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 Wednesday, July 09, 2014


TOT has been expanding and developing its ‘Telephone for the deaf’ service to address the important need for personal communication tools for hearing impaired individuals, especially in situations where help is needed. There are now 500 telephone booths with the service installed nationwide, including 150 located in Bangkok.

To use the device, callers should go to a TOT public telephone that has an additional keyboard attached. Pick up the phone, insert a TOT public phone card and dial the designated number. The person at the destination must be using either a mobile phone or have a special phone provided by the TOT with a keyboard attached. Then, unlimited text can be sent at a cost of only 3 Baht per call. Once the caller is done he/she  just hangs up and removes the card.

TOT hopes that this service will facilitate hearing disabled individuals in being able to communicate through service equipped public and home phones. The language of the text message can be switched between Thai and English.

For more information the public can contact the TOT Innovation Institute by dialing the TOT hotline 1100, or access www.tot.co.th

(Source: National News Bureau & Public Relations)

Wednesday, July 09, 2014 12:46:57 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, June 27, 2014
New, mainstreamapproaches and tools are needed to improve visual accessibility for people with low vision , according to a special article in the July issue of Optometry and Vision Science, the official journal of the American Academy of Optometry. “Visual accessibility makes an environment, device, or display useable by those with low vision,“ says Anthony Adams, OD, PhD, Editor-in-Chief of the journal.

According to a review by Gordan E. Legge, PhD, of the University of Minnesota, vision science, in collaboration with other fields, has a key role to play in developing technologies and designs to promote visual accessibility for the millions of people living with low vision.

In recognition of his pioneering work on low-vision research and visual accessibility, Dr. Legge was named the 2013 Charles F. Prentice Award Lecture Medalist.  Established in 1958, the Charles F. Prentice Medal is awarded annually to an outstanding scientist who has contributed significantly to the advancement of knowledge in the visual sciences.

Low vision is defined as a chronic vision disability that adversely affects daily functioning and that is not correctable by glasses or contact lenses. It is estimated that there are between 3.5 million and 5 million Americans with low vision, and this number is expected to increase as the population ages.

In his Prentice Award Lecture, Dr. Legge—who suffers from low vision himself—proposed to “embed low-vision research more explicitly in the real world” in order to reduce barriers to visual accessibility. He shares examples of his research in two key areas: architectural accessibility and reading accessibility.

Architectural design has great potential to enhance visual accessibility for people with low vision. Dr. Legge gave illustrated examples of how low vision can make it difficult to navigate architectural spaces; these  obstacles and hazards may even change with the light at different times of the day.

His research includes the development of software tools to promote the design of visually accessible spaces. These tools reflect the impact of reduced visual acuity and contrast sensitivity, as well as predict whether architectural features can be seen by people with low vision. Dr. Legge writes, “We need practical models of low vision capable of predicting real-world object visibility”.
Dr. Legge’s work also includes efforts to increase reading accessibility for people with low vision. Advances such as electronic readers provide powerful new tools to improve reading accessibility, but there’s still a lack of knowledge of how best to use the features they provide. Research is needed to understand the interacting effects of variables such as display geometry, visual acuity, viewing distance, print size, and font.

Dr. Legge urges low-vision researchers to work with other disciplines—including software and hardware developers and design professionals—in solving the problems of visual accessibility. He writes, “Where we succeed, we will contribute to vision science by showing how vision functions in the real world, and we will find better ways to reduce barriers facing people with visual impairment”.

Further details

Friday, June 27, 2014 8:33:43 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 



IITE, the UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in Education, aims to promote equal access to education and inclusion of the most vulnerable segments of society through Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs).

IITE has strived to improve the access and quality of education for disabled persons by means of ICTs since 1999. Within this framework, the Institute has held a number of international expert meetings and workshops in partnership with well-known experts from various countries, including the United Kingdom, Italy, the Netherlands, Japan, Australia and the USA. This experience enabled the Institute to develop a specialized training course named: "ICTs in Education for People with Special Needs". A team of international experts from Italy, the Russian Federation, Australia, Denmark, and other countries, headed by Dr. Edwards (United Kingdom), developed this course.  The course presents the best international experiences in the field of general and specific ICT application in education for a wide range of people with special educational needs, as well as policy advice.

Policy changes and consolidated efforts of governments and civil society are necessary to reduce the extensive gap that exists in access to, and use of, digital technologies by people with disabilitiesICTs can both ease an individual’s access to life-long learning andcontribute to new career and business opportunities. ICTs also grant vulnerable groups and individuals access to the political, economic, scientific and cultural activities of a society, thereby helping to resolve social inequalities.

As part ofthe UNESCO initiative to promote a broader view of the concept of inclusive education, IITE supportspolicy dialogue to initiate the development of national e-inclusive strategies aimed at the following:

  • increasing disadvantaged and excluded groups` access to ICT infrastructure;
  • promoting basic ICT literacy and vocational training programs targeted specifically at the most vulnerable segments of society;
  • and supporting regional, sub-regional and inter-country cooperation and exchange of good practiceson the extension of ICTsto excluded groups.
ICTs offer great potential to support life-long learning for all groups of learners, including those with disabilities. The application of ICTs can compensate for the lack of natural functions, thus contributing to appropriate learning environments for students with disabilities.

The direct beneficiaries of the activities in this field are policy and decision-makers who are responsible for or involved in the development of educational policies and plans; experts in teacher training and vocational development; as well asteachers themselves.

(Source: UNESCO)

Friday, June 27, 2014 6:41:50 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, June 06, 2014


Touchscreens may have kicked-off a mobile computing revolution, but they didn't do much for the visually impaired. OwnFone, which launched a customizable mobile phone for kids and the elderly back in 2012, is now offering its stripped-down handset with braille or raised text contact buttons. The 3D-printed hardware lets you select up to four contacts that can be assigned to the device, making it ideal for emergencies and people who need to stay in touch with family or carers on a regular basis. It's available right now for a base price of £60, plus an additional monthly charge of between £7.50 and £15.00 per month -- depending on how much call time you want or need.

(Source: Engadget)

Friday, June 06, 2014 5:58:12 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, May 16, 2014

Grey Group Singapore (“Grey”) announced that the agency has developed two innovative mobile applications (“apps”) aimed at improving the quality of life of people with hearing disabilities. Developed with inputs and full support from the Singapore Association for the Deaf (SADeaf), the proprietary apps transform smart phones into intelligent devices that help the lives of people who are Deaf and hard-of-hearing easier and safer.

Say it With Signs
Although smart phones are fast becoming ubiquitous devices in the hearing world, people with hearing disabilities has limited use of them as a communications tool, relying more on text messages and over the top (OTT) applications that deliver visual content.

This poses a challenge when there is difficulty for a caller to key in a text message, such as when the caller is driving or if the caller is a pre-school child. Say it With Signs helps address this challenge by processing audio messages during a phone call into digital hand signs displayed on the receiver’s mobile phone. The receiver of the call, who is a deaf person, can easily view this sign language on their mobile phones and reply to the caller via a text message.

Hearing Aide
Hearing Aide provides people with hearing disabilities with support during emergencies by processing ambient sounds and transmitting visual and kinetic notifications to the user. Upon recognizing a specific audio signature, the app will process this and notify the users of the impending danger via a 20 second vibration and a visual message displayed on the mobile phone screens.

This app is pre-loaded with 5 standard “alarms” or “alert sounds” such as, ambulance, fire brigade, police sirens, fire alarm and smoke detector. Users have the ability to customise the app according to their needs by adding sounds between 90 – 120dB into the databank of alert sounds and renaming labels of the notifications to warning messages they prefer or are familiar with.

SADeaf President, Dr Christopher Low Wong Kein shares, “These applications are breakthroughs for the Deaf community. At SADeaf, we are always on the lookout for innovations that can better the lives of our clients. Say it With Signs and Hearing Aide are certainly two applications that will fast become integral to our clients in their everyday lives. I have no doubt that our clients will be looking forward to have the apps installed on their phones. It was indeed a pleasure working with the highly creative and attentive team at Grey Singapore. We are glad that they have thought of the needs of people with hearing disabilities”.

(Source: GAATES)

Friday, May 16, 2014 9:18:32 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, May 08, 2014

Hearing the doorbell, the fire alarm or a tap that has not been properly turned off are everyday situations that can become a problem for a person who is hard of hearing. The Tecnalia Centre for Applied Research has developed a tool to pick up and identify ordinary sounds that are produced in the home environment in order to help people with hearing disabilities.

It is a mobile phone app designed to assist people who have limitations of this type in their daily lives.

All the users have to do is download the app onto their Smartphones, which will inform or alert them in real time about the various sounds that are produced around them. The first version of the app is available free of charge at Google Play under the name MyEardroid. Being portable, its advantages are that it is available anywhere at any time and does not depend on fixed installations. What is more, it can be personalized and each user can select the sounds that are relevant to him/her. The alert is made by means of vibration, text or image.

The app could benefit anyone who is severely or deeply hearing disability by supporting them in the home, in a hotel room, at work or anywhere indoors. What is more, it will also benefit the people around them as these alerts will give them peace of mind.

After launching this APP, Tecnalia is aiming to go on adding new sounds and to identify other milieu in which the app could offer its users advantages.

Tecnalia is committed to one of the big future challenges: to improve people’s life quality, and one of its aims is to achieve this in the sphere of ageing and disability. So by applying new technologies, the research center is developing new support products and services that allow people with special needs and their carers to access information and services as well as to carry out their daily activities as independently as possible in order to improve their quality of life.

See the video presentation here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=65DnzrJBtuo

(Source: GAATES)

Thursday, May 08, 2014 10:02:44 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, April 22, 2014
- The device uses raised points to depict information from a computer
- Blind people can use the Incendilumen to control the computer
- It will allow blind people to open and close different windows

Argentinean students from the country’s National Technological University are developing a tablet-like computing interface for blind people.

They plan to develop a final prototype over the next two months and launch it in just over two years, as a joint venture with a technology firm based in Buenos Aires.

The device acts as an interface between the user and a computer, says Guido Muchiutti, one of the seven team members and the device’s inventor. He tells SciDev.Net that the product depicts information from the computer screen and allows the user to control the computer.

The prototype, named Incendilumen, which means ‘turn on the light’ in Latin, has a surface covered with 2,000 tiny rods that rise and fall to represent information such as graphics, buttons and windows.

“Our interface translates data so blind people can feel it by touching what appears on the screen, whether icons or words in the Braille system”, says Leonardo Hoet, a professor of from the same university and a member of the team.

Incendilumen was a finalist in the Argentinian technology and design contest Innovar 2012, and won funding from the country’s ministry of science to develop the product further. Leandro Sereno, president of the Association for People with Visual Disabilities in Argentina, who tested the prototype, is enthusiastic about the device.

“When it is ready it will be fabulous because, with it, blind people can feel what appears on the screen and interact with it”, he tells SciDev.Net. “For instance, we can use different windows, and icons to open them or close them, something currently impossible for us. It would be very useful for surfing the internet¨.

Ariel Lutenberg, a researcher in Buenos Aires University’s Faculty of Engineering, praises the device, but says that many challenges remain to ensure this Argentinian innovation succeeds.

“The problem is always going beyond the laboratory and getting a product to sell”, he says. “It means lowering costs, mass production and other complicated issues in countries like Argentina. Things are different in Silicon Valley or Israel, for instance”.

The Incendilumen team hopes to make the tablet as cheap as possible and available to both institutions and individuals.

See here a video by the Incendilumen team about the innovation (in Spanish): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wRGSullF-i4

(Source: SciDev)

Tuesday, April 22, 2014 10:05:38 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 



SK Telecom announced on April 17 that they have developed a smartphone-based digital image management service which will allow videos to be transmitted digitally to counselors, who will help people with visual disabilities through  telecommunication with  live video footage.

The image management service will be comprised of wearable cameras, smartphone applications, a video management system and client program that feeds video  to the consultant’s personal computer or mobile device.

The wearable camera, which can be conveniently hung around an ear to provide broadened range of vision, will act as eyes for people with visual disabilities by recording high-definition video which is transmitted to a smartphone and then to a personal computer or a mobile device of the counselor who receives the live images on the video management software through SK Telecom’s LTE network.

