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Pivoting to inclusion : Leveraging lessons from the COVID-19 crisis for learners with disabilities

McCLAIN-NHALPO,Charlotte Vuyiswa
KULBIR SINGH,Ruchi
MARTIN,Anna Hill
et al
August 2020

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As governments respond to the Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, the global community must ensure that persons with disabilities are included. This will require disability inclusion to be considered in all interconnected sectors; education, health, social protection, and inclusion from the planning stage all the way through to delivery and recovery efforts that are inclusive of all and are sufficiently differentiated to meet the specific needs of children with disabilities. The issues paper focuses on the following objectives: (1) addressing education, social needs, barriers, and issues for learners with disabilities at a global, regional, and country-level during the COVID-19 crisis; and (2) recommending practices for education and social inclusion, and reasonable accommodations utilizing the twin track approach and principles of universal design for learning.

Microsoft launches initiative to help 25 million people worldwide acquire the digital skills needed in a COVID-19 economy

SMITH, Brad
June 2020

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Around the world, 2020 has emerged as one of the most challenging years in many of our lifetimes. In six months, the world has endured multiple challenges, including a pandemic that has spurred a global economic crisis. As societies reopen, it’s apparent that the economy in July will not be what it was in January. Increasingly, one of the key steps needed to foster a safe and successful economic recovery is expanded access to the digital skills needed to fill new jobs. And one of the keys to a genuinely inclusive recovery are programs to provide easier access to digital skills for people hardest hit by job losses, including those with lower incomes, women, and underrepresented minorities.

To help address this need, today Microsoft is launching a global skills initiative aimed at bringing more digital skills to 25 million people worldwide by the end of the year. This initiative will bring together every part of our company, combining existing and new resources from LinkedIn, GitHub, and Microsoft. It will be grounded in three areas of activity:

(1) The use of data to identify in-demand jobs and the skills needed to fill them;

(2) Free access to learning paths and content to help people develop the skills these positions require;

(3) Low-cost certifications and free job-seeking tools to help people who develop these skills pursue new jobs.

What is digital accessibility and why is it so important?

Nomensa
May 2020

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This webinar outlines digital accessibility and where to start. It is based on a benchmark report carried out in the Netherlands. It discusses the rational of how easy it for someone with an access needs to use a particular online product. 

Further, looks at the requirements of WCAG 2.1 at level AA. And discusses what does digital accessibility actually mean and how do you know which guidelines you should meet.

 

Alastair Campbell the Director of Accessibility at Nomensa who was jointly responsible for writing the International Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) guidelines.

Understanding the mobile disability gap Insights on mobile phone access and usage by persons with disabilities in Kenya and Bangladesh

ARANDA-JAN, Clara
BOUTARD, Alizee
December 2019

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This research aims to bridge the knowledge gap and to understand the potential of mobile phones as assistive technologies (ATs) for persons with disabilities in Kenya and Bangladesh. This report presents, for the first time, an evaluation of the gap and barriers to mobile phone ownership experienced by persons with disabilities, as well as the usage patterns of four main mobile-enabled services (voice, SMS, mobile internet and mobile money) and the role of mobile phones to enable access to basic services, such as education, healthcare, transportation, employment and financial services. Finally, the report explores the characteristics of access and usability of mobile products and services along the customer journey.

TT Tracker app aims to improve surgical outcomes and patient care

JENSEN, Kimberley
et al
November 2019

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Trichiasis (TT) operations are generally conducted in remote and resource-poor settings, which can make it difficult to follow-up and assess surgical outcomes. Sightsavers developed an Android-based mobile phone application, called the TT Tracker, which helps surgeons, assistants and supervisors to collect and analyse information about surgical outcomes and performance, and to determine when and where follow-up appointments are required. 

 

Community Eye Health. 2019; 31(104): 93.

Making it count: The power of youth advocates in the disability movement

WILM, Suzanne
LEONARD CHESHIRE
HANKS, Phil
May 2019

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The 2030 and Counting pilot project sought to give youth with disabilities a seat at the table on the SDGs – providing them with the tools and confidence they need to become their own agents of change. This report provides an overview of the project, together with learnings and recommendations for the future.

In its pilot year, 2030 and Counting brought together young women and men with disabilities and DPOs from Kenya, the Philippines and Zambia to report on and advocate for their rights through the framework of the SDGs

The project had three consecutive phases: Training, Story gathering (data collection) and Influencing. 

In total, 332 reports were collected between June and September 2018. The highest number of reports were submitted under the theme of Education (44%), followed by Work (33%), and Health (14%). The category of Other, which almost entirely focused on discrimination in daily life, accounted for 8%. 80% of reporters had smartphones, offering the potential to increase the use of this feature in future.
 

Disability-themed emojis approved for use

British Broadcasting Company (BBC)
February 2019

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New accessibility-themed emojis including characters with hearing aids, wheelchairs, prosthetic limbs, white "probing" canes and guide dogs are to be introduced.

