The articles published in the ALERT represent the opinions of the authors and are not an endorsement by the Association or necessarily representative of the views of the Association.
— From the Editor
— Reframing Disability: Using Technology to Enhance Instruction
— Delta Alpha Pi : In Their Own Words: The Importance of an Honor Society for Students with Disabilities
— Professional Development Calendar
— AHEAD Board Approves Applications from Three Groups for Formal Affiliation with AHEAD
— AHEAD Conference 2007 – What to do in Charlotte!
— Columbus Summer Experience for Minorities or Students with disABILITIES interested in Law School
— Eighty countries sign convention protecting rights of the world's 650 million disabled in show of unprecedented support
— New Foreign Language Tipsheet for Blind and Low Vision Students
— WGBH Access Division Creates "CC for Flash" to Simplify Captioning for Adobe Flash Technology
— WGBH’s Media Access Group’s Descriptive Video Service Releases Audio Described Version of Masterpiece Theatre’s The Wind in the Willows
From the President
During its spring meeting, the Board of Directors spent a day engaged in cultural competency training and conversations about how AHEAD can move forward on its strategic goal “to promote and embody diversity.” The Board owes a debt of gratitude to Vinson Ballard, Jackson State University, and Jose Soto, Southeast Community College, for facilitating our discussions and to the remaining Racial and Ethnic Diversity and Disability Special Interest Group (REDD SIG) leadership of Bea Awoniyi, Florida State University, and Duraese Hall, University of Houston, for their participation and guidance.
As both Board members and Association members have remarked over the years, AHEAD has been historically challenged in bringing a diversity of voices into its leadership and, as a result, has risked missing the lived perspective that would make us stronger as an organization. With the help of the REDD SIG, the Board had an entry point (racial and ethnic diversity) into conversations about the power differential represented by marginalization on any of a number of characteristics (age, disability, gender, sexual orientation, etc.). In addition to learning and sharing, one of our goals for the day was to create a plan for action.
Jose Soto provided us with the following that I want to share beyond the Board because I believe it will help us to frame ways to answer the question: What can AHEAD do to become a model of inclusivity?
10 Things AHEAD Can Do…
Communication and Vision
- Take every opportunity to communicate and emphasize that “diversity” is a core value and a guiding principle within the organization.
- Ensure that “diversity” is an integral and explicit part of AHEAD’s vision and mission statements.
Policy and multiple approaches...
- Adopt a “diversity” policy that will serve as a clear statement that diversity is a priority goal within AHEAD.
- Utilize and coordinate a variety of strategies and activities to promote and support diversity within AHEAD. At minimum, include affirmative action, equal opportunity, equity, and diversity education programming as part of the tools to reach the desired results.
Educate and train...
Include diversity-related topics and issues as an on going part of development and training activities.
- Serious consideration should be given to making some level of participation in these activities mandatory for staff/directors.
- “Diversity” should be a discrete track for conferences, seminars, workshops
Set goals & expect competence...
- Establish increasing personal and professional cultural competence as a goal and expectation for all employees and directors of AHEAD.
- At minimum, every position description and/or performance evaluation should include a statement regarding diversity-related goals and expectations.
Fund, recognize & promote...
- Create and maintain a discrete and adequate budget to support meaningful diversity-related activities within AHEAD on a frequent and on-going basis.
- Acknowledge, formally recognize, reward, and celebrate achievements in promoting and supporting diversity.
Responsibility & accountability...
- Assign lead responsibility for “diversity” planning, implementation and monitoring to someone within the association.
- Ensure that individual has some decision-making authority and has support to implement programs and activities.
Engage everyone in a cycle of continuously monitoring, evaluating, and adjusting diversity programming to ensure that efforts reflect and are responsive to changes in the organizational, social, and political environments of the future.
Accommodation and adaptation within AHEAD to the existing changes in the diversity equation will be successful to the extent decision-makers assume personal and professional responsibility for facilitating change and exerting leadership in their spheres of authority and influence.
ACTION gets us “from here to there”…Actions speak louder than words...
- Firm/public commitment from leadership
- Address and correct any actual or perceived inequities, exclusions, or disparities
- Improve the “climate”… diversity wanted, needed, acknowledged
- Make commitment of support permanent
- Systematically review policies for barriers
- Consider “diversity” issues up front in planning process… not an after-thought
- Address and correct any harassment and climate concerns
From saying to
It’s important to recognize and to minimize the disparities between “what we say” and “what we do”
Over the last year and a half, a number of AHEAD members have been working as AHEAD’s Diversity Initiative to address these issues. Two goals of that group were this meeting with the Board and a Board commitment to prioritize efforts to becoming more responsive to issues of diversity. We’ve made that commitment and invite any of you are interested in helping with the work to get in touch with Vinson Ballard, Chair of the Diversity Initiative.
From the Editor
The end of the semester is upon us! Its been a difficult one for many, lets hope that the summer brings some much needed relaxation and peace.
Among other things, you’ll find in this issue an article by Gladys Loewen on using technology to enhance instruction, in which she offers us some concrete examples of how this is being achieved. Read about the signing at the United Nations of a convention protecting the rights of persons with disabilities, and an excellent summer opportunity for minorities and students with disabilities considering law school. Last year, we read about the founding of an honor society for students with disabilites, Delta Alpha Pi. In this issue, Edith F. Miller, the founder, answers the question, “Why an honor society?” with an article weaving together statements from students who are members.
Finally, take note of some more suggestions for what to do in Charlotte – from a trip to the museum to an adventure at the water park, there is something for everyone.
