This edition picks up where the April guide left off. It's chock-a-block with disability news from around the world in everything from fashion, covid-19, policy, big business and where life is these days.
Welcome! I'm Peter, and I make Disability Debrief because the world is changing quickly for persons with disabilities and I want to keep-up with that. I love when people get in touch - reply on email, or find me on twitter @desibility.
You can see previous issues online or search the archive of disability news since 2020. Do share and subscribe to spread the word and so you don't miss what's coming next. This edition is produced with support from Center for Inclusive Policy.
Somehow we are in May 2021. Among other things, that marks a bit over ten years since I started working on disability inclusion. I celebrated the anniversary by learning what “reasonable accommodation” means — something I've been talking about all that time. More on that below. Before then, the highlights, and lowlights, of disability news this month.
There is more COVID-19 news. There's always more COVID-19 news, and this edition reflects the different stages of the pandemic from around the world:
- There's new guidance on making sure vaccines are accessible, from WHO, the International Disability Alliance, and in a nicely-presented guidance note, from Leonard Cheshire. News of impact keeps coming out, and there is some research that I helped with, documenting what happened in Europe last year.
- The pandemic continues its devastation in many countries. Here's a personal story from India or an example of how BRAC in Bangladesh is responding to support disability inclusion.
- And some countries are thinking about opening up, and what that means for disabled people, including the concern we might be left behind.
More heavy stuff coming, but before then: sometimes disability news is gossip and glamour. We didn't win the Oscar (by “we”, I mean Crip Camp), but there's plenty on why the Oscars were a win for disability culture, who was wearing Gucci, and sometimes a champagne silk satin pantsuit is the move you need to make for for disability inclusion. Accessibility was better, but still not perfect.
Good news bad news time: Bad news is cuts in international development affecting disability programmes. The UK is making billions of pounds of cuts to international development but it's still unclear what it means for persons with disabilities. Australia seems to have been more concrete in cutting the disability inclusion budget by 25%.
The good news is that big business is getting on-board. Hot off the press today is that Valuable 500 achieved its goal of 500 CEOs making public commitments to disability inclusion. It's an extraordinary achievement, and to get to know the person behind it, see, if you didn't already, the wonderful conversation I had with Caroline Casey: “To make change happen, you cannot be defined by one thing”. Another highlight in the business world is Microsoft doubling down on accessibility.
I know some of you are here for the big reports:
- If you love data, then see how low- and middle-income countries include disability in surveys and censuses (tldr: getting better, still not great).
- If you love children, then there's Combatting the Costs of Exclusion for persons with disabilities and their families, which summarises the growing body of research available on low- and middle-income countries.
- If you miss school - well, so did a lot of kids in the last year, and Years Don't Wait for Them is a detailed report from Human Rights Watch that features good coverage of the challenges children with disabilities faced.
And as for items of interest:
- I enjoyed this podcast (no transcript sorry) on Blind Activism in the Cold War, which got into the amazing history of blind organizations in the Soviet Union, and the extent of international exchange, quite unknown to me, and how that developed as approaches to disability changed through the decades.
- In an example of “accessibility makes it better for everyone": why your brain loves closed captioning.
- And in the hot mess of social media, here's a cool video of people using tiktok to share and educate on disability issues — includes a quite literal “unboxing”.
Before you go…
- Friends (cough, supporters) of the newsletter, Center for Inclusive Policy, have a brand new website with a forum to discuss key issues of disability policy. This month's question is “How can we best provide community supports in low- and middle-income countries?” — their discussions are hosted by leaders in our sector, so do get involved.
- Do dive into the menu of all the news below, and don't forget to look at the closing section, as there are webinars and opportunities, including a fellowship for disabled people in low- or middle-income countries, and an executive MBA scholarship.
More soon: next week I will share with you a fantastic interview I did with one of the leaders of the disability movement in Bangladesh. Stay tuned!
When you only learn what it means after working on it for years
Last month I learned what reasonable accommodation is, and I'm happy/slightly embarrassed to share my new wisdom.
“Reasonable accommodation” is one of key elements of disability rights. The UN Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities establishes that denying a reasonable accommodation is a type of discrimination.
What had confused me was about what “reasonable” meant. Before we get onto that, let's clear up some confusions that can happen earlier:
- “Accommodation” does not mean staying at a house or a hotel, it means adjustments made for an individual. These could be modifying environments or equipment, changing a procedure, or reorganising activities, and they might apply in a school, a workplace, or elsewhere.
- Reasonable accommodation is different from accessibility. Reasonable accommodation is on a case-by-case basis, often in response to an individual need. These adjustments will be needed more in environments that aren't accessible, but even if they are fully accessible, further adjustments may be needed.
Now I had always thought “reasonable” referred to the fact it didn't impose a “a disproportionate or undue burden”. If that were true, it would mean that the same adjustment would be “reasonable” if it was in a context with lots of resources, and not “reasonable” in a context without resources.
What I learned is that the “reasonable” in “reasonable accommodation” refers to the first part of its definition: that it is a “necessary and appropriate modification”. If it is relevant and effective and appropriate then it's a “reasonable accommodation”. The assessment of whether or not it is an undue burden is like a second test, and that's the bit that might change if a context has more or less resources.
Well, life is a learning adventure and I hope I understand things better now. As well as getting help from my friends, this is explained in the General Comment on Equality and Non-Discrimination in paragraph 25.a. (General Comments are the way the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities explains to countries what they should do to make the rights in the Convention real. )
The topics covered below are:
- Accessibility and Design
- Assistive Technology
- Black Lives Matter and racial justice
- Climate Change
- Civil Society and community
- Culture, Entertainment and Media
- Data and Research
- Digital Accessibility and Technology
- Disaster Risk Reduction and crisis response
- Education and childhood
- Employment, business and work
- Financial Inclusion
- History and Memorial
- Humanitarian, Migrants and Refugees
- Institutions and Deinstitutionalisation
- International Cooperation
- Justice systems
- Lived Experience and Opinion
- Mental Health
- Peace Building
- Policy and rights
- Politics and Elections
- Relationships, Sex and Reproductive Rights
- Sign Languages
- Social Protection and costs of disability
- Violence and Harassment
- Women with disabilities
And in closing there are some events and vacancies.
