U.S. Department of Justice Issues Update Regarding Web Accessibility Under the ADA
by Jaime Rodriguez, RDPFS Intern
On March 18, 2022, The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) issued updated guidance on web accessibility under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The update concerns how state and local governments and businesses open to the public must ensure that their websites are accessible to people with disabilities, as required under the ADA. This new guidance, issued in plain language and user-friendly explanations, helps to ensure that people without a legal or technical background can understand what is required. Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke for the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division explained that “'We have heard the calls from the public on the need for more guidance on web accessibility, particularly as our economy and society become increasingly digitized… This guidance will assist the public in understanding how to ensure that websites are accessible to people with disabilities. People with disabilities deserve to have an equal opportunity to access the services, goods, and programs provided by government and businesses, including when offered or communicated through websites.'” The DOJ, in working to advance website accessibility for people with disabilities, has recently reached settlements with businesses, including Hy-Vee, Kroger, Meijer, and Rite Aid, to guarantee that their websites are fully accessible, and to ensure that those scheduling vaccine appointments can do so independently. For the full press release from The United States Department of Justice announcing this guidance, read "Justice Department Issues Web Accessibility Guidance Under the Americans with Disabilities Act”. For the full guidance, read ADA.gov, U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division “Guidance on Web Accessibility and the ADA”.
Free Accessible Reading Material and Programs from Libraries Across the Nation
Submitted by Jill Rothstein, Chief Librarian, Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library of The New York Public Library
The Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library, part of the National Library Service (NLS) for the Blind and Print Disabled of the Library of Congress, provides free accessible reading material to anyone residing in this country who has a disability that prevents them from using regular print materials. Choose from over 145,000 titles, including current bestsellers, thrillers, classics, literary award winners, cookbooks, poetry, romances, and westerns, as well as nursery rhymes and books for kids and teens. More than 60 audio magazines are available as well, including People, Newsweek, and health newsletters. Get a talking book player and talking books mailed to your door, or download them instantly from our website onto a flash drive to play in the free player. You can also use our free app, BARD Mobile, to listen to all of our titles on the go with no wait lines and no return date! In addition, we provide physical and digital braille, free assistive technology coaching and group workshops, and librarians who will help you find the kinds of books you like and make sure you get as many as you want.
Upcoming Virtual Programs
Here are some upcoming free training programs from The Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library:
Beginning tomorrow, April 2, 2022 from 1 to 2:30 pm ET (Eastern Time) three sessions on iPhone Chat for Voiceover Beginners, will go over “how screen readers work, gestures everyone needs to know, and some strategies to get help.” The workshops occur the first Saturday of the next two months as well, May 7 and June 4. There will be opportunities for questions and networking. Join the Zoom for Voiceover Beginners here.
Also beginning tomorrow, April 2, from 2:30 to 4 pm ET and continuing on May 7 and June 4, sessions on iPhone Chat for Voiceover Users: Beyond the Basics, cover how to customize gestures and settings, explore new apps, select accessories, and more, with opportunities for questions and networking. A Zoom link to connect directly to the program is available only on the days and time it is offered for Voiceover: Beyond the Basics here. For any questions about signing on, please contact Chancey Fleet, Assistive Tech Coordinator, Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library—The New York Public Library, [email protected].
Intro to NVDA (NonVisual Desktop Access): This twelve-week workshop occurs on Tuesdays, beginning April 5, 2022, from 12 to 1:30 pm ET. Participants can discover how this free Windows screen reader compares with other options. Each session includes a hands-on lesson and discussion, covering the basics of customizing NVDA settings, navigating Window 10, managing files, and more. For more information and to register, go to Exploring NVDA, Spring 2022.
Exploring Voiceover for Mac, a Twelve-Week Workshop, also occurs on Tuesdays, beginning on April 5, 2022 from 3 to 4:30 pm ET. These hands-on workshops are recommended for those who can type and “would like to become more proficient with the Voiceover screen reader.” Sessions include discussion and cover customizing Voiceover settings, working with text, managing files, and more. Get additional information and register here for Exploring Voiceover for Mac.
Exploring JAWS: Also a twelve-week workshop, this program takes place from 5 to 6:30 pm ET, beginning April 5, 2022. It is recommended for those who can type and “would like to become more confident and proficient with the JAWS screen reader…” Learn more about and register for Exploring JAWS Spring 2022 here.
Remote Internships Currently Available
by Jaime Rodriguez, RDPFS Intern
Finding employment can be difficult during a pandemic, especially if you don’t have much real-world work experience. If this sounds familiar, you may want to consider applying for a remote internship to gain confidence and to develop the valuable skills needed to excel in the workplace, from the comfort and privacy of your own home. If this interests you, here are some hot, remote internship positions available this summer:
The VirtualIntern is offering several paid “Climate Equity Virtual Internships” for college students who are interested in helping agencies move the needle on conservation and climate change issues. This remote internship opportunity will allow interns to have hands-on, real work experience along with mentoring and professional development. The internship is open to current college students, including graduate students, and recent graduates of less than two years who have an interest in conservation, natural resource management, climate change, or sustainability. Experiences with environmental justice, environmental equity, or environmental policy are a plus. This paid internship provides those selected with a weekly stipend. The positions are limited and are extremely competitive, so if you're interested, apply right away. For more information regarding the “Climate Equity Virtual Internships,” check out the Virtual Intern website. To apply, go to the online application for “Climate Equity Virtual Internships”.
