Monday, July 23, 2012

FCC's "Developing with Accessibility" Event - September 6-7

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC)’s Accessibility and Innovation Initiative (A&I) has planned an event called “Developing with Accessibility,” at the FCC’s headquarters on September 6 and 7, 2012.  The event is designed to spur increased collaboration on accessibility solutions among developers from industry, consumer, and government sectors.  The event will encourage the use of accessibility APIs (application programming interfaces), as well as publicly available data sets, in order to build accessible apps for mobile phones and websites.  A key objective is to promote the concept and practice of developing applications with regard for generally-accepted accessibility guidelines, thereby maximizing their usability for everyone, including persons with disabilities.

The event will offer training on development topics, in-person collaboration on programming projects, and professional networking among developers.  As important as the actual event itself will be collaborative activity in electronic spaces before, during, and after the event.  Rather than limit this to accomplishments that can be achieved during a single, in-person event, this Developer event is not intended to be an end in itself, but will instead serve as an organizing opportunity to create mechanisms for ongoing collaboration among developers who are interested in building accessible technology solutions.

It is also a goal of the A&I to make smart use of new media tools to create electronic spaces for such collaboration.  We encourage others to also activate online collaboration spaces associated with this effort.  To this end, we suggest use of a particular abbreviation, “DevAcc,” as an electronic tag that facilitates searching and coordination toward these objectives.

Please pre-register for the event by sending your name, affiliation, and contact information to by August 31, 2012. Also send disability accommodation requests to

If there are particular ways that you’d like to participate, or related activities that you’d like to inform us about, also feel free to write to

The meeting site is fully accessible to people using wheelchairs or other mobility aids. Open captioning and assistive listening devices will be provided on site. Other reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities are available upon request. Include a description of the accommodation you will need and tell us how to contact you if we need more information. Make your request as early as possible. Last minute requests will be accepted, but may be impossible to fill. Send an e-mail to: or call the Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau at 202-418-0530 (voice), 202-418-0432 (TTY).

The general session of the event will be webcast with open captioning at


Accessibility and Innovation Initiative:
Implementation of the Communications and Video Accessibility Act:
For more information, visit

Source: GAATES

New Program for the Blind Receives Prestigious Certification

Hawaii’s Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) and Services for the Blind Division has received national recognition for a unique training program called “New Visions,” which is offered to people who are blind and low vision.

In June 2012, the National Blindness Professional Certification Board (NBPCB) recertified Hawaii’s New Visions program as a Structured Discovery Cane Travel (SDCT) program.

Hawaii is one of only three state agencies to hold this prestigious certification. The others are Nebraska and New Mexico. There are three private certified centers in Louisiana, Colorado, and Minnesota.

”This is a rigorous certification process. I am pleased to say we passed with flying colors!” said Lea Grupen, Administrator of the Hoopono Branch, which oversees Hawaii’s New Visions Program. “Evaluators were complimentary of Hawaii’s center, staff and students, and to quote from their report,” she said, “It is training centers like yours that lend essential credibility to the Structured Discovery Process.”

Launched in November 2002, New Visions offers a curriculum of effective blindness skills, methods and techniques that lead to increased self-confidence, empowerment and competitive employment.

The curriculum includes classes in Braille (alternative communication), computer and assistive technology, orientation and mobility, personal and home management, and woodworking.

New Visions serves clients with a range of visual disabilities ranging from no light perception, to reading only large print at a comfortable distance.

The New Visions program requires students to commit to full-time participation in classes that run between 6 and 9 months in duration. Students may request additional skill-building time if it is necessary.

New Visions classes are held on site at Hoopono so consumers can share experiences and engage in peer mentoring and support. Hoopono also leases several nearby apartments for neighbor islander and Pacific Islander students and Oahu students who wish to practice their New Visions program skills in a home setting.
The goal of Hoopono’s Services is to enable people who are blind and low vision, age 14 and older, to attain maximum vocational and functional independence. Consumers work with a team of skilled professionals who provide varied services to meet the participant’s individual needs.

Training can take place in individual homes and communities, or in the New Visions’ Liliha centre.

The State’s Vocational Rehabilitation Division, Hoopono Branch, provides comprehensive services and specialized services to Oahu and neighbor island consumers to meet the varied needs of people who are blind, deafblind or low vision, regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, age, religion or disability.

There is no fee for services.

For more information on the program, call 808-586-5269 or visit

Source: GAATES

TIGAR Project Accelerates Book Accessibility for People with Print Disabilities

Launched in November 2010, the Trusted Intermediary Global Accessible Resources (TIGAR) Project continues to accelerate. The aim of the TIGAR project is to increase the number of accessible books available worldwide; specifically, to provide access to copyright-protected works in accessible formats for people with print disabilities across borders. Participants include WIPO, publishers and collective management organizations, and organizations that provide specialized library services for people with print disabilities.

Participation of accessibility organizations in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, France, Jamaica, Norway, the Netherlands, New Zealand, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United States.We are also in conversation with countries in Africa and Asia to extend our participation further into developing countries.
TIGAR’s key achievements to date include:

Participation of more than 30 leading publishers and collective rights management organizations.
Books in an array of languages are available through the TIGAR network. The first international exchange of accessible books took place in October 2011 between organizations in Canada, Denmark, and France. Since that time more than 500 have been selected by participating organizations from the thousands available and shared for cross border exchange.

“The real impact of the TIGAR Project is the impact it makes in the lives of people with print disabilities”, said François Hendrikz of the South African Library for the Blind. “For example, one of the titles we selected was a book by Erik Orsenna, a French novelist and member of the Académie Française. The book, “L’Entreprise des Indes” is highly recommended as a ‘coup de coeur’ and thanks to the TIGAR project it was available to readers with print disabilities in Canada at the same time as it was available to sighted readers.”

For further information, visit

Source: GAATES