Disclaimer: We need to be careful about things we see online, even from brilliant newsletters. I organize things to show where they come from, which hopefully helps you to navigate and evaluate the information.
News by area
Accessibility and Design
CBM Global and World Blind Union join forces on Accessibility (April)
Making colours accessible to all (April, Bootcamp)
In Australia, ABLE: a documentary on accessibility in Alberta (April, CityNews)
In Latvia, Only 8% of buildings are accessible to disabled people in Latvia (April, LSM)
In New Zealand, Disabled Kiwis report feeling exhausted, defeated in survey about their living situations (tv clip, May, 1 News)
In India, Architect Aatika Manzar has now designed India’s first accessible-to-all book café (April, YS Weekender)
In the United Kingdom,
- Inclusive Beauty: Making Cosmetics More Accessible for the Blind and for Visually Impaired Consumers (April, Cosmetics and Toiletries)
In the United States,
- Positive and negative reactions to Nike's new sneaker. (March, NPR)
- Access as a responsible technology? event exploring ‘access’ as a way to rethink the meaning and potential of responsible technology (April, Ada Lovelace Institute)
- Let’s use bold, beautiful hearing aids to celebrate deafness (Psyche) :
“Rather than focusing on how technology cures or rehabilitates, we need to emphasise the agency or identity that materialises between users and their assistive device. By shifting from discretion to assertion, design becomes about reclaiming and fostering identity. Custom-made options for coloured chassis or earmoulds, skin covers, and charms and stickers for tubes have been available through manufacturers for users to personalise their hearing aids or cochlear implants. There are numerous online instructions for creating DIY ‘hearrings’ – some even created by a 10-year-old – or available to buy on Etsy.”
WHO launches Progress Indicators to measure access to assistive technology with resolution WHA71.8 urging Member States and WHO itself to take actions to improve access to assistive technology (April)
A special issue on Assistive Technology and Support Services for People with Disabilities in Low Resource Settings has started publishing papers, in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (April). Including:
- “When They See a Wheelchair, They’ve Not Even Seen Me” a paper with concrete case studies on different types of stigma faced by disabled people.
Powering Inclusion: Artificial Intelligence and Assistive technology - the findings of an online expert roundtable (GDI) “Advances in AI offer the potential to develop and enhance AT and gain new insights into the scale and nature of AT needs.”
Technology & Innovation: New Advances Improving Lives of People with Disabilities (Youtube, April, Commonwealth Parliamentary Association)
These 3 tech visionaries are reinventing the wheelchair (March, World Economic Forum)
Black Lives Matter and racial justice
The College Language Association Journal has a special issue on Blackness and Disability: “This. Is. The. Remix. or I Thought I Told You That We Won’t Stop” (March, closed access).
In the United States,
- The Arc Condemns Killing of Daunte Wright "the senseless death of a young Black man with a disability at the hands of police – yet again." (April)
- Alice Wong Wants To Make Space For More Disabled Asian Americans Like Her (Huffington Post)
- Black disabled mothers deserve to be seen, especially on Mother’s Day (May, Prism)
International Intersectionality in the Fight against Climate Change recording of event (April, IWRAW Asia Pacific)
With reference to US and international examples, Climate Change Solutions Must Include People with Disabilities (April, Just Security)
From the United States, Eco-Ableism episode of You First podcast (April, Disability Rights Florida)
A nice new website from the African Disability Forum.
In Belarus, "In fact, they were detained for cooperating with the UN." on detained activists (in Russian, title from Google Translate, April, Spring96)
In Nepal, Not all disabilities are equal - on challenges for the disability movement to represent all groups (April, Annapurna Express)
In the United States,
- Participatory Grantmakers Community a community of practice for peer support and advocacy.
- Muslims whose disabilities complicate fasting, praying find alternative ways to practice Ramadan rituals (May, Chicago Tribune)
Inclusive and accessible public health messages about COVID-19 short videos on youtube (April, WHO Europe with EDF)
Triple jeopardy: disabled people and the COVID-19 pandemic (March, The Lancet)
The direct and indirect effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on older people in low and middle-income countries: one year on (May, Corona Older)
- COVID-19 amplifies the complexity of disability and race (April, Conversation)
- Canadians with disabilities, chronic health conditions hit hard by COVID-19. “Almost half of the respondents said that COVID-19 was affecting their ability to pay down debt, make rent and utility payments and purchase groceries.” (April, University of Toronto)
In Europe, a report on the Impact of COVID19 on persons with disabilities from the European Disability Forum. I helped research this report last year and I was shocked to see how little disability was included in European governments’ responses. Rights of persons with disabilities were violated in all areas of life. And as in other places, civil society and persons with disabilities themselves were the ones that had to come forward to fill the gaps. (April, EDF)
- Study on the Impact of COVID-19 on persons with disabilities in India (link to pdf, March, JICA)
- How My Mother And I Tested Covid-19 Positive Because Of The System’s Failure (May, YKA)
In New Zealand, A community alone: Why loneliness is a disability issue - study from last year's lockdown (April, Spin Off)
In the United Kingdom
- Coronavirus and the social impacts on disabled people: February 2021. An opinions and lifestyle survey shows that disabled people are harder hit (April, ONS)
- ‘My world became very small’: People with disabilities on life in lockdown (April, Open Democracy)
In the United States,
- Hard Hit by COVID-19, Disabled Demand Inclusion reporting feature (April, VOA)
- Pandemic hits workers with disabilities hard (April, Ledger-Transcript)
Life after lockdown
In the United Kingdom,
- Disabled people are being excluded from pilot events "getting the worst of both worlds – excluded from events, but at the same time, having support to stay safe taken away" (April, Inews)
- A struggle to shop, park or get down the street. This is the reality of post-Covid life for disabled Britons (May, Independent)
In the United States,
- What Disabled Culture Teaches On Life Post-Pandemic (May, Noteworthy)
- What Your Disabled Friends Want You To Know About 'Going Back To Normal' Post-Vaccine (May, Huffington Post)
- I Worry I'll Be Left Behind When the Pandemic Ends (April, Atlantic):
Now that my friends are reentering the world, their plans are flowering. “Won’t it be great to get back to normal?” I’ve been asked a bunch of times. Don’t get me wrong: If you’re a friend of mine, please don’t stop asking me to do things. I absolutely will have days when I will be able to join you. But when the pandemic is over, the chronically ill, like every group on the margins, will undoubtedly be left behind. That awful feeling—Wait for me! I can’t keep up!—will return. And the empathy of friends, which was such an extraordinary gift of the lockdown, will most likely turn back into sympathy (or neglect).
