Nevada ADA

Americans with Disabilities Act

Comprehensive Consent Decree Will Ensure Accessibility of School Programs and Services

National Federation of the Blind (NFB) President remarked that:

“This landmark agreement with the Seattle Public Schools should serve as a model for the nation and should put school districts on notice that we can no longer wait to have equal education for blind students and to have access to information, use of school services, and full participation in school activities by blind faculty, personnel, and parents. The National Federation of the Blind applauds the leadership of the Seattle Public Schools in adopting this agreement, and as a blind father and parent of two blind children I personally look forward to working with the district to implement this historic and comprehensive plan of action.” (Source: National Federation of the Blind Applauds Landmark Agreement with Seattle Public Schools)

The steps that Seattle Public Schools (SPS) will take under the decree include:

  • Making its websites accessible to the blind, including parents like Ms. Nightingale, through existing technology;
  • Hiring or appointing a system-wide accessibility coordinator, answerable to a cabinet-level official designated by the SPS superintendent;
  • Conducting an accessibility audit of SPS’s electronic and information technology, as well as other programs, services, and activities, and developing a plan to remediate the accessibility issues revealed by the audit;
  • Creating and maintaining an Accessible Education Resources Portal to help faculty and staff communicate effectively with people with disabilities and ensure accessibility of educational content, and to provide information about disability policies and services to students, faculty, and parents with disabilities;
  • Inserting language into the system’s procurement requests and contracts requiring vendors to provide specific information about the compliance of their products and services with federal laws (such as the Americans With Disabilities Act) and accessibility guidelines, and requiring vendors to indemnify the school system for discrimination complaints resulting from inaccessibility of their products; and
  • Training district officers, school administrators, faculty, and other key personnel on applicable laws, electronic and information technology accessibility guidelines, and the creation of accessible content.

These steps are clearly important, but they are steps toward a goal, not the goal itself. We need to ensure the intent and spirit of the ADA laws are central in the implementation process. The evolving and growing needs of people with disabilities can only be addressed if people with disabilities as employees and as advocates are incorporated into comprehensive plan of action.

Ensuring ADA compliance in the Nevada Transportation Landscape

Transportation is always high on the list of “issues” for people with disabilities. Traditional transportation services have not been exactly exemplary in the provision of transporting people with disabilities. The potential for on-demand services (like Lyft or Uber) to improve the transportation of people with disabilities is greater than the wider population because there are less potential options when you are unable to drive yourself. However, these new forms of engaging transportation services need to be held to the same standards as any public service.

Cost is a critical element in any industry.  “Disruptive” entities  such as Uber cut costs by innovating in many areas as well as avoiding some of the operational or regulatory costs.  ADA compliance has a cost. Nevada is taxing ride-hailing services.  There needs to be an additional charge on rides and designate the funds for the provision of services to individuals with additional needs. So far in Nevada this need has been ignored.

“It’s just blatant discrimination,” said Marilyn Golden, a senior policy analyst at the Berkeley-based Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund. “They can’t charge people with disabilities more money to take the vehicle that happens to be the one that’s accessible to them.”

When Golden testified before state regulators last year, she urged them to consider a fee that would be tacked on to every Uber trip to subsidize wheelchair-accessible cars.

A ride in an accessible taxi in Los Angeles costs the same as any other cab. About 10 percent of the city’s 2,361 taxis can accommodate electric wheelchairs — an important service for the 1 in 10 Angelenos who identify as having a disability. Many rely on public transportation, cabs and paratransit services to run errands, make social calls and get to doctor appointments. They can sometimes wait hours before a ride arrives.

Source: Uber and Lyft must improve access for disabled riders, advocates say

Amtrak violated access rules for disabled passenger

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has ruled that Amtrak is violating federal rules providing access to disabled passengers with hearing impairments with absence of TTY on televisions and passenger information system.

  • lacks required public telephone technology for people who are deaf or hard of hearing;
  • does not provide a visual information system for passengers waiting outside on platforms to update them about delays and schedule changes in train service, and sometimes provides travel information only over loudspeaker; and
  • does not consistently program its televisions to show captions for people who cannot hear.

Source: Richmond Times Dispatch

Amtrak is not required to provide on board visual notifications while the train is traveling, The potential benefits of utilizing contemporary technologies through the use of smart phones could provide cost effective solutions for all users. Rather than investing in costly outdated notifications systems, assuring people with disabilities have access to the appropriate technologies and the data could be a better approach.

Un-interpreting the letter of the law

A good article describing how “efficient” management of higher education conflicts with the social function of education. The focus of the article is shows ho Higher Education continues to resist effectively incorporating students with disabilities and the lip-service tactics used by too many institutions.

By law, universities are obligated to provide students with disabilities equal access to all facets of the educational experience. In today’s modern classrooms, that includes accessible educational technology. Providing instructional materials in a digital format instead of traditional print can allow students to access content in ways that best meet their needs, like having text read aloud or automatically translated into electronic braille. Such accessibility is absolutely possible if technologies are designed and coded for these applications from the start. Yet, most institutions do not ensure this access in products they build themselves or purchase from publishers and technology companies. This oversight has created an increasingly large chasm of access for students with disabilities in today’s digital higher education landscape.

Source: Boston Globe: On education technology, college lobbyists are keeping disabled students behind

As the NFB points out that institutions are not buying accessible content.

Technology exists to remedy this discrimination, but postsecondary institutions are not investing in accessibility. Innovations in text-to-speech, refreshable Braille, and other technologies have created promise for equal access for disabled students; yet an unacceptable number of postsecondary institutions do not make it a priority to purchase accessible technology. Schools are buying inaccessible instructional materials and then separate, accessible items on an ad-hoc basis for students with disabilities. Some resort merely to retrofitting the inaccessible technology, which sometimes makes accessibility worse. Until postsecondary institutions harness their purchasing power, the market for accessible instructional materials will remain limited, and disabled students will continue to be left behind.

Source: Braille Monitor : The Technology, Education, and Accessibility in College and Higher Education Act (TEACH)

However, many institutions view accommodation as a “tack on” support rather adopting universal design principles for curricular delivery systems. More often that not accommodations are offered to late or in only one format. Calling material accessible because a “JAWS ver. X.x” user can access is not accessibility. Students access content from multiple devices, and increasingly this means smart devices.  Adoption of smart devices is greater that 80% and many of these have great a screen reader and accessibility tools yet colleges continue to test against outdated technologies and insist students downgrade. This is not an acceptable policy nor does it recognize that disability is not necessarily a binary state. It isn’t just about being visually impaired, all of us can benefit at times from being able to listen to content instead of only reading, maybe listening and reading that hard to understand concept would help. Dyslexia and other disabilities, even temporary ones, can require the use of read text, modern screen readers have a much lower learning curve and can be useful where short-term disability might strike.






Blind Federation criticises Captcha security test

The National Federation for the Blind says its members are unable to sign an e-petition calling for printed material to be more accessible to the visually impaired because of “Captcha” security.

A Captcha is a graphic or sound of a random word or number users must key in to prove they are human.

The petition, on the White House website, has received just 8,200 signatures.

The White House says the site complies with US accessibility standards.


BBC News – Blind Federation criticises Captcha security test.

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