On my first and only visit to Charlotte, I was impressed by the perhaps hundreds of famous quotations posted on the columns of the main library downtown. http://www.plcmc.org/services/quotes.asp. One of my favorites is by Toni Morrison, who said that “Access to knowledge is the superb, the supreme act of truly great civilizations. Of all the institutions that purport to do this, free libraries stand virtually alone in accomplishing this.”
Enjoy this issue of ALERT, and please continue to send your contributions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reframing Disability: Using Technology to Enhance Instruction
Assistive Technology, BC
As educators reframe disability by implementing the Social Model of Disability (Oliver) and the Socio-political model of Disability (Gill), they take the focus away from person’s impairment, shifting their attention toward the removal of barriers in the environment and the designer of the environment. This move coupled with the principles of universal design (NSCU, 1997) and the associated principles for learning (McGuire, Scott, Shaw) and instruction (Rose, Meyer 2002), allows educators to revise old assumptions about teaching and learning by focusing on the creation of environments usable by the greatest number of people. By implementing these complimentary concepts, it reduces the pressure on the person with a difference to fit into an inflexible environment as well reduces the as the need to provide an individualized accommodation or retrofit a class related activity.
The change to digital formats, the expansion of electronic tools, and the availability of assistive technology create a unique opportunity to expand beyond the text-and teacher-centered method of instruction. Technology offers the capability to enhance the design of the curricula and create flexible learning environments to a broad range of learners. (Birsh, 2005; Phelan; Hitchcock). Technology can be a vital resource for instructors and Disability Service staff, providing the opportunity to increase participation of persons with disabilities by
- Removing some of the classroom barriers
- Reducing the dependence of persons with disabilities on human support for reading, writing communicating, and
- Increasing productivity and empowerment at the same time (Birsh, 2005; Burgstahler; Jackson; Zabala, 1990).
An exploration of uses of technology to enhance instruction allows for new strategies and approaches that create more flexibility and usability of the learning environment. Some examples of technology use include:
- A student with a print disability can receive the instructor’s PowerPoint presentation prior to class and follow along with the PowerPoint on a laptop during the lecture.
- Instructors who post lecture notes on a web site reduce the need for note taking assistance in the classroom.
- Word processors could be checked out of an audiovisual department by students who would like to take electronic notes in the classroom.
- Software programs are now available to allow a student to record a lecture directly on the laptop without having to carrying another recording device. The audio files can be saved and managed for future use.
- An instructor could record his/her own lecture using a lapel mic and post it on the web site as an audio file for student use. This eliminates poor quality recording of lectures due to the quality of the mic or the distance from the speaker.
- A classroom note taking or captioning system provides a visual summary of the lecture and class discussion for students who have difficulty with hearing or maintaining attention. The notes can be provided to students who require notetaking support.
- A take-home exam allows students to use any assistive technology that facilitates the ability to read and write the exam without accommodation.
- Kurzweil 3000 is designed so that a user can read and write an exam electronically with access to the rest of the hard drive blocked during the exam. This allows users of this technology to write an exam in the class with other students and not be in a segregated setting. The student can use a headphone for privacy of sound.
- A talking calculator during an exam ensures that the student with a print disability can read the numbers accurately, reducing human error in mixing up numbers.
- A student with a speech difficulty can use a computer with a speech system to do an oral presentation of a paper he/she has written if the oral presentation is an essential component of the course.
- Email allows a student with speech difficulties (deaf, non-verbal) to communicate independently with an instructor, tutor, or peer without the use of an interpreter or another person.
- Biology labs can offer an audio recording of the assignment for the hands-on experiment for students who have difficulty with print.
- A palm pilot can be used by deaf students to contact interpreters for changes in classroom schedules, tutoring appointments, and other situations that require interpreting services. This eliminates the need for a TTY or a message relay center.
- I-chat software coupled with the built in camera on a MacBook computer allows for remote communication for group meetings, interpreting, and presentations.
- With videos, simulations, and virtual reality programs, science and recreational classes can offer virtual experiences for students who are unable to physically perform a task.
Writing and Reading
- The Mac and PC operating systems have increased the accessibility features in their latest computer program launches. They now include options such as simple text magnification, screen reader, cursor enhancements, dictation, and keyboard input options. The user is able to customize the settings to meet individual needs for reading and writing exams and assignments.
- A language master (hand held spell checker with pronunciation) used during in-class writing ensures that students with spelling difficulties can produce better quality of work in class when spelling is not an essential component of the activity.
- A scanning pen can assist with obtaining the pronunciation and definition of a word while doing research in the library or the community.
- The opportunity to email assignments to instructor reduces the need to use a printer and carry the printed assignment to class for students with hearing difficulties, visual impairments and physical disabilities.
- Sofware programs like Draft Builder, SparkSpace and Inspiration provide templates to assist with organizing ideas to support the writing process for struggling writers.
Many of these strategies are simple and cost effective to implement, allowing for simple changes in the delivery of instruction that create usable learning environments for all students. Blackhurst (2001) stresses when infusing technology into instruction, emphasis should be placed on “arranging circumstances to enable the device to be used in the most effective and efficient manner.”
Changing the design of the instructional environment and the curriculum to support diversity of learning styles and strategies will ensure that students will be able to demonstrate their knowledge in a flexible and inclusive environment. Implementing various technology interventions can help students fulfill their educational goals and support instructors to deliver content that is understandable, meaningful, engaging, and flexible.
Birsh, J.R. (Ed.). Multisensory teaching of basic language skills (2nd ed.). Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co, 2005.
Blackhurst, A.E. What is assistive technology? National Assistive Technology Research Institute, University of Kentucky, 2001.
Burgstahler, Cheryl. The role of technology in preparing youth with disabilities for postsecondary education and employment. Journal of Special Education Technology, 18.4. Retrieved on April 1, 2007 from http://jset.unlv.edu/18.4/burgstahler/three.html
for Universal Design, North Carolina State University, Raleigh,
Gill, Carol. Two models of disability. Chicago Institute of Disability. University of Chicago, 1994.