Their inclusion in 2019's official list means many smartphones should gain them in the second half of the year

Delivering together for inclusive development: digital access to Information and knowledge for persons with disabilities

DARVISHY, Alireza
EROCAL, Deniz
MANNING, Juliet
2019

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This report focuses on digital inclusion as it relates to four of the 17 Goals for the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda:

  • SDG 9 - Innovation, Industry, and Infrastructure
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions
  • SDG 17 - Partnerships for the Goals
  • SDG 4 - Quality Education

For each of the goals, a number of major challenges and key recommendations are defined. Finally, general recommendations are given for improving global digital inclusion overall.
 

Realisation of sustainable development goals by, for and with persons with disabilities: UN flagship report on disability and development 2018

UNITED NATIONS DEPARTMENT FOR ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL AFFAIRS (UNDESA)
December 2018

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This report represents the first UN systemwide effort to examine disability and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development at the global level. The report reviews data, policies and programmes and identifies good practices; and uses the evidence it reviewed to outline recommended actions to promote the realization of the SDGs for persons with disabilities. Over 200 experts from UN agencies and International Financial Institutions, Member States and civil society, including research institutions and organizations of persons with disabilities, contributed to this report. The report covers new areas for which no global research was previously available, for example, the role of access to energy to enable persons with disabilities to use assistive technology. It also contains the first global compilation and analysis of internationally comparable data using the Washington Group on Disability Statistics short set of questions. Reviews of legislation from 193 UN Member States were conducted and analysed for this report to highlight good practices and to assess the current status of discriminatory laws on voting, election for office, right to marry and others

Expanding employment success for people with disabilities

FRUCHTERMAN, Jim
MELLEA, Joan
November 2018

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This report’s observations and recommendations were based on over fifty conversations with employers, technology vendors, disability experts—who were mainly people with disabilities, and technology experts, especially in artificial intelligence. It concentrates on human capital management (HCM) technology products used for attracting talent to companies, the actual interviewing/hiring process, and retention of employees once hired. Efforts on the market share leaders in each segment. 

Recommendations made concern:

  • Embracing artificial intelligence.
  • Boosting accessibility and accommodations.
  • Collecting and using data to inform action.
  • Guiding employers on the path from compliance to opportunity

Digital Accessibility Toolkit

CBM
May 2018

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The purpose of this toolkit is to share a selection of tools and recommendations pertaining to the accessibility of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). Based on international standards and a scan of available technologies, these tools and recommendations are intended to contribute to the social and economic inclusion of persons with disabilities by ensuring that information is equitably accessible.

The goals of this toolkit are:

  • To outline the key international frameworks around digital accessibility and why it is critical for inclusion of persons with disabilities.
  • To link people with tools, practice examples, free online training, and other resources so that their practice is digitally accessible.
  • To ensure that digital accessibility is an inherent aspect of daily practice.
  • To align the practices of those working with and for CBM. 

This toolkit is intended to be used as a guide and practice resource by people working with and for CBM so that we produce accessible digital content and communications, and place accessibility at the centre of our ICT procurement processes. We hope that the toolkit will be a resource for the wider community of persons with disabilities, Disabled People’s Organisations (DPOs), and nongovernmental organisations (NGOs).

Mobile technology and inclusion of persons with disabilities

THOMPSON, Stephen
May 2018

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This K4D Emerging Issues report highlights research and emerging evidence that show how mobile-enabled services can help increase inclusion of persons with disabilities. The aim is to provide UK Government’s Department for International Development (DFID) policy-makers with the information required to inform policies that are more resilient to the future. This report provides a synthesis of the current evidence on how mobile technology and mobile-enabled services can help increase inclusion of persons with disabilities. It was originally planned that this report would also explore how mobile enabled technology might exacerbate existing inequalities. Some evidence was found to focus on the barriers to ICT that marginalised groups encounter, however, no evidence was found to focus on how mobile technology might exacerbate inequalities. As such, the report focuses on the positive impact that mobile technology has been shown to have in increasing the inclusion of persons with disabilities. 

This report focuses specifically on evidence produced by academic research from low and middle income countries

Mental health assessments in refugees and asylum seekers: evaluation of a tablet-assisted screening software

MORINA, Naser
et al
October 2017

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Mental health problems resulting from persecution and forced migration are very common among refugees and asylum seekers and evolve into a major public health challenge. Language barriers often prevent timely access to appropriate health care, leading to chronic trajectories and abortive social integration. Tools for multilingual screening and assessment could be of great benefit for this particularly vulnerable population as well as for policy makers. This study aimed at testing the reliability, feasibility and usability of the Multi-Adaptive Psychological Screening Software (MAPSS), a newly developed Audio Computer-Assisted Self-Interview Software (ACASI) for touchscreen devices, for screening purposes in a clinical setting. In a randomized cross-over design including both MAPSS and paper-pencil clinician-administered interviews, 30 treatment-seeking refugees completed clinical measures and a feasibility questionnaire to rate the user interface of MAPSS. Five professionals performed given tasks in MAPSS and completed usability questionnaires for the administration interface.

