Friday, July 31, 2009

US Signs UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

The United States has signed the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities July 30, 2009.
"Countries that join in the Convention engage themselves to develop and carry out policies, laws and administrative measures for securing the rights recognized in the Convention and abolish laws, regulations, customs and practices that constitute discrimination (Article 4)." -enable

One of the things I think is very powerful and I'm pleased to see is the explicit mention of a paradigm shift. In an explanatory Powerpoint, "The Convention marks a 'paradigm shift' in attitudes and approaches to persons with disabilities. Persons with disabilities are not viewed as "objects" of charity, medical treatment and social protection; rather as "subjects" with rights, who are capable of claiming those rights and making decisions for their lives based on their free and informed consent as well as being active members of society. "

Some of the General Principles include

  • "Respect for inherent dignity, individual autonomy including the freedom to make one's own choices, and independence of persons.
  • Full and effective participation and inclusion in society
  • Accessibility
  • Equality between men and women
  • Respect for the evolving capacities of children with disabiliites and respect for the right of children with disabilities to preserve their identities
  • reasonable [sic] accommodation must be made for persons with disabilities
Access must be ensured to
  • Justice
  • Living independently and being included in the community
  • Information and communication services
  • Education
  • Health
  • Habilitation and rehabilitation
  • Work and employment - human resource policies and practices
  • Adequate standard of living and social protection
  • Participation in cultural life, recreation, leisure, and sport"
-Source "Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its Optional Protocol" ppt

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Tuesday, July 28, 2009 Redesigned logo has redesigned and is looking good. It's pretty well laid out, with information on benefits, civil rights, community life, education, emergency preparedness, employment, health, housing, technology and transportation. Information can also be found by searching by state. There is also an easy mechanism to recommend a resource for consideration.

I especially like the tone of the site, it's direct and broad based. It doesn't seem to presume that disability is either using a wheelchair or an individual who is blind. It is exemplified in the slide show on the home page, which as both a wheel chair user, as well as an individual who is blind) but has pictures of individuals with no visible disability.

(Unlike ODEP which apparently felt that the picture for the recent Business Sense letter wasn't diverse enough and appears to have photoshopped in a man of color and a woman in a wheelchair. See the picture for yourself.)

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Monday, July 27, 2009

5K for Cancer-

As the teaser of the pink ribbon graphic from the other day alluded to, I've been building a new site. It's official, I'm running a 5K for the Patrick Dempsey Center for Cancer Hope and Healing. I've created a site called 5K for Cancer as a fundraising site. You can go to the site and donate using your credit card or by going to the Dempsey Challenge Site.
I've written about my Cousin Katie Janssen Osbourne before who passed away from breast cancer in December. I'm running the race in her memory and hope to raise at least $500 (though would love to raise more.)
In the next two months you can follow my training and preparation for the race on 5K for Cancer . Please send the link along to your friends and family to help me raise money. You'll also be able to track my fund raising activities by the thermometer to the right that will track my fund raising activities.
Thank you for your support.

Click here to Donate via the Dempsey Challenge website

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Wheel Chair Breaking Invention

Great invention for self breaking wheelchair by inventor Jerry Ford. Basically it allows the chair to be used as a walker when the individual is out of the chair. It automatically locks the wheels when the individual's weight is off the wheels, and unlocks when they sit down. The wheels can also be locked or unlocked whether the individual is in the chair or not, so that care givers can move the empty chair.Watch the video for the full story.
More pictures via David Friedman Photography

Inventor Portrait: Jerry Ford from David Friedman on Vimeo.

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Friday, July 24, 2009

Pink Ribbon

Here's an image I'm using to pull together a new site. I'll let you know when it's ready to go.
Can you tell what it's going to be about?

Image courtesy of AO Design

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Thursday, July 23, 2009

Employer Perspectives of People with Disabilities

back of hair in a bun with pencils sticking out of it

The Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) today released "Employer Perspectives of People with Disabilities.
It is available from the their website in either Word or Pdf.

It's a decent brochure with some good resources and information for Employers, even if the title seems a bit misleading.

Photo courtesy of Evil Erin

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Friday, July 17, 2009

Chalk Bot at the Tour Du France

An amazing thing is happening at the Tour Du France called Chalk Bot. It's basically a printer for the street which will be printing messages of hope and inspiration in front of the riders and is sponsored by Nike and Lance Armstrong's team. You can send your messages via Twitter to @chalkbot. What's also cool is that they'll send you a picture and location of where it's printed in France once it's complete. See the videos below for more information on chalbot.