Sympathy and empathy are both forms of love, but the first one separates; the second unites. What I want the healthy to remember, back in the three-dimensional world, is what it felt like to live in two dimensions. If “hybrid” becomes a lasting way to work, let it also be a lasting form of friendship. Don’t stop writing, and calling, and—especially—Zooming. If I can’t meet you where you are, I’ll still be here, on the little screen, and it will be wonderful to see you.
In the United States,
- Long COVID Sufferers Are Seeking Disability Benefits. Will They Change the System? (April, US News)
- Is the American disability system prepared for long COVID-19? (April, Marketplace)
Policies and Response
A report on the EU global role in COVID 19 response and impact on lives of persons with disabilities (April, EDF)
In Bangladesh, Disability during Covid-19: A way to end the exclusion (April, BRAC)
In the United Kingdom,
- Jane Campbell: on her pride in the collective reslience and what disabled people did for each other in the past year (April, Community Living)
In the United States,
- A civil rights win: Why people with disabilities now have better chance of landing a job (April, USA Today)
- Roads, bridges ... and caregivers? Why Biden is pushing a 'radical shift' to redefine infrastructure (April, USA Today)
How pandemic responses neglected disabled people’s rights (April, Conversation)
Applying the CRPD to People With Intellectual and Developmental Disability With Behaviors of Concern During COVID‐19 suggesting "behaviour support response plans" in order to safeguard human rights (March, Journal of Policy and Practice in Intellectual Disabilities)
The challenges and solutions for a disability-inclusive COVID-19 recovery debate at Bridging the Gap’s Stakeholder Conference.
A summary of LFTW COVID-19 response April 2020 - March 2021 (link to pdf).
New Guidance on Vaccines for persons with disabilities:
- WHO and UNICEF Disability considerations for COVID-19 vaccination (April) “WHO and UNICEF advise that [deployment and vaccination plans] include actions to address barriers to vaccination, and ensure that persons with disabilities who meet the criteria for vaccination, have access on an equal basis with others.”
- IDA and IDDC have a Toolkit for National COVID-19 Vaccination Campaign or Persons with Disabilities. Short, practical guidance on key advocacy points to raise at the national level.
- Leonard Cheshire guidance note on Delivering a disability-inclusive COVID-19 vaccine programme. Clearly highlighting key areas. (link to pdf, April)
- Vaccination delays for top priority groups in Australian disability sector spark investigation (April, Guardian)
- COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy higher among disability support workers amid concern over safety and side effects (April, ABC)
- Australians with a disability ‘forgotten’ in coronavirus vaccine rollout, advocates say (April, Guardian)
- Vaccinating the highest-risk first was the plan. But people with disability are left behind (April, UNSW)
- 'Are We Forgotten?’ People with Disabilities Wait for Vaccines (April, The Quint)
- Greater Priority Access to COVID-19 vaccine for people with intellectual disabilities necessary (April, Newz Hook)
- Madras High Court directs State to prioritize persons with disabilities for COVID-19 vaccination (April, Bar and Bench on twitter)
In the United States,
- Vaccine Considerations for People with Disabilities (April, CDC)
- There Will Be No Herd Immunity without Vaccine Equity (April, Bitch Media)
- I was fortunate to get my vaccination, but the hurdles are too great for many other Deaf people (April, CNN)
Culture, Entertainment and Media
Entertainment and Culture
In the Europe, Time to Act: How lack of knowledge in the cultural sector creates barriers for disabled artists and audiences (April, Disability Arts International). Coverage on Disability Arts Online.
In the United States,
- Practicing Disability Justice, Honoring Wholeness Onstage (March, American Theatre) “There is an awful lot of talk about inclusion for audiences, but not for performers or tech folks.”
- How The Music Industry Must Work To Close The Accessibility Gap 4 Eye-Opening Takeaways (May, Recording Academy)
Update from AP Stylebook on writing about disabilities (twitter thread, April).
