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Thursday, 31 October 2013

Syria Polio outbreak could be from Pakistan: WHO sources : ISLAMABAD

With nearly three quarters of a million children under the age of five not being immunised against polio in Pakistan — to cite WHO — the Polio virus is having an unchecked run Pakistan’s frontier areas.

In this October 29, 2013 photo, released by UNICEF, a health worker administers polio vaccine to a child as part of a UNICEF-supported vaccination campaign at the Abou Dhar Al Ghifari Primary Health Care Center in Damascus, Syria.


In this October 29, 2013 photo, released by UNICEF, a health worker administers polio vaccine to a child as part of a UNICEF-supported vaccination campaign at the Abou Dhar Al Ghifari Primary Health Care Center in Damascus, Syria.


The U.N. agency has confirmed 10 cases of virus in battle-torn eastern province of Dier al-Zour


High-ranking sources from the World Health Organisation (WHO) here say indications are that the polio outbreak reported from Syria can be traced to Pakistan.

However, Oliver Rosenbauer, spokesperson, Global Polio Eradication Initiative, WHO, Geneva, told The Hindu in an e-mail that without results of the ongoing final genetic sequencing, it was difficult to say.
“We probably won’t have final results on that until early next week,” he added.

Before this, the virus from Pakistan was found in Egypt, Palestine and Israel, according to the WHO. Pakistan was responsible for the international spread in 2011 and the virus from Pakistan caused an outbreak in western China, according to the WHO.

Pakistan had over 20,000 cases of polio before the WHO started its immunisation programme in 1994 but after that the cases were brought down to 2000, said Dr. Elias Durry, Emergency Coordinator for Polio Eradication, Pakistan, in an interview to The Hindu on Wednesday.

From 199 cases in 2000 it went down to 28 in 2008 and in 2012 it was 58. In 2013, 53 have been detected so far, 37 of them in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).

Ever since Taliban leader Hafiz Gul Bahadur’s ban in June 2012, the areas in North and South Waziristan have become out of bounds for vaccination teams.

The only remaining reservoirs of wild poliovirus type 3 (WPV3) in Asia are in the Khyber Agency and FATA.
Following the ban by Taliban, 2,61,000 children in North and South Waziristan could not be reached.
Some 65, 000 refusals were recorded in September due to religious and medical reasons.

Dr. Durry said that since 2008 the main areas for virus transmission were Balochistan (Killa Abdullah,
Pishin and Quetta districts), Sindh (Karachi, in particular Gadap Town, and northern Sindh) and parts of FATA and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK).

Though the campaign was launched in 1994, it was not until 2011 that it was taken seriously when Pakistan formulated a National Emergency Action Plan, making district deputy commissioners directly accountable for the immunisation programme.

From 198 cases in 2011 the intensity of the virus has been curbed and environmental surveillance of sewage samples, which used to show a high incidence of the virus, is now recording new lows. Since July 2012, 24 people — 15 polio volunteers and nine policemen — have been killed. The last round of the vaccination programme in September was held under tight security with gun-toting policemen watching out for terrorists while children were given doses in some parts of the country.

The WHO maintains that polio in Pakistan poses a significant risk to neighbouring countries all of which, except Afghanistan, are polio-free.

Source : The Hindu , 30th OCtober 2013

Teacher caught on camera forcing students to massage her legs : AKOLA ( NAGPUR )

Shital Avchar, a lady teacher in the Government Deaf and Dumb School, has been suspended with immediate effect after she was caught on camera forcing a physically handicapped student to massage her legs. She has also been charged with sleeping in the class during school hours and harassing the students.
These incidents came to fore after a sting operation by one of the students, who made a hole in his notebook to hide a mobile and record video clips in the classroom.

Zilla parishad chief executive officer (CEO) ordered an enquiry in which the lady teacher was found prima facie guilty. The CEO recommended her suspension to the commissioner (physically handicapped), Pune, who suspended her from service immediately.

Meanwhile, some human rights organizations here have demanded her immediate dismissal from service too.

An enquiry was also conducted against Pralhad Lane, superintendent of the school, and he was also found to be negligent. The commissioner has suspended him too with immediate effect on Monday.

The physically handicapped students told the press that they were beaten up on complaining against the lady teacher, who harassed them on several occasions and regularly asked students to massage her legs.

Source : TOI , 30th October 2013

Bowring Hospital not disabled-friendly : BANGALORE

Bowring Hospital infrastructure is not disabled-friendly and it needs to be revamped to suit the needs of physically challenged, said K S Rajanna, Commissioner for the disabled when he was on a surprise visit to check facilities at the Bowring Hospital on Tuesday.

“Just for the sake of it, a ramp is constructed here. Toilets are not maintained, sacks are kept in every corner, no proper wheelchairs, lifts are not user-friendly for handicapped,” said Rajanna.

“No proper braille-written types are provided for blind patients,” he added.

There are six lifts in the hospital, Rajanna suggested to hire physically challenged operators to provide opportunities and also facilitate separate counters for physically challenged, he said.

“The hospital authorities have requested for one month time to re-built and provide best facilities to physically challenged,” he said. Earlier, he had visited state pollution control board to check the facilities for disabled at the offices.

Source : The New Indian Express , 30th October 2013

Deaf and speech impaired minor gang-raped in Bengal : KOLKATA

A deaf and speech-impaired minor girl was allegedly gang-raped in West Bengal's North 24 Parganas district, police said on Wednesday.

The incident happened late on Tuesday in Baduria in the district when the victim, 16, while attending a marriage ceremony, was forcibly picked up by a group of men who took turns to rape her.

"We have arrested four people in this regard," a police officer said.

Earlier, another 16 year-old-girl was allegedly gang-raped in Madhyamgram in the district Friday. Two people have been arrested.

The West Bengal Human Rights Commission has ordered a probe by a senior police officer in the Friday's case.

Incidentally, both cases have happened not far from Kamduni, which made headlines for the gruesome gang rape and murder of a college student June 7.

Reacting to the rising crimes against women in the state, leader of opposition Surjya Kanta Mishra of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) accused the Mamata Banerjee government of being unable to maintain law and order.

"Not a single day passes when there isn't a case of rape. Even today we heard that a deaf and speech-impaired girl has been gang-raped. I want to ask this government when the women of the state will be able to live in peace and security," Mishra told media persons here.