The camera is also designed to be accessible for people with visual disabilities, meaning it will start automatically when powered. With the technology counselors at their desk will be able to help people with visual disabilities to cross the street or alert them to  obstructions, bus arrivals and so on. Also, the high-resolution images will enable counselors to check expiration dates on a milk carton or receipts, or read mails for them.

The service is expected to create job opportunities as well since counselors will be able to work from their homes, including employment for persons with disabilities who are sighted. SK Telecom will test the service for two months  and provide the service during the latter half of this year.

SK Telecom  will also help the disabled by contributing Internet-of-things network lines to an emergency safety service, administered by the Ministry of Health and Welfare, to about 2,000 households with severely-disabled members. It offers various services such as rescuing and emergency medical treatments in critical situations using sensors and Internet-of-things infrastructure.

An official at SK Telecom said, “We expect to help those with various disabilities and create job opportunities using information and communications technology. We truly believe that the technology that we have can contribute in building a better world, and look to expand the services to do so”.

(Source: GAATES)

Tuesday, April 22, 2014 8:57:59 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, April 01, 2014


The Vive Digital Plan Colombia was awarded at the Office of the United Nations in Vienna, as "one of the 15  Innovative Policy 2014" , in view of their impressive contributions to the disabled population for the Zero Project, an international initiative working for a world without barriers .

Vive Digital, program through which the Ministry of ICT is driving the transformation of the digital ecosystem in the country, was highlighted at an international summit on accessibility.

They stressed about the impact of ConVertic , the software that the Ministry put tfree of charge to more than 1.2 million people with visual and hearing disabilities enabling them to use the computer and surf the Internet . And in 2014 more than 800 centers provide technological tools that promote accessibility.

More than 400 experts in accessibility and disability worldwide extolled the work of MinTIC , for its programs for people with disabilities and other vulnerable groups.

Vive Digital Plan of the Ministry of Information and Communications Technologies was shortlisted as one of 68 innovative policies in Project Zero. Globally the company meets and models that improve the quality of daily life and the legal rights of people with disabilities.

The references provided by the Project Zero said: Respecting the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities , approval for disability rights , innovation in approach and legal instruments application implementation that delivered measurable and identifiable improvements and easily transferable to other countries.

Recognition also highlighted the achievements of Vive Digital Plan on access to the Internet, and noted that, in contrast to other countries in South America, Colombia makes major investments in information technology .

Similarly, the annual report of Zero Poject , highlighted the commitment and performance of Colombia at work for the rights of people with disabilities.

Under the slogan "No one can enjoy a human right if there is no access to it", the Project Zero has investigated 69 practices and policy solutions that have proven successful in overcoming barriers to access .

The Zero Project

The Zero Project was initiated by the Essl Foundation in 2010. Project Zero 's vision is to work for a world without barriers, in accordance with the principles and provisions of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) . It does so by investigating Innovative Practices and innovative policies worldwide that help improve the lives of people with disabilities, as well as research in social indicators that measure the implementation of the UN CRPD and the current situation in all countries of the world.

(Source: MinTIC)

Tuesday, April 01, 2014 4:26:58 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, March 05, 2014



This study aims to provide a greater awareness and contribute to a greater awareness of society about the possibilities offered by ICTs for persons with visual, hearing and mobility disabilities, to improve their welfare and employment opportunities.

It delves into the facilities and difficulties to access and use three types of specific technologies: the mobile phone, Internet (including social networking and e-government) and the computer.

The core of the study is based on the exploitation of EPDFVE Survey 2013, for persons with visual, hearing and mobility disabilities between 18 and 64 years old living in Spain, designed specifically to know, from experience and perception of disabled people themselves, how they can access and use the various technologies listed. Also, we want to know what aspects of ICT are more useful to enhance their daily life, what are the limitations that these groups have to take advantage of its benefits and what demands and proposals make us to improve their access and use thereof.

The analysis of data from the 2013 Survey EPDFVE allows to answer various questions raised with regard to people with disabilities and the role of ICT in their daily lives.

Here is available for download, in PDF, a summary of the report with main conclusions. The full report (188 pages) must be requested by sending an email to infofve@corp.vodafone.es

Further details




Wednesday, March 05, 2014 7:04:30 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

General Objectives

Analyze the social and labor situation and the profile of people with disabilities in nine Latin American countries in order to find out whether ITC training and teleworking are an alternative for their labor inclusion.

Specific Objectives

  1. Generate quantitative information on ITC training and working conditions of disabled people. Provide an estimation of the number of potential teleworkers with disabilities.

  2. Generate qualitative information through observation and refer to actual teleworking cases involving people with disabilities in order to identify the use of ITC applicable to this kind of activity and detect how legislation and norms are applied in each country focusing the labor inclusion of people with disabilities.

  3. Divulge concepts, advances and results related to this research, and propose recommendations in accordance with the analysis of the specific aims one and two in relation to the different players: people with disabilities, trainers, contracting parties, OSC and governments.

Methodology

Information and compilation

In order to find out whether in the Latin American countries included in this research exisist cultural, social, political and technological conditions to implement telework activities for the disabled, the research will look for responses to the questions detailed below.

The countries involved are in the following list:

  1. Argentina

  2. Brazil

  3. Chile

  4. Colombia

  5. El Salvador

  6. Mexico

  7. Peru

  8. Dominican Republic

  9. Uruguay

Two different approaches will be used in the research: a macro social or quantitative one and a micro social or qualitative.

The macro-social approach will allow us to provide support to the theoretical premises of a somewhat general nature to portray the quantitative aspects of the research related to the specific aim number one.

The micro-social approach, on the other hand, will highlight the relative nature of its conclusions, because the interpretation of experiences, opinions and their meanings is essential, as they only are meaningful within certain and limited situations, referring to specific cases which will allow us to evidence the qualitative aspects.

This division will facilitate information analysis and will also allow us to synchronize both perspectives. If we just consider only one of these approaches, this might lead us to a fragmented view, because both approaches constitute an indivisible reality.

Qualitative data compilation will be carried out through computer software to be determined by the team, having the Atlas TI features.

Further details

Wednesday, March 05, 2014 7:01:02 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


Quality Services for the Autism Community (QSAC), a New York-based charity supporting children and adults with autism, has selected Sprint as the 2014 recipient of the Change Maker Award for its commitment to accessibility for people with disabilities. Dan Hesse, Sprint CEO, will accept the honor on behalf of the company at QSAC’s annual gala taking place on Tuesday, June 17, at The Lighthouse at Chelsea Piers (West 26 Street and West Side Highway) in New York.

Each year, QSAC’s Change Maker Award recognizes a company that has made a meaningful commitment to supporting the needs of children and adults with developmental disabilities. Sprint is being honored for delivering innovative accessible solutions that empower individuals with disabilities.

Sprint offers a variety of products and services, including unique, accessibility-themed ID packs for select Android devices that are designed to accommodate various accessibility needs. Sprint’s Accessible Education ID pack, among other services, assists individuals with autism who are working to improve their socialization and communication skills.

Sprint’s efforts to expand access to technology embodies our hope for more tools and resources to assist individuals with disabilities in achieving greater independence, empowering them to contribute more meaningfully to their communities,” said Gary Maffei, executive director of QSAC. “By recognizing Sprint, QSAC hopes to encourage others to actively support Sprint and similar efforts to expand access to technology for children and adults with autism”.

At Sprint, we recognize how making wireless technology more accessible can reduce, and perhaps eventually eliminate, the communication barriers faced by individuals with disabilities,” Hesse said. “We embrace this challenge and we are proud to receive the 2014 Change Maker Award”.

Past recipients of honors from QSAC have included Pfizer and PIMCO. Each year, QSAC’s gala brings together more than 500 people to increase autism awareness while raising funds to support QSAC’s programs and services for the autism community of New York and Long Island.

Additional details regarding the gala are available online at www.qsac.com/gala.

Sprint’s corporate responsibility program, Sprint Good WorksSM, is guided by the principle that doing the right thing is good business. More than a statement, it’s also a belief: Good does indeed workSM. That’s why Sprint is committed to anticipating the needs of customers and making award-winning services accessible to all. By empowering seniors and people with disabilities through accessible technology, Sprint is demonstrating how good technology works as a positive force in society.

For more information, watch the following video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zh813O1yYT0&feature=player_embedded

Further details


Wednesday, March 05, 2014 6:43:52 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 



Under the motto “No one can enjoy a human right to which one does not have access”, the international initiative Zero Project (www.zeroproject.org) mobilized its worldwide network of more than 1,000 disability experts in spring 2013 to map the state of the implementation of the CRPD and to find innovative practice and policy solutions on accessibility.

Download the full report

(Source: G3ICT)

Wednesday, March 05, 2014 6:39:36 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Helping children with learning disabilities such as dyslexia to acquire reading and spelling skills will not only open doors for them to engage with the community but also participate fully in it.

Dyslexia Association of Sarawak (DAS) vice-president Richard Sia said this when speaking during the certificate presentation ceremony for participants of the Empower Program organized by the US Department of State, which was held at the Sarawak State Library yesterday.

“With the ability to read and acquire information from resources out there, we hope that these children will gain access and be included in mainstream schools and communities, thus providing them with accessibility and inclusiveness through empowering them in reading.

“With this new knowledge and techniques, we hope to create and improve the support for dyslexic children and adults, and for children with other learning disabilities to acquire learning skills in reading, spelling and learning English”.

Last month, DAS and SK Laksamana Kuching in collaboration with state Education Department and Yayasan Sarawak conducted a reading camp for Primary 3 students, where children were immersed in English teaching and language.

The camp was a pilot project to empower children with learning disabilities through an intensive reading program over a seven-day period at Yayasan Sarawak in Kuching.
“All our children have shown a significant improvement in their pre-camp and post camp assessments for the English language”, shared Sia, adding that the children’s progress would continue to be monitored over the next six months.

During his speech, Yun praised the state library for its beauty and expressed the US Embassy’s willingness to continue to work together with the library to help it expand as well as provide other means of support such as exchanges and lectures.

“To me, having this mix is very, very important and I do believe, such a mix is a very important ingredient in how a nation succeeds. Again, this is very much full of hope as I come and see what you have done in Sarawak”, he said.

During his speech, His Excellency said the Embassy was very happy to have played a small part in enabling the Empower Program as well as the camp to take flight.

“We’re here to recognize what we one can do with a serious disability like dyslexia. Dyslexia is something that is not readily visible, not like many disabilities. When we recognize that, and when we have exchanges, mentors, tutors, who can really make sure that people with dyslexia can live full lives – more than that, lives with learning, I think that makes an enormous contribution. I am very happy to honour the Dyslexia association, what Richard Sia and his group have done. We are very happy to be a very small part of how we can highlight and assist in this effort”.

According to an event information handout, the Empower Program is a new series of two-way exchanges aimed at bolstering international disability rights by providing opportunities to disability advocates for professional development, internships, training, networking, and collaboration with their US peers.

The program is run by the Professional Exchanges Division of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs in partnership with Mobility International USA (Miusa). The exchanges coincide with efforts to promote and ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities by the administration.

(Source: Borneo Post)

Tuesday, February 18, 2014 11:42:33 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Government on Friday introduced the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill in Rajya Sabha (RS), seeking to increase reservation for persons with disabilities in public sector jobs from existing 3% to 5% and reserve seat for them in higher educational institutions.

Persons with disabilities under the proposed legislation – which also seeks to broaden the ambit of disability from seven to 19 sub-categories — will, however, not get such relief soon as the members in Upper House insisted to send it to a standing committee of Parliament for detailed examination before putting it up for discussion and passing.
If the chairman Hamid Ansari agrees to send the Bill to the parliamentary panel, then it won’t be passed during the current session – the last one during the present government.

At present, the reservation for the disabled is only 3% in the ratio of 1% each for people with mobility, vision and hearing disabilities. The new Bill, if passed by the Parliament, will extend the quota by 2%, covering two new additional categories – mental disability and people with multiple disabilities.