Hitchcock. Chuck; Stahl, Skip. Assistive technology, universal design, universal design for learning: Improved learning opportunities. National Center on Accessing the General Curriculum at CAST, Wakefield, Massachusetts. Retrieved on April 1, 2007 from http://jset.unlv.edu/18.4/hitchcock/first.html
Jackson, R. M. Technologies supporting curriculum access for students with disabilities. Wakefield, MA: National Center on Accessing the General Curriculum. (2004). Retrieved April 1, 2007 from http://www.cast.org/publications/ncac/ncac_techsupport.html
McGuire, J.M., Scott, S.S. & Shaw, S.F. Universal design for instruction: the paradigm, its principles, and products for enhancing instructional access. Journal of Postsecondary Education and Disability, 17 (1), 10-20.
Oliver, Mike. The politics of disablement. Macmillan, London, 1990.
Phelan, Richard. Computer uses in education. Sonoma State University. retrieved March 25, 2007 from http://www.sonoma.edu/users/p/phelan/404/success.htm
Rose, David H.; Anne Meyer. Teaching every student in the digital age: Universal design for learning. Virginia: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 2002.
Zabala, Joy. The
provision of assistive technology services in rehabilitation.
Arkansas Research and Training Center in Vocational Rehabilitation, University of
Arkansas, 1990. retrieved on April 1, 2007 from http://homepage.mac.com/seilts/udl_at/resources/AT/AT_Guiding%20Principles.pdf
Delta Alpha Pi : In Their Own Words: The Importance of an Honor Society for Students with Disabilities
by Edith F. Miller, Ed.D.
Delta Alpha Pi Honor Society was founded in 2004 at East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania. Since that time eight other colleges and universities have established chapters and seven are engaged in the application process. The three Greek letters in Delta Alpha Pi Honor Society stand for disability, achievement and pride. Members display pride in their academic accomplishments as honor students who happen to have a disability. The stated purpose of Delta Alpha Pi is to change the negative perception that students with disabilities cannot achieve academically. Through public recognition, leadership and visible participation in educational activities, Honor Society members help to counteract such prejudice. Students and advisors are passionate about the purpose of the Honor Society and working for an aDAPtable world through the application of the principles of universal design.
The comments included in this article were submitted by founding members of Delta Alpha Pi Honor Society from the first two chapters at East Stroudsburg and Edinboro Universities of Pennsylvania. These statements “in their own words” provide reflections on honor society membership from students who have participated for several years. First from Lindsay, a founder and first president at East Stroudsburg University:
“Membership in the Delta Alpha Pi Honor Society means several different things to me. Prior to attending East Stroudsburg University, I felt ashamed of my learning disabilities. I tried to mask them and I would do my best to keep my academic struggles hidden from my peers. It wasn't until I was presented with admission into this particular honor society that I realized I could finally express who I truly was (a college student with learning disabilities) without worrying about what others thought of me.
After becoming a member of Delta Alpha Pi, I no longer felt embarrassed or ashamed of my disabilities. Why should we feel ashamed for being different? As a member in the honor society, you are accepted for who you are, disabilities and all. The honor society focuses on encouragement and advocacy for students with learning disabilities, as well as, physical disabilities. Thus, it created an outlet where I could come together with students like myself, and not feel ostracized or humiliated. We could relate to one another, and support each other throughout our academic endeavors.
Admission into Delta Alpha Pi was a huge
turning point in my life.
Shortly after being initiated into the honor society, I began advocating for students with learning disabilities. I coordinated a mentoring program called, Project Eye-to-Eye, in which learning disabled college students mentor LD students in a local elementary school. I realized through my work with Delta Alpha Pi and Project Eye-to-Eye that learning disability advocacy is something I would like to pursue in more depth in the future.
Delta Alpha Pi is an honor society that celebrates students for the achievements they have made in spite of the many struggles they face. When I graduated, I was given gold and blue honor cords. I felt extremely proud to tell my peers what the cords stood for and the amazing honor society that I was so privileged to represent.”
It is past time that students with disabilities have an honor society to call their own. An internet search yielded numerous honor societies that recognize the accomplishments of specific groups. For example, DuBois Honor Society for African-American students, ALANAI Honor Society for Students of Color, Chi Alpha Epsilon for students in grant sponsored programs, Prytanean for women, and Alpha Sigma Lambda Honor Society for Asian-Americans. Delta Alpha Pi was modeled after four national honor societies: Psy Chi for Psychology, Iota Iota Iota for Women’s Studies, Sigma Pi Epsilon Delta for Special Education & Rehabilitation, and Chi Alpha Epsilon.
This comment was received from Maria, a founder at Edinboro University:
“Since the beginning of my education at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania I have noticed that I am more confident with myself even though I have a disability. I have found techniques that work for me such as using time management with studying and talking with professors or students, if I had any problems with the material. After being inducted into Delta Alpha Pi I felt that with my disability no matter what struggles I have to face I know I can achieve them. Being in Delta Alpha Pi means to me that with hard work, determination, and perseverance I can do anything.”
Students who meet the criteria receive a letter of invitation to participate in Delta Alpha Pi Honor Society through the established initiation process. All invited students must present with a documented disability and work with one of the faculty or staff in the university’s Office of Disability Services, and they must demonstrate an interest in disability issues. Undergraduate students must have completed a minimum of 24 credits and attained a cumulative grade point average of 3.10 (on a 4.0 scale). Graduate students must have completed a minimum of 18 credits and earned a cumulative grade point average of 3.30.