Mishra also accused the ruling Trinamool Congress of harbouring and encouraging criminals and quoted National Crime Records Bureau to claim that crime against women in the state has multiplied rapidly under the new regime.

Source : TOI , 30th October 2013

Children with diplegic and hemiplegic cerebral palsy: Who can be paid more attention by rehabilitation physicians?

Improving standing balance in children with cerebral palsy is crucial to improve cognitive and motor functions. Studies have shown differences in sitting balance between children with cerebral palsy and normal children. Are there differences in standing balance between children with diplegic and hemiplegic cerebral palsy?

Valeska Gatica Rojas and colleagues from the Laboratory of Human Motor Control, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Talca, Chile detected standing posture balance in children with diplegic and hemiplegic cerebral palsy using an AMTI model OR6-7 force platform with the eyes open and closed. Researchers found that diplegic patients exhibited weaker postural balance control ability and less standing stability compared with hemiplegic cerebral palsy patients. More special attention to spastic diplegia patients with cerebral palsy will help improve their motor functions.

These findings were published in the Neural Regeneration Research (Vol. 8, No. 26, 2013).

More information:

Rojas VG, Rebolledo GM, Muñoz EG, Cortés NI, Gaete CB, Delgado CM. Differences in standing balance between patients with diplegic and hemiplegic cerebral palsy. Neural Regen Res. 2013;8(26):2478-2483.
Provided by Neural Regeneration Research

Source : Phy.Org , 30th October 2013

SPDPO hails players : MANIPUR

The State Platform of Disabled People's Organisation (SPDPO) Manipur has expressed happiness for winning a medal each by Th.Johnson, Kh.

Kaipas and Kaito Peter in the recently concluded Indo-Sri Lankan International Disabled Volley Ball Peace Trophy 2013 held at Bodhgaya, Bihar from 22nd to 26th October, 2013 .

The organization also appeals to the government to look into the welfare of the disabled persons as well as to promote their talents as there are admirable potentialities in every human being.

Source : E-Pao Via Hueiyen News Service , 30th October 2013

Blind ice dancer nominated for Merton Civic Award : LONDON

 An ice skater who went blind, but continues to skate has been nominated for the Merton Civic Awards.

Blind ice dancer nominated for Merton Civic Award

Blind ice dancer nominated for Merton Civic Award


Tracey Compton, 45, from Morden has been ice skating since the age of five and despite going completely blind three years ago, is still an avid skater.

A former secretary and training support officer at the Department of Health, Ms Compton was born with cataracts in both eyes.

At the age of 13, she lost the sight in her left eye through a detached retina and after contracting glaucoma more than 25 years later, she became fully blind.

It will be three years next January since she started skating again; she refuses to let the loss of her vision stop her from doing what she loves most.

She said: “I wish I had of skated as a career but saying that I’m a very competitive person.”

Currently working for her level nine in ice skating at Brixton ice rink, Ms Compton relies on her hearing to avoid collisions with other skaters.

After being officially registered blind, she received a white cane and a guide dog to assist her with daily life.

The mother-of-four, who has three grandsons, said: “My guide dog gave me the confidence to get back on the ice.”
She was also persuaded to get back on the ice when she met a friend of a friend who also skated.

Ms Compton has been nominated for the act of courage award 2014.

Source : This is Local London , 31st October 2013

Smart specs that will put blind in the picture: Glasses use perception of light to turn images into shapes that are brighter the closer they are


  • Bionic spectacles have tiny cameras in frames and a pocket computer
  • They capitalise on a blind wearer's ability to see light by enhancing shapes
  • The hi-tech eyewear will cost under £1,000 and could be available next year


Smart spectacles that allow the blind to see have been designed by scientists.

They use tiny twin cameras and a pocket computer to capture information and alert the wearer to people and objects ahead.

In time, it could be even be possible for the blind to ‘see’ the displays on cash machines or read restaurant menus.

Vision: The spectacles, designed by Dr Stephen Hicks at Oxford University, use light perception to make objects close to the wearer easier to see

Vision: The spectacles use light perception to make objects close to the wearer easier to see

Liberating: The glasses capitalise on the fact that most registered blind people can still perceive light

Liberating: The glasses capitalise on the fact that most registered blind people can still perceive light .


The bionic spectacles will look like normal glasses, cost under £1,000 and could be on the market by the end of next year.

It is hoped they will be suitable for most of the 300,000 Britons who are registered blind.

Robert MacLaren, an Oxford University ophthalmologist said: ‘It has been the stuff of science fiction for many years but now we have the real prospect of electronic visual aids being worn as casually as glasses.’

Most of those registered blind can still perceive light and the glasses capitalise on this.
Pinhead-sized cameras in the frame take in the information the eyes should see and send it to a small computer in the wearer’s pocket.

There it is processed and simplified into a shape that is displayed on the lenses.

Sonic aid: The smart glasses could even interpret written information and relay the words via an earpiece in the wearer's ear.
Sonic aid: The smart glasses could even interpret written information and relay the words via an earpiece

The closer the person or object is to the wearer, the brighter the shape.

While this might not seem much, it could allow the wearer to go shopping alone or take public transport.

An award by the prestigious Royal Society, will allow the development of computer software that could allow the glasses to recognise bus stops and capture bus numbers.

It may even be possible for the blind to read menus, with information captured by the cameras and processed by the computer passed on to the wearer via and earpiece.

Double vision: Two pin hole cameras on either side of the frames sense light and feed the information into a pocket-sized computer
Double vision: Two pin hole cameras on either side of the frames sense light and feed the information into a pocket-sized computer which the wearer carries with them

Other possibilities include being guided to the exit in a large building and the door’s handle being highlighted on the glasses’ lenses on getting there.

Dr Stephen Hicks, the Oxford University inventor of the glasses, said: ‘This is the beginning of a golden age for computer vision.

‘The latest research enables computers to not only see single objects like faces and words but to understand whole scenes.’

Royal Society vice-president, Professor Anthony Cheetham, said: ‘Dr Hicks’s work is truly inspirational; his invention has the potential to transform the lives of many.’

Recognition: Dr Stephen Hicks, above, hailed the invention as the beginning of a 'golden age for computer vision'
Recognition: Dr Stephen Hicks, above, said the invention hailed a 'golden age for computer vision'

Dr Hicks has completed a pilot study and plans to start testing a basic version of the glasses on large numbers of patients later this year.

The first smart spectacles could be on sale by the end of next year.

