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USA: SETDA Publishes Brief on Accessibility of Instructional Materials in a Digital Age for State and District Leaders
The State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA) recently released a policy brief for state and district education leaders focused on considerations and strategies regarding the accessibility of digital content for all students. The brief, The Accessibility of Learning Content for All Students, Including Students with Disabilities, Must Be Addressed in the Shift to Digital Instructional Materials, examines important legal, policy and practice considerations regarding the accessibility of digital instructional materials. The paper discusses the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) Framework, Open Educational Resources (OER) and federal law requirements regarding accessibility of instructional materials. The brief also provides recommendations for state and district policy regarding the development, use and distribution and sharing of digital tools to improved the learning experiences of all students.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2014/06/24/setda-publishes-brief-on-accessibility-of-instructional-materials-in-a-digital-age-for-state-and-district-leaders/, July 10, 2014

Thailand: Telephone Service for People With Hearing Disabilities
Realizing the importance of personal communication for people who are deaf or hard of hearing, especially in a situation where help is needed, Telephone Organization of Thailand (TOT) has been expanding and developing its ‘Telephone for the deaf’ service. There are now 500 telephone booths with the service installed nationwide, while 150 of them are located in Bangkok.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2014/07/07/telephone-service-for-people-with-hearing-disabilities/, July 07, 2014

UK: Lack of Accessible Tourism Costing Economy Billions
Researchers at the University of Surrey have found that the European tourism sector is losing out on as much as 142 billion euros every year due to poor infrastructure, services and attitudes towards travelers with disabilities. The research project, which was funded by the European Commission, found that travelers within the EU who required special access (whether through disability or age) undertook 783 million trips within the region in 2012, contributing 394 billion euros and 8.7 million jobs to the European economy.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2014/07/03/lack-of-accessible-tourism-costing-economy-billions/, July 07, 2014

3D Printer Can be Used to Aid Students With Vision Disabilities in Their Educational Endeavors
Braille is a tactile writing system, which is commonly used by people with vision disabilities. With the recent development of braille printers, written materials in braille has greatly helped people with vision disabilities but, this is not to say that there are still many remaining problems such as books that are immobile due to their size and volume as well as durability. Moreover, there are other problems such as not enough books, materials, works, and data for such individuals.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2014/07/03/3d-printer-can-be-used-to-aid-students-with-vision-disabilities-in-their-educational-endeavors/, July 07, 2014

USA: FDA Approves First Wearable, Motorized Device that Helps People With Disabilities to Walk
Exoskeleton leader ReWalk Robotics announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has cleared the company’s ReWalk Personal System for use at home and in the community. ReWalk is a wearable robotic exoskeleton that provides powered hip and knee motion to enable individuals with Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) to stand upright and walk. ReWalk, the only exoskeleton with FDA clearance via clinical studies and extensive performance testing for personal use, is now available throughout the United States.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2014/07/02/fda-approves-first-wearable-motorized-device-that-helps-people-with-disabilities-to-walk/, July 07, 2014

Canada: AMI-Audio Special Focuses on the Accessibility of USA’s Most Famous Monuments
Accessible Media Inc. (AMI) announced that it will air a two-part documentary exploring the accessibility of some of the most recognizable attractions in the capital of the United States. AMI Goes to Washington captures the spirit of America’s capital and takes listeners on a detailed journey through the city as AMI-audio staffers Paul Daniel and Joe Lamanna explore many of D.C.’s iconic monuments and experience first-hand how accessible they are.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2014/06/26/ami-audio-special-focuses-on-the-accessibility-of-some-of-the-usas-most-famous-monuments/, July 04, 2014

India: People with Vision Disabilities Get New Braille library
Marathi litterateur Kavita Mahajan inaugurated the library for people with vision disabilities in the city on Friday on the occasion of the birth anniversary Helen Keller. Also present on the occasion were Balasaheb Joshi, former district governor of Rotary Club, Ramesh Meher, president of Rotary Nashik (West) and Megha Pawaskar, a senior member of the National Association of the Blind (NAB).
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2014/06/30/people-with-vision-disabilities-get-a-new-braille-library/, July 03, 2014

U.S. Education Department Issues New Special Ed Rules
The Education Department announced Tuesday that it will begin to look at graduation rates, test scores and other measures of academic performance to help determine if states are meeting the needs of students with disabilities. The department called the change a “major shift” in the way it assesses special education programs, since such benchmarks weren’t stringently applied to special education students previously. An estimated 6.5 million children and youth have such disabilities, the department said, and have lower graduation rates overall and don’t do as well on average in reading and math as their peers.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2014/06/24/us-education-dept-issues-new-special-ed-rules/, July 03, 2014

Australia Signs Treaty to Increase Print Access for Blind and Vision Impaired
On 23 June 2014, the Australian Government signed the ‘Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons who are Blind, Visually Impaired, or Otherwise Print Disabled’. Last year, 51 countries signed the treaty (link is external), which will give blind and vision impaired people greater access to works in accessible formats like braille and audio. Currently, due to copyright restrictions, only between 1 and 7 percent of the world’s published books are made available in these formats.
From http://www.mediaaccess.org.au/latest_news/policy-legislation/australia-signs-treaty-to-increase-print-access-for-blind-and-vision-impaired, July 02, 2014

USA: FCC to Promote Social Media Accessibility
The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is to facilitate an industry discussion on making social media tools and content accessible to people with disabilities. The event, Accessibility & Innovation (A&I) Initiative, on July 17 will seek to heighten awareness among technology developers and media producers so that they are inspired to increase the level of social media accessibility.
From http://www.mediaaccess.org.au/latest_news/online-media/fcc-to-promote-social-media-accessibility, July 02, 2014

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