News Archive

National Federation of the Blind Announces 2016 Dr. Jacob Bolotin Awards

The National Federation of the Blind (NFB) announced that applications are now being accepted for the 2016 Dr. Jacob Bolotin Award Program. Each year the NFB presents cash awards to individuals and organizations that have demonstrated exemplary leadership and extraordinary accomplishments in improving the lives of blind people in the United States.


Dr. Jacob Bolotin was a blind physician who lived and practiced in Chicago in the early twentieth century. He was widely known and respected in Chicago and throughout the Midwest during his career, which spanned the period from 1912 until his death at the age of thirty-six in 1924. He was particularly recognized for his expertise on diseases of the heart and lungs. Bolotin used his public speaking engagements to advocate for the employment of the blind and their full integration into society.


More information is provided on the National Federation of the Blind website.

The European Commission Proposes a European Accessibility Act

The proposed European Accessibility Act will set common accessibility requirements for key products and services that will help people with disabilities at EU level to participate fully in society.

The products and services covered have been carefully selected in consultation with citizens, civil society organizations and businesses. They include:

  • ATMs and banking services
  • personal computers
  • telephones and TV equipment
  • telephony and audiovisual services
  • transport
  • e-books and e-commerce.

The proposal for a Directive aims to improve the internal market, making it easier for companies to provide accessible products and services across borders. Common accessibility requirements will also apply in the frame of EU procurement rules and for the use of EU funds. The initiative is expected to stimulate innovation and broaden the offering of accessible products and services for the approximately 80 million persons with disabilities in the EU. More information is provided on the European Commission website.

December 3rd: The International Day of Persons with Disabilities

The International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) has been commemorated since 1992 to promote awareness and mobilize support for critical issues relating to the inclusion of persons with disabilities in society and development. This day works to promote action to raise awareness about disability issues and draw attention to the benefits of an inclusive and accessible society for all.


Aligned with this goal, for almost 20 years, the DAISY Consortium has helped readers around the globe by developing and maintaining accessible standards providing access to information for all and offering a rich reading experience. We will continue to advocate for equal access to information and we support the ratification of Marrakesh Treaty. With recent ratifications by the Republic of Korea on October 8th and by Mongolia on September 23rd, the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired, or Otherwise Print Disabled (MVT), is moving closer towards the 20 signatories required for its entry into force. The MVT was adopted by Member States of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) on June 27th, 2013.


To-date, the Treaty has been by ratified by eleven countries including El Salvador, India, Mali, Paraguay, the United Arab Emirates, Uruguay, Argentina and Singapore, Mexico, Mongolia and the Republic of Korea.


For further information on the MVT and its status of ratification please go to: The World Blind Union provides a detailed summary of the Treaty on their website. The United Nations Development Program joined forces with the World Blind Union to prepare a new report aimed at facilitating Asia-Pacific countries’ ratification.

Accessible Books Consortium (ABC) International Excellence Award

The ABC is now inviting nominations for the 2016 Accessible Books Consortium International Excellence Award for Accessible Publishing. This award recognizes outstanding leadership and achievements in advancing the accessibility of commercial e-books or other digital publications for persons who have print disabilities.


Two awards will be presented, one to a publisher and one for an initiative. In making its final decision, the selection panel (comprised of various organizations working in the field of accessibility) will consider the extent to which the following elements are present in each

nominee’ s work:

  • an organization-wide commitment to making content available in accessible formats
  • accessibility standards built into production systems to make books accessible on, or close to, publication date
  • collaboration with partners in the supply chain to ensure that accessibility is maintained in delivering the product to the print disabled end- user
  • innovative practices established to advance the accessibility of e-books and digital publications for persons who are print disabled


You may nominate either your own organization/company or a third party anywhere in the world, and ABC encourages nominations of companies, organizations or individuals based in developing or least developed countries. The two awardees will be presented with trophies at the annual awards ceremony held at the London Book Fair on Tuesday, April 12, 2016.


Please submit your application on or before January 16, 2016 through the London Book Fair website.

Guidelines for Library Services to Persons with Dyslexia: Best Practices

The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) is the leading international body representing the interests of library and information services and their users. It is the global voice of the library and information profession.


Their Section for Library Services to People with Special Needs (LSN) provides an international forum for the discussion of ideas, sharing of experiences and development of tools designed to promote and improve the effectiveness of library and information services to special needs groups, and the promotion of national and international cooperation at all levels.