Although they will not be suitable for those who are completely blind, hundreds of thousands of people in Britain alone could benefit.

Source : Mail Online , 31st October 2013

‘Manufactured’ cornea can now revolutionize treatment for the blind!

Have you ever fathomed that a cornea can be manufactured outside the body to help treat blindness? Not only is it now a possibility, it is better than the previous techniques. With a  new age biotechnology,  Professor Sheila MacNeil, Professor of Tissue Engineering, at the University of Sheffield (UK) has collaborated with LV Prasad eye institute to pioneer a new type of biotechnology that can grow a scaffold out side the body – just like in-vitro fertilization – and transplant it along with stem cells into the human eye to reverse blindness.  


How does it work?

‘We have developed a new technique for delivering a stem cell therapy to the eye which will repair the damaged in the eye. What commonly happens in the case of diseases or an accident of the eye, is that the specialized cells (called limbal epithelial stem cells) at the front of the eye get damaged. Their main function is to keep the cornea clear and scar-free, helping a person see clearly. This leads to the build up of scar tissue over the eye resulting in lowered visual acuity or sometimes blindness.’ says Dr Macneil.
‘There are two steps in the development of this technique – regenerating a new corneal epithelium from a very small piece of the unaffected eye and producing a synthetic membrane as an alternative to the human amniotic membrane which can be stored and ready for use by surgeons anywhere.’
‘Since, there are very few specialist centres around the world which are equipped to culture limbal epithelial cells from the unaffected eye, thus, we at the University of Sheffield are working in collaboration with the LV Prasad Eye Institute in Hyderabad to simplify this technique.’ ‘Dr Virender Sangwan, Clinical Director of LV Prasad Eye Institute, has already tested out the first concept and now together, we have completed the development of a synthetic sterilized biodegradable membrane which can be stored at -20°C for at least a year before use.’

Why is it something noteworthy?

Proffessor McNeil says, ‘Corneal disease is the fourth most important cause of blindness worldwide according to the WHO(Word Health Organisation) and this statistic is even higher in India. The dark side to this is that access to treatment is limited and there are relatively few centres that have surgeons who are in a position to treat these patients. Thus, this therapy will make the treatment not only more accessible but also more affordable for patients in India. Moreover, since we are producing the base or the scaffolding for the stem cells to grow on and for corneal cells, it is a procedure that can benefit many. All we need is some stem cells. These scaffoldings can be pre-manufactured and stored for up to a year, making the job of the surgeon that much easier. Additionally, these stem cells can be taken from the uninjured eye of the patient or the inner lining of the mouth, so it even benefits those people who have suffered damage to both the eyes.

How is this different from other methods of treating blindness? 

Standard treatments for corneal blindness are corneal transplants or grafting stem cells on to the eye using the amniotic membrane (membrane that is present around a baby before it is born) from human donors as a temporary carrier to deliver these cells to the eye. But we have developed a simple biodegradable membrane as an alternative to the human amniotic membrane. This membrane can be sterilised and stored in a vacuum pack until needed and then combined with a small part of the patient’s tissue from their healthy eye for immediate use in surgery. 

What is the durability of this treatment? Is it possible for the treatment to somehow reverse? 

The experience of Dr Sangwan is that for most patients who have received cultured cell therapy the initial results are excellent, but some patients may need further treatment after 3-5 years if the cells that have been transplanted do not survive long term.  Dr Sangwan’s team is now looking into approaches to improve the long term survival of these cells. 

Who can benefit from this new technology, and who cannot?

This approach is only appropriate for patients who have damage to the front of the eye (the cornea) which is often due to some accident or rarely due to a disease.  This therapy is not applicable to any other eye problems that causes a loss of vision like problems of the retina etc.

Source : Health India , 30th October 2013

Sai Krishna best in chess for visually impaired : CHENNAI

Sixteen-year-old Sai Krishna with a score of 6/6 won the chess tournament for the blind organised by SDAT-TNSCA in celebrations of the World Championship match between Viswanathan Anand and Magnus Carlsen at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on Tuesday.

Players in action during the chess tournament for the blind at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai on Tuesday

Players in action during the chess tournament for the blind at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai on Tuesday

Chess for the blind is very popular in the state, thanks to the effort of TNSCA. Specialised braille-aided chess boards were used for the tournament which was a grand success with the 76 participants. The tournament was played in a six-round Swiss format.

Sai, who takes part in regular tournaments, was thrilled to win the event. “I am happy and delighted to win the tournament. It is even more special because the tournament was conducted in the honour of Anand’s match,” said Sai.

Sai, who studies in XIth standard at the St Louis School for the Blind, attributed his win to practice and encouragement from his school. “Participating in tournaments (open, age group) on a regular basis has helped me sharpen my skills. I have won state meets in U-16 and U-14 categories. This has helped me win today,” said Sai.

Was the 76-player draw tough? “I had a good start, but towards the end I had to work hard as I faced stiff opposition from K Muthuraman. But my experience came in handy in the end,” said Sai.

Sai loves chess and has been playing from the age of five. He has won several tournaments from a tender age and has taken part in National Open events and tasted success. He attributes his improvement to his coach RB Ramesh.

“My growth as a chess player is thanks to my coach Ramesh. I practise regularly at Chess Gurukul and have been improving with every passing year. My aim is to be the first blind IM from Chennai,” said Sai.

WGM Aarthi Ramesh, who coaches at Chess Gurukul, has a word of praise for Sai. “He is very talented and a good chess player. Despite his condition he is able to take part in regular tournaments. He is able to grasp and understand moves,” she said.

Sai takes pride in being part of the Indian team that took part in the Blind Olympiad. “It was great to play the tournament. Individually I came sixth and as a team India came eighth,” said Sai.

Source : The New Indian Express , 30th October 2013

Discrimination against disabled: Outlet eats humble pizza : PETALING JAYA ( MALAYSIA )


A disabled man claims he was discriminated by a pizza outlet as they told him that it was not their policy to allow wheelchairs in.


All he wanted was to treat himself with a pizza, but the disabled man was told that he might not be able to enjoy his meal if he is on a wheelchair.

“It takes Pizza Hut a lot to tell a disabled person that he should feel lousy about his disabilities,” said Anthony Thanasayan, who is also a MPPJ councillor and a well-known activist fighting for the rights of the disabled.