Another reflection comes from Nicole, the first secretary at East Stroudsburg University:
“Being a member of Delta Alpha Pi meant being surrounded by positive people who encouraged you rather than limited you. As a student with a disability I was often discouraged by teachers and other authority figures. They felt that because of my disability I should aim lower and that it would be too hard to do what I wanted to do. Leaders and members of Delta Alpha Pi encouraged me to do what I wanted and was intellectually able to do regardless of my physical abilities. It gave me the opportunities to strive for what I wanted and to be proud of my accomplishments. It taught me how to advocate for myself and that it was okay to do so. It taught me not to be ashamed or embarrassed by my disability. Being a member of Delta Alpha Pi helped to make me the confident student and person I am today.”
Delta Alpha Pi Honor Society has an established constitution and ceremonies. Individual chapters have autonomy in aspects that may vary depending on size and interest. For example, dues are set by each chapter. And mentoring, educational activities and advocacy work can be determined by the wishes of chapter members. For instance, at East Stroudsburg University members of Delta Alpha Pi serve as mentors for first-year students who have disabilities.
Nicole, a graduate student at East Stroudsburg University provided these thoughts:
“The honor society has helped me to be more confident in the person that I am. By meeting other students with similar disabilities I see that it is okay to be different and it is okay to have a learning disability. Without being a part of the honor society I really do not think I would be as open about my struggles and hardships and be willing to share my story with other students. The result from the honor society for me is that the learning environment at ESU is one where students can achieve the independence needed to succeed in college while having a disability. I say this because I felt a lot more support and encouragement through the society.”
Colleges or universities can apply for a charter when they have a designated advisor/sponsor and a minimum of ten students who meet the membership criteria. The cost of a charter is $250 which provides the new chapter with 30 Honor Society pins, 15 Honor Cords for graduating seniors and copies of the ceremonies for the initiation of new members and induction of officers.
The final reflection was recorded by Micah, the current vice-president and president-elect of the Alpha Chapter:
“For me Delta Alpha Pi Honor Society means a whole lot, and I just want to break it down to how I was in high school and how I am now in college and how Delta Alpha Pi literally changed my life. In high school I was more athletic and didn’t focus on my academics, not realizing that I had a learning disability. So when I had the opportunity to go to East Stroudsburg, I took that opportunity. During my first year, I found out that I had a learning disability and didn’t know what that meant. But when I got into the disability program, I started to excel because it was like a family that gave me support and hope. At first I struggled, and it was tough to get used to the atmosphere, but the community of disability of services helped me adjust. When I got inducted into Delta Alpha Pi Honor Society, that was the highest award that I ever received because it showed me that even with my disability I was able to accomplish honors. And that just says it all for me. For me to be a part of the first honor society for students with disabilities was overwhelming. I believe that the support of the honor society helped me believe that I could achieve all that I set my mind to. I started in the honor society as an undergraduate student and now am working on my master’s degree, so being in Delta Alpha Pi Honor Society means everything to me.”
Edith F. Miller, Ed.D., is a professor and Director of Disability Services at East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania. She can be contacted via email at email@example.com for further information regarding Delta Alpha Pi Honor Society.
April 2007 Calendar
Professional Development. Take advantage of these upcoming events, conferences, and other opportunities to increase and share your knowledge.
Calls for Presentations and Articles
ALERT submission and publication dates:
The ALERT is now being published every other month. Please keep those articles coming! Here is the schedule for submissions:
June 8, 2007
June 22, 2007
August 10, 2007
August 24, 2007
AHEAD and Affiliate Events
AHEAD 2007 Conference in Charlotte, NC
Join us as we celebrate AHEAD’s 30th anniversary: “Crowning 30 Years of Commitment” July 17 – 21, 2007 in Charlotte, NC
Conferences, Trainings and Expositions
Check out these offerings from our colleagues in the fields of disability and higher education:
Society for Disability Studies 20th Annual Conference
“Disability & Disability Studies: Works in Progress”
Seattle , May 31-June 2, 2007
2007 marks the 25th year of the Society for Disability Studies, and the field has changed dramatically over the last quarter century. As Disability Studies continues to grow, increasing its presence in university departments, cultural criticism, and art and knowledge production, SDS wants to take this anniversary opportunity to reevaluate the discipline and reflect on the state of the field. Current Disability Studies scholarship differs from much of that which precedes it, most notably in its efforts to be more inclusive, offering a more complex conception of what constitutes “disability.” Rather than remaining rooted in a particular cultural moment or ideological understanding, Disability Studies is a work in progress.
In order to encourage this kind of self-reflection, both as a field and an organization, this year's conference addresses the idea of “works in progress”.
The weblink for more information is: http://www.uic.edu/orgs/sds/annualmeetings.html
Postsecondary Disability Training Institute
Center on Postsecondary Education and Disability at the University
Tuesday, June 12 - Friday, June 15 & Saturday, June 16, 2007 – Saratoga Springs, NY
The objective of this Training Institute is to assist concerned professionals to meet the unique needs of college students with disabilities. Participants can select from a variety of Strands, Single Sessions, and a Saturday Post-Session taught by experts in the field, which provide participants with in-depth information and adequate time for questions and follow-up discussions. Participants also have opportunities to share information and network with each other at various activities throughout the week.
The Institute will be held at the Saratoga Hotel & Conference Center -- Saratoga Springs, NY
For more information please visit: http://www.cped.uconn.edu/07pti.htm
Contact: Carrol Waite, Institute Manager: firstname.lastname@example.org OR by phone: (860) 486-3321
AHEAD Board Approves Applications from Three Groups for Formal Affiliation with AHEAD
from Jean Ashmore, Board of Directors Liaison with AHEAD Affiliates
At the spring Board of Directors meeting, the board approved applications from three groups for formal affiliation with AHEAD. They were from California Association for Postsecondary Education and Disability (CAPED) which is a long-standing, well established and large organization, Mississippi AHEAD an organization recently formalized, and Wisconsin AHEAD another group that recently finalized its structure. AHEAD welcomes these three new affiliate groups which bring the number of formal Affiliates to 29.
