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‘ASL Bae' Talks About Advancing Equal Rights for Deaf People (Video)

American Sign Language interpreter Billy Sanders has gone viral a few times for his interpretation gigs at concerts and, most recently, at a press conference...

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Here's what happened in the accessibility world from February 21–27, 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.

Inclusive parks: A plea to make playgrounds accessible for all kids

February 26, 2021, Sentinel-Tribune: When 4-year-old Grant Wichman, who uses a walker, goes to an area park, there isn’t much for him to play on independently. That’s about to change thanks to Wood County Plays, an organization that has raised $800,000 to build an inclusive play area at Rotary Community Park in Perrysburg.

How speech to text, password managers and other tech helped me work with a broken collarbone

February 26, 2021, CNET: I really wish I hadn't broken my collarbone. But one silver lining from the experience has been learning how well technology lets me live my life with one arm immobilized in a sling. Far and away, the best feature has been speech-to-text tools that let me type without a keyboard. Honorable mentions go to swipe keyboards on phones, biometric authentication and password managers.

People with disabilities don’t need a job out of pity: expert

February 25, 2021, Canadian HR Reporter: It’s not that organizations are mean-spirited and deliberately exclusionary about people with disabilities, they just need more exposure and information, says an advocate.

An Untapped Talent Resource: People With Disabilities

February 25, 2021, Forbes: One of the key factors in running a successful business is attracting and retaining talent. Whether hired from the outside or mentored from within, skilled and loyal employees are the backbone of any business. But when businesses strategize to expand their pool of skilled workers, they might be overlooking a key demographic: people with disabilities. “Disability” can include physical impairments such as reduced mobility, hearing loss or vision loss; and intellectual impairment.

If accessibility seems an unsolvable riddle, the Penn Museum offers an answer

February 25, 2021, Generocity: The pandemic forced many businesses to rethink their traditional models if they want to stay afloat. But the Penn Museum has long been revamping its programs, motivated by a commitment to making it accessible to persons with disabilities.

Update on Live Transcription For Free Accounts

February 24, 2021, Zoom Blog: As part of our commitment to connecting users across the world, we are focused on continually enhancing our features to provide a platform that is accessible to all of the diverse communities we serve. Among the Zoom Meetings accessibility features we offer to all users are manual closed captioning, keyboard accessibility, pinning or spotlighting interpreter video, screen reader support, and a range of accessibility settings. Now we are excited to announce that we are looking to take our efforts a step further and are working towards making automatic closed captioning available to all of our users in the fall of 2021.

Society’s Disregard Towards Disabled People Needs To End

February 24, 2021, The Fairfield Mirror: People with disabilities have consistently been erased from many facets of life, including politics. Now, even though these individuals have pre-existing conditions, many are not on the priority list to acquire a vaccine against COVID-19. According to ABC News, “some states…are already vaccinating people with intellectual and developmental disabilities,” however, individuals with physical disabilities or non-intellectual or developmental disabilities are not being acknowledged. As well as this, in some states, the wait for people with disabilities to get a vaccine increases each time a new list comes out. Many of these people have stayed indoors and followed every mandate out of heightened fear for their lives, more so than others, yet priority lists have not reflected the gravity of their underlying conditions during this time.

Disabled Apartment Owners Fear Fire Traps in Aftermath of Grenfell Disaster

February 24, 2021, The New York Times: Like many across England, Sarah Rennie has lost sleep worrying about her building catching fire, especially since inspectors discovered that the high-rise is wrapped in a flammable material similar to the one that fueled the deadly blaze at London’s Grenfell Tower in 2017.

Top Paralympians exploring accessibility in project with Trans Canada Trail

February 24, 2021, Leading Canadian Paralympians and athletes are highlighting the accessibility of recreational trails across the country as part of a new initiative. The project, in which the Canadian Paralympic Committee is partnering with Trans Canada Trail (TCT) and AccessNow app, aims to showcase barrier-free routes, as well as identifying areas where barriers still exist so they can be addressing, resulting in increased accessibility all along The Great Trail of Canada.

Colorado lawmakers consider adding symbol to state IDs to indicate disability

February 23, 2021, MSN: For the second time in three years, lawmakers will consider adding a symbol to state-issued IDs that indicate the person has a disability. The bill, HB21-1014, would also allow for a computer notation on a person's license plate record, so that if law enforcement were to run the plate, they would know that the driver or passenger has a disability.

Ed Department: Schools Serving More Students Under IDEA

February 23, 2021, Disability Scoop: An increasing number of American schoolchildren are receiving special education services and nearly all of them spend at least some of their day in class with their typically-developing peers.

Is Xbox Keeping Up With Its Promise of Accessibility?

February 23, 2021, CBR: Recently, Microsoft released a blog post detailing the current state of the Xbox Accessibility Guidelines introduced in January 2020. In the post, senior program manager in charge of gaming accessibility Brandon Zahand detailed how the company is engaging the gaming and disability community. He also said that feedback is encouraged to improve the guidelines and video games on the Xbox and PC platforms.

Increasing Geriatric Population and Technological Developments to Drive Global Mobility Aid Devices Market: TMR

February 23, 2021, PRNewswire: Mobility aid devices are developed to benefit the disabled and elderly community who has trouble getting about. In home care environments, these devices are also useful for transferring patients who have trouble moving around. Due to the various technological developments, these devices are increasing in popularity across the globe. A powered wheelchair, for instance, offers a number of features, such as wafer boards, sip and puff drive control, touchpad control, finger control, and traditional joystick that make it easier to use the device. Such innovations are expected to foster development of the global mobility aid devices market in the years to come.

Judge: N.H. Democratic Lawmakers Can't Sue Speaker For Banning Remote Attendance During COVID

February 22, 2021, New Hampshire Public Radio: A federal judge has rejected a legal challenge by Democrats to force New Hampshire House Speaker Sherman Packard to allow lawmakers with disabilities to attend House sessions remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Coastal Resources Commission approves wheelchair accessible mats on the sand in Carolina Beach

February 22, 2021, WECT: Just in time for the warmer weather, the Coastal Resource Commission has granted a variance to the Town of Carolina Beach that allows the placement of a wheelchair accessible mat on the sand. The mat is provided by the nonprofit group Ocean Cure and has been used for several beach seasons, but, in 2020, the state notified the town and the group that the mat had to go since it did not comply with the Coastal Management Resources Act (CAMA) or have proper permits.

Accessibility in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks: Short Film Series Released Online

February 21, 2021, Sierra Sun Times: Across the nation, National Park Service sites are working to improve access for people with disabilities. In recent years, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks have modified many trails, features, and facilities to make them more accessible and comfortable for all visitors.

Disabled young people living on poverty-level benefits rises 300% in Australia

February 21, 2021, The Guardian: The number of young people with disabilities in Australia surviving on below-the-poverty-line welfare benefits has “exploded” by more than 300% over the past decade, new data reveals.

Despite risk of COVID-19, some fear people with disabilities are ignored in coronavirus response

February 21, 2021, Lansing State Journal: Laura Hall has done what she can to limit her exposure to the coronavirus. She rarely goes out, gets groceries delivered to her Okemos home, winnowed her close contacts to a small circle.