Victim Tropes Still Common in Coverage of Persons with Disabilities (April, African Women in Media)
Oscars and awards
On the Oscars:
- Disabilities Aren’t New, but Oscar Recognition Sure Is (April, Variety)
- Oscars stage had a ramp for first time ever in key moment for disability movement (April, Today)
- Mindset Matters: The Oscars Were A Win For Disability Culture (April, Forbes)
- Dressed in Gucci, Director Jim LeBrecht Makes a Powerful Statement About Representation on the Red Carpet (April, Vogue)
- Crip Camp's Judy Heumann Worked with Markarian to Custom Create the Dreamiest Oscars Suit (April, InStyle)
- Oscars 2021: Are these three nominees a watershed moment for disability? (April, BBC)
- My Win As The First Disabled Black Woman On The Oscars Red Carpet editorial by Andraéa Lavant (April, Essence)
- Anthony Hopkins’ Age Isn’t the Only Noteworthy Thing About His Oscar Win "It’s rare for openly autistic actors to receive this kind of recognition. " (April, Slate)
- Oscars Rejecting Anthony Hopkins’ Zoom Was a Slap in the Face to This Viewer with Chronic Illness (May, IndieWire)
On Crip Camp:
- Crip Camp' didn't win Oscar, but it's still a win for people with disabilities by Judy Heumann (April, USA Today)
- Why ‘Crip Camp’ Deserves to Win the Oscar for Best Documentary (April, Indie Wire)
- A Pre-Oscars Chat with the Producers of Crip Camp (Youtube, April, Judy Heumann)
- Reacting to Crip Camp from Canada: It’s time Canada had an awakening about disabilities (May, Toronto Star)
Other films at the Oscars
- Oscar-nominated film Feeling Through Exploits Deafblind People "The Deafblind character merely exists as a prop in the sighted, hearing character’s journey, one of the oldest disability tropes." (youtube, April, Haben Girma)
On Emmy nominations:
- Netflix’s ‘Rising Phoenix’ lands four Sports Emmy nominations (April, International Paralympic Committee)
Television and film
Best Summer Ever Star Shannon DeVido Best Summer Ever is "a musical with a majority of talent with disabilities both in front of and behind the camera." (April, Respect Ability)
Paramount Commits To Auditioning Actors with Disabilities (May, Variety)
Data and Research
Invisible or Mainstream? Disability in Surveys and Censuses in Low- and Middle-Income Countries (April, World Bank). A useful reference, which shows increasing adoption of good disability questions, but still a way from where we need to be:
‘Only 31 percent of the data sets under review had at least one disability-related question and 15 percent of the datasets of low- and middle-income countries have functional difficulty questions that meet international standards, whether the Washington Group short set or other functional difficulty questions. The most commonly found disability question is the general question “Do you have a disability?” which does not produce meaningful and internationally comparable data.’
Designing for Disability-Inclusive Data Collection (April, Benetech).
In Asia Pacific, Building Disability Inclusive Education through Data webinar (May, UNESCO)
In East Africa, How can data better support disability advocacy in East Africa? (April, Devint)
In the United States,
- The rates of disability among U.S. children are increasing, with the highest rate of disability among Native American children, (April, ABC)
- Why Disability Studies Scholars Are Protesting a Prominent Textbook on the Disability Studies Reader (April, The Chronicle)
Digital Accessibility and Technology
Digital Accessibility: the necessity of inclusion - accessibility in media, a new study of over 800 persons with disabilities from the UK and US (April, Magna Global) “Social media platforms simply lack accessibility”, and more. See coverage on Why brands should prioritize accessibility (PR Week)
Accessible online meetings useful preview of a micro-course (DARU)
Why your brain loves closed captioning (April, Salon)
The internet isn't inclusive enough here's how it can be more user-friendly (April, LaptopMag)
Gaming while disabled the future of adaptive tech is here (May, Input)
Avoid AccessiBe & other companies claiming quick & easy AI accessibility (youtube video, May, Haben Girma) See more on the Overlay Factsheet.
In Bangladesh, The web should be more accessible for visually-impaired (May, Daily Star)
In the United States,
- Renewed Attempt at ADA Web Accessibility Legislation (March, Seyfarth)
- 11th Circuit decision ‘effectively closes the internet's doors to the blind,’ (April, ABA Journal) Also from National Law Review.
TikTok creators educate while showing their disabilities with pride (youtube video, April, ABC News)
Clubhouse’s desire for exclusivity is harming the Deaf community (March, Daily Dot)
Software and technology
A Deaf Visual-Sound Artist Is Working to Make VR More Accessible (April, Willamette Week)
Making VR More Accessible for the Hearing Impaired (May, Freethink)
- Finding more accessible ways to connect (April)
- Google airs ‘A CODA Story’ Oscars ad highlighting Meet and Live Caption (April, 9 to 5 Google)
For Microsoft Word: Not sure if this is new, but surely useful: Make your Word documents accessible.
Disaster Risk Reduction and crisis response
Impact of Social Inequalities and Discrimination on Vulnerability to Crises rapid literature review that considers disability alongside other identities (April, IDS)
In the Australia, Floods can worsen inequality. Here are 4 ways we can ensure people with disabilities aren’t left behind (April, The Conversation)
In the United States, A disability should not be a death sentence during a natural disaster (April, Environmental Health News)
Education and childhood
Last month, my interview with Bernice Oyeleke got into different aspects of education, deaf identity and what's missing for children with disabilities in school in Nigeria.
Human Rights Watch global report Years Don't Wait for Them on Increased Inequalities in Children’s Right to Education Due to the Covid-19 Pandemic (May):
“School closures due to the pandemic all too frequently resulted in alternatives that were not accessible for children with disabilities, risking their exclusion from education. In at least half of the 147 countries surveyed by UNICEF in September 2020, governments failed to adopt measures to facilitate learning for children with disabilities, such as providing accessible instruction, devices, and materials. Even before the pandemic, children with a sensory, physical, or intellectual disability were 2.5 times more likely to have never been to school than their peers, according to UNESCO.”
UNICEF report on Combatting the Costs of Exclusion for Children with Disabilities and their Families. (March) See also coverage on Discapnet (in Spanish) The report includes an important summary of data available in low- and middle-income countries:
“Compared with other children, children with disabilities are less likely to receive an education, less likely to be employed as adults, less likely to start their own families and participate in community events, and more likely to live in poverty”
From UNGEI and LC, Leave no girl with disabilities behind an advocacy brief on ensuring efforts to advance gender equality in education are disability-inclusive. Highlights advocacy opportunities this year in international work. (April)
From World Federation of the Deaf: Position Statement on Educational Rights for Deaf Learners During the COVID-19 Pandemic and Beyond (April)
G7 education declaration: Sightsavers calls for girls with disabilities to be prioritised (May) See also their open letter: Children with disabilities have the right to education.