For those of you who may be new to AHEAD and interested in joining or learning more about professional groups and events in your area, go to the AHEAD website section on Affiliates (an option on the left side of the main page) to see if there is a group in your state or region. While most of the Affiliates have websites, contact the AHEAD office or me if you need some help linking up with groups around the country. Also, if you and some colleagues are interested in establishing a state group, please contact us. We can talk through strategies and connect you with people who have started from scratch.
The Affiliate representatives will meet together at a couple of events during the Charlotte conference. One of these will be a workshop focused on best practices for non-profit organizations. Did you know that the Affiliates are given one complimentary registration to conference which is typically used by their presidents – a nice benefit to the Affiliates that underscores the value AHEAD places on these groups! Helps keep them in the know and connected with others around the country. The groups are doing vital work in their states/regions and providing excellent professional development for their members, sometimes in direct co-sponsorship with AHEAD.
Feel free to contact me at email@example.com or 713/348-5841 if you have questions about the AHEAD Affiliate Program.
AHEAD Conference 2007 – What to do in Charlotte!
Here’s the scoop on what’s available in Charlotte and the surrounding area: http://www.visitcharlotte.com/default.asp
Thursday night, July 19th 5:30 – 9:30 p.m. AHEAD is thrilled to offer FREE admission to the Levine Museum of the New South for AHEAD members, friends and families. Please show your AHEAD name badge at the door. Just a short walk or shuttle to the museum from the Convention Center, Westin and Hilton hotels, the Levine Museum of the New South is an interactive regional history museum featuring the award-winning permanent exhibit Cotton Fields to Skyscrapers, plus changing and traveling exhibits that offer a real and poignant view of the American South from the end of the Civil War to today. People of all ages will find the hands-on history educational and entertaining. It is the only museum in the country concentrating exclusively on New South history. The Levine Museum of the New South is located at 200 East Seventh Street
Some other exciting Charlotte evening options:
- Experience the phenomenon of Disney’s THE LION KING as the show makes its triumphant return to the NC Blumenthal Performing Arts Center at the Belk Theater stage! http://www.blumenthalcenter.org
Motor Speedway Short Track 07/17/2007 (This date only.)
Gates open at 5:00 p.m.; Racing begins at 7:30 p.m.Cost: $5 adults; $3 kids ages 6-12; free for kids under 6 5555 Concord Pkwy S., Concord, NC 28027 1-800-455-FAN http://www.lowesmotorspeedway.com
In addition to a full program of Legends Car, Bandolero and Thunder Roadster racing, the Summer Shootout Series includes special attractions, such as school bus races, spectator racing and fireworks.
- US National Whitewater Center
The U.S. National Whitewater Center (USNWC) is the world’s premier outdoor recreation and environmental education center. Alongside mountain-biking and running trails, a climbing center, and challenge course, the park’s unique feature is a multiple-channel, customized whitewater river for rafting and canoe/kayak enthusiasts of all abilities.
The USNWC is only 10 minutes from downtown Charlotte and provides over 300 acres of woodlands along the scenic Catawba River. Olympic-caliber athletes, weekend warriors and casual observers share this world-class sports and training center.http://www.usnwc.org/
- Are you
flying home on Sunday? You may want to consider SouthPark’s
free summer concert series. Justin Mychals performs on
July 21, 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. FYI no seating provided. SouthPark
Mall (West Plaza) http://www.southpark.com
- Take CATS BUS #18 from the downtown Transit Center
For AHEAD children and families. There are also week long day camp opportunities offered.
an exciting destination for families a place where journeys of imagination begin and stories come to life! Colorful, whimsical, and unexpected are apt descriptions of ImaginOn. Navigating the facility is intuitive, fun and an adventure at every turn. Add to that interactive games and exhibits, award-winning theatre performances and classic stories, and you will want to visit again and again. http://www.imaginon.org/default.asp
Over 20 million people around the world have marveled at BODY WORLDS. Now Discovery Place brings this extraordinary exhibition to Charlotte from 06/13/2007 to 10/28/2007. See the human body like never before. From individual organs to whole-body plastinates, BODY WORLDS offers visitors a rare opportunity to see the complexity of human anatomy and physiology. For more info, visit www.bodyworlds.com. 301 N. Tryon Street 704-372-6261 http://www.discoveryplace.org
We've got the most hair-raising rides, the wettest water park, the most sizzling stage shows, and tons of other cool stuff everyone can enjoy. Carowinds is 108 acres of ultimate entertainment for the entire family!
Splash Planet WaterPark
The indoor waterpark at Ray’s Splash Planet is out-of-this-world
And likely to leave a permanent smile on the face of your family. There are countless ways to get soaked and have fun in this one-of-a kind waterpark that contains 117,000 gallons of water. 215 Sycamore Street
Columbus Summer Experience for Minorities or Students with disABILITIES interested in Law School
Do you know any undergrad sophomore through junior status students who are interested in going to law school? If so, please let me know and encourage them to apply for the WrightChoice Pre-Professional Law Program. If they are interested have them give Kendra Roberts a call at 614-802-2364 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline is April 27th. This is an awesome opportunity for them to get exposed to and network with lawyers practicing various areas of law.
