Section 508 Best Practices Webinar

From the U.S. Access Board...

Review of the Revised 508 Standards (Part II): Requirements for Hardware and Software

US Access Board logoMarch 30, 2021
1:00 – 2:00 pm ET

The next webinar in the Section 508 Best Practices Webinar Series will take place March 30, 2021 from 1:00 to 2:30 (ET) and will explain provisions in the standards for hardware and software. Requirements for hardware, such as computers, information kiosks, and multi-function copy machines, address privacy, operable parts, communication, and other features. Software requirements cover interoperability with assistive technology, applications, and authoring tools. Requirements for support documentation and services will also be covered. Presenters from the U.S. Access Board will answer questions submitted in advance and during the live session.

For more details or to register, visit www.accessibilityonline.org.

Questions can be submitted in advance of the session or can be posed during the live webinar. Webinar attendees can receive a participation certificate.

Registration closes 24 hours before the start of the session. Instructions for accessing the webinar on the day of the session will be sent via email to registered individuals in advance of the session. Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) and Video Sign Language Interpreters are available for each session and will be broadcast via the webinar platform. A telephone option (not toll-free) for receiving audio is also available.

The Section 508 Best Practices Webinar Series provides helpful information and best practices for federal agencies in meeting their obligations under Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act which ensures access to information and communication technology in the federal sector. This webinar series is made available by the Accessibility Community of Practice of the CIO Council in partnership with the U.S. Access Board.

 

 

Free ADA webinar: The Future is Accessible: A Legal Perspective

The Great Lakes ADA Center in collaboration with the Southwest ADA Center and the ADA National Network invite you to register for our upcoming ADA Legal Webinar Series session titled:

“The Future is Accessible: A Legal Perspective”

fingers on computer keyboardfeaturing George Powers, Legal Specialist, Southwest ADA Center.

Date:  Wednesday, March 17, 2021
Time: 2:00 pm-3:30 pm ET

Description:  The Covid-19 pandemic and conditions of the past year increased our reliance on digital communication and entertainment applications like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Netflix, Amazon, HBO Max and much more. Whether we use them for work, communication, or entertainment, these useful applications each pose their own unique benefits and challenges when it comes to accessibility. This program will review disability elements and related legal requirements of some of the more popular applications. Discussions will also touch on the emergence of telehealth as well as a brief look at the advancements in access and current deficiencies of “gaming”.

Registration

Please use this link to register for this event. You will need to set up an account on our website if you don’t already have one.

Cost:  No Charge

Format: Zoom Webinar Platform with real-time captioning in Zoom and Stream Text Link. Connection information will be sent via email prior to the actual session once you have registered.

Registration deadline:   Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Questions?

Email us at webinars@adaconferences.org

 

Livable Communities for a Lifetime

The following announcement comes from the ADA National Network… 

The Great Lakes ADA Center in collaboration with the ADA National Network invites you to register for the upcoming ADA Audio Conference Webinar Series session titled:

Livable Communities for a Lifetime

Woman preparing a mealfeaturing Phillip Stafford, Adjunct Professor, Department of Anthropology, Indiana University.

Date:  Tuesday, March 16th, 2021

Time:  2-3:30pm ET 

The Livable Communities movement has experienced significant growth in the past twenty years. As a model for community planning and development, the movement complements the regulatory approach to accessibility through community participation strategies based on a shared vision of a community for all ages and abilities.

Phil Stafford has been a leader in the international age-friendly/lifetime community movement since its inception. In his presentation, Dr. Stafford will provide a brief history of the movement with examples drawn from a worldwide sample. He will describe an organizational model that communities can adapt to their own contexts, needs, and assets. He will provide a brief overview of the concept of co-design and its application to environments, services, and technologies

Registration

Please use this link to register for this event (An account is required to register)

Registration deadline:  Monday, March 15th, 2021

Format:  Zoom Webinar Platform (closed captioning will be provided via Zoom and Stream Text link option)

Cost:  No Charge

Certificate of Attendance available.

Questions should be directed to webinars@adaconferences.org

Captioned Telephone Service Study

FCC logoThe following announcement come from the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA):

Many members of HLAA use a captioned telephone service, also known as Internet Protocol (IP)-based Captioned Telephone Services (IP-CTS). The Rochester Institute of Technology and the National Technical Institute for the Deaf (RIT/NTID) is seeking participants for an important study to assess current IP-CTS Telephone Services applications. This study is sponsored by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

IP-CTS allows a person with hearing loss to speak and listen to another party while simultaneously reading captions of what the other party is saying. The study will provide information to help determine the requirements for future captioned phone services. This study will assess the captioned phone services from the user’s perspective. Data collected will include captioned service performance and usability feedback from users. Participation in this study will be online.

