This blind woman says self-checkouts lower the bar(code) for accessibility | CBC News

If you have a visual impairment, the self-checkout phenomenon can make shopping a difficult and frustrating process.
— Read on www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/self-checkouts-accessibility-concerns-1.5243720

AppleVis Unlimited: What’s New and Noteworthy for July 2019 | AppleVis

Welcome to the July 2019 edition of AppleVis Unlimited, our monthly series which aims to highlight what’s new and noteworthy on the AppleVis website. Below, you’ll find a selection of the best content posted to AppleVis by members of the community – from new app entries, to app updates, to the latest news and podcasts. For easier navigation, the major sections of this post are
— Read on www.applevis.com/newsletters/applevis-unlimited-whats-new-and-noteworthy-july-2019

GTT North Vancouver Meeting Agenda, What Are Podcasts, CELA Library, April 28, 2019

Get Together With Technology (GTT) North Vancouver

Sponsored by the Canadian Council of the Blind

In Partnership with

North Vancouver City Public Library

GTT North Vancouver April 2019 Bi-Monthly Meeting:

Theme: What are Podcasts and How to Subscribe

When: Sunday April 28, 2019 1:15 PM to 3:00 PM

Where: North Vancouver City Library, Third Floor, 120 West 14th Street.

First Hour:

Albert Ruel will lead the group through the exploration of the many and varied podcasts available today and the apps and devices used to listen. Margarete will also discuss the new CELA website and how that will impact accessible book users.

Second Hour:

We will discuss anything participants have on their minds, or work with accessible devices brought into the room. If you received something from Santa this Christmas and you don’t know how to turn it on or use it, this is a good time to ask for support.

Who Should Attend?

Any blind or partially sighted person who is interested in learning how peer mentoring and assistive technology can help you lead more independent lives.

For more information contact:

Albert Ruel, Toll Free: 1-877-304-0968 Ext. 550, or Mobile: 1-250-240-2343, Email: Albert.GTT@CCBNational.net

Resources: Breaking barriers: accessibility at home a costly process, by Blair Crawford, Ottawa Citizen

Breaking barriers: accessibility at home a costly process

Author: Blair Crawford

Date Written: Mar 29, 2019 at 5:00 PM

Date Saved: 3/30/19, 9:34 PM

Source: https://ottawacitizen.com/news/local-news/ottawa-firm-specializes-in-accessibilty-renovations

 

Jennifer and Eli Glanz with daughter Emilia in the master bathroom they had modified to accommodate Jenifer’s wheelchair.

It’s just a few centimetres high, but the sill of the sliding glass door that leads to the back deck of her Barrhaven home is a mountain to Jennifer Glanz.

“It’s little, but I can’t get over it,” said Glanz, who has multiple sclerosis and uses a wheelchair. Glanz and her husband, Eli, have already installed a $4,000 electric lift in their garage so that Jennifer can get out of the house, and recently completed a renovation to make their bathroom barrier free.

They moved with their daughter Emelia, 3 1/2, to a bungalow a few years ago when Jennifer’s deteriorating condition made it impossible for her to manage the stairs in their former two-storey home. The small ramp over the door sill is the next item on their reno list for summer — “if we ever get a summer,” Jennifer jokes.

“It’s the next project. And a ramp down to the grass. Emilia will be playing on the grass this summer and it would be nice to be there with her.”

Whether it’s a senior who wants to age in place in her own home, a person battling a debilitating illness, or someone injured in a sudden, catastrophic tragedy like the Westboro OC Transpo bus crash, those facing disability find that barriers abound in the home. In fact, 22 per cent Canadians live with some sort of physical disability, according to Statistics Canada.

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“The older you get, the more likely you are to have a disability,” says Patrick Curran, national executive director of Independent Living Canada, a national non-profit agency that advocates for those living with disabilities and promotes independent living.

“And if you live long enough, you will have a disability.”

Many of the modifications needed to make a home accessible are obvious: a wheelchair ramp to the front door, for example. Others aren’t so apparent.

“One item that’s a really big, especially for someone with head injuries, is lighting,” said Sean MacGinnis, co-founder BuildAble, an Ottawa company that specializes in building and renovating homes for accessibility. “You want lighting that won’t put a strain on your eyes. Or if it’s for someone who has a visual impairment, better lighting will eliminate shadows and help them see any changes in elevation in their home.”