Thanasayan, 53, who was accompanied by his friend, visited the Pizza Hut outlet in MidValley shopping mall on Monday and chose his own place to sit and enjoy his meal, when he was instead offered another place to sit, claiming that it was their company policy not to allow wheelchairs into the premises.

“The restaurant manager asked me to leave my wheelchair outside and walk into the restaurant as she claimed it was their outlet’s policy,” he said.

Pizza Hut management has however rejected claims that their story manager practiced discrimination against the disabled, adding that it was against their policy. They met Thanasayan this morning and apologised to him.

Thanasayan however does not buy into the explanation given by Pizza Hut.

Speaking on behalf of the disabled, Thanasayan questioned the manager on how could a disabled person walk-in if he does not have both legs.

He added that during the fiasco, even the shopping mall’s customer service representative who had rushed to the incident, heard the manager asking him to walk into the restaurant.

Thanasayan, who had been on wheelchair for the past 10 years said: “I struggled for years with disability not to be told by Pizza Hut that I am not good for their pizza’s.”

Apology from Pizza Hut

“I met with the top management people this morning that showed their concern and they apologised unconditionally, while offered to help combat discrimination,” he said.

Thanasayan said the Pizza Hut management denied the allegations made against the outlet manager, claiming that her intention was only to offer him a better place to sit.

“Why will one make a fuss and lodge complains if we were offered a better place to sit and served better,” he ranted.

“I hold them responsible for whatever has been said by the manager as it shows that she lacks training,” Thanasayan added.

Thanasayan, who is a MBPJ is in charge of issues related to the disabled, advised Pizza Hut management to conduct training for its staff on handling the disabled.

“They must understand that we are also paying customers and not patronising the outlet for charity,” he said.

Source : Free Malaysia Today , 30th September 2013

Students create hi-tech ‘eyes’ to help people with vision disabilities : NAGPUR

What are the things most difficult for people with vision disabilities?

Walking without bumping into things, reaching their desired location without help, locating objects of every day use and reading. While there may be devices that can help in one or the other of these tasks, a unit that can help in all of them in an easy way would be much more helpful.

Third year students of Visvesvaraya National Institute of Technology (VNIT) Akshay Khatri, Harshal Wankhede and Kartikey Totewar, thought of solving all these problems with a single device. That is how they came up with their blind navigation system consisting of three android applications and an embedded device. The handheld device which is the size of a small notebook consists of ultrasonic sensors and vibrators that help avoid obstacles. One of the apps also makes use of colored bands to identify specific objects.

“It started when our seniors, Rohan Thakkar, Sachin Bharambe and Harsharanga Patil, suggested that we work on a project that would be socially relevant. They gave us the idea of an integrated system. We noticed that despite the high number of eye donations, several people remain without sight,” said Wankhede. The team also came across some statistics from World Health Organisation (WHO) according to which there are 285 million people with vision disabilities worldwide, 39 million are blind and 246 million have low vision.

“Our aim was to make something to help people with vision disabilities cope with the difficulties they face. So, we observed their lives and listed their most common problems,” said Khatri. Over a period of four months, the three mechanical engineering students got together and built the entire system. The prototype cost them only Rs 3,000, which would come down further if mass produced.
Khatri was working on a summer project in Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay where he worked on the machine. Most of the basic work was done in the SINE laboratory of the institute equipped with 3-D printer and laser cutting machine that helped in fabrication. The programming and circuit designing was then done at VNIT campus by the three.

“We only wish more engineering students would try doing projects that are more socially relevant. Also, it would be good if there could be more original projects. After all, why keep redesigning and remaking things already in existence,” asked Totewar.

Even while making the device, they faced some problems to keep it cost-effective as well as maintaining its quality and usability. The three are now trying to improve the prototype by doing pilot studies. After these studies succeed, it would be improved and redesigned to make it more user-friendly.

How it works:

  • The system consists of an embedded hand-held device and three android applications.

  • The device is portable and easy to hold, much like a walking stick. Two ultrasonic sensors on the front face of the device help detect obstacles.

  • Depending upon the location of the obstacle, the motors vibrate with amplitude inversely proportional to the distance of the obstacle. Depending upon the region of the obstacle, whether the obstacle lies in region 1, 2, or 3, respective motors vibrate.

  • The third ultrasonic sensor stays horizontal, so if there is a footpath or a staircase the first and fourth vibrator motor vibrate simultaneously, whereas if there is a pothole, the fourth vibration motor vibrates.

  • For the reading application, the camera on the android phone can be pointed to the text to be read. It extracts text from the image being captured and speaks it out. It takes 5 consecutive frames, and develops a single best string based on these frames and speaks that out.

  • For searching required objects, the camera can be pointed anywhere in a room. Colored bands are put on the objects and the object assigned to a particular marker can be entered in the android app based on which it speaks what object has been detected.

  • For navigation, the desired destination is entered using the speak destination button. Then it calculates the path to the destination from the current location of the user as it has already detected the current location using GPS. Once the speak direction button is pressed, it speaks the first direction to the destination. After this it automatically speaks the directions whenever necessary by keeping track of the user’s current location.

Rs 3,000: Production cost of prototype, which will come down if mass produced. Selling price will depend upon the scale of production and the subsequent improvements.

Source : Global Accessibility News Via Times of India , 30th October 2013

Manchester Airport Launch Initiative to Assist Autistic Passengers

Following in the footsteps of Dublin Airport, Manchester International airport announced the launch of their initiative to assist passengers with Autism.

First launched in 2009, Manchester Airport Awareness campaign primarily aims to help families with autistic children making their journey through the airport.

Irish singer and actor Keith Duffy stars in Manchester Airport Awareness videos. “This initiative will make a real difference to families travelling through the airport and I’m delighted to be supporting Manchester Airport with this,” the Irish artist said.


“We appreciate that an airport can be a very confusing and even frightening place for someone on the autistic spectrum so we have worked with local autism organisations over the last few years to help autistic children and their families as much as we can when they are travelling through our airport," Manchester Airport’s Head of Customer Services Tricia Williams said. “The booklets and videos allow parents to plan their journey with their child, helping them to understand what to expect when they arrive at, travel through and return to Manchester Airport and we’re delighted that this initiative has already received so much positive feedback."

Manchester initiative follows in the footsteps of Dublin Airport who set a new benchmark in assistance to passengers with autism when they first published its Autism ASD guide.

