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Saudi Arabia: Ministry of Education Launches Program for Students with Disabilities in Riyadh
This educational program is the first of its kind that has been launched in the regions and governorates in the Kingdom,” said Mohammed Al-Mirshid, director general of the Department of Education in Riyadh region. Called “My start”, the program aims to encourage students with disabilities to explore hidden talents and excel in their fields of interest. The program is backed by lectures and social events to inform and educate the community about disabilities. Meanwhile, the Department of Education recently announced to public high school students an initiative called “Twenty students in twenty schools”. Under the initiative, 20 students will be recruited from 20 high schools and they will undergo development in culture, talent as well as scientific research. The initiative is in collaboration with the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST).
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2015/12/15/ministry-of-education-launches-program-for-students-with-disabilities/, December 15, 2015

SwiftKey Launches Communication App for People Who are Non-Verbal
SwiftKey, the predictive smartphone keyboard company, wants to help people who are non-verbal communicate with others. The company launched a new “assistive” symbol-based communication app called ‘SwiftKey Symbols’, which it says can be used to build sentences using pictures. SwiftKey staff who have family members with autism came up with the idea of developing an assistive app. This team visited Riverside School in southwest England earlier this year, where the pupils have a range of learning disabilities and many are on the autistic.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2015/12/14/swiftkey-launches-communication-app-for-people-who-are-non-verbal/, December 15, 2015

Indian Government Frames Accessibility Guidelines for Buildings
The government has formulated guidelines to make all government and private buildings, including malls, restaurants and public dealing offices, accessible to persons with disabilities and older people. The Union urban development ministry, after a year’s spadework, has prepared “harmonized guidelines and space standards for barrier-free environment for persons with disabilities”. The 100-page document lists out detailed specifications for all new buildings, including specifications on access to buildings, provision of accessible toilets, specifications of walkways, floor patterns, illumination levels, door handles, lifts, height of public telephones, vending machines, ATMs and drop boxes.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2015/12/14/indian-government-frames-accessibility-guidelines-for-buildings/, December 14, 2015

USA: Fight Against Climate Change Starts at a Smart Home
New technology that taps into the Internet of Things could help make our homes smarter and greener, with potential savings for consumers, benefits for the planet, and opportunities for investors, according a recent Morgan Stanley Research report, "Consumers and Climate Change: The Home Energy Efficiency Opportunity." The burgeoning Internet of Things (IoT) promises to make our houses smarter and more energy efficient, passing cost savings to consumers, creating opportunities for investors and perhaps most importantly, benefiting the planet in the process, according to the report.
From http://www.morganstanley.com/ideas/fight-against-climate-change-starts-at-home.html?cid=sm_corp_lnk_dec_2_2015, December 11, 2015

USA: Bracelet to Help People with Vision Disabilities Navigate
Sunu, a startup focused on assistive wearable technology, announced the launch of a crowdfunding campaign designed to raise at least $50,000 to help bring a new generation of its product to market. The award-winning technology powers a sonar smart-bracelet called the Sunu Band, providing enhanced mobility and independence for people who are blind and low vision. The campaign also offers Sunu Tags, helping owners track and retrieve personal items. “From my own experience, independent mobility for people living with vision disabilities can be especially frustrating and stressful,” said Fernando Albertorio, Sunu’s CEO and co-founder, and a entrepreneur with vision disability. “The current aids in the market are simply too expensive, not intuitive and tend to label or stigmatize the user, causing many people to opt-out. A user-centered design creates functional but discreet and intuitive devices.”
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2015/12/09/bracelet-to-help-people-with-vision-disabilities-navigate/, December 11, 2015

Promoting Rights of Persons with Disabilities in ASEAN
It is a historic coincidence that the commemoration of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, Dec. 3, marks a decade of the adoption of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), while the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) will officially become a single community of nations politically, economically and socio-culturally by the end of this year, and seven days prior to the commemoration of the 67th of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The theme of the day for 2015 is inclusion matters: access and empowerment for people of all abilities.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2015/12/11/promoting-rights-of-persons-with-disabilities-in-asean/, December 11, 2015

17th Annual International Roundtable on Inclusive Transport in Less-Wealthy Countries
For the upcoming 17th Annual International Roundtable on Inclusive Transport in Less-Wealthy Countries, we are currently soliciting presentations and reports relevant to accessible fixed-route, paratransit, and pedestrian modes for seniors and persons with disabilities in developing regions of Latin America, Africa, and Asia.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2015/12/10/17th-annual-international-roundtable-on-inclusive-transport-in-less-wealthy-countries/, December 11, 2015

Creating Incentives for Digital Inclusion: Microsoft Announces Support for G3ict Charter for Accessible Technology
On Wednesday, Microsoft announced our support for the newly announced Global Initiative for Inclusive Information and Communication Technologies (G3ict) charter, "Promoting Global Digital Inclusion through ICT Procurement Policies & Accessibility Standards." The Charter calls on governments worldwide to promote the inclusion of persons with disabilities by demanding only accessible technology from their suppliers. We are proud to join the other signatories, which include some of the most forward-thinking governments and advocacy groups around the world such as the European Disability Forum (EDF), the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) and Disabled People’s International (DPI), and we encourage other companies to consider joining the charter.
From http://blogs.microsoft.com/on-the-issues/2015/12/09/creating-incentives-for-digital-inclusion-microsoft-announces-support-for-g3ict-charter-for-accessible-technology/, December 09, 2015

China: Screen Reading Applications Bring Light to People with Vision Disabilities
Starting with a group of ten, Cao launched the Protection and Ease Company to create mobile applications and computer software tailored to people with vision disabilities. Their applications transform contents on the screen into audio instructions and enable people with vision disabilities to use GPS, online meal ordering, and wechat, China’s mobile messaging platform, almost everything that able-bodied people enjoy in the Internet Age. “People with vision disabilities can live more independently,” said Zhao Liping, director of civil rights department at Beijing Disabled Persons’ Federation, “This is going to be the future for them.”
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2015/12/08/screen-reading-applications-bring-light-to-people-with-vision-disabilities/, December 08, 2015

USA: American Sign Language Typeface Added to the Vignelli Center for Design Studies Collections
Peter A. Blacksberg's passion for a project involving American Sign Language (ASL) culminated this year using digital font creation and management tools, 42 years after he began it using traditional pen and ink design techniques. The 1975 alumnus from the School of Photography has created a modern typeface for American Sign Language, officially named “ASL Manutype Black.” R. Roger Remington, the Massimo and Lella Vignelli Distinguished Professor of Design, recently met with Blacksberg to view the typeface and give some final pointers.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2015/12/07/american-sign-language-typeface-added-to-the-vignelli-center-for-design-studies-collections/, December 08, 2015

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