Guidelines for Library Services to Persons with Dyslexia - Best Practices is a great resource that can inspire all people working with people who have special needs. Go to the IFLA website to access examples of libraries and groups serving these audiences.

DIAGRAM Center: Complex Image Accessibility

Sue-Ann Ma is a Product Manager at the DIAGRAM Center, a research and development hub launched by Benetech and funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs. Sue-Ann's PowerPoint presentation and November 6th session recording are now available on the Montana Accessibility Interest Group website. Sue-Ann gave a highly informative presentation on complex image accessibility. More information and link to her presentation are provided on the Montana Accessibility Interest Group website.

DIAGRAM Center: Reading Technology Survey 2015

The DIAGRAM Center is conducting a short survey to track trends in how people with print disabilities obtain and access reading materials. Your answers will help focus their research and development efforts on the most widely used reading tools and digital reading materials. This is a follow up to a similar survey that was conducted in 2012.


The survey is designed to take no more than 15 minutes and asks questions about four topics: reading devices, assistive technology, reading materials, and images.


If you are a parent, teacher or caregiver entering responses on behalf of someone else, please be sure to answer the demographic questions as that person. For example, if you are answering the survey on behalf of a child, please answer the demographic questions as the child, not yourself.


This survey is anonymous - your name and e-mail address will not be linked to your responses. Access the Reading Technology Survey now and thank you for your participation.

The European Digital Reading Laboratory appoints Laurent Le Meur as its CTO

The European Digital Reading Laboratory (EDRLab), established to host Readium Europe and IDPF Europe operations, has appointed Laurent Le Meur as its founding CTO. Laurent will take overall responsibility for day-to-day operations of the Lab. He will also set strategic direction in coordinating with Readium Foundation, IDPF and other stakeholders in the global EPUB platform.


In addition, Cyril Labordrie has been nominated as the EPUB evangelist for IDPF Europe and Readium Europe. Cyril brings a strong background in software and video game development, and project management.


"EDRLAB Board and I are very pleased to welcome Laurent and Cyril." said Pierre Danet, President, EDRLab, Board member, Readium Foundation and IDPF, and Director Innovation and Digital Technology, Hachette-Livre Group. " With their arrival and engagement we're now advancing our planning in order to actively participate in the creation of new services around the EPUB open standard and Readium open source software, in a perfect coordination and deep partnership with Readium Foundation and IDPF". More information is provided on the Readium website.


Collaboration along with access to information and knowledge provide powerful tools for promoting world peace when tragic events affecting publishing communities take place. The DAISY Consortium and IDPF support this wholeheartedly through our mission to increase access to information and content on a global basis by fostering open standards and working together.

Shinano Kenshi Launches PLEXTALK™ Linio Pocket in the US

Shinano Kenshi Corporation (SKC-North America) has announced the launch of the PLEXTALK™ Linio Pocket, the latest product from the company's popular and successful line of PLEXTALK™ healthcare and educational products that include the PTN2, PTR2 and PTP1/Pocket.


The PLEXTALK™ Linio Pocket is a lightweight, pocket-sized, DAISY-compliant player/recorder that offers mobility and ease of use by nearly anyone in business, education, and leisure. It comes with features that support accessibility for those who are visually impaired or have learning difficulties.


The PLEXTALK™ Linio Pocket features the high-quality Acapela text-to-speech engine allowing users to select from a list of customizable natural sounding narration voices for reading documents and other text-to-speech data. The embedded PLEXVoice Technology guarantees optimal sound quality with adjustable play back speeds. And the PLEXTALK ™ Linio Pocket comes with 8GB of internal memory allowing it to have an enhanced playback function (7.2GB user area). It also includes a 4GB SD card.


"Shinano Kenshi Corporation is very excited to release the Linio Pocket into the U.S. market,” said Deana Valdez, Sales and Marketing Manager, PLEXTALK™. “We feel it is a great compliment to the rest of the PLEXTALK™ product line.”


PLEXTALK™ Linio Pocket features include:


  • High-Quality Acapela text-to-speech engine that delivers natural sounding narration voices when reading documents.
  • PLEXVoice Technology that guarantees optimal sound quality in lower and higher speeds. Speed can be adjusted to play back from 0.5 to 3 times that of normal speed. Tone is changeable from -6 to +6.
  • 8GB internal memory (7.2GB user area).
  • Comes bundled with 4GB SD card (recognizes up to 32 GB).
  • Advanced audio calendar enables you to schedule and manage tasks.
  • Set reminders so you can ensure your peace of mind.
  • Wake up with the PLEXTALK™ Linio Pocket using the alarm function.