Dublin’s initiative, first ever of its kind among European airports, provides crucial advice and useful tips to passengers who require support for their family members with Autism. Written in collaboration with Irish Autism Action, the guide is available on the Dublin airport website (opens new window). 

Manchester Airport Awareness booklets are available free-of-charge via Manchester Airport’s Customer Contact Centre (08714 777 747 - email  Booklets and videos are also available online on the Manchester airport website (opens new window).

Source : Reduced Mobility Rights , 30th October 2013

Microsoft researchers invent sign language translator

Microsoft’s Kinect motion sensor has transformed from a novel gaming controller to a valued tool for robotics, and now is helping to interpret sign language in real time.

Sign language can now be translated in real-time

Sign language can now be translated in real-time


Scientists at Microsoft Research in China have figured out how to translate sign language into spoken or written language using specialized software built for Kinect. The company announced a prototype today that makes spontaneous conversations possible between deaf people and anyone who doesn’t know sign language.

“We knew that information technology, especially computer technology, has grown up very fast. So from my point of view, I thought this is the right time to develop some technology to help [the deaf community]. That’s the motivation,” said Xilin Chen, deputy director of the Institute of Computing Technology at the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Chen’s team combined Kinect with machine learning software.

One distinct advantage is the potential to communicate among different forms of sign language - from American to Chinese and visa versa today - and more to come. That would make it easier and less costly for a deaf person to travel internationally (no interpreter is needed).

Kinect came to Microsoft by way of its Rare gaming subsidiary and technology developed by an Israeli start-up called PrimeSense. It didn’t take long for the robotics community to recognize that it can help machines interact with surrounding objects and navigate through environments at a low cost. Previous approaches more more complex and expensive, so Kinect has solved a fundamental problem.

Microsoft Open Technologies, a subsidiary of the namesake software company, recently open sourced a toolkit that makes it easier to build applications Kinect on the Windows platform. That opens the door for more use cases to come.

Source : Smart Planet , 30th October 2013

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Denying the disabled

Visually challenged persons working in the BPO set up on the Indian Association for Blind premises in Madurai.


Indian courts have shown that they are ready for progressive interpretations of the law on the rights of persons with disabilities. Therefore, any new law that aims to replace the Persons with Disabilities Act, 1995, needs to be a significant improvement on it.


SINCE 1996, when the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995 (PWD Act), came into force, by far the majority of cases taken to court have been about equal opportunity in public employment, that is, reservation of jobs for persons with disabilities and related matters such as promotions, identification of posts and eligibility. This struggle is in many ways not that different from the caste and gender battles for affirmative action in government employment. For any marginalised group, including persons with disabilities, equality in employment is a benchmark for full participation in society.

In Union of India vs National Federation for the Blind and Others, the Supreme Court passed on October 8 a landmark judgment in this battle on reservation of jobs for persons with disabilities. The PWD Act, though a restricted statute mainly concerned with providing reservation in jobs and seats in public employment and education, has slowly been nudged by courts, lawyers and disability rights activists to become far more progressive than was ever imagined. Section 33 of the Act states that “every appropriate government shall appoint in every establishment such percentage of vacancies not less than 3 per cent for persons or class of persons with disability...”. Section 32 requires the appropriate government to identify jobs for persons with disability and review the list of identified jobs every three years.

In spite of Section 32, the reality on the ground since 1996 has been that hardly any jobs were identified by the governments as suitable for persons with disabilities. A 2009 World Bank report, titled “People with Disabilities in India: From Commitment to Outcomes”, found that only 10.2 per cent of the posts in all Ministries/departments and public establishments had been identified as suitable for persons with disabilities. The situation in 2013 is not very different. In a 2010 judgment, in Govt. of India through Secretary and Anr vs Ravi Prakash Gupta & Anr, the Supreme Court held that non-identification of posts could not be a reason for the government to evade its obligation to reserve 3 per cent of posts for persons with disabilities.

In the National Federation for the Blind case, the core question was whether the 3 per cent reservation should be calculated on the basis of the cadre strength or the number of vacancies in the identified posts. Cadre strength refers to the total number of posts in the cadre. At present, if at all reservation for and appointment of persons with disabilities are made, it is only on the basis of the vacancies that arise in “identified” jobs, which are far fewer than the total number of posts in the cadre. The Supreme Court held that from a bare reading of Section 33 it was clear that the intention of the legislature was that the 3 per cent reservation was computed on the basis of total vacancies in the cadre strength. This interpretation is significant as it will lead to an unprecedented increase in the number of appointments in State and Central government jobs for persons with disabilities.

One of the most interesting observations of the court in this judgment pertains to reservation in the private sector. Section 41 of the Act states that incentives should be given to public and private establishments so that they provide 5 per cent reservation for persons with disabilities. The Supreme Court held that “on a conjoint reading of Sections 33 and 41, it is clear that while Section 33 provides for a minimum level of representation of 3 per cent in the establishments of appropriate government, the legislature intended to ensure 5 per cent of representation in the entire workforce both in public as well as private sector”.

This expansive observation of the court has gone unnoticed amid the excitement over its statement on reservation based on the cadre strength. This opens up new avenues for implementing reservation for persons with disabilities in the private sector as well. This opportunity was passed up by Justice Ravindran in the judgment in Dalco Engineering Pvt. Ltd vs Satish Prabhakar Padhye & Ors, which stated that the definition of “establishments” under the PWD Act did not include private companies. Now, however, the full Bench of Justice P. Sathasivam, J. Desai and J. Gogoi has clearly moved ahead by observing that the intention of the legislature was to ensure reservation of posts for persons with disabilities not only in the public sector but in the private sector as well.

Draft Bill, 2012

This judgment comes at the right time as the Draft Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill, 2012, is pending consideration. The Supreme Court even relied on the Bill for its reasoning. However, with regard to equality in employment rights for persons with disabilities, the Bill does little to improve upon the provisions of the PWD Act and does not include the exciting new possibilities that the Supreme Court judgment promises. It does not mandate reservation of jobs in the private sector at all for persons with disabilities although this was clearly included in the draft of 2011. Unless the private sector is mandated to reserve jobs for persons with disabilities, it is unlikely that their conditions of employment in the country will change significantly. If one were to review any significant disability rights legislation in other jurisdictions, one would notice that all of them contain employment obligations for the private sector as well.