QUALIFICATIONS:

To qualify for participation, one must meet all of the following requirements:

  • Be 18 years old or older
  • Be able to read English fluently
  • Have a hearing loss and use a hearing aid or cochlear implant
  • Have a computer with a web camera and an Internet connection
  • Are familiar with Zoom technology

AND

  • Use a standard telephone or a cell phone

OR

  • Have used a captioned telephone.

COMPENSATION:

$50 Amazon eGift Card sent by email

CONTACT:

If you are interested in participating or have questions about the study, please contact: Donna Easton: dlencr@rit.edu by email and add “Phone Captioning” in the email subject line.

 

U.S. Access Board to Host Public Forum on Autonomous Vehicles

US Access Board logoFrom the U.S. Access Board

In March and April, the U.S. Access Board, in partnership with other federal agencies, will host a series of virtual meetings on making autonomous vehicles (AVs) accessible to passengers with disabilities. The four-part series will provide an open forum where members of the public and stakeholders can discuss considerations, challenges, and solutions in designing accessible AVs. All are welcome to attend.

“Self-driving vehicles have the potential to dramatically expand transit options for people with disabilities, so it’s important that they accommodate everyone,” notes Access Board Executive director Sachin Pavithran, Ph.D. “We are undertaking this series to share information and ideas to promote inclusiveness into design and operation of autonomous vehicles.”

The series will cover accessibility for passengers with mobility disabilities (sessions 1 and 2) and accessibility for passengers with sensory or cognitive disabilities (sessions 3 and 4). Each 90-minute session will be conducted through a webinar (Zoom) platform and feature presentations by agency representatives and invited speakers who will review relevant sources and research and outline issues and questions for discussion. These presentations will be followed by an open dialogue where attendees can pose questions or share comments or information.

In addition, an online discussion platform (ePolicyWorks) will provide further opportunity for dialogue and information sharing following the webinar sessions. This discussion forum will be active for two weeks following each session.

The Board is undertaking this initiative jointly with other agencies, including the Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy and the Department of Health and Human Service’s Administration for Community Living.

Visit the Board’s website for further details or to register. 

Direct questions to Randall Duchesneau III at events@access-board.gov or (202) 272-0044.

Series Schedule – Inclusive Design of Autonomous Vehicles:  A Public Dialogue

Accessibility for Passengers with Mobility Disabilities: Part 1

This session will cover methods and technologies for entering and exiting autonomous vehicles.

March 10, 2021, 2:00 – 3:30 (ET) 

Register for the March 10 session 

The ePolicyWorks discussion platform will open February 22.

Accessibility for Passengers with Mobility Disabilities: Part 2

This session will address maneuvering and securement in vehicles and continued discussion of entering and exiting autonomous vehicles.

March 24, 2021, 2:00 – 3:30 (ET) 

Register for the March 24 session 

Accessibility for Passengers with Sensory and Cognitive Disabilities: Part 1

This session will address ride hailing and on-board communication for passengers with hearing, visual, or cognitive disabilities.

April 7, 2021, 2:00 – 3:30 (ET) 

Register for the April 7 session 

Accessibility for Passengers with Sensory and Cognitive Disabilities: Part 2

This session will continue discussion of communication accessibility in hailing and interacting with autonomous vehicles for passengers with hearing, visual, or cognitive disabilities.

April 21, 2021, 2:00 – 3:30 (ET)

Register for the April 21 session 

New Maine CITE Program Director Arrives

Jessi WrightJessi Wright, MBA, ATP has been named the new Director for the Maine CITE Program, the Assistive Technology (AT) program for the state of Maine. Jessi began her duties on February 1, 2021.

Jessi was previously the Director of the West Virginia State Assistive Technology Program located at the West Virginia University Center for Excellence in Disabilities.

Jessi has worked in the disability field for over 15 years, ten years of which were with state assistive technology programs. She has extensive experience in disability services program management and is recognized as a national leader in the assistive technology field with knowledge of AT services, training, data management, funding, and grant writing.