The proposed legislation divides the broad categories into various sub-categories, seeking to include as many types of disabilities as possible. It includes, thalassemia and muscular dystrophy besides autism, blindness, cerebral palsy, chronic neurological conditions, mental disability and multiple disabilities.

The Bill, introduced by the Union minister for social justice and empowerment Mallikarjun Kharge, also provides for setting up National Commission for Persons with Disabilities, which will have statutory powers besides establishing a dedicated National Fund for Persons with Disabilities.

The proposed legislation is expected to bring more clarity in defining disability. Anyone suffering 40% disability or more will continue to be defined as a ‘person with disability’.

Besides making provisions to prevent persons with disabilities from harassment while getting disability certificates, the proposal legislation also provides for stringent punitive measures under which anyone violating the provisions could face from six months to five years of imprisonment and a fine from Rs 10,000 to five lakhs.

Demand to send the Bill to standing committee came from CPM members in the House. As soon as Kharge introduced the Bill, the party member Sitaram Yechury rose to his feet demanding that the bill should be referred to a Standing Committee. Deputy chairman P J Kurien, however, said that the chairman Hamid Ansari would take a call on this.

The government had in December last year decided to replace the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunity Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act of 1995 with the new Bill. It maintained that the proposed legislation is in consonance with the United Nations Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which India had signed in 2007.

Various Disabled Rights Groups had, however, protested against the Bill in its current form, saying the provisions were not in tune with the norms of UN convention. The groups had identified 20 shortcomings and suggested amendments in the Bill.

Besides introduction of this much awaited Bill, the Upper House could not transact any other business for the third consecutive day on Friday. Member raised various issues including Telangana, corruption and plight of Tamil Nadu fishermen simultaneously as soon as the Rajya Sabha assembles. As the din continued, the House was adjourned for the day after two adjournments during the first half.

(Source: The Times of India)

Tuesday, February 18, 2014 3:33:22 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, January 20, 2014
Companies that address accessibility needs in their IT product development are better positioned to leverage those same assistive technologies to mass market solutions, according to Gartner, Inc. Gartner said that people with disabilities (PWD) are an underserved market segment with one billion people worldwide. They and their immediate friends and family have an annual disposable income of more than $8 trillion.

"People with disabilities make up 15 percent of the world 's population and some of the assistive technology marketed to people with disabilities can also be sold to the other 85 percent of the population that is "situationally disabled" by their environmental conditions, at work and at play", said Andrew Johnson, managing vice president at Gartner. "Every day situational disabilities include listening to a conference call in a noisy airport, or using a mobile phone while driving or while wearing gloves. In many cases, assistive technology features will not only help mitigate common environmental factors, but can be used as the foundation to improve security and enhance privacy for everyone.

"Additionally, businesses that create a workplace environment that is accessible for PWD can realize increased productivity from nondisabled employees. Assistive tools by definition are designed to improve the work environment. Some employers fear that accommodating PWD will result in high accommodation costs, but evidence does not support these fears", Mr. Johnson said.

"Assistive technology" is a term used to describe products and services used by individuals with disabilities in order to perform functions that might otherwise be difficult or impossible. It includes hardware, software and peripherals that assist PWD in accessing computers or other information technologies, at home and in the workplace. Examples include keyboards with large keys, screen-reader software that reads text on a phone or a computer screen, software that enlarges screen content, and products such as a text telephone.

"The assistive technology market itself is vast, but the potential market size is considerably larger when devices designed as assistive technology can have applications for the mass market", said Mr. Johnson. "Consider the impact that regulations for accessibility in Web technology have had on device features. Text-to-speech recognition not only allows sight-impaired people to listen to the printed word, but also helps solve part of the distracted driving epidemic by delivering audio versions of text messages. Similarly, optical character recognition that began with creating devices for the blind, but has expanded into applications such as license plate recognition used by law enforcement".

Mr. Johnson said that the size of the PWD market segment will increase in the coming years, partially as a result of global aging. By 2050, 30 percent of the population of 64 countries will be more than 60 years old, an age where a greater percentage of people have disabilities. As the numbers of PWD increase, so does the market opportunity.

Gartner has identified three basic approaches to the PWD market:

1. Customized solutions narrowly targeted to specific PWD types
Companies using this approach are usually smaller, have dedicated product development efforts and use resellers that focus on the PWD market. Assistive technology is their core business that might limit opportunities to the larger market but allows them to achieve their organizational goal of innovating for the PWD market.
2. Mass-market solutions positioned with side benefits to PWD
Companies using this approach are usually larger, leverage existing features, tweak messaging and use mass-market channels to appeal to disabled individuals and their family and support network. They do not create products for PWD; rather, they embed accessibility features into their products.
3. Line extensions with redesigned products for PWD
The line extension strategy is a hybrid approach where a mass-market product is modified to PWD.
While the approaches to accessibility may be varied, the trend toward IT consumption patterns that place users at the center will continue to drive consumer and enterprise IT requirements for the foreseeable future. With the trend toward more human-centric design, accessibility and overall usability for the largest percentage will become more important.

"Regardless of the go-to-market approach, the marketing organization needs a keen understanding of the PWD market and related government regulations", said Mr. Johnson. "Suppliers should designate a leadership position, such as a chief accessibility officer, to take the lead in educating the organization and customers on assistive technology. First step should be to evaluate your company's intellectual property and product portfolios to assess how they can be leveraged to the PWD market. Consider various business approaches ranging from licensing, manufacturing, partnerships and branded offerings".

More detailed analysis is available in the report "Market Trends: New Technologies Benefit Employees and People With Disabilities”. The report is available on Gartner's website at http://www.gartner.com/document/2593617?ref=QuickSearch&sthkw=disabilities%20AND%20technologies.

(Source: Gartner Newsroom)

Monday, January 20, 2014 9:14:10 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, December 19, 2013


Imagine a world where disabled and non-disabled people have equal life opportunities; access to mainstream education, employment and career development opportunities, a world where disabled people are able to freely access buildings, transport and other services.  This is what we aim for.

India has a rich cultural and religious heritage. It is the world’s fourth largest economy, and with a population of over one billion, is the largest democracy in the world (World Bank, 2010). India is growing in many aspects, fast becoming a global player with great potential to develop and influence other countries.

There are many changes taking place in relation to Disability Equality in India and around the world; anti-discriminative legislations, ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Disabled people (UNCRPD), CSR initiatives, Disability Equality Practices and many more.

However, whilst India is making rapid progress in addressing disability equality, over 50% of disabled people remain illiterate compared to 35% of the general population (Government of India, 2001). The deep inequalities experienced by disabled people are further exacerbated when combined with existing axes of social difference, such as gender and social status. This shows the greater need for change in attitudes towards, and awareness of disability equality and accessibility. We believe it is you who can initiate this change which will last a lifetime and beyond, that will see our children, grandchildren and generations to come grow up in a country that respects equality and provides opportunities for all.

Choice Internationl (UK) and NGI are bringing together national and international resources to provide an environment for innovation and creativity, through which we aim to initiate change in Disability Equality and Accessibility in India. This jointly organised conference aims to recognise the achievements in Disability Equality in India, whilst analysing the challenges we now face.

So join us at ‘Freedom of choice’- an International Conference on Disability Equality and Accessibility in India, and make a lasting difference!

NGI creates a platform for forward-thinking Indians and friends, connecting them for the betterment of their lives. The aim of this publication and its events are to explore, express, learn, share, and network across the globe, promoting India, Indians and friends globally via debate, discussion and knowledge sharing.

Choice International is a UK based, non-profit, international development organisation promoting Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in the UK and overseas focussing specifically on promoting leadership development of disabled people. The current focus on India is via the LEAD-India programme.

This conference aims to:
- Explore Disability Equality within Indian businesses and services to gain an understanding of disability equality relating to accessibility, perception of disability and disability legislation in India.
- Explore the importance of barrier-free design and infrastructure.
- Equip participants to become ambassadors and promoters of Disability Equality
- Create an opportunity for participants to meet and network, share skills, knowledge and experience in Disability Equality and promote the concept of a barrier-free environment in their respective fields.

Help to incorporate effective Disability Equality practices and barrier free design in all infrastructures developed within corporate, public and voluntary sectors.

(Source: Choice International)

Thursday, December 19, 2013 6:03:50 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


UNESCO has launched its Global Media and Information Literacy (MIL) Assessment Framework for the evaluation of countries’ readiness to create an enabling environment for MIL. The publication also aims to assess citizens’ competencies on MIL, particularly targeting teachers in service and training.

Since the rapid advancements in information and communication technologies took place, traditional notions of literacy have struggled to keep up with modern demands. The challenges are also linked to a growing influence of media and the need for better management of information and knowledge at professional and societal levels.

UNESCO’s Media and Information Literacy programme represents a composite set of knowledge, attitudes and skills, necessary to access, analyse, evaluate, use, produce and communicate information, media content and knowledge in creative, responsible and ethical ways in order to participate and engage in personal, professional and societal activities. UNESCO believes that every citizen needs to learn and understand principles necessary for media and information providers to fulfil their functions in society, learn more about opportunities and threats coming from virtual world and manage resources. As such, MIL acts as a key factor for the participation in knowledge societies in the 21th century, ensuring capacities for lifelong learning and developing employability and inclusion for all citizens.

A central component of UNESCO’s Media and Information Literacy strategy, the Global MIL Assessment Framework would enable Member States to carry out comprehensive assessments of the information and media environment, and to monitor at the regional and national level the extent to which citizens have acquired MIL competencies, particularly targeting teachers in service and training. This evidence-based information will subsequently help Member States monitor the effectiveness of the implementation of education and ICT policies in developing 21st century capacities, and help to design new strategies and action-oriented plans that fit best within country-specific contexts and conditions.

The publication presents an overall assessment framework composed of two tiers: country readiness, and assessment of competencies. It also includes a plan for national adaptation as well as concrete suggestions for data collection, analysis and application. It is intended as a living document to be further tested, adjusted and adapted to national needs and circumstances by its users – policy decision makers, teachers and local professional communities in information, media and education.

The Global MIL Assessment Framework is part of UNESCO’s commitment to the implementation of the Intergovernmental Information for All Programme (IFAP) Strategic Plan, and particularly its priority on information literacy, and of the Plan of Action of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS). It also contributes to the on-going debate on Internet Governance.

The UNESCO Global Media and Information Literacy Assessment Framework was prepared by UNESCO’s Communication and Information Sector in close collaboration with UNESCO’s Institute for Statistics and with support of the Japanese Government.

The UNESCO Global Media and Information Literacy Assessment Framework can be accessed here.

(Source: UNESCO)

Thursday, December 19, 2013 5:30:48 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, December 13, 2013
ICT education to reach 8500 students in 33 provincial schools

ITU has selected Sri Lanka as one of five countries for the ‘Connect a School, Connect a Community’ project. Following the completion of a ‘Connect a school, Connect a Community’ project in Akuressa, the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka (TRCSL) initiated this project with ITU to extend the scope to cover 33 schools on the entire island.

This project was inaugurated today with the opening of the Computer Laboratory of the Watareka Kanishta Vidyalaya (Primary School), in Homagama, Padukka, Colombo District, by the Sri Lanka Minister of Education Mr Bandula Gunawardena. The ceremony was attended by Mr Lalith Weeratunga, Secretary to the President of Sri Lanka and Chairman of the TRCSL, and Ms Eun-Ju Kim, Director of the ITU Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, along with participating school principals and officials of the Provincial Education Offices.

The project will benefit over 8500 students in 33 schools located in areas of low ICT development, while also educating children with special needs.

The main objective of the project is to narrow the digital divide between rural and urban areas and provide digital opportunities to their communities. Transforming these schools into community ICT centres is expected to help marginalized and vulnerable groups, such as women, indigenous people, persons with disabilities and those living in rural, remote and underserved areas, and to empower them to contribute to their socio-economic development.

ITU and TRCSL have provided funds for the hardware and software required to equip the computer laboratories in schools. The schools will be responsible for the maintenance and operation of the facilities, while telecommunication operators will provide broadband Internet connectivity to at concessionary rates. “This school and rural community-oriented ICT project will be beneficial to the rural sector”, said Mr Weeratunga. “In the future, these schools will play a key role in the penetration of ICT knowledge into the rural and remote areas of the country”.

