Microsoft Word Accessibility webinars

From SSB Bart Group…

Microsoft Word Accessibility Basics

MS Word doc - may require pluginThis series will cover core Microsoft Word accessibility concepts in convenient 30-minute bi-weekly sessions. All webinars are free to attend and real-time captioning will be provided. Please use the individual links below to register for each of the webinars in the series.

All webinars run from 2:00 – 2:30 PM ET.

Use this link for more information or use the title links below to register for these FREE webinars.

June 22nd: Non-Text Elements

A high-level overview of best practices for accessible non-text elements, including providing informative alternative text for meaningful images, text equivalents for complex images, and using text instead of images of text.

July 6th: Page Structure

A high-level overview of best practices for accessible page structure including providing a context sensitive page title, proper heading structure, ensuring the reading order of content is logical, using proper list structure, and setting the language of the document.

July 20th: Accessibility Full Check and Conversion to PDF

This webinar will focus on using the Microsoft Word 2016 Accessibility Full Check feature and interpreting the results of the Full Check. We will also discuss and demonstrate converting Microsoft Word 2016 documents to PDF and viewing the document to prepare for remediation in Adobe Acrobat DC Pro.

Presenter

As SSB Bart Group’s Professional Development Manager, Erica Zelmanowicz brings a unique perspective to the world of accessibility.  Erica joined SSB after working for a non-profit organization where she provided assistive technology training and evaluations for individuals with disabilities, ages 3-93.  Over the years, Erica has worked with many individuals and organizations to help evangelize accessibility.  Erica holds a B.S. in Speech and Hearing Sciences from the University of Illinois and an M.Ed. from Arcadia University.

 

Revised Transition Guide published

From the U.S. Department of Education…

Seal of the US Dept of EducationThe Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS), of the U.S. Department of Education (Department), is pleased to publish, A Transition Guide to Postsecondary Education and Employment for Students and Youth with Disabilities.

OSERS’ mission is to improve early childhood, educational, and employment outcomes and raise expectations for all individuals with disabilities, their families, their communities, and the nation. To assist students and youth with disabilities to achieve their post-school and career goals, Congress enacted two key statutes that address the provision of transition services: the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Rehabilitation Act), as amended by Title IV of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). The IDEA is administered by the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), and Titles I, III, and VI, section 509, and
chapter 2 of Title VII of the Rehabilitation Act are administered by the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA). OSEP and RSA, both components of OSERS, provide oversight and guidance regarding the administration and provision of transition services by State educational agencies (SEAs), local educational agencies (LEAs), and State Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) agencies.

Both the IDEA and the Rehabilitation Act make clear that transition services require a coordinated set of activities for a student with a disability within an outcome-oriented process. This process promotes movement from school to post-school activities, such as postsecondary education, and includes vocational training, and competitive integrated employment. Active student involvement, family engagement, and cooperative implementation of transition activities, as well as coordination and collaboration between the VR agency, the SEA, and the LEAs are essential to the creation of a process that results in no undue delay or disruption in service delivery. The student’s transition from school to postschool activities is a shared responsibility.

OSERS presents this transition guide to advance our efforts in ensuring that all students and youth with disabilities are equipped with the skills and knowledge to be engaged in the 21st Century workforce.

Download/read a copy of A Transition Guide to Postsecondary Education and Employment for Students and Youth with Disabilities from the OSERS’ website – PDF - requires plugin

Learning through Audio-supported Reading: Myth or Reality?

The following free webinar is being offered by the National Center on Accessible Educational Materials (NC-AEM)…

Learning through Audio-supported Reading: Myth or Reality?

Wednesday, June 14, 2017
2:00 PM to 3:00 PM EDT

The validity of reading along with audio is often questioned by educators and families. What do we know about appropriate and effective uses of audio-supported reading (ASR)?  This webinar will demonstrate the advantages of mixing the modalities of sight and sound to support reading. See how ASR enhances reading comprehension by accelerating information processing, reducing cognitive load, and facilitating working memory. A variety of tools that enable ASR across platforms and device types will be described.

Use this link for more information and to register for this webinar…

Presenter – Richard Jackson

Richard Jackson, Ed.D.Richard Jackson assists in the development of CAST’s universally designed technology to meet the needs of individuals with visual disabilities.

An Associate Professor and a Director of Projects in Low-Incidence Disabilities at Boston College since 1989, Dr. Jackson is himself visually impaired. He has held major federal grants of national significance in training teachers of the blind and multiply disabled.

