April - June 2011
Volume 5 Issue 3 

Welcome to the DBTAC: Great Lakes ADA Center's quarterly Accessible Technology Bulletin

Technology Trainings & Events
(Central Standard Time)

Four Part Series on Creating Accessible Forms
April 5,12,19, 26 2011 Tuesdays
1pm CST
While images without text descriptions are probably the major accessibility problem, Forms are another frequent feature that create severe problems for users with disabilities. Often they are created so they appear fine but fail to interact properly with adaptive computer applications. This series will explain and demonstrate how to create accessible forms using Word, PDF and HTML. Participants will be expected to put the skills provided in each presentation in practice before the next week's Webinar. The last Webinar will provide time for the instructor to give concrete, detailed help to participants who experience problems in applying these concepts. For more information go to: EASI Webinars at http://easi.cc/clinic.htm
Charting the Cs Cross Categorical Conference
April 10-12, 2011
Alexandria, MN
The Minnesota Assistive Technology LeadershipTeam is expands Charting the C's assistive technology conference to be cross categorical. Keynote speaker: Anindya "BAPIN" Bhattacharyya. For more information go to:www.lcsc.org at http://www.lcsc.org/
You Can't Buy Love: But You Can Buy Accessibility
April 12, 2011
2:30- 4:00pm CST
Legal requirements are clear - students with disabilities have the same civil right to a free and public education as all other students. Those rights are often overlooked, however, when schools purchase electronic curriculum products. The buck stops at procurement. Learn purchasing practices that help your school ensure access to the general curriculum for all students as more learning opportunities move to electronic formats. There is a fee. For more information go to:www.atia.org
Multiple Perspectives On Access, Inclusion & Disability
May 4 - 5 , 2011
Columbus, OH
This conference, sponsored by Ohio State University, offers a unique opportunity for professionals, scholars and advocates to discuss the full spectrum of disability issues and experiences. There is special pre-conference and concurrent session track dedicated to assistive technology. Register at: mpconference.osu.edu/
Creating Accessible Web Forms Course
May 10 - June 2, 2011
Jon Gunderson, University of Illinois is the instructor for this course. The course is designed for web developers interested in learning about the disability access issues faced by people with disabilities in using the web and how web forms can be designed to be accessible to people with disabilities. Participants should be familiar with HTML coding and the form elements. Knowledge of basic CSS techniques and javascripting will be helpful, but not a required part of the course. For more information go to: courses.cita.uiuc.edu/formsonline/ at http://courses.cita.uiuc.edu/formsonline/
Web Accessibility Training
May 25 - 26, 2011
Logan, UT
This hands-on training session, sponsored by Webaim, will teach basic web accessibility principles and to advanced accessibility techniques. For more information: webaim.org/training/
Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America (RESNA) Annual Conference
June 5 - 8, 2011
Toronto, Canada
If you are working in the field of assistive technology or rehabilitation engineering, studying or just interested in the field, then this is the conference for you! You will be able to learn about the latest advances in technology solutions for persons with disability and network with others with similar interests while earning continuing education credit. For more information: resna.org/conference/annual-resna-conference

Attend the 2011 Digital Accessibility Expo

The University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) is excited to announce the 3nd Annual Digital Accessibility Expo to be held on Monday, April 11, 2011 from 8:45 am to 4:15 pm at the UIC Forum (on the corner of Roosevelt Road and Halsted Street) in Chicago, Illinois. This event is open to the public.

The Digital Accessibility Expo focuses on improving the access to digital materials both for people with disabilities and for those without. Information and instructional materials that are developed with accessibility in mind are universally designed for everyone to access.

The national keynote speakers include Daniel Hubble from Microsoft and Daniel Goldstein with the National Federation of the Blind.

An exhibit hall will demonstrate assistive technology and accessible information technology along with providing training opportunities on how digital information can be developed accessibly. The UIC Campus will demonstrate current resources available that promote accessible information technology and assistive technology. For more information and to register visit dae.uic.edu

Are Google Apps Accessible?

Many educational institutions utilize Google Apps for Education. Google Apps for Education -offers schools a hosted solution for their email, calendar, and chat. Additionally, you can complement the core suite with access to other Google applications and integrate with the existing IT system. All for free, which is very appealing for educational institutions in this time of shrinking budgets!

However, many individuals with disabilities contend that Google Apps is not accessible and contains barriers for people using various assistive technologies. In fact, The National Federation for the Blind on March requested that the Department of Justice investigate Google for what it considers to be the discriminatory nature of its Google Apps product, after New York University and Northwestern University adopted Google Apps for Education as their main e-mail system.

In response to accessibility concerns Google has stated a commitment to continue addressing accessibility. Google has features such as captions on YouTube, WalkyTalky, and Intersection (for Google Map accessibility), with accessibility information for users, developers, and publishers. Google Accessibility webpage was recently updated for easier use and commenting.

The Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights has clarified that institutions of higher education need to make their electronic information systems accessible, stating "Requiring use of an emerging technology in a classroom environment when the technology is inaccessible to an entire population of individuals with disabilities - individuals with visual disabilities - is discrimination prohibited by the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504) unless those individuals are provided accommodations or modifications that permit them to receive all the educational benefits provided by the technology in an equally effective and equally integrated manner." (Dear Colleague Letter June 29, 2010) In addition, state laws on accessibility may apply to Institutions of Higher Education. For example in Illinois, the Illinois Information Technology Accessibility Act (IITAA) requires Illinois universities to ensure that their web sites and information technologies are accessible to people with disabilities.

Join Us for the Next Accessible Technology Webinar on May 10, 2011

The Accessible Technology Webinar series is hosted and coordinated by the DBTAC - Great Lakes ADA Center and the DBTAC-Pacific ADA Center on behalf of the ADA National Network.

The ADA National Network provides comprehensive services for up-to-date information, consultation, referrals, resources, and training on the Americans with Disabilities Act for businesses, employers, governmental entities, service providers and individuals with disabilities.

Next Session: May 10, 2011 1:00 - 2:30pm CST

How A Firm Can Differentiated Itself By Hiring Technologist With Disabilities with speaker Debra Ruh, Founder and CEO of TechAccess

Picture of Debra Ruh
Debra Ruh
Hiring people with disabilities should be your company's newest strategy to differentiate in a competitive global market. This session will discuss some HR functions and how these processes need to be made accessible and usable. It will also discuss telework, social media and other strategies to support efforts and include employees globally.

The series is free, but participants must pre-register at www.ada-audio.org.

Future sessions:

  • July 12, 2011 - How To Create Accessible Video with speaker Terrill Thompson, Technology Accessibility Specialist with the University of Washington
  • September 13, 2011 - Introduction to Mobile Computing, speaker TBD.

QIAT-VR Wiki and Survey Available

The Quality Indicators in Assistive Technology in Vocational Rehabilitation is a project we are conducting in collaboration with the Southwest ADA Center. For several years, this national collaborative has worked with organizations, services providers, family members, and other professionals to develop indicators for quality service of assistive technology and self-assessment matrices for service delivery programs.

The QIAT-VR project is based on the Quality Indicators for Assistive Technology in K-12 settings which began over 10 years ago as a grass roots collaborative. The K-12 indicators were developed at working summits, national conferences, and other events. They have been used by K-12 IEP teams to improve their efforts, by districts and states to define quality, and by researchers to examine efforts to meet Individual with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requirements for assistive technology. The indicators have given schools a uniform tool with which to evaluate and improve the various aspects of the assistive technology services they were providing. Schools self-evaluate using the matrix that accompanies the indicators and have a research-based rationale to develop effective and efficient plans to improve.

In Vocational Rehabilitation, the model of assistive technology delivery was analyzed to identify assistive technology practices that that result in the effective delivery of assistive technology to assist individuals with disabilities to achieve employment. Through an open-source and collaborative model, the project developed the following indicator areas, each with 5 - 7 specific indicators and supporting matrices for organizations to self-evaluate their and improved their process assistive technology service delivery.

The indicator areas for QIAT-VR are as follows:
  1. Consideration
  2. Assessment
  3. Including Assistive Technology in the Service Provision Plan
  4. Implementation
  5. Evaluation of Effectiveness
  6. Assistive Technology Transition
  7. Administrative Support
  8. Development and Training in Assistive Technology
  9. Consumer Self-Awareness and Self-Advocacy
1. Assistive technology devices and services are considered for all consumers, regardless of type or severity of disability.
Least Promising >>> Variations >>> Most Promising
1 2 3 4 5
AT is not considered for consumers with disabilities. AT is considered only for VR consumers only when identified by the consumer. AT is considered for consumers with visible or obvious disabilities only AT are considered most of the time for all consumers, regardless of the type or severity of disability AT is always considered for all consumers, regardless of the type or severity of disability

Get Involved!

We would like to invite you to participate and contribute to this effort. Please post comments and suggestions to the indicators and matrices at the wiki http://qiatvr.pbworks.com. In order to make comments, you need to create a free PBworks account or share your thoughts on our feedback survey, which is available without a PBworks account.


The Great Lakes ADA Center provides expert assistance via a national toll-free information line 800-949-4232 (V/TTY) or Online via Contact Us and presents customized trainings for employers, businesses, government, and individuals with disabilities regarding accessible technology and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990.

Great Lakes ADA and Accessible IT Center
University of Illinois at Chicago
Department of Disability and Human Development (MC 728)
1640 West Roosevelt Road, Room 405
Chicago, IL 60608-6904

Last Updated on:
Wed Jul 3, 2013