From UNESCO, Inclusive education: Overcoming barriers to technology (April)
Second Anniversary Celebration of the Inclusive Education Initiative sharing guiding principles that have emerged (April, IEI)
Children with disabilities can learn... and the pandemic should be no barrier! (May, World Education Blog)
Global Action Week for Education: Everyone has the right to learn (April, LFTW)
List of Books about Disability and Higher Education (NCCSD Clearinghouse and Resource Library)
In France, discrimination, studies and disability an open letter to politicians (in French, April, APF France handicap)
- Children with disabilities often invisible in official statistics, "Many support programmes and policies ‘focused exclusively on adults’ " (April, Irish Times)
- Key education rights for disabled children still not in place after 17 years (April, Irish Examiner)
- Deaf children ‘lose out’ in disability services geared towards a hearing world (April, Irish Times)
- Education of children with disabilities in rural government schools "Teachers were unwilling to take responsibility for the learning of children with disabilities, expressing significant concerns about their own preparedness, while highlighting the lack of effective and appropriate support structures." (closed access, International Journal of Disability Development and Education )
- Beyond Braille’s tactile picture books make reading fun for visually impaired kids (April, Newz Hook)
In Kenya, A visually impaired girl from Garissa county leaves her community beaming with pride by emerging number one in the county. (news clip on Youtube, April, NTV Kenya)
In Nigeria, To foster inclusiveness, Nigerian nuns mainstream pupils with disabilities (April, Catholic News Service)
In the Nordic region, Unequal opportunities to participate for children and young people with disabilities (February, Nordic Welfare Centre)
In Singapore, Inclusion in early education: towards more equitable foundations (April, GEM Report)
In the United Kingdom,
- Disabled Students Survey brings new insights into the experiences of students across higher education in the UK (Global Disability Innovation Hub)
- Adolescent Disability, Post-16 Destinations, and Early Socioeconomic Attainment Initial Evidence from Next Steps (April, SocArXiv)
- Making connections: report on Supporting disabled young people to live their lives (Scope)
In the United States,
- Groups push for easier student loan relief for the disabled (April, ABC News)
- A Difficult Pathway "Faculty members with disabilities say stigma prevents some from being open about their conditions, and the path to the academy still has its barriers. " (May, Inside Higher Ed)
Employment, business and work
Valuable 500, the network of CEOs committing to business inclusion, has achieved the milestone of 500 commitments. See coverage on the Guardian. As well as the interview I did with Caroline Casey, see more from her and Valuable 500:
- How can we be inclusive if we don't include everyone? EY CEO with Caroline Casey (April, EY)
- Disabled PageGroup CEO Explains How Top Job Candidates Always Screen For Inclusivity (March, Forbes) See also interview with PageGroup CEO on C-Suite Representation (April, Valuable 500).
- Why The Mobile Industry Is So Central To Inclusion Worldwide (May, Forbes)
- Doubling down on accessibility: Microsoft’s next steps to expand accessibility in technology, the workforce and workplace (April) Reaction in Forbes.
- See the keynotes and sessions from the Ability Summit 2021 (May)
- Microsoft’s accessibility chief on the benefits of closing the ‘disability divide’ (April, Geek Wire) “anyone has the potential to send a document that everyone can read, but you’ve got to hit the button. And we know that nowhere near enough people are hitting the buttons…” Also on WSJ.
Celebrating International Workers’ Day: "Employment rights = disability rights!" (May, LFTW)
Transforming approaches to disability. “Are enough businesses making their workplaces more inclusive for people with disabilities?” (April, Raconteur)
On neurodiversity and employment:
- Neurodiversity: Paving the Way to Universal Design Inclusivity in the Workplace (January, Recruiter)
- Cybersecurity And The Untapped Talent Pool Of People Who Are Neurodiverse (May, Forbes)
Business and Disability Forum (BDF) has been busy with a global fresh perspectives event (April, BDF)
- Report on Collecting Global Employee Disability Data . Featured on: Forbes, Fair Play Talks, and HR Magazine.
- Global Workplace Adjustments “provides a snapshot of current practice and approaches to managing workplace adjustments in global organisations.”
- Australia's $1bn disability employment service criticised over poor outcomes and reduced employment. “The problems most frequently raised were a lack of appropriate support, poor client outcomes, and clients being placed in jobs that did not match their skills, interests or abilities,” the paper said.
- Community-based supported employment program changing lives of people with disability (May, ABC)
In Bangladesh, Online Job Fair for Persons with Disabilities (in Bangla, April, Prothom Alo)
In Canada, Accessible practices for returning to the workplace - collection of resources covering general guidance and practical tips.
- European Parliament resolution of 10 March 2021 on the implementation of Council Directive 2000/78/EC establishing a general framework for equal treatment in employment and occupation in light of the UNCRPD (2020/2086(INI))
- Non-financial information and disability reporting in the European Union: An in-depth analysis of the Spanish case (link to pdf, February, Disability Hub Europe)
- Accessible technologies, the wiser choice for the public sector (May, Microsoft)
In Hong Kong, NGO’s Disability Inclusion Index aims to help Hong Kong firms catch up on hiring front (April, SCMP)
In Israel, Equal Rights Commission releases annual report "Despite the cases of discrimination, there was a 44% increase in employment from disabled persons compared to 2019." (April, Jerusalem Post)
- Inclusive futures podcast number 14 is on farmers with disabilities in Kenya.