More information will be soon added to the Shinano Kenshi / PLEXTALK website.

Take Part 2016 conference: Human perspectives on inclusive publishing

The Swedish Agency for Accessible Media (MTM) has drawn interesting & engaging speakers for their conference Take Part 2016: Human Perspectives on Inclusive Publishing (May 16-18, 2016 in Stockholm). 

Four tracks are as follows:

  • Publishers and vendors doing the right thing!
  • Reaching out, attracting and keeping users active
  • The inclusive e-book ecosystem
  • Into the hands of readers

More information is provided on the Take Part 2016 conference website at:


This is a great opportunity to share your knowledge and generate new ideas and initiatives.

EpubCheck 4.0.1 Now Available

EpubCheck 4.0.1 is a maintenance release of the EPUB conformance checker.


This release fixes a few issues that caused EpubCheck to erroneously report warnings or errors when checking valid EPUB files.


It deprecates the aria-describedat attribute (now removed from ARIA 1.1) and includes updated localization of error messages in Dutch, French, German, Japanese, and Spanish. More information is provided on GitHub.

Africa Forum: Supporting visually impaired students in Africa

DAISY Consortium trainers provide Inclusive Publishing Training and Consulting in different locations.


Within the framework of UNESCO’s support to digital inclusion in Africa, a series of trainings on accessible publishing and digital inclusion were organized in cooperation with DAISY Consortium at the 6th Africa Forum in Uganda (Oct. 4-8, 2015). The workshops on web accessibility and inclusive publishing brought together 51 participants from Burkina Faso, Malawi, Morocco, Nigeria, South Africa, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.


“I am working for a national regulator, and this training helped me to formulate policies and procedures to improve accessibility of government websites,” said one of the participants. Another attendee stated that the training has helped him identify additional solutions for the visually impaired in web design. Curriculum developers highlighted that the knowledge they gained will help develop reading materials that are accessible for the visually impaired. More information is provided on the UNESCO website.

DIAGRAM Center Extended Through 2020 with Expanded Mission

Benetech announced that the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs has extended its support for DIAGRAM Center, a Benetech Global Literacy initiative with an expanded charter. Through DIAGRAM Center +, Benetech will build upon the  foundation laid by DIAGRAM’s work over the past five years on image and math accessibility. In addition to addressing the needs of students with print disabilities such as blindness and dyslexia, DIAGRAM Center + broadens its scope to include students with autism spectrum disorders, hearing impairments, intellectual disabilities, and other disabilities, as well as students with any disabilities who are also English language learners.


“We are delighted that Benetech and the DIAGRAM Center community members and partners will be able to extend our impact to reach so many more students with diverse needs,” said Anh Bui, Vice President of Benetech Labs and Director of DIAGRAM Center +.


DIAGRAM Center + launched on September 1, 2015 with Benetech’s partner on the award, the U.S. Fund for DAISY, and will extend through August 2020. Projects are planned to cover a wide range of research and development with many partners, including prototyping an accessible image repository that includes multimedia content, piloting of a program to customize and deliver educational 3D models, development of a tool to help identify assistive technologies that read MathML, and much more. More information is provided on the Benetech website.

ABC at the Africa Forum: Support Available for Educational Accessibility Projects

The 6th Africa Forum is underway from October 4-8, 2015 in Kampala, Uganda. More than 400 delegates from around the world are attending the key international event, including the Accessible Books Consortium (ABC). Among other things, advocates are discussing how to support implementation of the new 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted at the United Nations in New York last month.


Access to information, especially educational materials, has emerged as one of the key themes of the conference. At a seminar on education and technology held on October 6, there was a call for the better use of low-cost accessible technology in schools as well as improved training and support to allow for access by students to curriculum materials.

Best practices and the work of ABC

Stephen King, a member of the ABC Board, and Immediate Past President of the DAISY Consortium, is sharing with delegates on how ABC is helping bring books in accessible formats (i.e., braille, audio and large print) to people around the world who are visually-impaired. He will also speak about the accessibility practices being adopted by leading publishers and will encourage government agencies to provide accessible textbooks to students who are visually impaired. Interest has been demonstrated to create networks of libraries in Africa through the sharing of collections of accessible books, technology and infrastructure.