“The Ministry of Education is committed to equipping teachers and students in Sri Lanka with digital literacy skills in order to empower them to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the global economy”, said Mr Anura Dissanayake, Secretary in the Ministry of Education. “The project will bring technology into the classroom and allow teachers to teach their students critical thinking, problem solving and collaboration skills”.

“This is a smart initiative which sets a milestone in driving ICT access to rural and remote areas and benefits not only teachers and students but also the communities where they live”, said ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun I. Touré. “Such an innovative public-private-peoples’ partnership, which promotes school-based community ICT centres, represents an attractive, affordable, inclusive, scalable and sustainable step forward in providing digital opportunities for the people of Sri Lanka. This is certainly an excellent way forward to realize the Asia-Pacific Vision 2020: Smartly DIGITAL, which was endorsed last month by leaders at the Connect Asia-Pacific Summit held in Bangkok, Thailand”. Dr Touré was represented at the event by Ms Eun-Ju Kim, Director of ITU’s Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific.

The ‘Connect a School, Connect a Community’ project in Sri Lanka is a public-private-peoples’ partnership (4P) involving ITU, TRCSL, the Sri Lanka Ministry of Education, UNHCR, ICTA, SLT, Mobitel, Dialog Axiata, Metropolitan Computers, Daisy Lanka Foundation, Jinasena Training and Rehabilitation for ICT Education promotion of the Island.

(Source: ITU Newsroom)

Friday, December 13, 2013 4:21:32 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, December 09, 2013

New subtitling service makes FMQs more accessible.
 
A new service aimed at making First Minister’s Questions (FMQs) more accessible is now available on the Scottish Parliament’s You Tube channel. From today, subtitles will be available on the video archive of FMQs footage to improve accessibility and allow a wider audience to watch questions being put to the First Minister the same afternoon it is broadcast.

Running for an initial trial period, the new service will use the text from the Official Report and will be available on Thursday afternoon after First Ministers Question Time takes places and usually by 4.30 pm.

Speaking about the new service, Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body member David Stewart MSP said: “Openness and accessibility have always been at the heart of the work of the Scottish Parliament. I am delighted to announce that we will be trialling this new service as a way of bringing First Minister’s Question Time to as wide an audience as possible. Being able to see subtitled archived coverage so quickly is a significant step forward”.

The new service is the latest addition to the range of services available to those wishing to engage in Parliamentary business. These include providing information about the Scottish Parliament and its work in a range of different formats including Braille, audio, large print and British Sign Language.

In addition, where visitors are attending parliamentary business or going on a guided tour, BSL / English interpreters are available if booked in advance through Visitor Services.

People wishing to use the new service can go the Scottish Parliament’s You Tube channel. The archived video of FMQs will now include the option to add captions.
The initial trial will run until the end of December 2014.

(Source: The Edinburgh Reporter)

Monday, December 09, 2013 2:39:37 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, December 06, 2013
UK open IPTV platform YouView has released the second in a series of updates designed to deliver better accessibility for blind and partially sighted customers as well as those with motor skill and cognitive impairment, to improve the journey for this audience to find their favourite TV.

YouView
has improved the zoom functionality which now allows visually impaired users to zoom into and navigate the programme guide and select or record programmes. YouView describes this improved zoom functionality as market-leading in the UK, advising that it works with all aspects of the programme guide.

Other updates include the option of navigating the YouView programme guide using any USB connected UK keyboard or ‘Monster 2’ and ‘Clevy’ accessible keyboards, suitable for those people who struggle to hold a remote control or hold down two keys at once. Maps for these controllers are available at youview.com.

YouView has also developed series of ‘Grid Set’ navigation screens for the ‘Grid 2’ software computer programme, which allows severely disabled users to navigate the YouView programme guide with the press of just one button. Specialist software ‘Grid 2’ is designed to enable the use of computers and similar devices for this user group and is compatible with a variety of different input devices including switches and head-pointers. A computer running ‘Grid 2’ software can be connected to a YouView set-top box via an ‘IR blaster’ (infrared transmitter) which emulates the same signals as a remote control.

These updates follow an earlier accessibility release which included the option to change the iconic blue and black YouView programme guide to high contrast black and white, enabling visually impaired users to read the text more easily. Additionally, the mini screen available in the top right hand corner of the programme guide also now has the option to be switched off, offering easier navigation for customers with cognitive disorders and making navigation less distracting.

The free YouView app for iOS and Android mobile devices now also offers text-to-speech navigation of the programme guide so visually impaired users can find more information about TV programmes and remote record single programmes or a complete series. A high contrast version of the YouView app is also available. Further accessibility updates to the YouView app will be added in due course.

Susie Buckridge, Director of Product at YouView, said the platform’s goal had always been to ensure it was the easiest way for all of its customers in the UK to find the TV they love. “We hope these accessibility updates will give a wider range of customers the means to discover great TV and radio, by providing the tools to make our user interface and mobile applications easy to navigate. We are particularly pleased with the new zoom function which is a UK first and will give visually impaired users a much clearer user journey”.

The update will initially only be available on YouView set-top boxes purchased at retail and will be issued via a staggered roll-out over the coming weeks. Customers with YouView from BT or TalkTalk will receive accessibility updates early in 2014.

(Source: advanced-television)

Friday, December 06, 2013 5:37:40 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
UNESCO supported McCam Child Care & Development Centre to organize the first ICT for Special Needs Education Training Workshop from 11 to 12 November 2013 in Kingston, Jamaica. The event aimed at building capacities of educators in the use of available and emerging ICT, and their integrating into learning and teaching environment of students with the special needs.



Based on training-of-trainers format, the workshop was designed to produce master trainers, who would be able to train others and begin the change in pedagogical teaching practices. Twenty-four participants, mostly teachers and NGO workers from various disability groups including the deaf, blind and intellectually disabled, travelled to Kingston from as far as Westmoreland to participate in the workshop. They now have the challenging task of bringing a change in teaching and learning through ICT to their respective institutions and organizations.

Hara Padhy, Information and Communication Advisor from UNESCO’s Office in Kingston, presented new and emerging ICT tools, terminologies, policies and activities that had already influenced special education and would continue to do so. Melody Williams, educational technologist, presented new skills which would allow for the development of ICT resources, greatly needed in special education.

UNESCO is working to build inclusive knowledge societies, where persons with disabilities must be included at all levels, which can be achieved with the help of new technologies. Assistive technologies, especially those with personalized disability-friendly features, can improve the quality of life of persons with disabilities by providing better access to information and knowledge, to education and healthcare, as well as to employment. UNESCO initiated this first activity of its kind in Jamaica and hopes to replicate it in other countries of Caribbean building on the Jamaican experience in the next biennium.

Today, more than one billion people live with some form of disability in the world. Jamaica is reported to have more than 160,000 persons with some forms of disabilities.

Download here the Vision 2030 Jamaica, Persons with Disabilities - sector plan 2009-2030.

(Source: UNESCO)

Friday, December 06, 2013 3:52:18 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
15 per cent of the world’s population lives with a disability. This represent about 1 billion people globally. Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), such as mobile phones, satellites or the Internet, are a unique infrastructure that expand access to key public services, promoting digital inclusion. Throughout the world, persons living with disabilities are already benefitting the advantages of ICT-enabled applications.

But more needs to be done. To extend the benefits of ICTs to all, ICTs have to be made accessible to persons living with disabilities, so these technologies constitute an opportunity and not a barrier. Get involved in ITU activities to make ICT accessible to persons living with disabilities and to achieving equitable communications for everyone.

The commemoration of this year’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities provides an opportunity to further raise awareness of disability and accessibility as a cross cutting development issue and further the global efforts to promote accessibility, remove all types of barriers, and to realize the full and equal participation of persons with disabilities in society and shape the future of development for all!

Also, a new report released on September 2013 demonstrates how ICTs, have become a positive force of transformation and a crucial element of any personal development, empowerment and institutional framework for inclusive development. “The ICT Opportunity for a Disability-Inclusive Development Framework” contributes to a better understanding of the extent to which ICTs can enable and accelerate the social and economic inclusion of persons with disabilities. It lists challenges that are still to be addressed while outlining concrete actions to be undertaken by each group of stakeholders and a set of indicators to help measuring progress towards the achievement of a disability-inclusive development agenda.

Download the report "The ICT Opportunity for a Disability_Inclusive Development Framework"



Find out more about the International Day of Persons with Disabilities

​(Source: ITU)

Friday, December 06, 2013 3:47:18 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, November 28, 2013


ITU has recently adopted two new policies to mainstream gender equality and improve the accessibility of ITU services for persons with disabilities. Both policies were adopted by the ITU Council at its 2013 session.

The adoption of these policies represents an important step forward for the Union and builds on past ITU initiatives set in place with the leadership and support of the Membership.

As they call for more equitable, gender balanced and accessible ICT environment, ITU believes that they should lead by example in these domains and that they should strengthen the capacity of the ITU Secretariat to support Membership on these important issues.

ITU welcomes and encourages ITU Memberships to engage with them in this endeavor and it seeks support in the following areas:

- Contributing in kind (expert/training materials, etc).

- Sharing best practices and innovative ideas on how to put these policies into action.

- Ensuring that policy and program discussions within ITU governing bodies do include a gender and accessibility perspective.

- Improving gender balance in delegations and related committee work and providing equal opportunity to male and female candidatures for elected official posts and for membership of Radio regulations Boards.

- Supporting specific activities of the Action Plans under development through voluntary contributions of the ITU gender equality and mainstreaming policy trust fund as well as to the ITU Accessibility Fund.

Kindly refer to the following attachment for further information: Adoption of New ITU Policies on GEM and Accessibility.

Further information

Thursday, November 28, 2013 4:01:09 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, November 01, 2013
The FCC's Accessibility and Innovation Initiative is pleased to commemorate October as National Disability Employment Awareness Month.

In recent years and on a global scale, the spread of smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices has been dramatic. A driving force behind this has been the revolution in mobile apps. Hundreds of thousands of apps have been developed for various mobile platforms, including Android, BlackBerry, iOS, Nokia, and Windows Phone. From a disability perspective, apps may be subdivided into the categories of accessible apps and assistive apps.

For the disability community, there are two vital kinds of apps: accessible and assistive. An accessible app is designed according to accessibility guidelines for user interfaces so that people with a range of physical or mental capabilities can operate the software successfully, such as people with visual, hearing, dexterity, or cognitive disabilities. An accessible app generally has a mainstream rather than disability-specific purpose. It benefits a broad user base in the accomplishment of human tasks that are commonly pursued.

An assistive app, on the other hand, helps people with particular impairments surmount what might otherwise be experienced as limiting consequences of a disability, (e.g., identifying paper currency to a blind person, facilitating direct sign language communication for a deaf person, inputting text from dictation by someone with a dexterity impairment, or giving reminders to someone with a cognitive disability). Naturally, an assistive app also has to be an accessible app to those who particularly benefit from it.
Mobile apps — both accessible and assistive — are showing great potential for improving the lives of people with disabilities. This is partly because of two other technological trends that enable mobile functionality: cloud computing and broadband connectivity. The convergence of these technologies means that an app can solve complex problems almost instantaneously by quickly delegating the analysis to a specialized computer at a distant location and then returning the result to the user, who is often unaware of what is being done locally or in the cloud. The portability of the mobile device means that a person with a disability can carry a powerful, supportive problem-solving device wherever he or she goes -- at home, at play, or at work.

Raising the level of mobile accessibility tends to raise the level of disability employment. Apps are continually being developed to improve productivity in almost every profession. Many are completely free while most others cost only a nominal amount. Each mobile platform usually makes it easy to search for and install apps from an online store. Commercial apps typically offer a trial version so that evaluating accessibility is possible in advance.