Conflict and Health 2017 11:18

https://doi.org/10.1186/s13031-017-0120-2

New sign language new(S): the globalization of sign language in the smartphone era

TANNENBAUM-BARUCHI, Caroline
FEDER-BUBIS, Paula
October 2017

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"Languages are dynamic and change over the years. Changes in sign languages have been usually initiated to accommodate the needs of the local Deaf community. With the increase in smartphone use, sign languages are influenced not only by the local Deaf community, but also by foreign Deaf people on the other side of the screen, regardless of their location. Smartphones influence the sign language itself and the Deaf community by connecting different communities of Deaf people through messages, shared information and experiences, and news delivery. The popularity of this technology among Deaf communities is a social phenomenon emerging from Deaf people themselves. Smartphones may promote the globalization of sign language, shortening distances between Deaf communities around the world"

Disability & Society, Volume 33, 2018 - Issue 2

Leaving no-one behind: using assistive technology to enhance community living for people with intellectual disability

OWUOR, John
LARKIN, Fiona
MacLACHLAN, Malcolm
April 2017

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The transformation of community care for people with intellectual disabilities (ID) through enhanced access to assistive technology (AT) is discussed. The problems associated with lack of access to AT and the extent to which these occur are reported. Issues in lack of AT provision, including lack of global standards, are discussed. A call to action is made with reference to the appropriate parts of CRPD.   

 

 

Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology, 12:5, 426-428

DOI: 10.1080/17483107.2017.1312572 

Factors influencing employment and employability for persons with disability: Insights from a city in South India

RAMACHANDRA, Srikrishna
et al
April 2017

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Employee and employer perceptions on barriers existing among Information Technology (IT) and IT-enabled sectors to employ persons with disabilities (PWD) were investigated. Two hundred participants (147 PWD and 53 employers) from six organizations were included in the study, which was conducted in Hyderabad, India. A semi-structured questionnaire was administered to the participants. The study also documented enabling factors that have facilitated employment of PWD. An assessment of awareness levels among employers and employees with disabilities on the provisions of the Indian PWD Act (1995) was also undertaken.

 

Indian J Occup Environ Med. 2017 Jan-Apr; 21(1): 36–41

doi:  10.4103/ijoem.IJOEM_44_16

Able to include

INCLUSION EUROPE
February 2017

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"The ABLE TO INCLUDE solution improves the quality of life of people with intellectual or developmental disabilities (IDD) and similar conditions such as people affected by dementia or any kind of cognitive impairment. To achieve this, the project integrates a set of already-developed technologies to create a context-aware accessibility layer that, by being integrated with existing and future ICT tools, can improve the day-to-day life of people with IDD by understanding their surroundings and helping them to interact with the information society. The project focuses on the most important areas that a person needs to live independently and find fulfilment as an individual: to socialize in the context of the web 2.0, to travel independently and be able to work.

Three key technologies are used as a framework to develop everyday tasks:

Text and content simplifier
A pictogram-to-text, text-to-pictogram and pictogram-pictogram translation tool
Text-to-speech functionalities

These technologies are utilised to create an accessibility layer for people with IDD in everyday tasks within the framework of the information society. The accessibility layer is accessed through an open and free API that foster the introduction of an assistive technologies layer for people with IDD in any software development."

Toolkit on disability for Africa

UNITED NATIONS DEPARTMENT OF ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL AFFAIRS (UNDESA)
November 2016

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A Toolkit on Disability for Africa has been developed by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA), Division for Social Policy and Development (DSPD). It is designed for the African context and aims to:

  • Provide practical tools on various disability-related issues to government officials, members of parliament, civil and public servants at all levels, disabled persons organizations (DPOs) and all those with an interest in the inclusion of persons with disabilities in society and development;
  • Support the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) and disability-inclusive development;
  • Offer examples of good practices from many countries in the African region.

 

Toolkit Modules:

  • UN DESA toolkit on CRPD – Trainers’ tips
  • Introducing the UNCRPD
  • Frameworks for implementing and monitoring the UNCRPD
  • Disability-inclusive development
  • Accessibility
  • Building multi-stakeholders partnerships for disability inclusion
  • National plans on disability
  • Legislating for disability rights
  • Access to justice for persons with disabilities
  • The rights of persons with disabilities to work
  • Inclusive health services for persons with disabilities
  • Participation in political and public life
  • Information and communication technology (ICT) and disability
  • Culture, beliefs, and disability
  • Inclusive education

App-cessibility - apps to make your tech more accessible for you.

OSBOURNE, Abbie
October 2016

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Three adaptive apps for mobile phones are briefly introduced. RogerVoice helps the hard of hearing to make phone calls by automatically transcribing speech. The dyslexia key can make the font easier to read and also can enable a sequential keyboard. Be My Eyes enables users to request help from volunteer readers by phone using videolinks

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