The mission of WrightChoice, Inc is to "Build a Bridge Between Resource & Opportunity for Minority Students and/or Students with disABILITIES"
The summer of 2007, WrightChoice will host a six week program that allows college minority students and students with disabilities who are interested in going to law school to shadow lawyers and/or judges in various practice area and courts. This will allow the students an opportunity to experience the profession and mentors a chance to groom future leaders.
- To introduce minority students and/or students with disabilities to various legal practice areas
- To foster interaction between lawyers and judges and minority students and/or students with disabilities in a professional work setting
- To allow minority students and/or students with disabilities to observe various court proceedings/client interactions
- To create an open dialogue about law school requirements, legal career preparation, and legal employer expectations between minority students and/or students with disabilities and legal practitioners
In this program, four students who are interested in pursuing a career in law will be chosen to rotate among corporate law firms, public interest law service providers, state trial courts, and state legal agencies for the six week period, allowing students to observe and be exposed to various types of law including, but not limited to, business (transactional), labor/employment, general litigation, domestic relations, government/ public sector, criminal, and general practice. Every two weeks, the students will come together to discuss their experiences in the various rotation locations and any pre-conceived expectations they had prior to the program. Along with the group discussion, students will also have the opportunity to talk with a guest speaker in the legal field who will be able to offer insight on any concerns or questions that they might have. At the end of the program, students are expected to complete a final project that would summarize their overall summer experiences and outcomes for the program.
Students interested in participating in program must...
- Possess a minimum 3.0 GPA
- Full time sophomore or junior status student at a four (4) year accredited college or university
- Submit a 200-word letter stating candidate's interest in Pre-Professional Law Program
- Submit 2 letters of recommendation,
on company letterhead speaking on
- Academic status
- Analytical thought process
* 1 letter must come from current employer, community leader, or legal
* 1 letter must come from degree related college professor (ex. Finance student would receive a letter from finance instructor)
- Submit contact information for
three (3) professional references
*Name, employment title, address, phone number, and email address
- Submit current copy of resume
- Submit official copy of university or college transcripts
Return completed application packets via mail
or in person to:
6230 Busch Blvd. Suite 101
Columbus, OH 43229
All applications must be submitted by Friday, April 27, 2007 by 5pm. Any questions or concerns, please call us at (614) 802-2364
Please direct any questions about this event to Kendra Roberts at (614) 802-2364 or e-mail email@example.com
Eighty countries sign convention protecting
rights of the world's
650 million disabled in show of unprecedented support
The Associated Press
March 30, 2007
UNITED NATIONS: Eighty countries signed the U.N. convention enshrining the rights of the world's 650 million disabled people Friday in what the U.N. human rights chief called an unprecedented show of support to empower the physically and mentally impaired.
United Nations held a ceremony on Friday, the first day the
convention opened, for signatures. Not only did 80 countries
the European Community sign it, but Jamaica also announced
had ratified the convention meaning that only 19 more ratifications are needed before the convention comes into force. At the ceremony, speaker after speaker urged speedy approval.
High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour announced
the huge level of support at a news conference afterward,
saying" It's certainly unprecedented in terms of support for a human
rights instrument, but it's apparently setting records for the signature of any convention in the United Nations."
U.N. General Assembly adopted the 32-page convention by
consensus in December, climaxing a campaign spearheaded by
disability rights activists and the governments of New Zealand,
Ecuador and Mexico. "We would not be here today without the sustained efforts of the
disability community," Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro told Friday's ceremony.
"In three short years, the convention
went from dream to reality," she said. "On
its adoption by the General Assembly late last year,
it became the first human rights treaty of the 21st century,
the fastest negotiated international human rights instrument in history."
The convention is a blueprint to end discrimination and exclusion of the physically and mentally disabled in education, jobs, and everyday life. It requires countries to guarantee freedom from exploitation and abuse for the disabled, while protecting rights they already have such as ensuring voting rights for the blind and providing wheelchair-accessible buildings.
Arbour said "it's very appropriate" that the first treaty of the new century "targets a community that has been so marginalized for so long" and that it focuses on rights not just social welfare and programs to meet the needs of the disabled.
She called the convention "a first step" in empowering the disabled, stressing that once it comes into force governments will have to enact legislation and change practices to ensure the rights of the disabled. She added that an international committee will monitor implementation of the convention.
Yannis Vardakastanis, representing the International Disability Caucus which was in the forefront of the campaign for the convention, congratulated the 80 countries that signed "this unprecedented convention."
He said it represents "a very drastic" shift in the way the international community looks at disabilities.
According to the latest U.N. figures, about 10 percent of the world's population, or 650 million people, live with a disability and the number is increasing with population growth. The disabled constitute the world's largest minority, and 80 percent live in developing countries, many in poverty.
The convention advocates keeping the disabled in their communities rather than removing them and educating them separately as many countries do.
It guarantees that the disabled have the inherent right to life on an equal basis with the able-bodied and requires countries to prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability and guarantee equal legal protection. Countries must also ensure the equal right of the disabled to own and inherit property, to control their financial affairs, and to privacy over their personal lives.
"Indeed and in fact it represents the recognition that people with disabilities should be holders of rights," Vardakastanis said.
"The 650 million persons with disabilities
around the world expect
and anticipate that this convention will change the real living
conditions, that this convention will take away the
discrimination, the exclusion, and all the obstacles that people with disabilities are faced with in their daily lives," he said.
Source: International Herald Tribune (AP)
New Foreign Language Tipsheet for Blind and Low Vision Students
“I have screen-reading software but when
it comes to a foreign language, it’s just really hard
to get that to work right,” says Alison Ballard, a visually
impaired student at Lebanon Valley College in Pennsylvania.
Instead, she decided to take a summer Spanish class five times
a week in Costa Rica, and live with a homestay family.
