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USA: $500,000 Investment to Launch the Assistive Technology Challenge to Improve Communication for People with ALS
The ALS Association, in partnership with Prize4Life, is pleased to announce The ALS Assistive Technology Challenge to revolutionize communication technology solutions for people living with ALS. ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects neurons (nerve cells) in the brain and the spinal cord. Eventually, people with ALS lose the ability to initiate and control muscle movement, which often leads to total paralysis and death within two to five years of diagnosis. There is no cure and no life-prolonging treatments for the disease. Due to the total paralysis associated with ALS, patients are often left with very limited means of communication and might become completely locked in. “This innovative challenge grant program will provide funds for the research and development of novel approaches to solving one of the most pressing needs of people with ALS—the ability to maintain their ability to communicate as the disease progresses,” said Lucie Bruijn, Ph.D., M.B.A., Chief Scientist for The ALS Association.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2015/10/09/500000-investment-to-launch-the-assistive-technology-challenge-to-improve-communication-for-people-with-als/, October 12, 2015

USA: Voters with Disabilities Key to 2016 Election Outcome
Fully one-in-five Americans have a disability themselves and studies show that most of them want to work. People with disabilities are America’s largest minority group, and the only one that, due to an accident or illness, anyone can join at any time. Indeed, America has 56 million people with disabilities, more than 20 million of whom are working age. Fifty-two percent of Democrats report that they or a loved one have a disability, and for Republicans, a smaller number of 44 percent report they have a disability. Surprisingly, Independents have the largest number of voters who say they have a disability, with 58 percent saying yes. This shows that swing voters with disabilities and their families are up for grabs.
From http://respectabilityusa.com/voters-with-disabilities-key-to-2016-election-outcome/, October 09, 2015

New Video Game Program Helps People with Disabilities
With his new program, Tar Heel Gameplay, sophomore Jeremy Kim believes he could make video games like “Super Mario Bros.” accessible to people with disabilities. “I wanted to find a way for these children to play the same games as their peers, and those games are like shooting games, “Tetris,” racing games — games that require a lot of precision and fast decision-making skills, but that is exactly what these children don’t have,” Kim said. Kim and Gary Bishop, a computer science professor, along with professor Karen Erickson, are developing a website that allows people to create their own video games using YouTube videos.
From http://www.dailytarheel.com/article/2015/09/new-video-game-program-helps-people-with-disabilities, October 09, 2015

Why Your User Experience Must Include Design for Accessibility
We know that a lot of lip service is paid to the idea of accessibility. That’s building online and offline products which can be used easily, not just by the fully able but also by those people with people with disabilities. It’s often assumed that building accessible products is prohibitively expensive but that's often not the case and the truth is that a more accessible product often provides a better user experience for both fully-abled as well as the disabled.
From https://www.interaction-design.org/literature/article/why-your-user-experience-must-include-design-for-accessibility, October 09, 2015

USA: Tobii Dynavox Launches New Software for Teaching Non-Verbal Students How to Read
90% of students in America with complex communication needs enter adulthood without acquiring functional literacy skills. This overwhelming majority is at a distinct disadvantage considering that literacy is linked to successful transition to independent living and employment. To address this issue, Tobii Dynavox has created a new software version of their popular Accessible Literacy Learning (ALL) reading program. This evidence-based reading program is designed specifically to teach those individuals who require AAC and have complex communication needs and physical access challenges, to learn how to read. Available as an app for use on the iPad, Windows operating systems, and Tobii Dynavox communication devices (including the T-Series and I-Series+), the ALL software edition gives teachers and parents a straightforward way to deliver proven literacy instruction.
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2015/10/09/tobii-dynavox-launches-new-software-for-teaching-non-verbal-students-how-to-read/, October 09, 2015

USA: Transportation Department Issues Guidance to Public Transportation Agencies on Implementing ADA
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has published detailed guidance to transit agencies on how to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Since the ADA became law in 1990, FTA has ensured that transit systems comply with the ADA’s provisions on public transportation, primarily through education and investigations of possible violations. To enhance understanding of the Act, the new circular offers a user-friendly, one-stop resource on its requirements. “We have made great progress in advancing accessible public transportation, but we still have work to do,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Foxx. “We must ensure that Americans of all ages and abilities can access our nation’s transportation system. Today’s guidance reinforces our commitment to full implementation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.”
From http://globalaccessibilitynews.com/2015/10/07/transportation-department-issues-guidance-to-public-transportation-agencies-on-implementing-ada/, October 09, 2015

Launch of Claria Zoom App for Elderly and Partially Sighted People
In order to make Smartphones more accessible to elderly or partially sighted people, the start-up company Claria, which is specialized in developing digital solutions for visually impaired users, is officially launching its application Claria Zoom on September 10, available worldwide on the Google Play Store. Claria Zoom has been rewarded by a jury of low vision professionals with the Golden Silmo under the low vision category at the last World Optics Fair in Paris.
From http://bit.ly/1OlxpAd, October 07, 2015

United Nations Member States Adopt 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
The United Nations Summit on Sustainable Development saw a record number of government leaders converge on United Nations headquarters in New York on 25-27 September. Vowing to leave no one behind, they pledged their commitment to the new 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, encompassing 17 universal and transformative sustainable development goals. “We have reached a defining moment in human history,” said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at the summit opening. “The people of the world have asked us to shine a light on a future of promise and opportunity,” he said. “Member States have responded with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The new agenda is a promise by leaders to all people everywhere,” Ban Ki-moon stressed.
From https://www.un.org/development/desa/newsletter/feature/2015/10/, October 07, 2015

How to Improve Literacy Using Captions
Turn on the captions in your home; on your tvs, ipads, phones, and computers. Many people think captions are only for deaf and hard of hearing people. And, yes, Closed Captioning (CC) was designed to make television and media accessible for people who are Deaf or hard of hearing. But, like most technology originally developed for accessibility - the touchscreens on our phones and tablets, audiobooks, the telephone – CC benefits each of us. Research shows that captioned media increases literacy skills in people of all ages. Simply having the captions on dramatically improves vocabulary, word recognition, comprehension, and reading .
From http://ollibean.com/2014/08/06/how-to-improve-literacy-without-even-trying/, October 07, 2015

WHO: Global Strategy and Action Plan on Ageing and Health
The Draft zero of the "Global Strategy and Action Plan on Ageing and Health" is now open to public consultation from individuals and institutions. Please respond as soon as possible so that your comments will help develop Draft 1, which will be discussed in Geneva on October 29-30, 2015.
From http://who.int/ageing/consultation/en/, October 06, 2015

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