This has become even more urgent now as India has ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Perhaps, the Supreme Court decision will prompt a revision of the relevant provisions in the Draft Bill. The Draft Bill also needs to address the problematic requirement of “identification of jobs”, which has been reproduced from the PWD Act. Identification of jobs is a concept that is considered outdated by disability rights activists the world over because it has a history of segregating persons with disabilities into the most menial jobs available, making it difficult for them to apply for other jobs. In the last century, the strategy of identifying particular professions for persons with disabilities was practised in the United Kingdom. But, as Anna Lawson, professor at Leeds University and author of Disability and Equality Law in Britain: The Role of Reasonable Adjustment (Hart Publishing, 2008), points out, the occupations that were selected were of low status such as car park attendants and lift operators. In associating disabled people with such jobs, there is the danger of creating or reinforcing negative stereotypes about them and their abilities.

For example, in India, the stereotypical jobs reserved for the blind and persons with low vision are those of music teacher and telephone operator. These difficulties were recognised in the U.K. as early as 1956 by the Piercy Committee in its report of the Committee on the Rehabilitation, Training and Resettlement of Disabled Persons, and although initially the disabled community supported the strategy of identifying certain jobs for its members, such schemes were finally abolished.

In India, the battle for reservation of jobs has often been stalled by the government’s not identifying posts as suitable for persons with disabilities. Such identification is often restrictive and arbitrary; for example, in Group A, the job of an agricultural scientist specialised in econometric analysis is identified as being suitable for an individual who is blind or has an orthopaedic disability but not for someone with a hearing disability. There is also a great variance between the Central government and different State governments on what posts are suitable for persons with disabilities, and this has led to intense litigation.

As the World Bank report says, the list of identified jobs is based on the assumption that the characteristics of impairment are the exclusive determinants of an individual’s ability to hold a position at a particular skill level and such identification ignores the potential influences of individual characteristics (motivation, age at disability onset), the person’s access to employment services, and the characteristics of the workplace and labour market. Even though there is a statutory obligation to identify posts, what posts are identified is left to the discretion of the government, which decides on the basis of the nature of the posts and its requirement. The government often conveniently denies people with disabilities jobs by not identifying enough posts in each department for them. Thus, the whole concept of identification of posts is problematic. The Supreme Court recognised this in its recent judgment, saying: “[E]xperience has shown that identification has never been uniform between the Centre and States and even between the departments of any government. For example, while a post of middle schoolteacher has been notified as identified as suitable for the blind and low vision by the Central government, it has not been identified as suitable for the blind and low vision in some States such as Gujarat and J&K, etc.”

Reasonable accommodation

Unfortunately, the requirement of identification of jobs is retained in the Draft Bill, and Sections 32 and 33 of the PWD Act are reproduced, with the only difference being an increase in the reservation from 3 per cent to 5 per cent. If this requirement is removed from the Bill, this, coupled with the obligation the Bill places on the employer to provide “reasonable accommodation”, every job could potentially be suitable for persons with disabilities. The concept of reasonable accommodation, or adjustment, lies at the heart of civil rights advancement in the context of disability. Its significance is that it is a way of accommodating difference. A 2004 baseline study by the European Union Network of Independent Experts of Disability Discrimination, titled “Disability Discrimination Law in the E.U. Member States”, noted: “The notion of ‘reasonable accommodation’ is individualised and involves the person with a disability in an interactive dialogue with the employer to discover the right kind of accommodation needed in the overall circumstances of the case.”

Essentially, the concept stems from a realisation that the achievement of equal treatment can only become a reality when some reasonable allowance is made for disability in order to enable the abilities of the individual concerned to be put to work. In employment, it is the duty of the employer to make reasonable accommodations to any physical features of the premises or to the duties of the job which would place disabled persons at a substantial disadvantage in comparison with those who are not disabled. As stated in the E.U. report, reasonable accommodation as provided in other legislations could include adjustments to premises; reallocation of duties; redeployment to an existing vacancy; alteration of working hours; reassignment to a different place of work; allowing absence for rehabilitation; assessment or treatment; training; acquisition of equipment; modification of equipment, instructions, reference manuals and testing or assessment procedures; and provision of a reader, interpreter or supervision. Thus, the need to identify jobs would not arise at all as every job could be done by a person with a disability. With India ratifying the U.N. Disabilities Convention, the concept of reasonable accommodation has not only been brought under the Draft Bill, but also recognised by the Bombay High Court in Ranjit Kumar Rajak vs State Bank of India.

Finally, only token improvements to the PWD Act have been made in the Bill. Instead of the seven disabilities stated in the PWD Act, the Bill provides for 5 per cent reservation of jobs for persons with “benchmark disabilities”, which means those found with 40 per cent or more of the specified 18 disabilities. However, the provisions for reservation of jobs only mentions that out of the 5 per cent of jobs, with 1 per cent each being reserved for persons with blindness and low vision, hearing impairment, locomotor disability, autism and intellectual disability, and mental illness. These provisions do not adhere to the progressive social model of disability, which does not view disability as a medical impairment (with 40 per cent or more of a certain characteristics) but as a form of discrimination due to social and environmental barriers. If these medical models of understanding disability are reproduced in the new law, one can hardly say that the Bill is in conformity with the U.N. convention, which was supposed to be the basis for the whole drafting exercise.

The Supreme Court decision signals that Indian courts are ready for progressive interpretations of the law on the rights of persons with disabilities. These interpretations have breathed life into the PWD Act and transformed it from a limiting statute into a legislation that has been successful in changing the lives of persons with disabilities, at least in the field of public employment. This judgment bears in it the seeds for further reform. This requires a serious reconsideration of the Draft Bill, which needs to take all these concerns into account. The disability rights movement has worked hard for the last 17 years to make the PWD Act what it is today, and any new legislation that replaces it needs to make a significant improvement to it.

Jayna Kothari is an advocate practising in the Karnataka High Court and a director of the Centre for Law and Policy Research. She is the author of The Future of Disability Law in India and can be contacted at

Source : Front-line , Print Edition will be on 15th November 2013

Amputee boy gets double compensation : CHENNAI

Holding that amputation below knee would cripple the future of a seven-year-old boy and shatter his dreams into pieces, the Madras High Court has enhanced the compensation amount of Rs 5.05 lakh awarded by a tribunal to Rs 9.50 lakh. Justice S Vimala came to the help of the boy’s father while disposing of appeals from the father and the Tiruchy unit of the State Transport Corporation.