As we close out National Disability Month, here are some related resources:
- The U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy promotes National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM).
- The FCC's Accessibility Clearinghouse contains extensive data on accessibility features of mobile phones and on free, assistive apps.
- Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act mandates accessibility of information and communication technologies that are produced or purchased by the federal government, including mobile technologies.
- The federal government offers a gallery of free mobile apps produced by various agencies.
- Federal agencies also contribute to a catalog of mobile code snippets and developer tools so that useful apps may be produced more easily.
- The World Wide Web Consortium has published best practices for the design of websites intended to be browsed on mobile devices.
- CTIA has collected links to accessibility guidelines for app developers targeting various mobile platforms.

(Source: Official FCC Blog)

Friday, November 01, 2013 4:04:10 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The link between disability and poverty is, in the words of the World Bank, “strong, and goes in both directions”. Many people with disabilities struggle to survive every day in the wake of conflicts and wars, which swell their numbers. This exacerbates the delivery of basic services hitting the disabled, especially women, even harder. Stigma and exclusion from education often prevail. Thus simply accessing the fundamental right to education becomes precarious.

Yet educating a child with learning disabilities is a sound, long-term investment. Not only does education reduce welfare costs and reliance on household members, it also minimises discrimination and alleviates poverty in the process.

According to estimates by the Education for All (EFA) Global Monitoring Report 2007, most disabled children in Africa do not go to school at all. Currently 72 million children of primary school age worldwide are not in school. And of those, one third suffers from disabilities.

In view of the data, achieving the EFA Targets and MDGs by 2015 may yet prove impossible unless access and the quality of education improve: and eLearning may well hold the answer. Online learning for the disabled has to become user-friendly and take their individual needs into account, whether that means giving the blind more time to use assistive technology or ensuring that audio files for the hearing-impaired are accompanied by transcripts and captions.

Crucial assistive technology in education ranges from low-tech options such as reading stands to high-cost computer technology such as Braille display. Although text-to-speech software has vastly improved opportunities for those with disabilities to engage with ICTs, the real deal comes in the shape of hardware complete with loudspeakers, a Braille keyboard and screen-reader software which converts all text on a screen to audio output. Similar programmes transcribe content onto Refreshable Braille displays.

However, all these assistive technologies come at a cost. Usually, the combined average cost comes to around 9,000 euros. Even with a state allowance, footing such a bill is no mean feat for anyone – disabled or otherwise – living on an average salary. Fortunately, several projects are underway to find affordable solutions.

Thus the question arises: how are educational institutions in Africa faring?

A three-year research scheme piloted by Kenyatta University in 2007 saw the Dolphin Pen project target 200 students in secondary and tertiary education. Conceptualized by the international charity Sightsavers, this Dolphin pen is a lightweight USB drive containing screen reading and magnification software, now available at cost price for organisations working with the blind in Africa and India.

Governments are also doing their part. Last year Malawi, a country in which less than half of 15 – 29-year-olds with disabilities ever go to school, and only 28% find work, passed the Disability Act, thereby guaranteeing the right to non-discrimination in education and employment. The impact remains to be seen.

In June of this year, the World Intellectual Property Organization said that it will negotiate an international copyright treaty to improve access to books for the blind. IPA Secretary General Jens Bammel said: “Together with libraries for the visually impaired, online booksellers and the vendors of smart phones and e-book readers, publishers are producing more and more books in the formats that visually impaired people (VIP) need”.

(Source: eLearning Africa)

Tuesday, October 29, 2013 11:49:29 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, February 27, 2013
According to the World Report on Disability – issued jointly by the World Health Organization and the World Bank – approximately one billion people worldwide live with some form of disability.

The importance of extending ICTs to persons with disabilities and special need has become more critical than ever.
Within this context, Article 8B in the recently amended International Telecommunication Regulations (ITRs) calls on ITU Member States to promote access for persons with disabilities to international telecommunication services.

The ITU Development Bureau has been supporting ITU Members to ensure accessible ICTs for persons with disabilities through a range of activities and resources.
The first step in promoting access to persons with disabilities is to understand what kinds of features are required. Accessibility refers to users who live with some form of disability and giving them the means of gaining functional access to ICTs.

For example, if a user cannot see a typical screen, there must be a function provided for them to understand what is on it; If a user cannot hear the information being broadcast across myriad devices, a functional alternative must be provided to ensure that they receive that information; and if a user cannot input a command on a device, a mechanism must be provided for them to do so.

The ITU’s Development Sector (ITU-D) report entitled – Making TV Accessible describes the features that persons with different kinds of disabilities require to access TV; and the ITU-D report, Making Mobile Phones and Services Accessible describes the features that persons with disabilities require in order to use mobile phones as well as the key services tailored to the needs of persons with disabilities provided on mobile phones, such as GPS services for the blind.

The next step to ensuring access to international telecommunication services by persons with disabilities is to identify the roles and actions to be taken by government and private sector stakeholders, such as the development of policies, regulations and industry codes of conduct.

Stakeholder roles and actions are explored in the two publications mentioned above as well as the ITU e-Accessibility toolkit and the work of ITU-D Study Group Question 20-1/1 in addition to a range of awareness-raising workshops ITU-D has held in all regions of the world.



Further details

Wednesday, February 27, 2013 9:24:22 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, February 18, 2013
Chinese scientists have developed and tested a prototype electronic notebook for blind people that is designed to be cheap to manufacture.

The e-notebook, called B-Notes, allows people to take notes or memos using Braille or by recording speech. It is similar in size to a mobile phone. B-Notes makes use of technologies developed by the Chinese Academy of Sciences' Institute of Computing Technology (ICT), including translation software. Prototype e-notebooks were trialled on ten blind people last month (5 January).

Wang Xiangdong, technical leader of the ICT team that developed the device, says that Braille can be conveniently input using a panel on the e-notebook. "And when [B-Notes is] connected to a computer, the Braille-Chinese translation software can be used to convert Braille into Chinese characters automatically", he says.
Currently, there are almost 39 million blind people in the world, according to the WHO. And according to the China Disabled Persons' Federation, there are more than 12 million visually disabled people in China.

Wang said that the basic technological research for the e-notebooks has been completed and they are expected to be available in China later this year at a cost of 500 to 800 renminbi (around US$ 80 to US$ 130).

The e-notebook has three main features. First is the Braille input. The e-notebook's input panel has an array of mini keys that allows users to type.
Second is the intelligent translation system, which is up to 95 per cent accurate. When the e-notebook is connected to a computer, pre-installed software moves all Braille in the device over to the computer and translates it into Chinese characters.

Third, the e-notebook has a voice interface. There are voice prompts to guide users through the device's various operations.
Currently, the notebook can only translate Chinese Braille to Chinese characters. But Wang says that if other countries express an interest in the device, it will be possible to produce e-notebooks that translate other versions of Braille into other languages.

The blind people who tested the prototype notebooks told developers that they found them portable and easy to use. A spokesperson for the Beijing Municipal Commission of Economy and Information Technology, which is sponsoring the e-notebook's development, says the notebooks could support blind people in their everyday working and living.

(Source: SciDev Net)

Monday, February 18, 2013 4:24:22 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, January 24, 2013
An Indian designer is developing a smartphone with tactile text that can be used by blind or visually impaired people. Sumit Dagar's prototype Braille smartphone is expected to be ready by the end of February and the first model could be on the market within a year.

Dagar, who won US$ 50,000 in Rolex Award for Enterprise in November 2012 to develop the smartphone, says that design can help technology bridge the gap between people with disabilities and the rest of the population.

Dagar's partners in the five-year smartphone project, which started in 2009, are the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi and eye health centre the LV Prasad Eye Institute (LVPEI), India.  He is working with a four-member team comprising experts from the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, New York University in the United States, India's National Institute of Design and the LVPEI. He says that several other research institutions have expressed interest in collaborating on the project.
"The basic handset I am working on now has words and numbers going up and down in Braille. So a user can touch them and recognize or locate numbers and names", said Dagar. The screen is covered in pins that can rise up from its surface to form Braille words and numbers.

To make phones more affordable for visually impaired people, he says that efficient design may make them cheaper, although the primary goal is to design them to work well. There have been previous attempts to create a Braille smartphone, but no prototype has ever been made, says Dagar.

He adds that most experiments using touch-based - technology have been confined to creating vibrations, so this project is a step forward.
A more sophisticated version of the phone could even make images tactile, he says. But he expects such a phone to emerge only towards the end of the five-year project.
Ravi Bagree, a member of the Braille phone team from the Delft University of Technology, says that Dagar's mix of engineering and design background played a part in this innovative work.
"[A Braille phone] has not been possible so far because not many people think of the disabled and those who do so don't have the [necessary] technological background", says Bagree.

See here the video presentation

(Source: SciDev)

Thursday, January 24, 2013 8:11:25 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, January 17, 2013
According to the UN, around 10 per cent of the world’s population, or 650 million people, live with a disability. They are the world’s largest minority. Children and adults with disabilities face myriad challenges: abuse, lack of education, illiteracy, and unemployment to name a few.

Deepak Bhatia of the World Bank argues that ICTs provide a model to allow disabled people to better integrate socially and economically into their communities. For example, the Internet allows those with disabilities to organize and network. Perhaps most importantly, technology is slowly transforming the education sector by providing greater access to a variety of learning materials. Screen-reading software reads content aloud. Voice recognition software composes spoken messages. Mobile devices are much easier to operate than a traditional computer.

Ghana’s government is committed to teaching ICT skills to youth with disabilities. The Persons with Disability ICT Project aims to equip certain disabled people with ICT skills for the contemporary world.

Similarly, South Africa’s Department of Communications hopes to create an enabling environment for the disabled. Minister Dina Pule has challenged youth to be part of the solution. With proper stakeholder cooperation, the program is expected to reduce unemployment, and more importantly, ensure equal opportunities for all.

In Namibia and Tanzania, Sign Wiki allows the deaf and those who communicate with the deaf (ideally everyone) to learn sign language. Currently, there are 2,200 Tanzanian signs and 800 Namibian signs in the databases.


The aforementioned initiatives are fairly new, so it is too soon to tell if government-sponsored ICT programs achieve their initial goals. Stay tuned though because with some effort, ICT will not only empower the disabled but will also cause those who are healthy to understand how to help those who are less fortunate.

(Source: OAfrica News)


Thursday, January 17, 2013 4:38:43 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Emergency 2.0 Wiki, a voluntary body, has developed an on-line Emergency 2.0 Wiki Accessibility Toolkit. This toolkit is tailored for the sensory and mobility-impaired.

The online toolkit provides tips, resources and apps to help people with a disability to overcome accessibility challenges of social media.

“The reason for developing the kit is that we’ve witnessed from recent disasters that social media can save lives, but people with disabilities often have difficulty accessing important messages because the social media platforms themselves are inaccessible”, said Richard Corby, Emergency 2.0 Wiki Accessibility Reference Group Leader.

It’s vitally important that people with disabilities, who are the most vulnerable in our communities during emergencies, are empowered to access instant, lifesaving messages through social media and the accessibility toolkit enables this, stressed Corby.

Mr. Corby also mentions that for example the main Twitter website can’t be easily read with a screen reader, a program that reads out information on a screen for people who are blind. In the kit they point users to alternative sites such as Easy Chirp to read tweets. As people tweet in real time, an accessible app such as this can provide immediate notification of when a fire starts or when flash floods hit a town.

Accessibility resources on the wiki include:

  • Tips and guides for people with disabilities on how to access social media

  • Emergency smartphone apps for people with a disability

  • Apps and assistive technologies to access social media

  • Emergency Preparedness YouTube videos that are either captioned or use sign language for the deaf and hearing impaired

  • Practical guidelines to assist the emergency sector, government, community, media and business to make social media messages more accessible

In a whole of community approach, the Accessibility Reference Group crowdsourced the content globally using social media. The group consists of professionals drawn from the emergency, government, NGO and business sectors in Australia, New Zealand and the United States.

(Source: Emergency 2.0 Wiki)


Thursday, January 17, 2013 2:44:17 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Disabled people or callers who are under threat and cannot speak will soon be able to call for emergency help with the new ‘SaveMe 999’ application, which will be launched by Malaysian’s Emergency Response Service (MERS 999) next week.

MERS 999 will officially introduce this latest update to its existing emergency response platform on December 18.