As a result of discussions held at the Africa Forum on the poor availability of accessible educational materials, the ABC Consortium is now inviting proposals from organizations working on this problem.


More information is provided on the Accessible Books Consortium website.

Let’s Raise Awareness of Dyslexia and Learning Disabilities in October

2.9 million children in the U.S. have a learning disability. One in five students has either learning or attention issues affecting reading, writing, math, or organizational skills. According to the National Center for Learning Disabilities, one out of every ten students in the U.S. is dyslexic, and eighty percent of children placed in special education with a learning disability are dyslexic.


In October, Bookshare (Full Member of the DAISY Consortium) is supporting Dyslexia Awareness Month and Learning Disabilities Awareness Month. They put a spotlight on learning disabilities such as dyslexia, as well as resources like Bookshare. Throughout the month, watch for inspiring stories of people with dyslexia, and help raise awareness and educate others. For more information, please visit the Bookshare blog.

Free Webinar [Oct.22]: Architecting Content Models & Workflow Processes

Title: Content Wants to be Found: Architecting Content Models & Workflow Processes to Support Product Strategy.


Date & Time: Oct. 22nd at 2pm ET.

Speakers: George Kerscher, President, IDPF, Secretary-General, DAISY Consortium; Steven Heffner, Director of Product Strategy, Wolters Kluwer Health; Kevin Burns, Senior VP, Content Solutions, Cenveo.


Publishing experts will share insights on:

  • The difference between good and valid XML
  • Why content accessibility mandates should not be an afterthought
  • Designing content architecture that meets the demands of a multi-platform, multi-device world
  • Why filtered search is past its prime and how contextual and behavioral search will transform content discoverability

Register online.

EPUB Working Group and Readium Meetings in New York

The IDPF EPUB Working Group is holding a face-to-face meeting at the Google offices in New York City on October 8th and 9th. The purpose of this meeting is to work on identified issues and solution proposals relating to the EPUB 3.1 revision., who are developing open source software for the EPUB Platform, will be holding meetings on October 7th and the afternoon of October 9th. More information is available on the Readium website.

International Literacy Day 2015: Literacy and Sustainable Societies

As in previous years, International Literacy Day 2015 will be celebrated worldwide, bringing together governments, NGOs, the private sectors, communities, teachers, learners and experts. The main global celebration will take place at UNESCO Headquarters, where a two-day event on Literacy and Sustainable Societies (September 8-9, 2015) is organized.


At the opening ceremony Mr. Qian Tang, Assistant Director-General for Education, UNESCO emphasized that September 8th is a day to: “renew our commitment to literacy as a human right which empowers people and transforms societies”.  He said: “Without literacy, an equitable and sustainable society cannot be realised.”  


The audience heard that despite progress made worldwide since 2000 when the Education for All (EFA) and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were adopted, there are still 757 million adults worldwide who lack basic literacy skills, and that two thirds of them are women (UNESCO Institute for Statistics data). More information is provided on the UNESCO website.


The theme of this year’s event encourages research and exploration of how literacy reinforces the main pillars of sustainable development – economic growth, social development and environmental protection.


The European Literacy Policy Network (ELINET) supports Literacy Week 2015, which raises awareness for low literacy throughout Europe, also starting today, and running until September 17th, 2015. Detailed information is available on the ELINET website.


On the occasion of International Literacy Day, DAISY Consortium Friend HumanWare shared an inspiring success story on the importance of awareness and support for Braille Literacy among children and adults who are blind. Read this story, published in the HumanWare newsletter online.


The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) together with the International Publishers Association (IPA), the International Authors Forum (IAF) and the Reading & Writing Foundation (RWF) has put together a joint statement on literacy and reading which calls on United Nations Member States to support the Sustainable Development Goals by implementing coherent and appropriately resourced national comprehensive literacy strategies. More information is provided on the IFLA website.