Turning down the objections raised by the Corporation, the judge observed that “irrespective of the percentage of physical disability, it goes without saying that when the claimant has suffered amputation, his future is crippled and his dreams are shattered into pieces. Therefore, all possible consequences arising out of the disability have to be compensated by the transport corporation.”

Arul fell off the bus and his leg came under the wheels on March 2, 2002. After the leg was amputated, his father Karunanidhi moved the motor accidents claims tribunal in Ariyalur seeking a compensation of Rs 10 lakh.

The tribunal awarded Rs 5.5 lakh in June, 2005.

The corporation appealed against the award on the ground that the damage package was disproportionate to the nature of injuries suffered. It wanted it to be reduced. The boy’s father also filed an appeal saying the compensation was grossly inadequate.

Source : The New Indian Express , 30th October 2013

Teacher found guilty of getting legs massaged by 'Deaf & Dumb' students : AKOLA

Teachers are termed as one of the most respected figures of our society because they have the responsibility to educate and teach good etiquette to their disciples. Students get inspiration from their teachers and groove themselves following their path. But if a teacher breaks the decorum how can we expect a civilized society. In a similar kind of incident a woman teacher Shital Avchar of a government school allegedly made dumb and deaf students massage her legs.

Teacher found guilty of getting legs massaged by 'Deaf & Dumb' students


The teacher, Shital, working at a government run school for deaf and mute students, was also found guilty of taking nap in the classroom during school hours and harassing the pupils, officials said. The shameful act of the teacher came into light through a sting operation conducted by a student who sent video clips to a school official.

Subsequently, Akola zilla parishad's chief executive officer Arun Unhale ordered an inquiry in which the teacher was prima facie held guilty, following which he recommended her suspension. She was suspended from service yesterday.

Meanwhile, the human rights organisation here demanded the teacher's immediate dismissal from service. Further, an inquiry was also conducted against school superintendent Prahlad Lane, who was found guilty of negligence and was also suspended yesterday.

The students of the school alleged before reporters that they were beaten up when they complained against the teacher, who harassed them on several occasions and allegedly made them massage her legs.

Source : PardaPhash , 29th October 2013

Autism and language impairment genetically linked

Lorenzo Miodus-Santini an 11-year-old sixth-grader from Princeton, who was classified as autistic at only 13 months old, was never a big talker. As an infant he didn't babble or coo. When he was a toddler beginning to speak, he would learn one word but forget another.

His older brother, Christian, a 15-year-old high school sophomore, shared some similar characteristics – difficulty with reading, processing words and speaking clearly. Doctors said he had language impairments but was not autistic.

New research published online today in the American Journal of Psychiatry, by scientists at Rutgers University and The Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Ohio, reveals that there is a genetic link connecting family members with autism like Lorenzo Miodus-Santini to those like his brother, Christian, who have specific language impairment characterized by speech and language difficulties that can't be explained by cognitive or physical problems.

The research project leader Linda Brzustowicz, Rutgers professor and chair of the Department of Genetics, in the School of Arts and Sciences, says that genes in a narrow region of two chromosomes (15q23-26 and 16p12) responsible for oral and written language impairments can result in similar behavioral characteristics with one family member developing autism and the other having only language difficulties.

Specific language impairment is one of the most common learning disabilities, affecting an estimated 7 percent of children. It is not considered to be an autism spectrum disorder. Autism effects one in 88 children nationally – with nearly five times as many boys than girls diagnosed – about half of whom have some degree of language impairment.

"In this group of families we are trying to find genetic factors that might connect them," says Brzustowicz, who collaborated on the study with Christopher W. Bartell, principal investigator in the Battelle Center for Mathematical Medicine at Nationwide Children's Hospital. "This research is important because it is hard to understand autism until we find the genes that might be involved."

While scientists don't believe that there is one single gene that causes autism but rather a number of genes that increase the risk, Brzustowicz and her team of researchers are working to identify genetic patterns in these families in order to help gain a better understanding of the mechanisms that lead to autism, a developmental brain disorder that appears in the first three years of life.

In the Rutgers autism study, 79 families – mostly from New Jersey and Pennsylvania – with one child with autism and at least one with specific language impairment underwent extensive in-home testing. Besides taking blood samples for genetic testing, family members including parents, children, and grandparents and in some cases even uncles, aunts and cousins underwent a battery of tests to assess grammar, vocabulary and language processing.

"Our results indicate that there are shared patterns of DNA and visible behavioral characteristics across our group of study families," says Judy Flax, an associate research professor working on the study with Brzustowicz.

In addition to the language findings, researchers also found strong evidence of a genetic link in the areas of obsessive-compulsive, repetitive behaviors and social interaction skills, other symptoms associated with autism.

Brzustowicz says the next step will be to sequence the whole genome of those who participated in the study in order to compare the families to see if scientists can pinpoint any specific genes or mutations that are common to all.

It is part of a long-term collaboration between scientists from Rutgers and Nationwide Children's Hospital, as well as scientists, data experts and physicians from Rutgers, Saint Peter's University Hospital in New Brunswick and the Rutgers University Cell and DNA Repository (RUCDR).

Brzustowicz and her team have been studying the genetic influences of autism on families for the past decade – recently receiving a $2.2 million five-year grant from the state last year. They are opening the study to new families with autism as they continue the study over the next four years.

"This is just the beginning," says Brzustowicz. "We are finding evidence of genetic similarities with the hopes of being able to identify targets that might respond to pharmacological treatments."

Source : Medical  Xpress , 30th October 2013


Belittling the reported formation of All Disable Union of Hill District recently, Association of Persons with Disabilities, Senapati (APDS) chairman Yuimi Konghar termed the newly formed body as 'unrecognised', 'pseudo' body formed by some vested individuals by collecting signatures of the participants at the sports meet for physically challenged persons at Khuman Lampak sports complex on Oct 2 .

Wondering the formation of such bogus body during a sports meet, a statement issued by APDS demanded clarification from the concerned individuals.

Source : E-Pao , 30th October 2013

Access audit finds Bowring hospital unfriendly for people with disabilities : Bangalore

Tuesday’s access audit of the Bowring and Lady Curzon Hospital by the State Disabilities Commissioner found the key government hospital here wanting on many counts.