With SaveMe 999 app, users with disabilities will be able to send an accurate location or text a complete address of the location, choose relevant agency, select incident or text complete incident (threaten, kidnap, murder, robbery, rape or fight), then the information will be sent to the MERS 999 response centre and the officers would start the dispatching procedure to the relevant emergency agencies.

Emergency callers and location of incident can be tracked accurately with Automatic Number Identification (ANI), and Automatic Location Identification (ALI) on the smartphones.

The SaveMe 999 application will be available for download on Android and iOS enabled smartphones and devices.

MERS 999 is an initiative by the Malaysian Government for computerized emergency call taking and dispatching. Under its single platform and a single emergency number, the country’s five emergency service providers (the Police, Fire and Rescue Department, Ambulances/Hospitals, Civil Defense and Maritime Enforcement) share information and consolidate and integrate emergency response resources. The MERS 999’s response centres nationwide are operated by Telekom Malaysia.

Malaysia has up to 283,204 registered disabled people out of total population of 28 million.

(Source: FutureGov)


Thursday, January 17, 2013 2:35:20 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, November 14, 2012

It will be focused on analyzing and raising awareness about the needs and mobile-based solutions for groups under risk of digital exclusion in Latin America (low-income and isolated communities, chronic patients and people with disabilities). Relevant stakeholders from all over the world will participate providing their expertise from technological, social and politic-economical perspectives.

The M-Inclusion awards for “Apps4Change” Challenge Program 2012, which recognizes groundbreaking mobile solutions for social inclusion, will take place during the conference.

Specific objectives:

    Bring together and facilitate the dialog amongst key actors in mobile technologies for social and digital inclusion in Latin America.

    Analyze the needs of the risk groups in terms of education, health, accessibility and economics needs.

    Identify and analyze the existing mobile technologies and initiatives that can cover the previously mentioned needs.

    Identify the trending mobile solutions relevant for mobile social inclusion.

    Promote awareness about the needs of shortening the gaps of social and digital inclusion in Latin America.

The outcome of this first Open Forum will shape the M-Inclusion Road map for social and digital inclusion in Latin America,  containing needs for social inclusion focused on the disadvantaged groups represented within the project, as well as mobile solutions based on new existing and trending technologies applied to main  scopes for social inclusion (economic, geographic, educational and health inclusion).

The audience of the event will be:

    Mobile Technologies: researchers, developers and technology providers

    End-users associations and communities: Disabled, elderly, low-income, isolated areas, social exclusion groups, chronics, etc

    Political stakeholders: Latin America and European with relevant links to regulatory issues and the market

    Financial and funding actors.

Further details about the location and the schedule in the agenda.

(Source: M-inclusion)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012 4:46:25 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, October 09, 2012

The Vodafone Foundation Smart Accessibility Awards is a contest to promote the development of IT applications designed to improve the lives of those with disabilities and people that are older, to help them get more actively involved in society. 

In 2012 we celebrate the II Edition after the great results of last year competition. In 2011 over 60 apps were received and more than 100 people participated in the awards. Find more information about 2011 finalists and winners.

The programme is supported and co-organized by AGE Platform Europe, the European network of around 160 organizations of and for people aged 50+, and the European Disability Forum (EDF), the NGO that represents the interests of 80 million Europeans with disabilities.

Launched in Brussels, the competition will award the best smartphone application in four areas:

  Social participation: refers to applications which help users to become more involved in today's society and help them benefit from using new technologies, whatever their age and/or capacity.   The aim is to help everyone to access the web and social media through smartphones.

  Independent living: refers to applications which help users with everyday tasks such as washing or opening a door easily and safely so that they can live more independently

   Mobility: refers to applications which enable users to travel freely and safely whatever kind of transport system they would like to use. It also refers to the use of GPS and locations apps which can help guide people in unfamiliar places.

   Wellbeing: refers to applications which improve the users' health and overall feeling of wellbeing.

Entrants can compete for a share of the €200k prize fund from 30 May 2012 to 15 October 2012. Finalist will present their application to the jury in a final event that will take place in December in Brussels.

Here are six testimonials which can help to inspire you to create new ways of making technology accessible for all: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yt4crzvwaYA&feature=player_embedded

Further details



Tuesday, October 09, 2012 10:25:17 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, September 03, 2012

In line with Omantel’s vision Together, we innovate to build a totally connected society and as part of its endeavors to offer products and services that meet the needs of its wide range of customers, the Company announced yesterday the launch of a new Hayyak package for people with Disability to help them get in touch with their families and friends. 

Commenting on the new Hayyak package, Saleh bin Mahmood Al Maimani, Manager – Core Services at Omantel said “At Omantel, we focus on meeting the various needs of our valued customers. This new package is designed to meet the special needs of disabled to help them get in touch with friends and family through different communication means. The new package offers reduced rates of up to 25% on mobile broadband and a flat calling rate of 29 bzs day and night. This move comes as a part of the company commitment to provide something for everyone. 

To avail of this special package, applicants should visit their nearest Omantel retail outlet and present their Disability ID issued by the Ministry of Social Development. He added.  

Commenting on the service, Hamoud al Shabibi, Director of Special Care Department at the Ministry of Social Development said “We are delighted with Omantel initiative which reflects the attention and care given by the Company to this important people in our society”. 

“We are pleased that this initiative will further enable them to communicate more with friends and family through different means of communications be it through voice calls, video calls, SMS, MMS or even the mobile internet”. 

 (Source: SAMENA Daily News)

Monday, September 03, 2012 10:19:20 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, July 17, 2012

An injection of a handful of notebooks and tablets, two smart boards and eight laptops should meet the challenge teachers face in working with children with special needs. The possibilities are innumerable. It is not only that simple education games will engage the children and help them to learn better. Rather, a smartboard would also serve the purpose of “painting with one’s own hands” and make the children realize that they will be able to “make things happen” when they touch the smartboard screen or go from icon to icon.

The goal of the project is to help 125 children of the Rokana Basic School in Kitwe to learn more effectively by using Information and Communication Technology (ICT) such as smartboards and tablets. The programme also includes the training of 40 teachers in how to use ICT with special needs children as well as the training of approximately 200 teachers in the use of smart boards.

Rokana Basic School in Kitwe stands out in Zambia. It is one of a handful of schools with a Special Needs Unit for children with learning disabilities. Its principal, Mr Mwansa, has a long-cherished dream: to furnish one room in the Special Needs Unit with equipment that would open up a whole new (virtual) world for these children. At the end of 2011, Rokana Basic School teamed up with around 20 other local schools in the area through the Mpelembe Basic Schools partnership. Through this partnership, teachers from Mpelembe Secondary school, showed teachers from several local basic schools how they can use ICT to liven up their lessons. For example, through videos, interactive computer games, and Power Point presentations. Joining the partnership has also brought Mr Mwansa one step closer to realizing his dream.

(Source: AKVO)

Further details

Tuesday, July 17, 2012 5:45:57 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, May 02, 2012

The Institute on Disability and Public Policy (IDPP) is partnering with the Career Center at American University (AU) to provide virtual access to a host of career center services, including select professional development workshops and virtual advising for students in the Master’s of International Affairs in Comparative and International Disability Policy (CIDP) program.

The Master of Arts in Comparative and International Disability Policy (CIDP) degree, offered by the School of International Service at American University, is the centerpiece program of the Institute on Disability and Public Policy (IDPP). The IDPP is led by the Center for Research on Collaboratories and Technology Enhanced Learning Communities (COTELCO), a joint research center at American University and Syracuse University.

  • Students can take courses from anywhere in the world, because courses are offered entirely online, and can be experienced in real time or accessed on demand

  • Anyone around the world can apply for the CIDP Master’s program

  • Faculty teach from geographically dispersed locations around the world

  • Accelerated one year or extended part time flexibility available

  • Courses incorporate Universal Design for Learning principles, and are accessible to blind, deaf, and mobility impaired students

  • IDPP's cyberinfrastructure consists of an innovative combination of virtual tools to make the program as accessible as possible

A CIDP Master’s degree empowers graduates to become global disability policy leaders. Courses teach the necessary skills for persons with disabilities to impact and influence the public policies that directly affect the disability community

The Nippon Foundation offers full fellowships for select CIDP students, with preference given to students from the ASEAN region who are blind or visually impaired; deaf or hard of hearing; and/or mobility impaired.

(Source: IPPD)
Further details



Wednesday, May 02, 2012 10:42:28 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, April 19, 2012

An Indian graduate student has designed a mobile phone application that enables people with sight and hearing impairments to send and receive text messages.

The PocketSMS application was developed for Android smartphones, which are generally cheaper than Apple's iPhones. The application converts text into Morse code vibrations so that users can "feel" the message.

Regular mobile phones already use vibrations to alert users to incoming calls or messages. Anmol Anand, a graduate student at the Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University in Delhi, realized that the same vibrations could also convey text message content.

He used the open source Google App Inventor to write a new application to covert each letter in a text message into Morse code — in which each letter corresponds to a set of a short and long tones — and then used the phone's hardware to vibrate for each letter.

An accompanying application, MorseTrainer, has been designed to teach deaf-blind users Morse code, and to use it without having to rely on smartphone keyboards, which can be difficult to see.

Text messaging is growing in importance as a tool for safety and social inclusion. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo late last year, for instance, a group of deaf users protested for their safety late last year when the government shut down text messaging services, the BBC reported.

In Uganda, the National Association of the Deaf is working on a project in which hearing students and deaf students learn how to send text messages together. "We saw that deaf kids were not integrating", said education consultant Sacha DeVelle, who was volunteering in Kabale with the charity Cambridge to Africa.

When teachers began showing pairs of hearing and deaf students how to send text messages, deaf children became far more integrated into the school community. "It encourages them to go on and do what they want to do, [for example] go to university or set up a shop", DeVelle said.

Anand's collaborator, Arun Mehta — president of the Bidirectional Access Promotion Society (BAPSI) — said that internet access is just as important for the disabled as everyone else. He said that the introduction of text-to-speech screen reading software had meant that "the gap between the sighted and the blind has shrunk dramatically. We would like to do that for the deaf-blind too."

Inclusive technology can help disabled people take part in everyday life, said Mohamed Jemni, a computer scientis at the School of Science and Technology in Tunisia.

(Source: SciDev)
Further details


Thursday, April 19, 2012 9:55:22 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, February 16, 2012

The program “Padrino Tecnológico” has been introduced in the University of Alcala de Henares as part of the activities of CAPTA II, organized by the Chair for the Improvement of Personal Autonomy of Telefonica, which objective is the research, development, education and outreach to strengthen technologies such as "Internet of Things" and increase personal autonomy of certain groups (Disabled people, elderly, sick people ...).

The initiative has as protagonists to the "sponsors", volunteers who spend time for designing and developing ICT solutions for children with motor and / or cognitive high impairment. It also has the involvement of the University students as potential entrepreneurs, who could use the existing market niche around disability, who are nearly 1,000 million people worldwide.

Also concerning to the accessibility, experts from the National Center of Techniques Accessibility (CENTAC), the Polytechnic University of Madrid, and Telefónica, which participated in the conference, wanted to highlight the key issue that services based on “Internet of Things” will be viable and accessible for all society: design but taking into account all people, whatever their capabilities, making them affordable; paying attention in the security and privacy of data, taking advantage of them, and promoting digital literacy for easy using.

But “Internet of Things” is not only key for the inclusion in the society of people with disabilities, but also constitutes an industrial sector to develop, which may contribute to the sustainability of Health, for example, by telecare solutions for the chronically ill and to seek a healthy aging (keep in mind that at 2050, 30% of the Spanish population will be more than 80 years old).

At the meeting, attended by over 100 people, also they stressed the benefits of smart cities or smartcities. So, Javier Vizcaino, manager of Public Administrations of Telefónica for the Centre Territory, explained that these smart cities provide suitable information to public managers, so they can take better decisions, make easy the participation of citizens, promote efficiency in the use of energy resources, and improve accessibility.

(Source: Telefonica –España)
Further details


Thursday, February 16, 2012 10:42:09 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, January 20, 2012
Invitation of Expression of Interest for Support from USO Fund for Pilot Project Scheme for Access to ICTs for Persons with Disabilities in Rural India
Administrator Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF) on behalf of President of India invites “Expression of Interest” (EoI) from Services Providers for the above said pilot projects.