- Training youth with disabilities for the digital jobs of the future (March, Simon Brown on linkedin)
In Morocco, the UMT calling for a rights and participatory approach to disability (in Arabic, April, UMT)
In the United Kingdom,
- 8 tips on making your small business accessible to disabled employees (April, DiversityQ)
- Where are our disabled senior leaders? (April, CMI)
- RAD research reveals significant barriers to employment and career progression opportunities for deaf people (April, RAD)
In the United States,
- The total compensation gap, wage gap and benefit gap between workers with and without a disability (closed access, April, British Journal of Industrial Relations)
- How to include workers with disabilities in your DEI initiatives (April, Fast Company)
- Is AI Actually Tripling Employment for People with Disabilities? discussion of a predicted increase in employment and the current situation (March, Accessibility)
- Bank of America gets creative in supporting employees with disabilities (April, EBN)
- ‘Disability keeps getting left out’: A Google exec on boosting representation of people with disabilities — and bringing them into the C-suite (April, MarketWatch)
Quality sounds like hard work how quality management approaches can strengthen rehabilitation services in low- and middle-income countries without over-burdening health care workers. (April, Relab-HS)
In South Africa, The compounding effect of having HIV and a disability on child mortality among mothers in South Africa: “children born to HIV-positive women with disabilities are at an exceptionally high risk of premature mortality.” (May, PLoS ONE)
In the United Kingdom, The disabled doctors not believed by their colleagues (April, BBC)
In the United States, Interview with Andrea Dalzell Nurse Who Uses a Wheelchair Treating COVID-19 Patients in NYC (April, Respect Ability)
History and Memorial
I missed this last year: Disability History audio "Stories from the world of people with disabilities down the decades." (unclear if it has transcript, BBC, 2020)
From the Soviet Union and East Germany, Blind Activism in the Cold War (podcast without transcript, April, Sean's Russia Blog)
In the United States, A brief history of how it took almost 300 years to pass the Americans with Disabilities Act (April, Fast Company)
Humanitarian, Migrants and Refugees
Factsheet from UNHCR, IDA, IDMC: Disability, Displacement and Climate Change (link to pdf, April)
CBM Global session on Inclusive Cash Assistance during Humanitarian Network Partnerships Week (youtube of event, April)
In Bangladesh, Inclusive rapid needs assessment after fires in Rohingya refugee camps (March, CBM) “An opportunity to build back more inclusive exists, and it is imperative that humanitarian actors capitalize on this”.
In Lebanon, the disabled Syrian refugees on the sharp end of UK aid cuts photo essay (April, Guardian)
In Iraq, Persons with Disabilities and their Representative Organizations in Iraq: Barriers, Challenges and Priorities:
“Currently, persons with disabilities and their representative groups are not consulted as part of humanitarian and development planning mechanisms.”
“The challenges we face in the community are nothing compared to those challenges that hinder the implementation of our work when we apply or claim something from the government.” (March, IOM)
In New Zealand, Teenage girl denied New Zealand residence because she has Down syndrome (April, Stuff)
From Syria to Germany, by Wheelchair, with Nujeen Mustafa and Marwa Mbayed podcast (I don't see transcript, April, Worldwide Tribe)
Institutions and Deinstitutionalisation
In the United Kingdom, Northern Ireland hospital staff face prosecution over alleged abuse (April, Guardian)
The United Kingdom, which has provided transformative support to disability inclusion in international cooperation in the past years, is making cuts of more than $5.5 billion in international aid. What the UK aid cuts mean for people with disabilities: "We still don’t know where the axe is going to fall. " (April, Humanity and Inclusion)
In Australia, the disability allocation in the aid budget was cut by 25%: CBM calls to restore the budget for people with disabilities (May, CBM)
In UNlandia, the Stakeholder Group of Persons with Disabilities has made its submission (link to pdf) to the 2021 High Level Political Forum, covering the situation of persons with disabilities across the development goals.
Save the Children has published practical guidelines on Disability-inclusive Child Safeguarding. See the launch event, or a blog post: three ways we are making our programmes safe for children with Disabilities.
- Our innovative approach to facilitate meaningful engagement of persons with disabilities in development programmes (April)
- A summary of how persons with disabilities were “strongly included” in the draft 2021 financing for development report. (IDA)
- Seventh Session of the Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development key messages include disability-related points (May, IDA)
- Welcoming the New Co-Chair of the Indigenous People with Disabilities Global Network (May, IDA)
A GIZ report on Inclusion and Tourism: Analysis and practical approaches for development cooperation projects. Focuses on inclusive employment, entrepreneurship and accessible travel experiences.
From LFTW a feature on Disability Inclusion Facilitators "creative change makers who [...] advise the public and private sector, as well as NGOs, on how to put disability inclusion into practice" (April)
From Inclusive Futures,
- Innovating for inclusion "People with disabilities are being left behind in development, so we must test new ways to ensure they are included in programmes" (April, Inclusive Futures)
- 4 ways to adopt disability inclusion in development (May, bond)
From Human Potential at Work, Creating A Global Community For Disability Inclusion (April)
Not related to disability explicitly, but related to what a lot of us do: Why is internal advocacy within our own organizations so hard? (April, FP2P)
In the United Kingdom, Why deaf prisoners have been in a state of lockdown since well before COVID-19 (April, Conversation)
In the United States, Deaf People in the Criminal Justice System new book covering "Selected Topics on Advocacy, Incarceration, and Social Justice " (May, Gallaudet University Press)
Lived Experience and Opinion
Theresia Degener, previous chair of the CRPD Committee, writes a letter to her sixteen year old self.
In India, Juju and the Durga Puja festival during the COVID-19 pandemic celebrating at home (April, IDA)
In Ireland, My Journey Into Activism a trajectory of activism through different stages of life. (April, Wobbly Yummy Mummy) “[At school] I spent so much time trying to prove myself and fit in that I never gave any real thought into my identity as a disabled person.”
In Pakistan, The dos and don’ts of disability inclusion (April, Pakistan Today)
From the United Kingdom,
- Living with dignity reflections on "on why it’s imperative you listen to disabled voices before spouting off about assisted dying" (April, Disability Arts Online)
- I live with a chronic illness but I’m reclaiming Ramadan for myself (April, Aurelia Magazine)
- Voices of thalidomide (April, Wellcome Collection)
From the United States,
- How do Blind People Shop for Groceries?: great discussion on using technology, “prework”, asking for help, relationships and more from the wonderful Be My Eyes (April)
- New book: Sincerely, Your Autistic Child What People on the Autism Spectrum Wish Their Parents Knew About Growing Up, Acceptance, and Identity (March, Beacon Press)
- 3 Ways Disability Allyship Can Go Off Track (April, Forbes) The first made me smile: “Listening to disability awareness seminars instead of disabled people.”