I sent a message for Kate. We'll see if it gets printed, and post it here if it does.

Add the LiveStrong wristband to your Twitter avatar
Promote a cause on twitter using

Live Strong Action
Promote a cause using TWCauses

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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Toyota's Brain Controlled Wheelchair

In a step that goes beyond hands free Twittering, Toyota has developed a wheelchair that can be controlled using an individual's mind.

"The BSI-TOYOTA Collaboration Center (BTCC; Hidenori Kimura, Director), has succeeded in developing a system which utilizes one of the fastest technologies in the world, controlling a wheelchair using brain waves in as little as 125 milliseconds" -Press Release

via Slashdot

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Monday, July 13, 2009

There are some amazing designs that would assist individuals with disabilties up for the James Dyson Award this year.

"The James Dyson Award is an international design award that celebrates, encourages and inspires the next generation of design engineers. It’s run by the James Dyson Foundation, James Dyson’s charitable trust, as part of its mission to inspire young people about design engineering."

My favorite, and currently the Global leader is the The Access: Inclusive Exercise Equipment. See the video below.

I also like the inventiveness of the Obaby
"OBaby is the first stroller designed to address their special needs—particularly the needs of those with mobility challenges who may be in need of a walking aid....OBaby functions simultaneously as a walker and stroller. OBaby provides stability for the user without inhibiting maneuverability over curbs by utilizing a rotating gang on the front wheels. In order to support the adult, OBaby redistributes their weight over the central wheelbase."

And lastly, Protec designed for those with drop seizures. It's basically an airbag for your head. I'd love to see this product get developed and go into testing, as it has perhaps the greatest ability to impact an individual's quality of life. Going from wearing a hockey like helmet to over sized headphones could make a significant impact.

Voting ends July 20 BST, so get out and vote for your favorites. Registration is required to vote, but well worth what you can provide these inventors.

James Dyson Award
View all entries

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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Disabled Superheros

Artist Donald Soffritti has pictured what the future of some of our favorite superheros might look like. Though light hearted, it speaks to the point that given enough time, we will all likely be disabled.

(Via Too much free time)

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Saturday, July 4, 2009

Oliver Sack's Desk

Seed Magazine has a great picture of Oliver Sack's desk. Though a bit difficult to navigate, it allows you to zoom in and get a closer look at some of the things on his desk and explanations about the objects and pictures.

I love the discussion of the different elements on his desk, and how he gives and receives them for various birthdays based on their atomic number. (He recently gave a friend some Mercury for his 80th, and stirs his coffee with rhenium from his 75th birthday.)
For those not familiar with Dr. Sacks, he's a fascinating writer. From his site:

"Sacks is perhaps best known for his collections of case histories from the far borderlands of neurological experience, The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and An Anthropologist on Mars, in which he describes patients struggling to live with conditions ranging from Tourette's syndrome to autism, parkinsonism, musical hallucination, epilepsy, phantom limb syndrome, schizophrenia, retardation, and Alzheimer's disease...He has investigated the world of Deaf people and sign language in Seeing Voices, and a rare community of colorblind people in The Island of the Colorblind."
Oliver Sacks @ Columbia University
Wired Magazine's interview with Oliver Sacks
Interview with Oliver Sacks @ Universe

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Thursday, July 2, 2009

Skeleton Man

Skeleton Man
Originally uploaded by street anatomy
Incredible tattoo. Okay, so it's not disability related, but amazing picture and anatomically related...

Individuals with Autism 40% Faster on Non-Verbal Intelligence Test

A Canadian study has found that individuals with autism complete an intelligence test 40 faster than neuro-typical individuals, according to the Globe and Mail

"eople with autism were 40 per cent faster at finishing an intelligence test that measures reasoning than volunteers without the disorder, a new Canadian study has found.
Using a brain scanner, the scientists also discovered that their autistic subjects used different parts of their brain to solve problems...The non-verbal test that was used in the experiment measures problem-solving and learning skills. In one problem, subjects were given a diagram of dots and lines with a missing section. They had to pick the correct combination of dots and lines from eight options to fill in the blank space.
Dr. Soulières said people with autism relied on visual processing, and found the right answers more quickly than members of the control group, who were more likely to explicitly test potential solutions until they found the right one."

Interesting article, and not surprising that it was a non-verbal test. Head over to the Globe and Mail for the full article.

via disability scoop
photo courtesy of Paul Jerry

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