The detailed document inviting Expression of Interest is available on USOF website: http://usof.gov.in/usof-cms/usof_tencurrent.htm. No charges shall be payable by applicants towards the cost of the EoI application. In case of any query clarification maybe sought though email at the address jafusof@gmail.com.

The EoI is to be submitted in Room Nº 1307, Sanchar Bhawan, New Delhi and the last date of submission is 31.03.2012 by 16 hours.

See previous information here.

(Source: USOF – India)

Friday, January 20, 2012 3:04:02 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, July 21, 2011

Disability and poverty are dynamic and intricately linked phenomena. In developed countries, a large body of empirical research shows that persons with disabilities experience inter alia comparatively lower educational attainment, lower employment and higher unemployment rates, worse living conditions, and higher poverty rates. In developing countries, the still limited body of empirical research points toward individuals with disability being often economically worse off in terms of employment and educational attainment, while at the household level, the evidence is mixed. Deriving any conclusions on the association between disability and poverty in developing countries from this literature is problematic, given the lack of comparability of the disability measures, economic indicators, and methods in these studies.

This study aims to contribute to the empirical research on social and economic conditions of people with disabilities in developing countries. Using comparable data and methods across countries, this study presents a snapshot of economic and poverty situation of working-age persons with disabilities and their households in 15 developing countries.

The study uses data from the World Health Survey (WHS) conducted by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2002-2004 in 30 developed and 40 developing countries across the world. The countries for this study are: Burkina Faso, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mauritius, Zambia, and Zimbabwe in Africa; Bangladesh, Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR), Pakistan, and the Philippines in Asia; and Brazil, Dominican Republic, Mexico, and Paraguay in Latin America and the Caribbean. The selection of the countries was driven by the data quality.

(Source: World Bank)

Full Report


Thursday, July 21, 2011 4:27:22 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, October 18, 2010

Qatar’s vision to empower and enable people with disabilities through Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is receiving a boost with Mada, the Qatar Assistive Technology Centre. Since the non-profit organisation opened on June 1 this year, a number of individuals have benefited from its state-of-the-art resource centre, described as the region’s only one of its kind.

The centre features interactive assistive technology (AT) environments for the visually impaired, hearing impaired, learning disabled and people with disabilities. The Mada resource centre is a showcase of cutting-edge technology, including computer software that reads the screen for the blind, eye tracking devices that allows to control a computer with eye movement, voice recognition, switch solutions that allow a computer to be controlled with a single movement such as sipping or blowing through a tube and word prediction. There are separate workstations for individuals with hearing, visual, learning or physical disabilities.

Screenreader solutions such as Ibsar and Jaws enables blind users to read, on their own, printed books and documents as well as electronic files. Ibsar helps them write texts in both Arabic and English, in addition to saving and printing these texts in Braille. The software speaks the text on a computer screen in both Arabic and English. With a screenreader a blind user is able to access the Internet and read websites, or send, receive and manage e-mail. The Tobii eye-tracking computer allows someone with no physical control of their body, other than eye movement to take control of a computer through which they can communicate, control the environment, browse the web and even play games.

(Source: Gulf Times)

Full Story

Monday, October 18, 2010 5:02:51 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Kenya’s information permanent secretary has pledged to push for the formation of ICT policies that will empower Kenyans living with disabilities. Dr Bitange Ndemo said the government would be proactive in taking measures that ensure a better future for the physically and mentally challenged. He was speaking at a workshop whose theme was “Dialogue in the Dark”, organized by InABLE, a charitable organisation which has launched a computer lab programme that will see them donate special computers in all the eight schools for the blind across the country.

InABLE’s Founder Irene Kirika said this initiative would go a long way towards enabling the country achieve its vision of providing quality education for all.“Thika School for the Blind was the inspiration behind bringing the “Dialogue in the Dark” to Kenya. We have over 300 students in the school but currently we have 100 students on our computer programme,” she said of the initiative that has seen blind children learn how to use the computer and even access the net.

“Dialogue in the Dark” takes place in a pitch-black environment and forces participants to cope with a temporary loss of one sense and eventually drives them to look inwards and get in touch with their core values. To participants, this encounter brings outs virtues, values, skills, gratitude, humility and appreciation for those who are different from them and in that way assists them to break free from their own limitations.

(Source: it news Africa)

Full Story

Tuesday, September 28, 2010 3:00:18 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, September 27, 2010

Telenor Serbia Foundation, founded by Telenor Serbia in March 2007, continues to resolve targeted social and educational problems that Serbian society faces. The Telenor Foundation mainly focuses on youth, their education and professional advancement, socially vulnerable groups and the development of cultural production and the art market.

Its “Internet for all Project” aims to promote and increase the Internet use among its citizens. Serbia is lagging behind developed European countries in Internet use. Only 32 percent of the population in Serbia uses the Internet, which is significantly lower than the European average of 49 percent. The majority of the Serbian students do not have access to Internet at home, some of them not even to computers. The “Internet for all project“ has the main goal of providing unlimited access to the Internet for a period of one year to students.

Telenor Serbia also supports an information center for people with disabilities by providing a free telephone line, Internet access and technical support. By calling toll-free, users get information and advice from experts in a number of areas including law, education, social and health related matters, and other relevant issues of particular importance to this group. At the same time, user suggestions are directed to specialized institutions and organizations.

Telenor has also partnered with the Ministry of Health and UNICEF to promote a more efficient and better-quality health support to Roma families in Serbia.The project was kicked-off with a one-day training course for Roma healthcare mediators by providing technical equipment and solutions from Telenor. A special tariff package and mobile phone will enable the mediators to call each other free of charge and inform the families they are assisting. At the same time, they were given laptops with special software which will make it possible to more efficiently report to and communicate with the institutions. 60 mediators in 50 towns in Serbia are taking part in this project. Mediators are Roma women and mothers with completed elementary education. For them this project is an opportunity to find employment.

From the start of the project in 2008 the mediators have made 56,178 visits and recorded 102,661 Roma for the project purposes. “Apart from recording the Roma settlements, we have provided personal identification documents and medical care cards for 5,677 persons, vaccinated 4,800 children, controlled 1,672 pregnant women and expecting mothers“, says Dubravka Šaranović, senior adviser in the Ministry of Health. 

(Sources: Telenor Serbia Foundation)

Further Details


Monday, September 27, 2010 7:33:01 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Handicapped Youth Development Association breathes a sigh of relief after getting UN-HABITAT backing for disability project in Sierra Leone with $20,000 grant.

The Handicapped Youth Development Association (HYDA) was founded in 1998 as a response to salvage the numerous social ills faced by the disabled youth in Sierra Leone. HYDA is dedicated to the goal of enhancing the full and equal participation of young people with disabilities in social and economic life as well as providing an enabling environment for the enjoyment of human rights.

The centre would have been shut down unless emergency funding prevents the youth from being homeless. But fortunately, UN-HABITAT has provided $20,000 to support the group‘s Disability Is Not Inability initiative, a 10-month project targeting urban disabled youth in the capital, Freetown, with training courses in information and communication technology (ICT), entrepreneurship and vocational skills.

The project, which was selected from among 1,500 applications from 85 countries, was announced on 12 August, which is observed as International Youth Day. The award come from UN-HABITAT’s flagship Youth-led Development Fund, which is dedicated to supporting innovative ideas aimed at alleviating poverty, improving employment prospects for young people and increasing the participation of young people in democratic processes.

(Source: Sierra Express Media)

Full Story

Wednesday, August 18, 2010 10:09:16 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, August 12, 2010

YouTube is making the tens of millions of videos it hosts more accessible to the deaf and hard of hearing by putting automatic captions on them.

The Google-owned company said this use of speech recognition technology is probably the biggest experiment of its kind online. Previously captions were only on a small amount of content. Initially the feature will apply to English language videos, with other languages being added in the coming months. In November last year, YouTube rolled out automatic captions to a handful of partners including the University of California, Berkeley, Yale University and National Geographic.

YouTube said by opening all this content to those who have not really been able to access it in the past should democratize information and "help foster greater collaboration and understanding".

(Source: BBC News)

Full Story


Thursday, August 12, 2010 10:59:46 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, August 06, 2010

At a computer resource center in the cultural house Sanat Gulshani, aligned with the Society of Blinds, two month courses have recently been completed instructing blind persons on how to use computers to further their careers and to ease their everyday lives.  This center, and the courses provided, have been largely due to the joint efforts of the ACCESS (Accessibility, Civic Consciousness, Employment and Social Support for Persons with Disabilities) project alongside a group dedicated to assisting the Government of Uzbekistan with the implementation of ICTs for development.  Students were instructed in the use of specially designed software such as JAWS, SARA, TOPAZ, and how to use the Internet easily and to their advantage.  One blind reporter recounted how she used to need a visually non-impaired person to help her write articles  to be published in a local journal, Bir Safda, but now not only can she create articles but she can independently design a website for the journal.

Currently, Uzbekistan operates 80 libraries for the blind, used by over 40,000 people.  The ACCESS project was approved by the Ministry of Labor in conjunction with the United Nations Development Programme in 2008, and plans to operate for at least two more years.  ACCESS plans to conduct similar courses in other regions of Uzbekistan, reaching approximately 700 blind university students who have no access to assistive ICTs.  Additionally, ACCESS will work to increase public awareness of issues faced by persons with disabilities, improve accessibility around the country, assist with job placement, and other related programs.  In their future efforts, ACCESS will partner with the German Society for Technical Cooperation in Uzbekistan and the World Bank Office in Uzbekistan in order to ensure the success and efficiency of the programs.

(Sources: UzReport and UNDP Uzbekistan)

Full Story

Friday, August 06, 2010 3:37:32 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, July 13, 2010

In May 2008, the Sichuan Province in china suffered a devastating earthquake; among the companies to quickly respond with aid was Cisco, a worldwide leader in Internet networking.  Just two months later, in July 2008, Cisco and the Government of China signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that established a partnership between the two institutions to bring 21st century healthcare and education systems to the region.  As this three-year partnership comes to an end, reports and data highlighting the successes of the Connecting Sichuan program are surfacing and the effects of this program are being felt throughout the province.

The education section of the MoU aimed to bridge the urban-rural digital divide in China.  Cisco's solutions focus on four key areas and applications of technology to achieve this goal: connected classrooms, connected schools, connected communities, and the Cisco Networking Academy.  To connect classrooms and schools, Cisco partnered with over 45 organizations, including ECCOM Network System Co. Ltd. to provide laptops to schools along with wireless Internet and networking capabilities.  Once teachers and schools had been actively connected, Cisco helped to create an education metropolitan area network and data center to connect the communities of the province by allowing teachers to share resources, exchange best practices, and trade tips on ways to use and integrate technology into the classroom.  The Cisco Networking Academy, which is active in 165 countries, instructs students in networking skills and ICT capabilities; through the MoU, Cisco has expanded this program to 50 universities in Sichuan.

Amongst other programs initiated through the MoU, Cisco has also focused on expanding educational opportunities for children with disabilities.  In Sichuan, Cisco helped fund, financially and technologically, the DuJiangYan Youai School, which creates a highly accessible and unique learning environment for disabled students.  This partnership between Cisco and the Chinese Government has seen much success, including the percentage of students scoring well enough to join a regional high school jumping from 3% to 31%.  As the benefits of the partnership begin to affect more than one generation of school children, the successes will continue to grow and benefit the Sichuan province as a whole.

(Sources: Cisco and ECCOM)

Full Story

Tuesday, July 13, 2010 2:51:58 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, June 25, 2010

For persons with disabilities, particularly those with low vision, adapting to university surroundings can be a daunting task.  While many primary and secondary education institutions have specialized teachers to help those with disabilities, not every university has those same capabilities and resourses, therby possibly preventing or discouraging disabled students from attending their dream school.  Drury University in Springfield, Missouri, realized that htis obstacle is one that should be ameliorated.  Using funds from a grant from the Greene County Developmental Disabilities Board, the school is working on launching the Drury University Children's Center for the Visually Impaired.  Drury just completed the launch of a pilot program, with students ranging in age from high school freshman to local community college students.