- 5 Difficult Questions Disabled People Struggle With Every Day “Should we push ourselves to do more, or rest and conserve our energies?” (April, Forbes)
- 7 Core Arguments Of Disability Rights (April, Forbes)
- What Happens When Advocacy Never Ends? "I am weary. " (April, DREDF)
Climate Change and Mental Health: A Scoping Review (April, International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health)
Decolonizing madness? Transcultural psychiatry, international order and birth of a ‘global psyche’ in the aftermath of the Second World War (April, Journal of Global History)
Reform of mental health services: an urgent need and a human rights imperative (Council of Europe, April)
- see the #WithdrawOviedo campaign: "It is time to change the way we deal with mental ill health. Coercion in mental healthcare must end."
- Disenfranchisement of mentally disabled woman was proportionate a judgement from the European Court of Human Rights, (link to pdf) - a “disgraceful decision” (twitter, Director of Inclusion Europe)
On Turkey, review of Sacrificial Limbs: Masculinity, Disability, and Political Violence in Turkey (January, Medical Anthropology Quarterly)
In the United States, The Compounded Burden of Poverty on Mental Health for People with Disabilities (April, Social Work in Public Health)
Untapped peacebuilders: Including persons with disabilities in building peace (April, Conciliation Resources):
“There is a reciprocal relationship between disability, gender inequality and violence. Disability inclusion is key to a sustained and transformative peace process that addresses societal inequalities and gendered discrimination. Peacebuilding that is disability-inclusive and gender-transformative currently faces significant systemic challenges, including gaps in policy and legislative development, stigma and stereotypes about disability and gender roles, poor visibility of persons with disabilities, and a lack of sustained funding for local OPDs and networks. Creative strategies and approaches to promote inclusive and adaptive peacebuilding and overcome implementation barriers must be developed, budgeted for and adequately financed.”
Policy and rights
See the Center for Inclusive Policy question of the month, this month on “How can we best provide community supports in low- and middle-income countries?”
In Armenia, Important Progress for People with Disabilities in Armenia "New Law Bans Discrimination, Promotes Inclusion " (May, Human Rights Watch)
In Australia, We need to invest in the careers of researchers and policy makers with disability (April, NDRP). Persons with disabilities increasingly involved as co-researchers, but “we are yet to see this expertise translate into opportunities that encourage significant investment in career development of disabled scholars and researchers”.
- Ensure budgetary allocation for persons with disabilities (May, Daily Star)
- Inclusive Government: Connecting Citizens with Disabilities with Innovative Public Service (April, CMPI):
Those who have direct, lived experience should be able to formulate policy. I’m grateful that in Bangladesh, this is what we are increasingly doing, and we are seeing some groundbreaking results. If nothing else, this approach is consistent with other professions: When applying for a job, an employer will always demand evidence of past experience. There is no reason why this should
not apply to policy and politics.
In Cambodia, Revise Flawed Disability Bill "Adopt Inclusive Rights-Based Approach; Seek to End Stigma " (April, Human Rights Watch)
In Colombia, deaf people protest for driving licenses (in Spanish, March, Semana)
In Chile, The law on Mental Health in Chile, from the voice of those that are left behind Sees the new law from the perspective of disability rights (March, Redesfera)
In Egypt, 8 recommendations from persons with disabilities to representative in parliament (in Arabic, April, Nsa3d)
In Morocco, "Accessibility Law" facing challenges for implementation and protecting the rights of persons with disabilities (in Arabic, May, Hespress)
In South Africa, The Blind SA case: Watershed moment for disability rights in South Africa (April, Daily Maverick)
In Sudan, Sudan restates its commitment to the inclusion of persons with disabilities in all aspects of public life (Bridging the Gap)
Politics and Elections
In India, Officials still blind to voting needs of disabled? in Tamil Nadu (April, Indian Express)
- Advancing the inclusion of persons with disabilities in Kenyan political parties (January, WFD) Features a training module to support capacity and advocacy.
- Demystifying Disability: Kisumu County Senate Aspirant Shares His Journey (April, Andy)
In Nigeria, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has urged political parties and other stakeholders to provide unhindered access for Persons with Disabilities to participate actively and effectively in political activities. (April, Naija 247)
In the United Kingdom, 'It's my right to vote': The challenges faced by those with learning disabilities (April, ITV)
Relationships, Sex and Reproductive Rights
In Kenya, Millions of Kenyan women lack power to refuse sex UNFPA report and some discussion on situation of women with disabilities (April, The Star)
In Kazakhstan, A publication on reproductive health for women with disabilities is published in Braille (April, UNFPA)
A huge guide to the Disability Visibility Podcast and its 100 episodes (link to pdf).
EDF has a new Global Action Newsletter.
In Fiji Negative comments will not deter sign language interpreters from doing their job interpreters "have been attacked and ridiculed by some on social media for their expressions which are critical for members of the deaf community." (May, Fiji Village)
In Turkey, Sign language assistance in the works at Turkey’s public agencies (March, Daily Sabah)
In the United Kingdom, Disabled teen taught over 80,000 people sign language online (May, I Am Birmingham)
In the United States, Making Music Visible: Singing in Sign (April, New York Times)
Social Protection and costs of disability
In Australia, One year after the death of Ann Marie Smith, people living with disabilities are still waiting for meaningful change (April, ABC)
In Canada, The 'crip tax': Everything has a cost, but for people with disabilities that's quite literally the case (April, CBC) “Being physically disabled, particularly on the Prairies, is a bit like living in the worst version of those popular Mastercard commercials.”