The W3C Digital Publishing Interest Group Has Been Rechartered

The Digital Publishing Interest Group’s charter has been renewed as of September 1st, 2015. The new charter follows the previous charter: building bridges between the technical needs of the Digital Publishing Community and the development of the Open Web Platform. The new charter also adopts, as a general vision for the future, the approach described in a separate white paper Advancing Portable Documents for the Open Web Platform: EPUB+WEB, leading to the mission statement of the group:


The mission of the Digital Publishing Interest Group is to provide a technical forum for experts in the digital publishing ecosystem to hold discussions and recommend solutions regarding a future vision of Digital Publishing. The main message of that vision is that the current format- and workflow-level separation between offline/portable and online document publishing should be diminished to zero. The Interest Group will provide technical direction, identify technical issues, and outline prototype solutions for relevant Working Groups of the W3C to finalize as Web standards. This group is not chartered to publish Recommendations; instead, the goal is to cooperate with the relevant W3C Working Groups to ensure that the requirements of this particular community are met.

The new charter extends the Interest Group until October 2017. The group is co-chaired by Tzviya Siegman (John Wiley & Sons, Inc.) and Markus Gylling (DAISY Consortium and IDPF). More information is provided on the W3C blog.

DAISY Brand Perception Survey

Thank you for taking the time to complete the DAISY Brand Perception Survey. The survey should take no longer than 6 minutes to complete.


Our 2015 Survey consists of demographic-based questions and brand awareness questions. Please complete the survey to the best of your abilities. This survey is hosted by SurveyGizmo at and will stay open until September 15th, 2015.

BISG's Industry Champion Award Shortlist Announced

The Book Industry Study Group's (BISG's) Industry Champion Award recognizes an individual whose efforts have gone above the requirements of his or her position to advance the publishing industry while embracing BISG's mission. Congratulations to the four people shortlisted for this award!

They are:

  • Peter Balis, VP & Director, Corporate Development, Wiley
  • Graham Bell, Executive Director, EDItEUR
  • Patricia Payton, Senior Manager of Publisher Relations and Content Development, Bowker
  • Fran Toolan, "Chief Igniter" and CEO, Firebrand Technologies

Recipients will be announced at BISG's Annual Meeting of Members on September 18, 2015 in New York City.


BISG's annual awards in four categories recognize extraordinary achievement and service in the publishing industry. More information is provided on the BISG website.

Readium Foundation To Open European Headquarters in Paris

The Readium Foundation ( will later this year formally launch a new European headquarters in Paris, hosted by a newly created European Digital Reading Lab (EDRL). Readium Europe will be co-located with European headquarters for the affiliated International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF).


EDRL has been formed with the support of the French government and industry stakeholders, with 1.5 million Euros of incremental funding already committed. The overall goal of the initiative is to promote EPUB and Web technologies for publishing, fostering open standards and open source development in order to improve availability, accessibility, and interoperability of digital publications. The European Digital Reading Lab will be located in central Paris within the facilities of Cap Digital, an innovation and business accelerator dedicated to the development of the digital economy in France and the Paris region. EDRL has already begun to recruit key staff, beginning with its CTO. [Source:]

Access almost 200,000 Bookshare books through Dolphin Guide and SuperNova

For a limited time Bookshare UK, in collaboration with Dolphin, is offering a special membership price of just $25 for new users - that's about £16 for the whole year.


Bookshare online library offers a wide range of genres and subjects – both fictional and non-fictional – and downloads are unlimited.


Bookshare content is fully accessible via Dolphin Guide and SuperNova through the integrated Bookshelf tool at no extra cost. With Bookshelf users can access multiple online content providers from one place; making downloading and reading experience hassle free.


To take advantage of this offer:

    1. Visit
    2. Select “sign up today”, followed by ”individual account”
    3. Confirm that you can provide Proof of Disability
    4. Make sure you use promo code Dolphin2015 to receive the special pricing offer
    5. Submit Proof of Disability
    6. Email to submit a reduced payment request.

Your credit card provider will convert the dollar price to sterling based on the current exchange rate.

Once your account is active you can enjoy unlimited access to thousands of titles. Happy reading!

More information is provided on the Dolphin Computer Access website.

Braille Essay Contest, Cash Prizes

The Onkyo Corporation is again sponsoring a braille essay contest for people of all ages. Contest winners receive cash prizes valued from $500 to $2,000. Essays must be received by September 13.


The Onkyo Braille essay contest is being administered by the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) on behalf of the North America-Caribbean Region of the World Blind Union.


Essays must be written by contest participants, in English or their native language, in Braille on paper, and must be completely original in nature. Participants are also asked to email their essays in electronic format (such as Microsoft Word or something similar). Entries should be no fewer than 800 words and no more than 1,000 words in length. There will be two groups of competitors-one Junior group, aged 25 and under; and one Senior group, aged 26 and up, and prizes range from $500-$2,000.