MacGinnis founded BuildAble five years ago with partner Kyla Cullain, a registered nurse. The company works closely with their clients’ medical teams — their family doctor or occupational therapist, for example — to develop an appropriate construction plan, he said.

“We started the company out focusing on people who are aging in place, but we’ve found the majority of our clients are people who have had a medical crisis, MS or a stroke or something like that … and we do have a lot of people who’ve been in vehicle accidents too. They’re in mid-life and they want to stay in their homes or they have family that they don’t want to move.”

For Eli and Jennifer Glanz, that meant redoing their bathroom to make it accessible. BuildAble installed a barrier free bathroom that Jennifer can roll up to and swing herself into a spare wheelchair that stays in the shower. The tile floor slopes gently to a drain and a waterproof barrier under the entire bathroom floor means spills or floods cause no damage.

The old sink and vanity was replaced with a “floating sink” that lets Jennifer wheel up to it like a desk. Three heavy-duty handrails give support and stability at the toilet.

“For the longest time we had a standard tub and shower that you see in most showers. Jennifer can’t transfer herself into a standard tub, even if there’s a shower seat. It would be me physically lifting her up and into the tub. That was hard for both of us,” Eli said.

“She keeps reminding me, I only have one back.”

“It brought more independence to me,” Jennifer said. “Before, I would have to have him home and helping me have a shower. Now I don’t. He doesn’t know how many times I shower.”

It cost $15,000 to renovate the bathroom, about 80 per cent of which was paid for with grants from March of Dimes. The family had to cover the cost of the garage lift on their own.

Another clever addition are offset hinges that allow doors to swing completely out of the way, adding a crucial extra five centimetres width to the doorway for Jennifer’s chair to pass.

The simplest and most common modification to a home is to add grab bars and handrails, MacGinnis said, including railings on both sides of a staircase. In the kitchen, countertops and cabinets can be made to lower to wheelchair level, while full-extension drawers are easier to access without awkward reaching.

One of BuildAble’s biggest jobs was to add a full elevator to a home for a man with Parkinson’s Disease, he said.

The cost can vary widely. The cost of home modifications are often included in the insurance payout for accident victims or — as in the case of an Ottawa Public servant who is suing the city for $6.3 million for injuries in the Westboro bus crash — part of the lawsuit claim. Others are helped with the cost through grants from the March of Dimes and other charities or through tax breaks.

“There’s a lot of low-cost things we can do that have a high impact,” MacGinnis said. A grab bar might cost $100. A second staircase railing $1,000. A wooden ramp to the door can range from $500 to $5,000, while a more aesthetically pleasing ramp of interlocking brick could cost $15,000 to $20,000.

A barrier-free bathroom costs between $12,000 and $15,000 while a full reno to make a kitchen full accessible can run up to $30,000, he said.

In Ontario, someone who has suffered catastrophic injuries in a car crash is eligible for $1 million in under the province’s the province’s Statutory Accident Benefit Schedule. But for non-catastrophic injuries, that benefit is capped at $65,000 and will only last five years, said lawyer Najma Rashid, a partner in Howard Yegendorf & Associates.

“Just because someone’s injuries aren’t catastrophic, doesn’t mean they’re not serious,” Rashid said. “Many people with serious injuries might be stuck with that $65,000 and it’s only available for five years so they have to make a judgment call as to whether they’re going to use part of the money for changes to their home or for ongoing treatment needs.”

Additional costs could become part of a lawsuit claim, she said. Lawyers would work with their clients medical team or hire an occupational therapist or consultant to determine what renovations are needed and their cost.

“And if they do claim it in a lawsuit, they have to wait for that lawsuit to be over. Or self fund it and look for a reimbursement, but most people don’t have the money to pay for it themselves.”

Those looking for more information on improving accessibility will be able to find it Independent Living Canada’s AccessABLE Technology Expo on May 30 at the Ottawa Conference and Events Centre on Coventry Road. The one-day expo will bring together 20 exhibitors with a broad range of products for disabilities such as visual or hearing loss, cognitive impairment and mental health issues. Admission is free, Curran said.

