(Photo Courtesy of Curbed Boston)
Your weekly roundup of access, inclusions, and disabilities in the news.
The MBTA, in collaboration with Somerville non-profit Door2Door, is launching a new program called Ways2Go aimed at making public transportation in the Boston area more accessible to people of all abilities. Ways2Go will provide seminars and trainings on how people with disabilities can make the most of the T, learning how to plan schedules, board transit, and how to use safety features. The program hopes to cut down on costs for consumers who have been using more expensive transit services like the Ride and private para-transit. Those interested in using the service can call 617-222-5273 or email HowToTravel@mbta.com
As technology evolves at a rapid and exciting pace, students with visual impairments struggle to adjust to new educational tools that aren’t designed with their accommodation in mind. Jordan Moon, a recent Arizona State graduate with visual impairments, explains, “There are a lot of times where materials are way too print-featured and graphic-oriented that you have no choice but to get an aide. Braille and software technology can only do so much.” New advances in the classroom that make learning more exciting have not adjusted to the needs of the blind, which is why the National Federation for the Blind is collaborating with Wisconsin Rep. Tom Petri to draft the ‘Technology, Education and Accessibility in College and Higher Education Act,’ which would mandate accessibility standards for all technology used in higher education. Through the act, classroom technology will be mandated as accessible to all students, including the visually impaired, so they do not have to seek outside help and aides (even paying for adjustments) in order to succeed along with their classmates.
A new study released by the Canadian Breast Cancer Network finds that women with disabilities are less likely to receive adequate breast cancer screening than their peers. Prevention and screening outreach are often not geared towards women with disabilities, facilities for testing are not guaranteed to be accessible, and healthcare providers may not be familiar with different levels of abilities or have poor attitudes towards disabled patients. “It’s really hard for healthcare professionals to think of a patient with a disability as a woman first, due to stereotypes and unknowns,” explains Doris Rajan, the study’s author. However, these screening services are vital because women with disabilities have been found to experience many types of cancer at a higher rate, with cancer diagnosis delayed longer on average than their peers. The good news is that hospitals and health organizations have started funding and creating educational and awareness tools for patients and providers alike, making screening and prevention accessible to all.
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