Personally, Jessi grew up with an aunt with Down Syndrome and has provided caregiving support to friends and family with varying disabilities. She also identifies as a person with a disability. As a user of AT, she fully understands the potential life changing benefits of AT and has dedicated her career to educating and helping others achieve independence and an increased quality of life through the use of AT.

As a photography, nature and travel enthusiast, Jessi is looking forward to exploring all the adventures Maine has to offer. She plans to spend her down time camping, hiking and kayaking in the beautiful state of Maine. Jessi is also looking forward to trying out winter recreation activities such as cross-country skiing and snowshoeing as well. You may also find her checking out a local hockey game or live music event around the state.

The Maine CITE Program, located at the University of Maine Augusta, is the statewide AT program, administered by the Maine Department of Education and funded by the federal Administration for Community Living. Maine CITE provides information, training, and services about AT, manages the statewide device demo, loan, and reuse programs, and provides technical assistance to organizations and individuals. Maine CITE’s online searchable AT inventory, AT4Maine, has more than 1000 devices available for demo and loan that can be accessed at the website, AT4Maine.org.

Maine CITE also administers the Maine Accessible Educational Materials Program (Maine AEM) which provides information, training, and technical assistance to educators to ensure educational content and communications are accessible to all.

Please feel free to contact Jessi at jwright@mainecite.org

 

App developed in Maine will help people with disabilities

From the VEMI Lab at the University of Maine Orono

App from VEMI Lab group will help people with visual impairments, seniors enjoy ride-sharing with self-driving cars

University of Maine logoORONO, Maine, January 29, 2021 – Self-driving cars will offer access to ride-sharing and ride-hailing with their suite of modern conveniences. However, many people with visual impairments who use these services rely on a human driver to safely locate their vehicle.

A research group led by the Virtual Environments and Multimodal Interaction Laboratory (VEMI Lab) at the University of Maine is developing a smartphone app that provides the navigational assistance needed for people with disabilities and seniors to enjoy ride-sharing and ride-hailing, collectively termed mobility-as-a-service, with the latest in automotive technology. The app, known as the Autonomous Vehicle Assistant (AVA), can also be used for standard vehicles operated by human drivers and enjoyed by everyone.

AVA will help users request, find and enter a vehicle using a multisensory interface that provides guidance through audio and haptic feedback and high-contrast visual cues. The Autonomous Vehicle Research Group (AVRG), a cross institutional collective led by VEMI lab with researchers from Northeastern University and Colby College, will leverage GPS technology, real-time computer vision via the smartphone camera and artificial intelligence to support the functions offered through the app.

The U.S. Department of Transportation awarded $300,000 to AVRG for the AVA project through its Inclusive Design Challenge. The initiative sought proposals for design solutions that would help people with disabilities use autonomous vehicles for employment and essential services. AVRG was one of the semifinalists.

“This design challenge was exciting to us as it falls so squarely in our wheelhouse” says Nicholas Giudice, a professor of spatial Computing at UMaine. “We have worked in the areas of multimodal information access and navigation for visually impaired people and older adults for years, and have recently started a research program investigating human-vehicle collaborations for increasing the trustworthiness and accessibility of autonomous vehicles. This development project connects the dots by allowing us to bridge several areas of expertise to ensure that the technology of the future is ‘accessible for all.’”

Users will create a profile in AVA that reflects their needs and existing methods of navigation. The app will use the information from their profiles to find a suitable vehicle for transport, then determine whether one is available.

When the vehicle arrives, AVA will guide the user to it using the camera and augmented reality (AR), which provides an overlay of the environment using the smartphone by superimposing high-contrast lines over the image to highlight the path and verbal guidance, such as compass directions, street names, addresses and nearby landmarks. The app also will pinpoint environmental hazards, such as low-contrast curbs, by emphasizing them with contrasting lines and vibrating when users approach them. It will then help users find the door handle to enter the vehicle awaiting them.

“This is the first project of its kind in the country, and in combination with our other work in this area, we are addressing an end-to-end solution for AVs (autonomous vehicles) that will improve their accessibility for all,” says Giudice, chief research scientist at VEMI Lab and lead on the AVA project. “Most work in this area only deals with sighted passengers, yet the under-represented driving populations we are supporting stand to benefit most from this technology and are one of the fastest growing demographics in the country.”

