problem solving in responding to possible scenarios a person may face when assisting people with disabilities during an emergency. This is a two hour course sponsored by the University of Kansas Research and Training Center on Independent Living and the Kansas Department of Health Education.
July 22, 2008: U.S. Unveils 2009 Louis Braille Silver Dollar with Readable Braille
On July 2 2008, the U.S. Mint unveiled the design of the 2009 Louis Braille Bicentennial Silver Dollar at the National Federation of the Blind's annual convention in Dallas, Texas. The Braille Silver Dollar is the first coin minted in the United States to feature readable Braille characters. The coin will go on sale in the spring of 2009, the bicentennial anniversary of Louis Braille's birth.
May 28, 2008: NIDRR and ED Release "Emergency Management Research and People With Disabilities: A Resource Guide."
The National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) and the U.S. Department of Education have released, "Emergency Management Research and People With Disabilities: A Resource Guide." The guide provides a listing and description of research projects funded by the federal government and nonfederal entities, research recommendations that have come out of conferences on emergency management and disability, and a bibliography of relevant research publications. This resource guide is the culmination of cooperative efforts by NIDRR, the Department of Education, the Research Subcommittee of the Interagency Coordinating Council on Emergency Preparedness and Individuals with Disabilities (ICC), and the New Freedom Initiative Subcommittee of the Interagency Committee on Disability Research (ICDR).
Link to source: http://www.ncddr.org/new/announcements/EMRfPwD/.
May 21, 2008: Appeals Court Rules U.S. Currency Design Discriminates Against Blind
On May 20, a federal appeals court upheld a lower court's ruling that U.S. currency violates the Rehabilitation Act as it discriminates against blind people and people with visual disabilities. The court found that people with visual disabilities cannot easily distinguish between bills of different denominations because the bills are all the same size, shape and color. The judges' opinion stated that the U.S. Department of the Treasury is required to re-design the currency to accommodate the needs of the people with visual disabilities.
The original case was initiated by a suit filed by the American Council of the Blind (ACB) and two individuals, Patrick Sheehan and Otis Stevens in 2002. It was opposed by some advocacy groups, such as the National Federation for the Blind, as well as several business groups.
While the court's opinion calls for the Treasury to redesign the currency, any major change in U.S. currency may not occur for several years. The court did not order any specific changes nor did in provide a timetable for such changes to occur. Also, the U.S. government could ask for a rehearing by the full appeals court or challenge the decision to the Supreme Court.
If an appeal is not filed, the case will be returned to Judge James Robertson of the Federal District Court in Washington, D.C. for consideration of remedies.
April 15, 2008: Hallmark Hall of Fame Presentation
Hallmark Hall of Fame presents "Sweet Nothing in My Ear" airing April 20th, 2008 on CBS. This movie depicts parents with a deaf son and their struggle with the decision to have their son Adam undergo cochlear implant surgery that may make it possible for him to hear. Adam has been deaf since birth. His mother is also deaf and his father is hearing. Marlee Matlin and Jeff Daniels star as parents and Noah Valencia stars as Adam.