“ The classes were really a lot of fun. We had one teacher for six people, and the teacher knew little English, so we didn’t really have much choice other than speaking Spanish. It was all discussion – almost no paper and no chalkboard use, which was really helpful. There weren’t classes like that at my home university,” says Alison, who received six credits for five weeks abroad.
“Alison and her parents felt an immersion program would be a better fit for her and they were correct,” says Dr. Yvonne Foster the director of disability services at Alison’s home campus.
“My Spanish experienced a huge change – I could actually talk in sentences. That was great! I went there only knowing how to conjugate a few verbs, which was kind of useless. Now I’m hoping to continue with Spanish,” says Alison.
This is not to be taken lightly with 63 percent of employers recognizing that in five years the scope of work will have changed to where foreign language and cultural skills will be increasingly “important” for high school and college graduates—more so than any other basic knowledge area or skill, says a 2006 research study conducted by The Conference Board, Corporate Voices for Working Families, The Partnership for 21st Century Skills, and The Society for Human Resource Management.
To encourage more students with disabilities to be part of this employment trend, the National Clearinghouse on Disability and Exchange collaboratively developed a new tipsheet on students who are blind and visually impaired learning foreign languages. It includes:
- Uses of assistive technologies and Braille in learning foreign languages and their capabilities in handling world languages
- How teachers can prepare for, adapt teaching styles, modify class activities, and provide accommodations to students who are blind or have low vision
- Issues particular to learning a foreign language that does not use the Roman/Latin alphabet
- Considerations for students who are blind or visually impaired in selecting different types of course structures, self-learning modules and foreign language programs overseas.
This information is part of a larger "Foreign Languages and Students with Learning, Vision and Hearing Disabilities" resource sheet online at: http://www.miusa.org/ncde/tipsheets/foreignlang.
WGBH Access Division Creates "CC for Flash" to Simplify Captioning for Adobe Flash Technology
March 8, 2007
Accessibility and Search Enhanced by Free Tool; Easy-to-Embed Flash-Based-Media Player also Available
Use of AdobeR FlashR technology to add dynamic and engaging video content to Web sites is growing exponentially. With WGBH's new solution, developers are able to more easily add captions in Flash. Now, millions of users who are deaf or hard of hearing are better able to experience Web-based video in Flash and search engines are able to capitalize on captions as search metadata for SWF content.
WGBH, Boston's public broadcaster and a decades-long pioneer in developing access solutions to media for audiences with disabilities has created a component for Flash, CC for Flash, that can be authored into any SWF file for playback in Adobe Flash Player. The component is easy to use, and freely available from the NCAM Web site at http://ncam.wgbh.org/webaccess/ccforflash.
Funding for development of CC for Flash was provided by a grant to WGBH's Carl and Ruth Shapiro Family National Center for Accessible Media (NCAM) from the NEC Foundation of America, with additional support provided by Yahoo!
CC for Flash: The Details
- Uses external files produced in the W3C's Distribution Format Exchange Profile (DFXP) of the Timed-Text Authoring Format.
- Imports existing formats such as Apple QuickTime's QTtext, with support for Microsoft's SAMI format soon to follow.
- Exposes many of its internal functions through ActionScriptTM language so that the author can control and customize many of the features.
- Can play back caption metadata that has been embedded in the video by tools such as Captionate.
- Can be linked to any video playback components in Flash or directly to Netstream objects in the SWF of the FLV file.
- Allows the author to set the caption display box coordinates and default text attributes, like background color, text foreground color, font face and size, opacity, etc., at authoring time. At playback time, any text attributes that are explicitly defined in the external caption file will override the defaults.
- Captions can be added after the video content in Flash is posted, allowing for flexibility across production and distribution environments.
- Allows captions to be searched.
- Comes with an optional player, ccPlayer for Flash, which allows those unfamiliar with Flash programming to embed video content in Flash into a Web page with minimal effort.
- Is compatible with Flash MX2004 (7) and 8 authoring packages.
A Best Friend for CC for Flash: MAGpie
MAGpie, NCAM's free do-it-yourself captioning and description application allows developers to create captions once, and then to output those captions in multiple formats, including QuickTime, Windows Media, and Real.
NCAM has now added the W3C's new timed-text format, the Distribution Format Exchange Profile (DFXP), to MAGpie's caption export options. MAGpie version 2.0.2 is the only tool available today for authoring DFXP caption files. With MAGpie and CC for Flash, it's now easier than ever to provide captions for Flash Player compatible video content.
WGBH's Media Access Group can also provide Flash caption authoring services for long-form content not easily handled by MAGpie, and for producers who would rather outsource their captioning work. WGBH's Media Access Group, since 1972 the leader in providing captioning and description to the broadcast, film, educational and online media worlds, is now the first organization that can provide DFXP captions for Flash presentations.
About NCAM and WGBH
The Carl and Ruth Shapiro Family National Center for Accessible Media at WGBH is a research, development and advocacy entity that works to make existing and emerging technologies accessible to all audiences. NCAM is part of the Media Access Group at WGBH, which also includes The Caption Center (est. 1972), and Descriptive Video ServiceR (est. 1990). For more information, visit http://access.wgbh.org.
WGBH Boston is America's preeminent public broadcasting producer, the source of fully one-third of PBS's prime-time lineup, along with some of public television's best-known lifestyle shows and children's programs and many public radio favorites. WGBH is the number one producer of Web sites on pbs.org, one of the most trafficked dot-org Web sites in the world. For more information, visit http://www.wgbh.org.
Adobe, ActionScript and Flash are either trademarks or registered trademarks of Adobe Systems Incorporated in the United States and/or other countries.
phone: 617 300-3700 voice
617 300-2489 TTY
Summer in Costa Rica: Mobility International USA (MIUSA) sponsors "Youth Leadership and Cross-Cultural Perspectives on Disability Rights Exchange Program." 16 days in San Jose, Costa Rica.
