physical accessibility

Straw ban concerns disability community

Starbucks’ announcement that it will eliminate plastic straws from its stores worldwide by 2020 concerns some in the disabled community. The company says it hopes the ban will to reduce environmental pollution. However, numerous disability advocates spoke out saying the ban could be discriminating.
Why People With Disabilities Want Bans On Plastic Straws To Be More Flexible

Tight cluster of brightly colored straws
As cities and companies — including Starbucks — move to oust straws in a bid to reduce pollution, people with disabilities say they’re losing access to a necessary, lifesaving tool.

Medical schools heighten focus on undergraduate accessibility

The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) published a report today outlining common barriers to medical education faced by med school students with disabilities. The research on this topic was prompted by the AAMC‘s desire to promote diversity among its student, faculty and professional membership, and facilitate the standardization of accommodations. The report suggests that, although more medical school students are self-identifying as having disabilities, a culture of competition still promotes stigma around disability. Philadelphia public radio’s (WHYY) Elana Gordon wrote a short article summarizing the AAMC report and the responses it prompted from disability rights advocates.

Disabled Man Crawls Onto Plane After Airline Tries to Prevent Boarding

NY Times reports Hideto Kijima, a disabled rights activist who is partly paralyzed, said he was told by staff of a Japanese airline that he could not board because the small plane was not wheel-chair accessible. The episode has drawn significant public attention and the airline, Vanilla Air, has since apologized. Read more.

Fantasy Conventions Present Little Accessibility for Those With Disabilities

Professionals in the fantasy convention world are signing a pledge to refrain from attending the events until accessibility is taken more seriously by organizers. In an article from io9, some panelists at these conventions recount experiences where stages did not have ramps for those using wheelchairs. Read more

Wheelchair Facts, Numbers and Figures [Infographic]

KD Smart Chair, a manufacturer of power wheelchairs, recently released an infographic that visualizes the facts, numbers and figures about the wheelchair industry. The infographic provides some interesting background on the history and use of wheelchairs in the U.S. and around the world. http://kdsmartchair.com/blogs/news/18706123-wheelchair-facts-numbers-and-figures-infographic

The New York Times

A Moving Glass Box Conquers Uneven Terrain at a Subway Station

A new elevator at an above-ground New York City subway station is poised to “open transportation to the city,” according to an official with the advocacy group Disability in Action. The ribbon was cut at the elevator on the Dyckman Street station in Upper Manhattan last week. Edith Prentiss with Disability in Action said the newly accessible stop gives riders in wheelchairs access to “the entire eastern side of Washington Heights and Inwood.” Read more.