AVRG studies how autonomous vehicles can meet various accessibility needs. VEMI lab itself has explored tactics for improving consumer trust in this emerging technology.

AVA advances both groups’ endeavors by not only providing another means for people with visual impairments and other disabilities and seniors to access self-driving vehicles, but also increases their trust in them. The project also builds on a seed grant-funded, joint effort between UMaine and Northeastern University to improve accessibility, safety and situational awareness within the self-driving vehicle. Researchers from both universities aim to develop a new model of human-AI vehicle interaction to ensure people with visual impairments and seniors understand what the autonomous vehicle is doing and that it can sense, interpret and communicate with the passenger.

The app will offer modules that train users how to order and locate rides, particularly through mock pickup scenarios. Offering hands-on learning provides users confidence in themselves and the technology, according to researchers. It also gathers data AVRG can use during its iterative, ongoing development for AVA and its integration into autonomous vehicles.

“We are very excited about this opportunity to create accessible technology which will help the transition to fully autonomous vehicles for all. The freedom and independence of all travelers is imperative as we move forward,” says VEMI lab director Richard Corey.

VEMI Lab, co-founded by Corey and Giudice in 2008, explores different solutions for solving unmet challenges with technology. Prime areas of research and development pertain to self-driving vehicles, the design of bio-inspired tools to improve human-machine interaction and functionality, and new technology to improve environmental awareness, spatial learning and navigational wayfinding.

FMI Contact: Marcus Wolf, 207-581-3721; marcus.wolf@maine.edu

See also article on Cool Blind Tech blog…

7th Annual CAST UDL Symposium!

The following comes from CAST

Located near Boston, CAST is a nonprofit education research and development organization that created the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) framework and Guidelines, now used the world over to make learning more inclusive.

Register now for the 7th Annual CAST UDL Symposium!

Education2020 was a year for the history books, challenging us to make dramatic, unexpected changes quickly. We also confirmed that radical change in teaching and learning is possible. But 2020 also illuminated barriers to learning like never before. How do we ensure that the future is intentionally planned in a way that achieves the outcomes we hope for?

The 7th Annual CAST UDL Symposium will highlight promising work taking place in the field and will also serve as a forum to think about how we can begin to intentionally design for a better future right now. This year’s event is not about UDL as it has always been done. It is about the dramatic changes that we hope to see in the future and the innovations that can lead us there. Join us for a learning and networking experience filled with connected conversations that elevate our thinking around UDL and the future designed.
Use this link to register for the 7th Annual CAST UDL Symposium now.

Learn more about the CAST UDL Symposium by visiting our website.

U.S. Access Board Webinar: Vertical Access

The next webinar in the U.S. Access Board’s free monthly series is:

February 4, 2021
2:30 – 4:00 PM (ET) 

US Access Board logoThis webinar will explain where vertical access is required (or exempted) in the ADA and the ABA Accessibility Standards and how it can be achieved. Presenters will review requirements in the standards for ramps, curb ramps, elevators, and platform lifts, as well as clarify common sources of confusion when providing vertical access.

Visit accessibilityonline.org for more information or to register. 

All webinars include video remote interpreting (VRI) and real-time captioning. Questions can be submitted in advance of the session or can be posed during the live webinar. Webinar attendees can earn continuing education credits. The webinar series is hosted by the ADA National Network in cooperation with the Board. Archived copies of previous Board webinars are available on the site.

“Get Up To Speed” Maine Launches Statewide Internet Speed Test Mapping Initiative

Neon sign with the words Hi Speed InternetThe Maine Broadband Coalition has launched a statewide internet speed test mapping initiative. The goal of the “Get Up To Speed” initiative is to gather data from across the state to generate the most comprehensive map of both the presence and quality of internet in Maine to date.

Residents are being asked to help the initiative by taking this less-than-a-minute test to map their own speed through the Maine Broadband Coalition’s website. We strongly encourage you to share this link with your community, so that we can get the most accurate map possible.

The Maine Broadband Coalition will aggregate, document, and visualize the speed testing information to provide users and state officials with up-to-date service maps. Participants can view their results (while personal information remains confidential) and watch the public map of Maine grow in real time.

The new speed testing initiative is the crucial next step in ensuring the delivery of broadband throughout the state and will help local, regional, and state leaders develop projects and steer investments to the places that need it most. This map, along with other data collected, will help inform where the bond funding, approved by Maine voters in July, can have the most impact.