Spending Summer Days in San Jose – Young People with Disabilities Invited to Apply for Program to Costa Rica!
Deadline to apply: March 2, 2007 or as space permits. Applications available at www.miusa.org.
Surrounded by an evening feast of rice, pinto beans, chicken, fried plantains, and bananas, Debbie Buhler and her host sister gesture back and forth, adding in a mixture of American and Costa Rican signs. Debbie, a deaf student from Montana, is on the Mobility International USA “Youth Leadership and Cross-Cultural Perspectives on Disability Rights Exchange Program” for 16 days in San Jose, Costa Rica.
During the warm summer days, 12 young people with disabilities from the United States are busy soaking up the local culture, learning new languages and taking part in discussions on disability rights and leadership with Costa Rican disability organizations.
“The Costa Ricans desire to improve life for those with disabilities rouses our group and inspires us to work harder in our own lives,” says Sarah Snyder, a wheelchair user from Missouri who listens intently during a wheelchair workshop about a Costa Rican woman who laid in bed for 14 years without access to a wheelchair. “We hear the cry of these groups who say these problems have to stop.”
Mobility International USA (MIUSA), a non-profit organization established in 1981, is dedicated to empowering people with disabilities through participation in international exchange programs, and collaborates with disability-led organizations in Costa Rica who are committed to similar change. The program not only attracts young adults with a wide variety of disabilities, but the group also represents diverse cultural backgrounds.
“When I first met my host mother – a wife, mother of two and school counselor – I knew immediately that she was a strong woman and a unique, beautiful person. Many nights we stay up laughing and talking about our experiences growing up with a disability and comparing life in the U.S. and Costa Rica,” says Andrea Siow, a program participant with Hopi heritage. “My host mother said she is very proud to have me in her home and that I change her perception of America and native peoples in particular. Her energy touches everything and everyone around her. I will never forget these mornings when she wheels down the hallway, singing and checking on each of her children – of which I am now one.”
This summer young people with disabilities will travel abroad again to Costa Rica between June 20 and July 5. But, to be part of the 2007 group, applications are due March 2. “Photographs can’t do it justice,” says Sarah about a field trip to the Costa Rican countryside. “You have to actually take the path up the mountain, feel the cool, dampness of the air, smell the tropical greenery and breathe in the whole atmosphere.”
This opportunity provides a good first step for those with no overseas travel experience but who have international interests. MIUSA removes barriers that may make some people with disabilities initially hesitant to travel abroad.
“We provide American Sign Language interpretation on the program and materials in alternative formats. Other accessibility arrangements, such as personal assistants, will be negotiated to ensure full participation,” says Jena Price, the MIUSA Program Specialist who will lead the group abroad.
And money should not be a barrier either, since MIUSA offers generous partial scholarships thanks to the New York Community Trust, DeWitt Wallace/Youth Travel Enrichment Fund. The only restrictions are that everyone must be a U.S. citizen between 18 to 24 years old.
It’s a Friday night near the end of the program, and Debbie relishes in being surrounded by over 100 people signing in the warm night air. LESCO, the Costa Rican sign language, is different than American Sign Language, but Debbie says, “I understand most of the people I sign with by watching their signs, body language and gestures. I’m learning that all it takes is patience and openness to develop lasting friendships with Costa Ricans.”
To learn more about Costa Rica and disability issues, visit the National Clearinghouse on Disability and Exchange’s “Featured Country: Costa Rica” page at http://www.miusa.org/ncde/intlopportunities/costa_rica.
request an application, email firstname.lastname@example.org, call
541-343-1284 (tel/tty) or download it online at: http://www.miusa.org/exchange/costarica07/index_html.
Applications are due by March 2, 2007, and late applications are considered only if space remains available.
WGBH’s Media Access Group’s Descriptive Video Service Releases Audio Described Version of Masterpiece Theatre’s The Wind in the Willows.
Ladies and Gentleman, Boys and Girls... An Audio Described Stream of Masterpiece Theatre's The Wind in the Willows
A new audio described adaptation of Kenneth Grahame's classic story The Wind in the Willows, which aired on PBS stations on Sunday evening, is now available online. As is the case with all Masterpiece Theatre productions, this program was described by WGBH's Media Access Group. However, for this program, WGBH, producer of Masterpiece Theatre, sought and received the rights to stream the audio described version (no video) on the program's Web site. Due to rights restrictions, this content is only available online in the United States, its territories, possessions, and commonwealths.
Here is the link to the program's site, and to the streaming audio files:
(link to Video Description)
Here is a taste of the description from the opening sequence:
Sniffing the air, Mole lifts he gaze to a hole the missing roots left in the ceiling. Sunshine streams in from the blue sky above. Mole steps into the light, and breathes in. With his hairy, clawed hands, he digs himself out of the burrow. Resting on a molehill, he squints in the bright sunlight. "Ah." His surroundings come into focus: lush trees border a sprawling field of yellow and purple wildflowers.
"My oh my." Mole inhales deeply, then looks out at the range of distant hills behind him. "Oh!" He scratches his shaggy dark hair, then climbs out of the molehill. With butterflies flying overhead, he starts across the field, and reaches up toward the bright blue sky.
(Music swells) A title appears: "Kenneth Grahame's The Wind in the Willows."
The idea that described audio could be used as "car movies" or for many other uses by sighted audiences beyond the traditional audience's usage is exciting and would spur, we all hope, a growth in the overall availability of the service. Those who are deaf or hard of hearing remember the big jump in captioning once hearing audiences and producers discovered the use of that service in loud environments such as airports and gyms, and now for for search capability in online video.