From 1999-2004, Dr. Jackson served as Director of Practice for the National Center on Accessing the General Curriculum (NCAC) at CAST and acted as CAST’s liaison to Boston College, an NCAC partner. Currently, he is assisting with the work of the NIMAS/AIM Consortium project. He is also working on CAST’s initiative to develop digitally supported approaches to composition. Additionally, he contributes his expertise in standards-based reform to CAST’s federal project for the creation and evaluation of a technology-based system that blends Curriculum Based Measurement (CBM) and Universal Design for Learning in digital learning environments to improve reading comprehension instruction for students with disabilities.

Dr. Jackson brings to his work at CAST almost thirty years of experience as a teacher, a project director, a researcher, and an advocate in the field of education and visual disabilities. He has conducted research for Apple Computer and for the National Eye Institute, and is the founder of the Association of Massachusetts Educators of Students with Vision Impairments.

Tackled Digital Accessibility

From the Center on Technology and Disability

fingers on computer keyboardAs states and districts across the nation increase their use of technology to support instruction and communication, the issue of accessible content for students, families, and community members with disabilities needs to be front and center in the decision making process. Addressing digital accessibility takes a team-based approach.

Join the Center on Technology and Disability on Tuesday, May 23 from 2:30-4:00 PM/ET for an engaging panel discussion to learn how the state of Utah is collaborating across departments to develop strategies to increase digital accessibility at the state and district levels. Panelists from Utah will discuss accessibility challenges, the overarching infrastructure they developed on a state level, and break down the process they’ve established to ensure that materials are accessible to all audiences. Participants will have the opportunity to submit questions prior to the webinar to engage in an active Q&A with the panelists.

Register for this opportunity to engage with the expert panel…

Interested in learning more? Contact the CTD Technical Assistance Lead for SEA/LEA support, Kristin Ruedel at KRuedel@air.org.

Learn about Audio Description

Audio Description logoAudio description, also referred to as a video description, described video, or more precisely called a visual description, is an additional narration track intended primarily for blind and visually impaired consumers of visual media (including television and film, dance, opera, and visual art). It consists of a narrator talking through the presentation, describing what is happening on the screen or stage during the natural pauses in the audio, and sometimes during dialogue if deemed necessary.” – Wikipedia

The addition of this requirement to the Section 508 Refresh will make many folks scramble to meet this accessibility guideline. To help with the conversation, 3 Play Media is offering a free webinar, Introduction to Audio Description on May 4th at 2:00 PM ET.

Here is more information and registration for the free webinar, Introduction to Audio Description…

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Image Credit: By Mikael Persson, Syntolkning.nu [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Transition: The High School Years Workshops

family of teenThe Pine Tree Society and Maine Parent Federation have partners to offer a program geared toward youth of transition age (grades 7-12) with disabilities and their parents/caregivers!

Finding Your Voice is a fun, interactive workshop for youth with disabilities co-led by a young adult who has firsthand experience navigating transition to adulthood, along with a Maine Parent Federation facilitator. The conversation will focus on ways to become better, stronger self-advocates. Whatever your hopes, dreams, and goals are for your future, being able to make decisions and speak up for what you want and need to be successful is important now and in the future.

Concurrently, parents will participate in a workshop geared toward their needs.  Transition: The High School Years, is a workshop designed to educate participants on rights and responsibilities around their child’s transition to adulthood.

There are 3 dates/locations to choose from:

  • Wednesday, April 5: 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. at Pine Tree Society, 149 Front St., Bath, ME.
  • Tuesday, April 11: 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. at Pine Tree Society, 71 US Route 1, Scarborough, ME.
  • Tuesday, May 2: 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. at Pine Tree Society, 368 Minot Ave., Auburn, ME.

Please use this link for more information and to register...

 

Webinar: What You Need to Know To Make Sure Your Website Is Accessible To All

Date: April 11, 2017
Time: 1:00 – 2:30 PM ET

Program Description

Information Technology“Web accessibility means that people with disabilities can use the Web.” So says the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) – Web Accessibility Initiative, the group that publishes the “standards” known as the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).

In this ninety-minute webinar, we will discuss the legal and practical aspects of Accessible Web Design, how to assess your own website, and where to turn to when things are not meeting the requirements.

Learning objectives:

  • What are the laws/rules that pertain to web accessibility.
  • How can I tell if my website is accessible to people with disabilities.
  • Where do I go for assistance to make my website accessible.
  • What resources are available.

This webinar is designed for anyone interested in web accessibility including site administrators and content creators. Knowledge of programming code is not required.