SupplyHouse.com is offering several paid “Project Management Internships” for recent college graduates who are interested in collaborating virtually with an e-commerce company’s Business Operations Team to help the company make innovations to its website, app, and internal business processes and drive company-wide improvements. The internship is also open to current college students working toward a Bachelor's Degree in business or a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) field. Applicants are required to have excellent organizational, problem-solving, decision-making, and communication skills. This position may require travel to the company headquarters in New York City once during the program for internal meetings and team-building activities. The company will cover the cost of travel for employees out of the area. Please note that at this time only applicants from the following states are eligible to apply: Florida, Georgia, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Washington. For more information regarding the “Project Management Internships” or to apply, check out the internship listing, here.
More Technology Innovations Exhibited at Assistive Technology Conference
by Jaime Rodriguez, RDPFS Intern
The 37th Annual CSUN Assistive Technology Conference, which took place two weeks ago, explored all aspects of assistive technology, as reported in last week’s Bulletin. More than 250 educational sessions and workshops focused on the assistive technologies that exist and are being developed for people with disabilities. This week we are chronicling two companies that showcased products which may be helpful to people with visual impairments:
4Blind, an engineering company in Boston, Massachusetts, featured three products:
Braille PAD, an 8-inch device with an integrated camera, provides a massive jump in tactile access to graphic images, maps, geometric figures, and diagrams. Its 1,850 tactile pixels replicate images in accurate detail. It works independently of other devices, but is also capable of utilizing files on an inserted USB or SD Card. The Braille PAD also reads text in braille. It is currently available for purchase for $2,390.
HaptiBraille Communicator, designed for people who are deaf-blind, can speak in a synthesized voice, hear a speaker, and translate what it hears into braille. This device breaks down barriers in communication and allows anyone who uses it to communicate between spoken dialogue and braille, also making private and confidential communication possible when needed. The HaptiBraille Communicator is available for purchase for $599 or for $25 a month via a subscription.
The Talking Charger, a smart charging device, works with any gadget with a USB style charger. It can tell the user if an electrical socket is working, when their device is charging, the state of charge of the device, and even if someone removes their device from charging. The Talking Charger also employs sound, light, and vibration notifications to assist a wide variety of users. It is available for purchase for $89. For more information or to purchase any of these products, check out the 4Blind website, here.
OHFA Tech, Inc., an IT Services and Consulting company from Seoul, South Korea, highlighted their upgraded Taptilo 4.0 device, now in development. A lightweight, portable braille display, Taptilo, in combination with jumbo-sized braille blocks, and tactile and audio guidance, can help braille beginners learn braille patterns independently using pre-made curricula. Taptilo 4.0 also allows for remote education. Teachers may use the Taptilo 4.0 with the Taptile app to provide customized lesson plans to students. Braille learners can set their own pace with customized learning experiences, and even create customized word lists for names of people, places, and things they interact with regularly. It is currently available in English, Korean, Arabic, Spanish, German, and Portuguese, and is nearing release. For more information or to be notified of the Taptilo 4.0 release, check out the Taptilo website, here.
April 7 is World Health Day
This year’s World Health Day celebration highlights the theme “Our planet, our health,” calling attention to the relationship between the health of the environment and human health. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that avoidable environmental causes, such as air pollution, “highly processed, unhealthy foods and beverages,” account for 13 million deaths each year worldwide. WHO is focusing on “urgent actions needed to keep humans and the planet healthy…,” advising that governments and individuals share examples of what they are doing to “protect the planet and their health…” They offer a campaign kit to promote the theme, including posters as well as social media posts and messages. More information and a link to the campaign tool kit are available for World Health Day 2022 here.
Having Trouble Reading Standard Print? Enjoy today’s bestsellers in easy-to-read large print: Select Editions Large Type Books
Enjoy the best in current fiction, romance, mystery, biography, adventure, and more. Reader’s Digest Select Editions Large Type features expertly edited best-selling books in every volume. You get a full year of exciting reading (five volumes in all), for the low nonprofit price of $20. Indulge your love of great reading in a format that is comfortable and pleasurable to read. A portion of the proceeds from each subscription supports Reader’s Digest Partners for Sight Foundation’s work and dedication to fostering the independence of people who are blind and visually impaired.
Subscribe to Reader’s Digest Select Editions Large Type today or Give a Gift Subscription. To order your subscription by phone, call 1-800-877-5293.
Note to Readers: Please Share Your News
Would you like to spread the word about a program, webinar, other news, or information? The RDPFS Resources for Partners Bulletin offers an opportunity to share items of interest to people of all ages who are blind or have low vision as well as professionals, representatives of organizations providing services, advocacy, education and career and vocational training, and more. If you would like to reach our readers or have suggestions for upcoming issues, please email [email protected].