Some facts you may not know about people with disabilities website

  • In the U.S., people with disabilities make up the largest minority group. The difference between this minority and most others is that many members aren't born this way.
  • Between 1990 and 2000, the number of people with disabilities in the US increased 25%.
  • Of the 69.6 million families in the United States, more than 20 million have at least one family member with a disability.
  • About 12% of the U.S. population identifies with a severe disability, adding up to 35 million people.
  • Roughly 54 million Americans have at least one disability.
  • The highest rate of disability occurs in African American and American Indian/Alaska natives with 24.3% of each group identifying with a disability.
  • Nearly 40% of Americans living with disabilities are located in the South.

Video roundtable: Disability in U.S. Film & TV -- Access, Inclusion, Accuracy

KPCC/Southern California Public Radio website, 5/4/13

Watch one episode of Game of Thrones and you'll see why it is one of the most popular shows on television. It's easy to get lost in the world of warlocks, dragons and vindictive boy-kings, but one character on the HBO drama always brings us back to reality -- Tyrion Lannister, the dwarf brother of the Queen. Tyrion shows that disabled characters need not be defined or limited by their handicap. But historically this hasn't been the case when disability is on screen. Creators for film and television have often used impairment to define character, stereotyping the disabled in the most obvious way as villains or pitiable individuals unable to take part in normal daily life. And more often than not, disabled characters are portrayed by able-bodied actors. Even dwarfism is often faked while full-size actors are shrunk through the magic of CGI. But things are changing, and we're talking with [some people] who are making it happen. Geri Jewell helped break through in 1980 when she landed the regular role of Cousin Geri on the sitcom The Facts of Life. Geri was born with cerebral palsy, but didn't let that stop her from a successful career as actor, writer and comedienne.  Geri isn't alone; filmmaker Jenni Gold and actors Mark Povinelli and Danny Woodburn are among the many with similar experiences.  [On May 4] KPCC's Shirley Jahad [talked with them] about how they make their disabilities work for them -- and what they will and won't accept in the highly competitive, fast-moving field of entertainment. 


A national database of accessible arts facilities across America

Project Access is a joint project of Art Beyond Sight/Art Education for the Blind and its founding partners: American Association for State and Local History, American Association of Museums, Association of Science - Technology Centers, and Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Our endeavor, to promote access for people with disabilities to institutions ranging from art to zoos, is based on the participation and help from these institutions, the supporters of these institutions and the many who came forward to help. Our goal is to create a national database of the accessible facilities and programs available to people with disabilities, and at the same time provide information and ideas to professionals in the field. [Register your arts institution or search the PA database of arts organizations and other groups who have already registered.]


FROM TC: Unfortunately, I discovered the announcement of this webinar too late for YCM readers to participate in real time (it took place yesterday), but I reference it anyway because you will be able to listen to a recording in a few days once it is posted on the NEA's website.


NEA webinar: How to make your website content & apps accessible to all

National Endowment for the Arts website, 5/15/13

Websites, online videos, mobile apps, and video games have become an important way for organizations to reach audiences, deliver content, and enhance audience experiences. Organizations should take steps to ensure that they are accessible to all audiences, including those with vision, hearing, mobility, or cognitive disabilities. By taking steps to build accessibility into the design of Web sites, mobile apps, videos, and video games, organizations can be sure that people with disabilities and older adults can access their programs, services, and features with ease.


Arts Access Australia raises awareness (and money) with 20 short films

AAA e-newsletter, 4/15/13

Arts Access Australia [is trying to secure] the required $24 million to implement the National Arts and Disability Strategy, of which $500,000 has been invested by the Commonwealth since 2011. The funding is to enable the full and equal access to arts and culture as recognised by the Commonwealth in signing the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.  On March 1, 1993, the Disability Discrimination Act was introduced in Australia, making it unlawful to deny equity to an individual with a disability.  20 years later, we celebrate 20 triumphant stories of the 4 million Australians who have a disability, each of whom have contributed to advocacy and change. 20 Years: 20 Stories is a collection of short films, showcasing the stories of how the lives of those with disability have or have not changed under the Disability Discrimination Act. The project is a product of Sydney Community Foundation, The Australian Human Rights Commission as well as film makers and grassroots organisations such as Tutti, a South Australian inclusive arts organisation. 


Commentary: Money woes mustn't stop UK arts from improving physical access

David Bonnett, Arts Professional magazine [UK]

Looking back over [the last] two decades, legislation and funding were an effective prompt for an arts world fixed in its ways and unconvinced of a need for change. Since that world -- galleries and museums especially -- were mostly housed in older buildings, this appeared good reason for resisting change. Three developments altered this impasse. First, the decision of both Heritage Lottery Fund and Arts Council England to insist on access improvements for disabled people as a condition for funding. Second, those managing these buildings realised that funding for access improvements could include in its scope additional benefits. Third, and critical to change, was the shift in thinking by building conservationists, [who] published guidance on changes to historic buildings. But the cold wind of economic constraint now threatens two decades of progress. So what is required to keep the momentum going? First, spending on our buildings will continue even if just for maintenance and repairs. Budget holders must ask every time whether or not that spending has explored the scope for access improvements. Second, there has been a tendency to rely on gadgetry for access improvements, platform lifts being a case in point. These (often unattractive) devices must earn their keep effectively by working reliably. Lastly, managers should make friends with older, disabled visitors recruited over the last 20 years. The elderly now have considerable spending power. Consider forming an access advisory group. If we can present our argument convincingly, the case for continuing to spend on access improvements might yet be justified, even in this time of constraint. Inclusive design might just be viewed as a sound economic investment in securing future business.

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