Presenter

John E. Brandt, Training Coordinator, Maine CITE
With more than 30 years of experience in the fields of education, psychology and technology, John has been working in the web design business since 1994. He started serving as a consultant to Maine CITE in 1999 and developed their first website using the elements of accessible and universal web design. Over the years, John has offered numerous training programs on accessibility, served on numerous committees and consulted with many organizations with a goal of making technology accessible to everyone.

Registration

>>Please use this link to register for this webinar<< 

Please read and follow the directions linked here to access the webinar. We suggest that you test your system and check the technical requirements as soon as possible.

Certificates of Attendance

At the end of presentation, you will be given a link to a website where you can fill out an optional program evaluation form. Certificates of Attendance will be sent (via e-mail) to those who have completed the evaluation form.

Accommodations

CART captioning is provided for all Maine CITE webinar. If you need an additional accommodation to participate in this webinar, please contact Maine CITE Program via e-mail at iweb@mainecite.org or by calling 207-621-3195

White House Delays Effective Date of ICT Final Rule

From the US Access Board

U.S. Access Board Amends Effective Date of ICT Final Rule

US Access Board logoThe U.S. Access Board is postponing by one day the effective date of its final rule updating accessibility requirements for information and communication technology (ICT) covered by Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act and Section 255 of the Communications Act which was published on January 18. This action is being taken in response to a White House memorandum that directs federal agencies to delay for 60 days the effective date of recently published rules that, as of the date of the memorandum (January 20), had not yet taken effect. In keeping with this White House memorandum, the Access Board has postponed the effective date of the ICT final rule until March 21. This amounts to a one-day delay in the effective date of the rule relative to its originally-published effective date (March 20), as indicated in a notice the Access Board published in today’s Federal Register.

The postponed effective date does not change the scoping or technical requirements in the updated 508 Standards or 255 Guidelines. Nor does it alter compliance dates of the rule. Compliance with the updated Section 508 Standards is not required until January 18, 2018 or, in the case of ICT procurements, dates to be established by the Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council. The compliance date for the Section 255 Guidelines will be set by Federal Communications Commission when it adopts the guidelines.

Further information on the ICT rule is available on the Board’s website.

New Program Offering Digitized Books Free to People with Print Disabilities

American Academy of Ophthalmology, LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired, and VisionServe Alliance, Work in Partnership on Important Initiative

electronic books on various devicesNew York, (Feb. 1, 2017) – Reading is a simple pleasure. However, millions of people are denied the joy of reading due to vision loss. Now, Lighthouse Guild and Bookshare®, are collaborating with the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) to provide greater opportunities for students with low vision or print disabilities. They are working in partnership with LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired in San Francisco and the members of VisionServe Alliance, who provide services throughout the United States for individuals who are blind or have low vision. The new program will use an application known as Spotlight Gateway to expand access to print materials specifically designed for people with low vision.

“Reading should not be a privilege,” said Mark G. Ackermann, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Lighthouse Guild. “Books document our history, mark our present and inspire our future. We’re pleased to join in establishing this program to break down barriers and open a world of possibilities to students who are visually impaired.”

Rebecca Alexander, author, psychotherapist, fitness instructor, and extreme athlete who is almost completely blind and deaf due to a rare genetic disorder called Usher syndrome type III said, “I am an avid reader, and I access the extensive Bookshare® library through the Spotlight Gateway app. It has changed my life. I am thrilled this new initiative will allow more people with low vision to expand their horizons and explore new worlds through reading.” Ms. Alexander, author of the book “Not Fade Away: A Memoir of Senses Lost and Found” added, “This is a wonderful program that helps students of all ages with low vision to live as fully and independently as possible.”

Lighthouse Guild is working with the American Academy of Ophthalmology to help ensure that students of all ages with vision loss are made aware of the new program. In order for a student to become a program member, an ophthalmologist must confirm a qualifying vision disability. Once eligibility is confirmed, the ophthalmologist can register the student online through the AAO website.

Since the program requires the use of iPads, Lighthouse Guild in New York City and LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired in San Francisco will distribute a limited number of iPads through participating vision agencies. This will help make the online library available to students who do not have access to iPads. In addition, VisionServe Alliance, which has offices across the country, will provide locations where students can access iPads if they are not in NYC or Northern California.

Bookshare®, a Benetech initiative, is the world’s largest online library for people who are blind, visually impaired, have a physical disability, or a learning disability that interferes with reading, such as dyslexia. “We are proud to partner with Lighthouse Guild to make Bookshare®’s library of over 500,000 books available to individuals unable to read standard print,” said Brad Turner, Benetech’s Vice President of Global Literary. “Organizations like Lighthouse Guild help Bookshare® ensure everyone has equal access to content by expanding our reach into the communities we serve.”

