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Newsom pledges vaccine priority for people with developmental disabilities

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Here's what happened in the accessibility world from February 7–13, 2021

Be sure to check Accessibility News Briefly for the latest news and updates — and don't forget to subscribe to get weekly recaps right to your inbox. It's the easiest way to stay informed.

As a reminder, we provide these news briefs for your information and convenience, and we don't endorse or recommend any of these publications or products.

People With Intellectual Disabilities Are Often Overlooked In Pandemic Response

February 12, 2021, NPR: Peter Prater's family wasn't thinking about COVID-19 when the call came that he had been taken to the hospital with a fever. It was April, and the Tallahassee Developmental Center, where Prater lives, hadn't yet had any COVID-19 diagnoses. Prater, 55, who has Down syndrome and diabetes, became the Florida center's first known case, his family said. Within two weeks, more than half of the roughly 60 residents and a third of the staff had tested positive for the virus, according to local news reports.

Pandemic prompts College to reexamine accessibility, learning accommodations

February 12, 2021, The Dartmouth: In order to have most lectures recorded, students used to need to secure accommodations from the College for a documented disability. Then COVID-19 hit — now, in the age of Zoom classes and asynchronous learning, recorded lectures are relatively routine.

Designer 3D Prints Assistive Tech for Blind Dog

February 12, 2021, Today, 3D printing is a multibillion dollar industry, used in factories, research labs, and even in the depths of space. At the same time, amateur creatives are still using their desktop printers to make everyday miracles happen. Recently, Thingiverse designer Chad Lalande used an inexpensive desktop printer to make assistive tech for his blind dog: a set of plastic hoops that would prevent her from running into walls.

Accessibility can be issue for people with disabilities in winter

February 11, 2021, News-Press & Gazette Co.: Business accessibility is integral in winter weather, and that’s especially true for people with disabilities.

Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Patients Need More Inclusive Hospital Care

February 10, 2021, Queen City Nerve: Earlier this month, WBTV released an article that told the story of a local woman’s efforts to advocate for multiple interpreting systems in hospitals to help serve the deaf community at a time when mandated mask-wearing has made it nearly impossible for those who are deaf or hard of hearing to read lips.

Why many advocates prefer the term 'disabled people' over 'people with disabilities'

February 10, 2021, CTV News–CA: Canadians need to get more comfortable with using the term “disabled people” to describe those who wish to be called that, advocates say. Over the past 10 to 15 years, disability advocates have embraced the term “disabled person” to describe members of their community instead of “people with disabilities” -- the go-to descriptor used since the 1960s.

Prioritizing Accessibility at UVA: What's Happening Now and What's Ahead

February 10, 2021, UVA Today: Every student’s experience of the University of Virginia is unique. For some, accessibility and inclusion are key components, as opportunities across Grounds are not a one-size-fits-all. For many students, this is when the Student Disability Access Center comes in.

From The Witches to Lion King, portraying disabled people as villainous, scary is a media trope with real world consequences

February 10, 2021, Firstpost: It was in August 2020 when the news about the #NewTeacherChallenge on TikTok began to make the rounds. In this challenge, parents were introducing their children to their new teachers, supposedly on Face Time. However, instead of showing them photos of their teachers, they were showing their children a rough-looking mugshot or picture of someone making a silly face. But sometimes, the photo/video was of people with disabilities.

Wheelchair with folding wheels could be stowed as overhead baggage

February 9, 2021, New Atlas: Back in 2018, we heard about a full-size foldable wheel known as the Revolve. Its inventor, Andrea Mocellin, has now incorporated the technology into a wheelchair that folds down to fit inside an airliner's overhead baggage area.

Working with a disability: how can apprenticeships become inclusive?

February 9, 2021, The Guardian: When Callum Fullam, 18, was accepted as a mechanics apprentice by a well-known car dealership, he was delighted. But it wasn’t long before he realised that he was being treated very differently from his fellow apprentices. “I had to clean the workshop or do filing, while they were allowed to do the work they were hired to do,” he says.

Advocating for Accessibility in Video Games

February 9, 2021, Gamasutra: Have you ever been in a design meeting, and someone suggests a change or addition, only for another person to reply, “That would change the whole game!" or "That's not really part of the vision or concept”?

Your View: It’s time to stop exploiting people with disabilities

February 8, 2021, The Morning Call: For more than 80 years, the ironically titled Fair Labor Standards Act has institutionalized discrimination against people with disabilities in the workforce. The act endorses the practice of exploitation by paying people with disabilities substandard compensation, well below the minimum wage.

Warren ‘Wawa’ Snipe’s ASL Super Bowl performance went viral. He wants to redefine what deaf artists can do.

February 8, 2021, The Washington Post: For weeks, Warren “Wawa” Snipe, stood in front of his bathroom mirror replaying the same two songs and rehearsing every word. Ever since the National Association of the Deaf asked him last month to perform the national anthem and “America the Beautiful” in American Sign Language at Sunday’s Super Bowl pregame, Snipe, who is deaf, began studying the lyrics and translating them to ASL.

Assistive Technology for Autism

February 8, 2021, Verywell Health: Assistive technology (AT) includes a huge range of tools that can be helpful or even life-changing for people with autism. Defined under the Technology-Related Assistance for Individuals with Disabilities Act of 1988 (Public Law 100-407), AT can be any item that "is used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities."

Critical moves: Accessibility in gaming

February 8, 2021, The Quad: Difficulty settings, adaptive controllers, subtitles. All of these things have one thing in common, and that is their purpose: to broaden the audience of the game and console. There has been a strange debate over the necessity of accessibility.

'Braille Mainichi' creates video showing how Japan's only newspaper for the blind is made

February 7, 2021, The Mainichi–JP: The Mainichi Newspapers' weekly "Braille Mainichi" publication has created a five-minute video recording the rare production process of Japan's only braille newspaper.