Ease of access: State Commissioner for Disabilities K.S. Rajanna asking officials to clear parked vehicles blocking the ramp meant for persons with disabilities, during an access audit of Bowring and Lady Curzon Hospital in Bangalore on Tuesday. Photo: K. Gopinathan

Ease of access: State Commissioner for Disabilities K.S. Rajanna asking officials to clear parked vehicles blocking the ramp meant for persons with disabilities, during an access audit of Bowring and Lady Curzon Hospital in Bangalore on Tuesday

Apart from a ramp and railing at the entrance, the hospital campus had none of the other accessibility measures; Commissioner for Disabilities K.S. Rajanna’s checklist remained largely unticked. There were no parking spots for persons with disabilities; side railings, grab bars in lift, tactile flooring and doorways that were wide enough were missing. Hospital authorities also confessed that there were no toilets for disabled people.

Mr. Rajanna has given authorities 30 days to comply with basic access requirements. He said: “We have examined every department and given the hospital authorities a checklist with 30 days notification to ensure that the changes are implemented.”

Aid promised

M. Manjunath, a 47-year-old patient with physical disabilities from Chitradurga, who had come for treatment for diabetes, met Mr. Rajanna. He told the commissioner that the hospital was not very disabled-friendly.

He also told the official that his right leg, which was amputated 10 years ago, had developed gangrene. “I need surgery and do not have the money for my constant medical needs.” Mr. Rajanna promised him a motorised tricycle to help him get around.

After the inspection, Mr. Rajanna told presspersons that it was unfortunate that such an important government hospital did not have the required amenities to cater to those with disabilities. “This will prevent the differently-abled from claiming the free healthcare services that is their due. Which is why we have started these audits.”

Source : The Hindu , 30th October 2013

Aid for physically challenged : Puducherry

Following a request from physically challenged people, the government has made a decision to distribute financial assistance to them ahead of Deepavali. The monthly financial assistance will be available from Wednesday onwards.

All differently abled persons who are eligible for the monthly assistance can collect it from their respective Anganwadi centres, a release said. A total sum of Rs. 2.7 crore would be distributed among 20,952 differently abled persons, the release added.

Source : The Hindu , 30th October 2013

Bail denied to one of accused : JAMMU

Presiding Officer Fast Track Court, constituted for the cases of crimes against women, Sanjeev Gupta today rejected the bail application of Angad Kumar chowkidar-cum-cook of the Rotary Inner Wheel Home for Mentally Retarded Children Chhanni Himmat, who was allegedly involved in rape with mentally retarded girls.

The allegation against the accused was that he had committed rape upon the mentally retarded girls staying in the Rotary Inner Wheel Home for Mentally Retarded Children Chhanni Himmat. Angad was the chowkidar of the said home.

Court after hearing APP Gulzar Singh Charak appearing for the state and advocate Mohammed Latif Malik appearing for the accused person, observed that in view of seriousness of allegations against the petitioner and taking note of principles governing the grant of bail besides the possibility of petitioner influencing the witnesses, the court was of the opinion that petitioner did not deserve concession of bail in the larger interest of society.

With these observations, the court dismissed the bail application.

Source : Kashmir Times , 29th October 2013

University guided by social model of disability

Meet Jane and John. Jane is able-bodied, and John is someone with a physical disability. As a result, John uses a wheelchair. Both are presented with a task to walk up a set of stairs. Jane has no problem completing this task, but as you might imagine, John is unable to do so.

A lot of people would look at John and think about how unfortunate it is that he is unable to go up the stairs. This view of people with disabilities is very much in line with the medical model of disability, where disability is viewed as a problem located within the individual and concerns no one else. 

It is the responsibility of the individual to seek out any sort of medical attention to “fix” or “cure” their disability in order to be a part of society. To put it into context, it is John’s condition that disables him and keeps him from going up the stairs, not the stairs themselves.

But according to the social model of disability, it is not John’s condition that disables him, but the stairs. The social model of disability says that it is the environment that society has created to meet the needs of the majority that disables the individual. 

In other words, disability is created through the barriers that exist within society, not by the impairments of the individual. 

Here at the University, we are fortunate enough to have administrators, students, faculty and staff who are passionate about creating an inclusive environment for students of all identities. But one identity the University has made strides in working with is students with disabilities.

Hugo Trevino, senior in LAS, said, “When choosing a University, I wanted the full college experience. I wanted to gain the experience that everyone else gets...and I knew that with all the accessibility the University of Illinois had to offer I would be able to get this experience and more.”

The Division of Disability Resources and Educational Services and the Beckwith Residential Support Services have been major contributors to improving the quality of life for students with all types of disabilities by following the social model of disability. These resources are major factors as to why the University is rated No. 1 as one of the most “disability friendly” schools. 

Programs like DRES and BRSS have assisted students with all types of disabilities, visible and invisible, by offering various programs. 

For instance, the learning disability staff, “ with students on compensatory strategies in test preparation, test taking, reading comprehension, and written expression.” They also provide students with housing that offers assistance in performing the basic activities of daily living through the support of paraprofessional staff and personal assistants, as well as the development of skills and experience necessary to live independently.

BRSS is located on the first floor of Nugent Hall. They are equipped with a staff of personal assistants to aid the residents. These experiences help able-bodied students obtain a new perspective on students with disabilities that raises awareness and appreciation for the issues facing those students. 

Personal assistant Audrey Maske, sophomore in ACES, said, “Everyone on the floor is one giant family and the environment is so welcoming ... Since working in Beckwith, I have gained an awareness and appreciation concerning the students and staff in the program.”

But while the University has programs like DRES and Beckwith, Nugent Hall Resident Advisor, Lexi Wirtas, senior in LAS, believes that, “... accessibility is not on the forefront of minds of many individuals . . . 

Chipotle, for example, has an accessible bathroom on its second floor but no elevator to actually get up to the bathroom.” She goes on to say, “We have made so many great strides as a University, but there is still so much more that needs to be done.”

And she’s right. Despite the advancements and progress of our University, there is more that needs to be done. While accommodation efforts have been on the forefront of the disability rights movement, there is a societal attitude that considers people with disabilities helpless, looks at them with pity and views them as partial or limited human beings.

But the social model states otherwise. It’s the everyday structures that are limiting to people with disabilities.

As the University continues their efforts to create a more inclusive environment through expanding accessibility, as prescribed by the social model of disability, they should be serving as a guide to public institutions across the nation of how to become more disability-friendly.

Matt is a sophomore in LAS. He can be reached at

Source : The Daily Illini , 29th October 2013