Training and educational sessions will be available at Lighthouse Guild headquarters in New York, LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired in San Francisco, and participating vision agencies. to help patients and their families access, navigate and utilize the library. Detailed videos have also been created and uploaded to YouTube to help participating vision agencies and individuals understand how to access and navigate the expansive library.

Support for the Spotlight Gateway program has been provided in part by a generous grant from Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

About Lighthouse Guild

Lighthouse Guild, based in New York, is the leading not-for-profit vision and healthcare organization with a long history of addressing the needs of people who are blind or visually impaired, including those with multiple disabilities or chronic medical conditions. With more than 200 years of experience and service, Lighthouse Guild brings a level of understanding to vision care that is unmatched. By integrating vision and healthcare services and expanding access through its programs and education and awareness, we help people lead productive, dignified and fulfilling lives. For more information, visit Lighthouseguild.org

About American Academy of Ophthalmology

The American Academy of Ophthalmology is the world’s largest association of eye physicians and surgeons. A global community of 32,000 medical doctors, we protect sight and empower lives by setting the standards for ophthalmic education and advocating for our patients and the public. We innovate to advance our profession and to ensure the delivery of the highest-quality eye care. Our EyeSmart® program provides the public with the most trusted information about eye health. For more information, visit aao.org.

About Bookshare®

Bookshare®, a Benetech initiative, is the world’s largest online library of accessible ebooks for people with print disabilities. Through its extensive collection of educational and popular titles, specialized book formats and reading tools, Bookshare® offers individuals who cannot read standard print materials the same ease of access that people without disabilities enjoy. The Bookshare® library has over 500,000 titles and serves more than 450,000 members. Access to Bookshare® is free for all U.S. students with a qualifying print disability. Bookshare® is an initiative of Benetech, a Palo Alto, CA-based nonprofit that develops and uses technology to create positive social change. For more information, visit bookshare.org.

About LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired

Founded in 1902, the LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired offers programs in six locations in San Francisco and throughout Northern California, annually serving over 3,000 blind and visually impaired individuals annually. LightHouse is the place where blind people come to learn skills to gain confidence and independence. At the LightHouse, people connect with resources, peers and mentors. Every day we prove that with training in Braille, cane travel, and adaptive technology, blind people can live the lives they want as competent and confident employees, students, and community members.

About VisionServe Alliance

VisionServe Alliance, founded in 1987 and now celebrating its 25th year, provides a forum for top executives of private agencies and organizations specializing in blindness, and represents the interests of such agencies before many organizations, professional, governmental and non-profit groups. VisionServe Alliance is the only organization whose members directly represent every aspect of services to people who are blind or visually impaired, including dog guide schools, adult rehabilitation agencies, private residential schools, early intervention and pre-school programs, career placement/employment and manufacturing, membership organizations, advocacy organizations, low vision clinics, and services to those with multiple disabilities. For more information about VisionServe Alliance, visit the website visionservealliance.org or call 314-961-8235.

About Spotlight Text

Spotlight Text, developed by Focus Reading Technology, Inc, is the first eBook reader specifically for individuals with vision loss. For more information, visit spotlighttext.com

About Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Regeneron (NASDAQ: REGN) is a leading science-based biopharmaceutical company that discovers, invents, develops, manufactures and commercializes medicines for the treatment of serious medical conditions. Regeneron commercializes medicines for eye diseases, high LDL cholesterol and a rare inflammatory condition and has product candidates in development in other areas of high unmet medical need, including rheumatoid arthritis, atopic dermatitis, asthma, pain, cancer and infectious diseases. For additional information about the company, please visitwww.regeneron.com or follow @Regeneron on Twitter

Free Braille For Kids!

The following announcement comes from the National Braille Press...

Blind boy using Braille embosserReadBooks! Because Braille Matters, is a FREE braille literacy program for families sponsored by National Braille Press. The purpose of this program is to encourage families to think about braille literacy at the earliest possible age. It costs nothing, and may start a child on the path to literacy.

National Braille Press is distributing attractive braille book bags to families with blind and visually impaired children, ages birth to seven, across the U.S. and Canada. The distribution process is a collaborative effort with educators and early intervention professionals. ReadBooks! has already distributed 16,000 of these bags to blind children in the United States and Canada.

There are three different levels of bags: red (birth-3); blue (4-5 year olds); green (6-7 year olds), and there are both English and Spanish versions of these bags. The bag contents differ slightly, containing age-appropriate books, tactiles, and toys. They also include two vouchers: one for an additional free print/braille book, and another for a free copy of Just Enough to Know Better – a primer on braille for sighted parents.

Use this link for more information and find out how to participate in the program…