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USA: GSA Wants to Make More Dot-Govs Accessible to Persons with Disabilities
The General Services Administration’s quick-fix IT team 18F is trying to change that standard, beginning with federal websites. On Tuesday, 18F hosted its first “Accessibility Hackathon," tasking volunteers and 18F staff with creating technology to improve the Internet experience for disabled communities. (18F helmed the event in conjunction with the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy, the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living and Rehabilitation Research, and DC Legal Hackers, a technology and law meet-up group.)
From http://www.nextgov.com/cio-briefing/2015/03/18f-trying-make-federal-sites-better-disabled-users/108961/, April 08, 2015

Smartphone App Enables Deaf People to Make Phone Calls
A new smartphone app has launched in the UK, giving deaf and hard of hearing people the freedom to have real time phone conversations. From booking a table at a restaurant, to calling a plumber or talking to the local doctor, the new app called ‘Pedius’, harnesses voice recognition and speech synthesis technology to help people who are deaf or hard of hearing remain as independent as possible and confident using their phones.
From http://www.disabledgo.com/blog/2015/03/smartphone-app-enables-deaf-people-to-make-phone-calls/, April 07, 2015

UK: New Forest Spectrum: First Ever Festival for People with a Learning Disability Comes to the New Forest
The first ever music festival for people with a learning disability is coming to the New Forest. More than 40 acts are set to perform at the inaugural New Forest Spectrum Festival in July. Organizers say the event, which is being held in Lymington, is the first festival exclusively for people with a learning disability and autism, their families and carers. The three-day event will run from Friday, July 10, to Sunday, July 12, and will include a variety of acts and entertainment.
From http://bit.ly/1c71rac, April 07, 2015

UN Challenges Businesses to Hire More on the Spectrum
The leader of the United Nations is calling on businesses around the world to step up and do their part in employing people with autism. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is launching a “call to action,” urging employers to make “concrete commitments” to hire those on the spectrum. “We encourage public offices, corporations and small businesses to have a closer look at the way they perceive people with autism, to take the time to learn about the condition and to create life-changing opportunities,” Ban said.
From https://disabilityemployment.org.au/news/item/2516/, April 07, 2015

Microsof Announces Pilot Program to Hire People with Autism
In honor of World Autism Awareness Day, Thursday, I had the privilege to attend and speak at an event held at the United Nations in New York City, where the theme was “Autism, The Employment Advantage.” This theme resonates with me on two levels. First, as a parent. I am the proud mom of Shawn, now 19, diagnosed with autism when he was four years old. Secondly, as a proud executive at Microsoft. A company that believes strongly in diversity.
From http://blogs.microsoft.com/on-the-issues/2015/04/03/microsoft-announces-pilot-program-to-hire-people-with-autism/, April 06, 2015

Apple Puts Environment VP Lisa Jackson in Charge of Boosting Accessibility Efforts
While Cook did not go into detail about the Watch’s Accessibility features, the Apple Watch Companion application that we detailed earlier this year sheds some light on Apple’s plans. Here are the bullet points for accessibility that we covered in that earlier article: To access Accessibility Settings on the fly, users will triple-click the Digital Crown.
From http://9to5mac.com/2015/03/02/apple-puts-lisa-jackson-in-charge-of-boosting-product-accessibility-efforts/, April 06, 2015

U.S. Firm Develops Glasses for People with Color Blindness
EnChroma has announced an innovative new line of EnChroma Cx-65 eyewear for indoor use. The EnChroma glasses enable red-green color blind students, children, workers – anyone suffering from color vision deficiency (CVD) – to see and appreciate a more colorful world. One in 12 men, and approximately one in 200 females, have some form of CVD, of which approximately 80% can be helped by EnChroma eyewear.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2015/04/06/us-firm-develops-glasses-for-people-with-color-blindness/, April 06, 2015

UK Experts Share Best Autism Practices with India
On World Autism Awareness Day, UK experts are calling for stronger links with India to develop best autism practices that are relevant to the specific cultural and local needs of the country. Care4Autism-School, a research team from the University of Birmingham, UCL Institute of Education (IOE) and the International Institute of Information Technology, Hyderabad (IIIT Hyderabad) are currently visiting schools in Hyderabad, engaging with teachers and parents on how technology can support children with autism in India.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2015/04/03/uk-experts-share-best-autism-practices-with-india/, April 06, 2015

Can Disability Help Your Bottom Line? Corporate America Is Waking Up to the Benefits of Employees with Autism and Developmental Disabilities
Something curious is happening in Corporate America. Business leaders are discovering a whole new source of talent they never realized existed: people with autism and intellectual and developmental disabilities.
From http://www.huffingtonpost.com/shanna-belott/can-disability-help-your-_b_6974476.html?ir=India, April 02, 2015

Getting Europe Up to Scale for the ICT-Enabled Economy
Achieving the goal of European progressives of opportunity for all will require a strong and growing economy. And the key to that is higher EU-wide productivity. After a long period during which Europe was closing the productivity gap with the US, since 1995 that gap has widened ever year and shows no signs of narrowing. Indeed, if EU-15 productivity had grown at the same rate as US productivity from 1995 to 2013, EU-15 GDP would be EUR 1.3tn greater than present levels. EUR 1.3tn a year would mean higher real wages, lower government costs for social welfare expenditures and greater government revenues to support expenditures on needed public goods.
From http://www.policy-network.net/pno_detail.aspx?ID=4878&title=Getting-Europe-up-to-scale-for-the-ICT-enabled-economy, April 02, 2015

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