WebAIM’s Smith named Community Hero of Accessibility

February 27, 2015 by Sue Reeves

head shot of jared smith

Jared Smith

Jared Smith, associate director of WebAIM at Utah State University’s Center for Persons with Disabilities, has been named a Community Hero of Accessibility by Knowbility, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to support the independence of children and adults with disabilities by promoting the use and improving the availability of accessible information technology.

Knowbility conducted its first annual Community Heroes of Accessibility Awards in recognition of community excellence in accessibility. In December 2014, Knowbility accepted nominations for the awards across five categories – Individual Achievement, Educational Achievement, Institutional Achievement, Emerging Leader and Unsung Hero.

From among the finalists, Knowbility’s seven-member Board of Directors chose the top honorees. Smith was honored with the Educational Achievement award for his work with WebAIM.

Winners were announced at a ceremony on Feb. 11, 2015, at Google Austin.

Awards will be presented on March 5 during the 30th annual CSUN Assistive Technology Conference in San Diego. For a complete list of all the HERO nominees visit Knowbility.com.

Heidi’s Happenings: Snow day!

February 25, 2015 by Sue Reeves

Heidi Hill is a guest blogger for the CPD’s Developmental Skills Laboratory (DSL), a day program for adults with disabilities. Heidi loves to type and each month she’ll be sharing the fun activities that she and her “buds” are doing at DSL.

Image of woman with bags on her hands.

Jericka dipped her hands in paraffin and wrapped them in plastic bags for spa day!

We sang songs about snow. Then we talked about bundling up, playing safely outdoors, making snow men and snow-angels and snow forts. We took to the theater. We enjoyed “Night at the Museum.” It was really a good movie and we enjoyed popcorn as we were watching the flick!

We made bubble bath. We enjoyed doing lots of activities ’round this glass-windowed work site. Everybody enjoyed doing things.

We went by van down to the bowling alley. There we knocked down pins with our own black bowling ball. Heidi had a score of 76. Cindy had a score of 57!

We also had food fun and made some healthy treats! We also had a spa and pajama day and put warm paraffin on our hands and put them in baggies. We looked pretty silly, but, boy, did it ever feel good!

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Access Board proposes updated requirements

February 23, 2015 by Sue Reeves

Image of Sachin Pavithran

Sachin Pavithran, vice-chair of the U.S. Access Board and director of the Utah Assistive Technology Program at the CPD.

The U.S. Access Board has released for public comment a proposed rule updating accessibility requirements for information and communication technology (ICT) in the federal sector covered by Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act. The rule also would jointly update guidelines for telecommunications equipment subject to Section 255 of the Communications Act.

“The Board’s proposal is responsive to widespread changes and innovations in the IT and communication industries,” said Sachin Pavithran, Vice Chair of the Access Board and director of the Utah Assistive Technology Program at Utah State University’s Center for Persons with Disabilities. “It is important that the 508 Standards and 255 Guidelines stay abreast of the ever-evolving technologies they cover so that accessibility for people with disabilities is properly addressed.”

The proposed rule updates various requirements to address fundamental shifts and trends in the market, such as the convergence of technologies and the increasingly multi-functional capabilities of products like smart phones. Another key goal of this update is to promote consistency with other requirements in the U.S. and abroad in order to improve accessibility and to facilitate compliance. A leading reference, the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), is incorporated into the rule and applied to web-based content as well as to offline documents and software. The Board is proposing other revisions that will harmonize the rule with voluntary consensus standards, including those issued by other countries and international bodies such as the European Commission due to the global nature of the ICT market.

The proposed rule specifies the technologies covered and contains performance-based criteria as well as technical requirements for hardware, software, and support documentation and services. Access is addressed for all types of disabilities, including those pertaining to vision, hearing, color perception, speech, manual dexterity, reach, and strength. The proposed rule is based on recommendations from the Board’s Telecommunications and Electronic and Information Technology Advisory Committee (TEITAC) which comprised a broad cross-section of stakeholders representing industry, disability groups, government agencies, and other countries. It also incorporates public feedback the Board received through the release of two advance drafts of the rule.

“The significant input the Board has received from stakeholders and interested parties throughout this process is reflected in the proposed rule,” notes Pavithran. “Such collective feedback is critical to getting things right in the final rule, and it is no different with the current proposal, which includes a host of questions the Board is posing to the public to gather additional information on various topics.”

Public comments on the rule, as well as on a preliminary assessment of its estimated costs and benefits, are due in 90 days. The Board also will hold public hearings on the rule in San Diego on March 5 and in Washington, DC on March 11. In addition, the Board will conduct a public webinar to review the proposal on March 31.

This post first appeared on the U.S. Access Board’s web site.

Pilot program for children with special health care needs passes House

February 20, 2015 by Sue Reeves

Image of Rep. Redd with constituents.

Rep. Ed Redd (R-Logan), at left, with constituents.

On Thursday, Feb. 18, the Utah House of Representatives unanimously passed HB199, a bill introduced by Rep. Ed Redd (R-Logan) that would provide secondary Medicaid support to families of children with special health care needs.

The Pilot Program for Children with Disabilities and Complex Medical Conditions would provide a modest weekly respite of three hours plus Medicaid secondary insurance support for about 500 families who love and care for their special-needs child in their home.

“Without the loving 24/7 care of their parents, these kids would end up institutionalized in a nursing home,” Redd said in a Facebook post. “Due to the complex and expensive needs of these children, many of these families are facing serial bankruptcy and sometimes divorce or giving up their child to state custody. This bill supports these incredible life-long efforts of these parents so they can continue to provide the best loving care that is possible in their homes.”

Redd credited Emilee and Georgia Wagner, Jennifer Adams, Rep. David Lifferth (R-Eagle Mountain), and staff from Utah Department of Health for helping to bring the bill to fruition.

The bill now moves to the Utah Senate.

Save the date: Nacho party planned

February 18, 2015 by Sue Reeves

Image of nacho ingredients.

Join us March 2 for a Nacho Party to greet our Spring Break Volunteers!

Join us on March 2 as we greet another group of spring break volunteers with the CPD’s infamous mid-winter-blah-busting Nacho Party! The students from St. John’s University and the College of St. Benedict’s in Minnesota, who choose to spend their spring break in Logan doing service work for the CPD, will be introduced. Come and meet them, mingle with your co-workers, and enjoy crunchy cheesy nachos for a mid-day break. Chips and cheese will be provided. Bring a favorite salsa or topping to share. The festivities begin at noon in CPD 170.

The volunteers will spend time with participants from the ABC Preschool, DSL, Aggies Elevated, Top Sports and PEER, will spend a day at CReATE in Salt Lake City, and two days skiing at Beaver Mountain with Common Ground Outdoor Adventures. They will also attend a USU basketball game.