This program is designed to help transition students from high shcool to university using a myriad of courses and technologies.  The pilot program inlcuded a technology course that instructed students on how to use a barcode scanner to identify foods and even color-code clothes.  Other technologies to which the students were introduced included a portable GPS device with Braille readers so that students could locate various campus buildings, along with a magnifying glass designed for low-vision students that is powerful enough to read something written on a white board.  While right now the program is localized, this year only students from Missouri and Arkansas participated, with donations and funding, Drury hopes to expand the program to students from other states in the upcoming years.

(Sources: News-Leader.com and Drury University)

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Friday, June 25, 2010 11:08:22 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in partnership with Uganda Communication Commission (UCC) organized a workshop for persons with disability called “ICT Accessibility”. The workshop which took place on 6th May 2010 at the Commonwealth Hotel Speke, Munyonyo in Kampala, Uganda was intended to mainly discuss the challenges faced by PWDs globally in accessing ICTs and share knowledge of how a number of ICTs used for electronic accesssibility (e-accessibility) have and can still bridge the gap between the disabled persons and the non-disabled ones.

(Source: Women of Uganda Network)

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Wednesday, May 19, 2010 3:28:49 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, March 26, 2010

For the first time in a decade, the U.S. Access Board is proposing an update to regulations covering access for disabled people for computer software, Web sites, cell phones and other IT products and devices.

On March 17, the Access Board released a draft proposal for standards for electronic and information technology in the federal sector covered by Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act.The draft “Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Standards and Guidelines” reorganizes requirements by function, rather than by product type.

The goal of the guidelines is to set standards to ensure that the technologies are accessible for people with a variety of disabilities, including hearing, seeing, physical or speech-related disabilities. Technologies covered by this rulemaking include telephones, cell phones, computer hardware and software, Web sites, media players, electronic documents and other devices.

(Source: Federal Computer Week)

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Friday, March 26, 2010 1:50:34 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Chibombo district commissioner Colonnel Philip Chabakale has said there is need for the Zambia Information and Communication Technology Authority (ZICTA) to embrace an all-inclusive agenda regarding access to make Information and Communication Technology (ICTs) as tools for economic development.

Officiating at a public forum organised by ZICTA in Chibombo on Saturday, Col Chabakale said his district had a large population of physically challenged citizens.“These have been incapacitated by leprosy. The current ICT tools and equipment on the Zambian market do not cater for the special needs of these citizens and yet we all know that there are assistive technologies that can enable a person without hands or fingers to use a cell phone and access the Internet,” Col Chabakale said. He implored ZICTA to consider the plight of the disabled.

(Source: The Post Online)

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Friday, March 26, 2010 1:12:30 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Sunday, February 07, 2010

Text-to-speech (TTS) is an application that converts text on a webpage to synthesized speech so that people unable to read the text owing to their visual impairment could understand the web content with their hearing ability. Over the years, the Malaysian Association for the Blind (MAB) has been working very hard to provide training in this aspect for blind people.

According to MAB's ICT manager Encik Silatul Rahim bin Dahman: developed countries have made it compulsory through legislation for web content operators to conform to a set of design guidelines called the Web Content Accessibility Guideline (WCAG) in order to facilitate the "reading" of their content with the help of TTS technology. For instance, every image on the web page must be tagged with an alternative text so that visually challenged web users could "listen" to the text read out to them by the speech synthesizer. Otherwise, what they might hear could just be jumbled up vocals that do not make sense to them. He pointed out that TTS is not only applicable to personal computers; it could also be applied to mobile phones.

Rahim was the first blind Malaysian to have received TTS training in the United States. He helped set up a training centre in Penang upon his return to the country in 1993, while the centre at Brickfields began its operation in 2005. Another training centre was recently set up in Kuching, Sarawak this July. "I may be 100% blind but the internet has taken away 50% of my disability," says Rahim.

Normally it takes a learner about five days to pick up the fundamental skills of surfing the net with TTS. There are some 30 computers at the centre open for visually handicapped individuals to use. There are currently 20,500 blind people registered with the Social Welfare Department, of whom some 2,000 people or about 10% have received TTS training from the MAB. Other than providing training courses for local blind people, MAB also offers courses for people from other regional countries such as Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar and Indonesia. In addition to IT training, MAB also provides a broad range of other services to help the blind people, including rehabilitation, recreational facilities, pre-school programmes, vocational training (woodwork, massage, reflexology, computer programming, etc.) as well as disaster relief.

Sources: MySinchew, The nut graph (image courtesy to nut graph)

Sunday, February 07, 2010 4:42:37 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
e-Sri Lanka is the project of government of Sri Lanka to provide access to “diverse and unrestrained” information and communication sources in a bid to strengthen democracy, peace process, quality of life and social and economic development. “Nanasala Project” refers to several models of tele-centres established all across Sri Lanka for provision of ICT based services. Information Communication Technology Agency (ICTA) has set up different types of Nansalas (Knowledge centers) with regards to the services being provided.
[Image:Colombo Fort Railway Station Nansala (left)

Rural Knowledge Nansalas (Vishwa Denuma Gamata or global knowledge to village) include multi-service ICT centers providing internet, telephone, fax, computer training classes and other services for socio-economic development and community empowerment.

E-library Nansala (community model) is the smaller version of the rural knowledge where few free and few paid services are provided. CBTs, books and lots of periodicals for students of all ages. The e-library concept has also been successfully evolved into mobile e-library which has solar panels on roof powering four laptops and travelling from schools to schools and village to village disseminating information to children, youth and local farmers.

Distance and e-Learning centers (DELs) provide networking facilities like Videocon, Mulitmedia and computer labs etc for connectivity to local and global development learning networks. DELs are specifically aimed at increasing skill level of the people at the suburban areas. [Image: E-learning Centre (above-right)]

Tsunami Camp Nansalas were the special types of kiosks setup in Tsunami affected areas providing information on health, education and similar content in local languages free of cost. “Tsunami Voices” database maintained records of Tsunami victims, their belongings, losses, diseases etc which was helpful in rehabilitation process. ICTA provided ICT training and vocational training to youth and got them involved in volunteer activities for making these nansalas permanent.

These Nansalas have made Sri Lanka stand tall in IT world, by empowering the disabled through ICTs for earning their livelihood and supporting the other disabled through effective use of ICTs.
They have provided equal opportunities for the visually impaired people too. [Image (above-left) Pushpa Rekha: The Nansala Operator]

These Nansalas have also empowered the women by providing them with education, employment and strong position in local communities. Several of the Nansala operators are women.


Counseling for a member of local handicapped community (right)
Sunday, February 07, 2010 9:12:59 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Sunday, January 31, 2010
The IT for Rural Schools Program was started in 1995, with the objective of minimizing educational inequality by providing rural school teachers, students, and children with disabilities with access to computer technology. The project covers some 72 rural schools across Thailand.

Launched in 1998, the Learn and Have Fun with CAI for Primary School Students Project has the main function of identifying quality CAI software from abroad for use in Thai primary schools, and integrating this software initially into three subject areas: math, science, and English. The project also includes staff development to train teachers in the full and effective use of the CAI software in their classes.

RH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn believes that if prison inmates are trained in skills that are of a practical use and in high demand, such as computer skills, they will have a better chance of finding a good job after their sentences are finished and of becoming good citizens of benefit to society. Acting on this belief, Her Royal Highness launched the IT for Inmates Program under the Princess’s IT Project. The Program began at Bang hen Central Women’s Prison at Khlong Prem in 1997. In 1992, the Technical Information Access Center under the National Science and Technology Development Agency hired the prison inmates to type Thai and English journal indexes. At present, numerous organizations offer the inmates typing jobs. Between 1992 and 2003, the inmates earned a combined total of approximately 160,000 baht in this way. Later, the prisoners also learnt computer graphics. At present, the average accumulated income generated as a result of this Program is about 50,000 baht per month.

In 2003, HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn provided an opportunity for the inmates to contribute to society by taking part in the production of audio books for the blind. This project came about through collaboration among three bodies: the Princess’ IT Project, the Thai Blind Association and Bangkhen Women’s Prison. Initially, some 47 inmates participated in the project, 35 of whom read, while the other 12 carried out audio editing using the computers. By the end of 2003, this group of inmates was expected to have produced a total of 1,000 hours of audio books.

Further details can be seen in this report. Source: UNESCO Bangkok online resources
Sunday, January 31, 2010 9:13:28 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
girl without arms and legs uses computerBorn without arms and legs, Toyeeba Soumair, a girl from Narathiwat province, never thought that she would get a chance to explore the world of computers until she met HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn at Baan Plug Pla School 11 years ago. That moment changed her life."Since the young girl has no arms at all, we had to design a computer which has a special switch device, which allows her to easily perform mouse functions using her shoulder with just one click," Pairach Thajchayapong, the vice chairman of the Princess's IT project, said. IT for the Disabled Program under the Princess’ IT Project in Thailand is an exemplary project to provide assistance to students with disabilities through the use of technology.

In 1998, Srisangwan School became part of this project. Computers were placed in the regular classrooms, 10 in each for grades 1 to 6. The National Electronic and Computer Technology Centre (NECTEC) has provided training for teachers at Srisangwan School on how to assess the capabilities of disabled children in order to identify the most appropriate assistance for them, and on how to effectively utilize IT tools for working with disabled children. The school also receives support from physical therapists, speech therapists, special educationists, and computer instructors to create individual curricula to suit each child’s special needs and physical abilities. The computer skills of the students at Srisangwan School have been shown to be of the same standard as those of non-disabled students, and the teachers are capable of using computer-assisted instruction programs to support their own teaching.

Kawila Anukul School is a school for children with learning difficulties in Chiang Mai province. In addition to a computer workshop facility, the Program has also constructed an IT-assisted classroom at Kawila Anukull. In this classroom, computers are used as a teaching aid together with other technologies that make it possible for students with writing, speech, or learning difficulties to learn and develop necessary skills.

Source: Adapted from UNESCO Bangkok online resources
Sunday, January 31, 2010 8:08:58 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, March 13, 2009

Table of Contents


 

Designed to provide a comprehensive on line resource for all stakeholders involved in implementing the digital accessibility agenda of the Convention, the G3ict ITU Toolkit is making good progress towards completion by the end of March 2009. The Toolkit was announced jointly by G3ict and ITU on April 21, 2008. The complete table of contents of the Toolkit can be downloaded here.

Friday, March 13, 2009 2:50:47 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Joint ITU-T & G3ict Forum 2008 - "The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities: Challenges and Opportunities for ICT Standards" 

  • ITU Headquarters, Geneva, Switzerland
  • April 21, 2008
  • Co-hosted by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU)
ITU-T Web site for the event: http://itu.int/ITU-T/worksem/accessibility/200804

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is one of the fastest human rights treaties ever adopted. It was developed with the active participation of country delegations and NGOs representing persons with disabilities, and includes a number of detailed mandates related to accessible and assistive Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs).

Today, ICT devices such as personal computers, fixed and mobile telephones and television are widespread, with over one billion people, globally, having access to the Internet. An increasing number of applications and services for e-commerce, e-government, transportation, public services, health services, cultural life and leisure are delivered electronically. However many of these services are developed without consideration of the needs of the 10 per cent of the world population with disabilities. This directly impacts the rights of these persons. The Forum explored the likely impact of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities on the evolution of ICT standards with the active participation of industry, Standards Development Organizations (SDOs), NGOs, and other interested parties. It was addressed to leaders overseeing accessibility standards issues, representatives from the industry, SDOs, NGOs representing persons with disabilities, research institutions, assistive technology developers, governments and academia.

Objectives:
-Reviewed existing and in-progress technology standards and standardization of product development methodologies
-Discussed the role of public policy and procurement in support of standardization and the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
-Identified follow-up actions to facilitate the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Expected Outcome of Meeting:
Review and document the areas of standardization which match the mandates of the Convention and explore critical gaps. Receive feedback and suggestions from industry, policymakers and NGOs to explore how they can best support the work of SDOs in fostering greater accessibility of ICTs.

Friday, March 13, 2009 2:39:59 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     |