Note that this year, the contest is running on a shorter timeline than previous years, so the time to begin writing is now! All essays must be received by September 13, 2015. In the US, they should be sent to the NFB, and in Canada, they should be sent to Braille Literacy Canada; the contacts are listed on the application at the link below.


Essay topics:

  1. How do you acquire knowledge and information through Braille or audio devices? (Illustrate with some interesting personal stories/episodes.)
  2. How can blind persons become independent by learning Braille or music?
  3. Individual concept about world peace from the viewpoint of persons with disabilities.

Visit for more information and an application.

2016 CSUN Conference: Journal and Pre-Conference Call Announcement

The Center on Disabilities at California State University, Northridge announced that the Scientific/Research Track Call for Papers for the 4th volume of the Journal of Technology and Persons with Disabilities opened August 10, 2015. Additionally, the Call for Pre-Conference Proposals is now open for those interested in proposing a full or half day pre-conference workshop. More information is provided on the CSUN 2016 website.

Free Webinar (August 11th): A Day in the Life of a Blaze ET User

When and where: Tuesday, August 11 @ 3:00 PM EDT at your desk.


Having easy access to both digital and printed text at the touch of a button can make a difference in the life of someone who’s blind. Presenters will show how Blaze ET can help match colors in the morning, listen to a downloaded book or podcast on commute to work, scan and read printed materials from coworkers at the office, record a meeting, save reminder memos, listen to favorite music, then scan and listen to personal mail. Register online.

Webinar (August 19th): EPUB 3 as the standard for accessible published materials

EPUB3: Marching to Replace PDF as the Standard for Accessible Published Materials

Date: Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Time: 11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. Eastern (UTC – 4 hours).


Speakers: George Kerscher, Secretary General of the DAISY Consortium and Senior Officer of Accessible Technology-Learning Ally; Becky Gibson, Senior Technical Staff Member, Accessibility, IBM.


Target Audience: Educators, authors, and corporate facilitators interested in learning more about EPUB and the options for using EPUB to create accessible materials.


Webinar fees: Member: $59; Non-member: $119. Join IAAP to receive the member rate. Register online.

BISG survey: Improving rights management

The Book Industry Study Group (BISG) is looking for input from anyone involved in rights and permissions departments, editorial, marketing, sales, or executive functions at publishing companies, agencies, and other service providers. Your feedback will help them determine whether there are industry-wide solutions that would improve rights processes and increase revenue for everyone involved.


Please take about 3 minutes to share your thoughts by completing a brief survey. The survey will remain open until August 19, 2015. Your answers will be kept confidential, and will provide invaluable direction on an initiative that may benefit everyone. Please email with questions. Thank you.

NFB Convention Highlights

The National Federation of the Blind has posted the NFB Convention Highlights. Access is provided to all convention sessions; including the Rhythm of the Movement segment with new NFB songs played by a full band, and President Riccobono's banquet speech "The Federation at Seventy-Five: The Determination of Value and the Reflection of Hope". Please go to

The 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act

On July 26, 1990, President George H.W. Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act. The ADA built on the 1973 Rehabilitation Act (prohibiting discrimination by programs receiving federal funding or support) and the 1975 special education law (providing funding to state educational agencies that provided comprehensive special education programming to all children with disabilities).


These three laws together provide comprehensive protection from discrimination on the basis of disability. The ADA covers most employers, state and local government programs, and private providers of accommodations used by the public. It prohibits discrimination and protects individuals with a range of impairments (mobility, sensory, learning disabilities, mental health, chronic disease) that affect them in carrying out life activities. A 2008 amendment clarified that coverage should be interpreted by the courts to be inclusive, so that those with diabetes, cancer, HIV, and other conditions are generally subject to the statutory protection.


Approximately 56.7 million Americans live with a disability. The ADA is intended to spread the costs and burdens of disability broadly to those in society who can reasonably absorb them. The ADA does this by not only prohibiting discrimination, but also requiring reasonable accommodations. Such accommodations include: design of physical space, interpreters for individuals with hearing impairments, allowing additional time for a college student with a learning disability to take an exam, and providing closed captioning for a movie for those with a hearing impairment. It also supports a person with a visual impairment who visits a website - webpages should be designed to allow reasonable access. More information is provided on the ADA website.


The Americans with Disabilities Act has made an impact, but barriers remain.