“We’re doing this to build awareness for Independent Living Canada,” Curran said. “But we also want to give to hope to people who have disabilities — to show them that there are people out there doing research and introducing new products that will be of interest to them.”

For more information, visit ilcanada.ca

Twitter.com/getBAC

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Guest Post: WBU and ACB Announce Results from the First Worldwide Survey of Audio Description Activity

WBU and ACB Announce Results from the First Worldwide Survey of Audio Description Activity

 

Feb. 7, 2019

 

A new international survey reveals that audio description (AD) is an important assistive technology worldwide providing access to people who are blind or have low vision to the arts and many other visually-rich events.

 

The new international AD survey (69 countries and the Pacific Disability Forum) finds that:

 

.67% of respondents said that AD is available in the respondent’s country;

.cinema, television, live performing arts, and DVDs lead the list of the type of AD experiences available (followed by museums, the web, smartphones, in educational settings and in visitors’ centers);

.almost 45% said that AD is required by law (64% of those respondents reported that it was required for broadcast television); and

.99% of respondents said that they believe AD or more AD should be available.

 

The World Blind Union and the American Council of the Blind are long-time supporters of the growth of AD.  Both groups are eager to learn more about the use of AD by people who are blind or have low vision in its member nations, including some of the barriers to its use.  (The World Health Organization reports that an estimated 253 million people live with vision impairment.)

 

Audio description makes visual information of media and the visual or performing arts, in particular, more accessible to persons who are blind or vision impaired.  For media and in the performing arts, language, carefully crafted and timed, is voiced usually during the natural pauses in a program’s original soundtrack.

 

Kim Charlson, President of the American Council of the Blind, emphasizes that “Cultural activities are an important element of our society, often expressing values, trends, fads, historical perspectives, or future directions.  People who are blind or visually impaired want and need to be a part of society in all its aspects.  Audio description provides the means for blind or visually impaired people to have full and equal participation in cultural life, accessibility to an event, and the right to be first-class citizens. In short, the ability to contribute to, participate in, and enjoy the treasures that society offers.”

 

Jose Viera, CEO of the World Blind Union, says that “Throughout the world unemployment among people is a significant problem.  I am certain that with more meaningful access to our culture and its resources, people become more informed, more engaged with society and more engaging individuals-thus, more employable.”

 

The full report from this survey is available at:

http://acb.org/adp/docs/WBU-ACB%20%20AD%20Survey-FINAL%20REPORT.pdf

 

Additional information about ACB’s Audio Description Project is available

at:

www.acb.org/adp.

 

About the World Blind Union

 

The World Blind Union (WBU) is the internationally recognized organization, representing the 253 million blind and partially sighted persons in 190 member countries. We are the voice of the blind, speaking to governments and international bodies on issues concerning blindness and low vision in conjunction with our members.

 

WBU brings together all the major national and international organizations of blind persons and those organizations providing services to people with low vision to work on the issues affecting the quality of life for blind people. Globally, we are divided into six regions, with each region having its own President and volunteer executive team to assist the needs of the local members.

 

For more information about the World Blind Union, contact Jose Viera, CEO, World Blind Union, 1929 Bayview Avenue, Toronto, Ontario  Canada M4G3E8; phone 1-416-486-9698, e-mail: info@wbu.ngo

 

About the American Council of the Blind

 

The American Council of the Blind is a national membership organization. Its members are blind, visually impaired, and fully sighted individuals who are concerned about the dignity and well-being of blind people throughout the nation.

 

Formed in 1961, the ACB is one of the largest organizations of blind people in the world, with more than 70 state and special-interest affiliates and a nationwide network of chapters and members spanning the globe.

 

For more information about the American Council of the Blind, contact:  Eric Bridges, Executive Director, American Council of the Blind, 1703 N Beauregard Street  #420, Alexandria, VA 22311;  phone (202) 467-5081 or toll-free, 1-800-424-8666; or  visit the web site,

www.acb.org.

 

 

An Evaluation of OrCam MyEye 2.0 – AccessWorld® – August 2018

AccessWorld: Technology and People Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired is a monthly periodical for anyone who uses or wants to use assistive technology, provides technology training, has students or clients who use technology, needs to make purchasing decisions, or wants to keep abreast of technological trends and events.
— Read on www.afb.org/afbpress/pubnew.asp