In the Netherlands, More than half of the people who go to work alongside benefits run into financial difficulties. (in Dutch, title from Google translate, April, Trouw)
In Ireland, Disability allowance should not be means tested “Current system trapping people in cycle of poverty, according to Disabled Women Ireland” (May, Irish Times)
In Israel, How sex surrogates are helping injured Israeli soldiers (April, BBC)
In Uganda, Disability Inclusive Social Protection: In-Depth Workshop for Uganda DPOs (April, IDA)
In the United States, The safety net program Congress forgot (April, The Hill)
In the United Kingdom,
- By changing the story of social care, we can build public support to transform it for future generations – here’s how (April, Social Care Future)
- Deaths of people on benefits prompt inquiry call (May, BBC)
On the upcoming Paralympics, Do Not Let the Paralympic Torch Pass through Yamayuri-en Institution! 'The same institution was the site of the massacre in July 2016, with 19 people brutally murdered' (April, ENIL)
How the world celebrated World Blind Sports Day (April, IBSA Sport)
What does it take to develop sport? Lessons from wheelchair basketball featuring ICRC's use of sport for development (Motivation)
Discussion on Rights, Sport and Disability "to discuss the implications of a new report of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)" (transcript ‘coming soon’, April, Centre for Sports and Human Rights)
In UAE and India, UAE champions the cause of physically challenged players on the Divyang Premier League, wheelchair cricket (April, Khaleej Times)
In Peru, Fabián Chira, Inclulab: "the football helped me a lot to get through my life (in Spanish, May, Perú 21)
In the United States,
- Creating Accessible Air Travel President of "All Wheels Up" in conversation with Debra Ruh (April, HPAW)
- a report on Passengers with Disabilities: Airport Accessibility Barriers and Practices (April, GAO)
Violence and Harassment
The UN Security Council Open Debate on Conflict-Related Sexual Violence included an intervention from Ms. Caroline Atim Executive Director of the South Sudan Women with Disabilities Network, made through sign language (April, Working Group on Women, Peace and Security)
In Australia, Disability groups push for longer inquiry (April, Victor Harbor Times)
- The EU must combat disability hate speech and hate crime (April, EDF)
- Letter signed by thirteen CSOs from the European Coalition to End Violence Against Women and Girls on the President of Turkey’s Decision and Poland’s actions to withdraw from the Istanbul Convention (April, EDF)
In Germany, Bewilderment after killings at German residency for acute disabled (DW) Further information in German (headlines via Google Translate):
- See reaction to the media coverage in The dangerous attempt to make violence against people with disabilities understandable, discussion of a kind of "victim blaming" (May, Über Medien)
- Also "The act in Potsdam was not an isolated incident" in (May, Edition F).
In India, 'Invisible Victims' of Violence: A Gender and Disability Perspective of Coronavirus in India (March, EPW)
In Nigeria and the United Kingdom, Disability and domestic abuse: 'No-one knows what is happening behind those walls' (May, BBC)
In the United Kingdom, Women with disabilities 'groped and not taken seriously' (April, BBC)
Women with disabilities
In Europe, see the April edition of EDF Women's Voice Newsletter.
Motivation has an Urgent India COVID-19 Appeal "Disabled people are at great risk.".
Events and Webinars
From ILO, Leave no one offline: engaging companies on digital accessibility (May 19)
Facebook Accessibility Summit 2021.
From World Federation of the Deaf, Lecture by Dr Liisa Kauppinen fundraising lecture (May 19)
From MSF Accessible Construction and Universal Design in Humanitarian Settings (May 19)
From Human Rights Watch, Forget me not screening of the film and discussion (May 19 to 27)
From UNGEI: Two-Part Learning Series: Inclusive Education for Girls with Disabilities (25 May and 9 June)
CRPD consultation on deinstitutionalisation in European Countries and Israel (25 May)
Stakeholder Group of Persons with Disabilities webinars on the High-Level Political Forum (May 25 and June 22)
From BDF, Getting Started on Disability Webinar launching the Getting Started Toolkit (26 May)
University of Leiden HANDS! Festival 2021 on African Sign Languages and Deaf Studies (12 June)
The Conference of States Parties will be 15th-17th June on "building back better".
World Blindness Summit 2021 Madrid from June 28 to 30.
Fellowships, Study and Work
AWID prioritises women with disabilities for their Feminist Journalists Program.
- Nigeria Country Programme Manager (link to pdf, deadline 12 May)
- A range of positions with CBM UK and CBM Global.
- two communications officers positions (23 May, 6 June)
From Center for Inclusive Policy, Fellowship for persons with disabilities from low-and middle-income countries "who are actively working on issues of inclusive policy or policy research" (deadline July 1)
Central European University Executive MBA Fellowship fellowship for Managers with Disabilities.
DRF is looking for an executive director (applications on rolling basis till July 1).
The EU Fundamental Rights Agency Call for Applications for the Disability Traineeship Programme (deadline 28 May)
TCI fellowships for persons with psychosocial disabilities in Pacific, West Asia and MENA regions. (link to pdf)
Trinity College Dublin, PhD Opportunity Disability Inclusion in Humanitarian and Development Contexts, fully-funded 4 year PhD (link to pdf, deadline 17th May)
Articles, Input, Nominations, Surveys
Global Disability Innovation Hub Global Survey on EdTech and Inclusive Education (deadline 25th May)
The Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities is calling for input on armed conflict (deadline 8 June).
The Zero Project, Call for Nominations 2022 for innovative practices and policies from around the world centred around enabling accessibility (deadline 7 June)
Call for papers for Disability in the Time of the Pandemic (deadline June 15, RSSD)
Survey for Inclusive Workplaces of the Future G3ict and Steelcase are partnering to convene global experts and create a Blueprint for Inclusive Workplaces of the Future.
The source for news here is all of you sharing disability news, especially those sharing on twitter. Thanks to everyone for spreading the word about what's going on, and to people who send me links directly.
These newsletters are produced by me, Peter Torres Fremlin. Any opinions or mistakes are mine. Many thanks for Center for Inclusive Policy's support to this edition.
And if you got here to the end, thank you and until next time!