EMPOWword’s Blog

April 26, 2010

With new technology, few blind Canadians read braille

Filed under: Disability,In The News,Vision — empowword @ 5:26 pm
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Angela Mulholland, CTV.ca News

Date: Sat. Apr. 17 2010 7:42 AM ET

What might be most surprising about Jason Mitschele is not that he’s blind and works as a federal prosecutor — though that is impressive. It’s that he’s blind and can’t read braille. And neither can most vision-impaired people in Canada.

In fact, less than 10 per cent of Canada’s 830,000 vision impaired people can read braille. That’s the rate found in surveys from the U.S. and the United Kingdom — a startling statistic, especially since most sighted people assume all blind people learn to read through their fingertips.

As Mitschele’s story shows, many visually impaired Canadians aren’t bothering anymore. The 38-year-old wasn’t born completely blind but had no vision in one eye due to early onset glaucoma. Because he could still see a little in the other eye, he was taught to read text in the usual way.  (read more from CTV News)


World Health Organization: Images of health and disability

Filed under: Disability — empowword @ 2:39 pm
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This striking photo gallery shows how people with different disabilities and health conditions live and work. The photographs make us challenge the very meaning of health. They are a reminder that many people experience some degree of disability at some point in their life.

WHO invited amateur and professional photographers around the world to take part in an international photographic contest with the theme “images of health and disability,” and a special focus on disability and work. The contest was organized to demonstrate the implementation of the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF), which describes health conditions and how people live with them. (read more)

Go directly to Health and disability photo gallery

April 16, 2010

Disability Rights Commission – (United Kingdom)

Filed under: Awareness Campaign,Disability — empowword @ 6:18 pm
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The Disability Rights Commission (DRC) is an independent body which aims to stop discrimination and promote equality of opportunity for disabled people and those with long term health conditions. Our goal is: “A society where all disabled people can participate fully as equal citizens”.

10 million people in Britain have rights under the Disability Discrimination Act. Disability covers people of all ages with heart disease, diabetes, severe disfigurement, depression, schizophrenia, dyslexia, epilepsy, Downs syndrome and many other types of impairment.

The DRC works with disabled people, employers and service providers to find practical solutions for everyone. The DRC is here to advise.

The DRC aims to raise awareness of discrimination and disability issues. These short films are suitable for many different uses – in schools, training or workplace situtions.

Subtitles, audio description and BSL interpretation of these films is available on the DRC website. or thier YouTube Channel

The Appointment – A comedy-drama from the Disability Rights Commission. The film explores how attitudes to disability and long-term health conditions can affect people’s chances of getting and keeping a job. And how the reactions of those around us – family, friends and work colleagues – can make us fearful of revealing important aspects of our lives.

Shopping – Some disabled people have little chance of living a life independently due to difficulties with the social care system. Limited support is provided and this means people who are capable of living their own life with appropriate support are forced to live in institutions. The DRC’s new cinema advert ran from Friday 21st July 2006.

Closing the Gap Part 1 of 2 ; Part 2 of 2 – ‘Closing the Gap’ is a powerful documentary depicting the real life experiences of four people with learning disabilities and/or mental health problems in primary health care. It contains examples of good practice and important recommendations designed to help primary care practitioners.

Nice Day – A powerful, hard-hitting commercial which highlights the daily abuse and bullying endured by people with learning disabilities was launched by the Disability Rights Commission (DRC) in cinemas across Britain on Friday, 30th March 2007.

‘Nice Day’ features actor Russell Ramsey, who has Down’s Syndrome, and highlights the negative attitudes, verbal abuse and hostility that many people with learning disabilities face on the streets every day.

Talk Part 1 of 2; Part 2 of 2 – The award-winning ‘Talk’ portrays a society in which non-disabled people are a pitied minority and disabled people lead full and active lives. Jonathan Kerrigan, of BBC’s ‘Casualty’ fame, plays a business executive whose negative preconceptions of disability are dramatically shattered.

April 9, 2010

Augmentative Communication Community Partnerships CANADA (ACCPC)

Filed under: Disability,Inclusion — empowword @ 3:18 pm
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ACCPC   is a federal, non-profit organization that undertakes social innovation projects to promote awareness, justice, enhanced quality of life and community participation for people who use augmentative and alternative communication (AAC).

ACCPC provides research, education and resources on:

  • Social Justice Issues
  • Communication Access to Community Services
  • Abuse Prevention
  • Attendant Services
  • Transition to adulthood
  • Self-determination and advocacy
  • Personal Safety
  • Healthy Relationships
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Literacy

Access to Justice – For People with Communication Disabilities

Filed under: Disability — empowword @ 3:12 pm
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This site is there to help build capacity within the Justice Sector to provide services to people who have communication disabilities


March 29, 2010

Study explores link between sunlight, multiple sclerosis

Filed under: Research — empowword @ 1:33 pm

For more than 30 years, scientists have known that multiple sclerosis (MS) is much more common in higher latitudes than in the tropics. Because sunlight is more abundant near the equator, many researchers have wondered if the high levels of vitamin D engendered by sunlight could explain this unusual pattern of prevalence.

Vitamin D may reduce the symptoms of MS, says Hector DeLuca, Steenbock Research Professor of Biochemistry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, but in a study published in PNAS this week, he and first author Bryan Becklund suggest that the ultraviolet portion of sunlight may play a bigger role than vitamin D in controlling MS.

Read more at University of Wisconsin-Madison News

Every Monday Matters: 42 Ways to Make a difference

Filed under: Books,Inspirational,Simple Truths — empowword @ 1:28 pm
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From Simple Truths

Millions of people each year want to know how to make a difference … in their lives and the lives of others. We suggest taking it one-week at a time with 52 uncomplicated, practical things you can do to make a difference with your life and in your community.

If you are like most people, you want to contribute, make a difference, and have a positive impact, but, maybe you don’t know what to do, where to go, when the “right” time is, or how to get others involved.

Every Monday Matters is here to help. This “involvement” guide book provides a straightforward, uncomplicated, and down-to-earth process for getting YOU involved and to help you get OTHERS involved.

“The real secret to living is giving. Every Monday Matters goes beyond today’s self-help hype of knowing what you want and how to get it, to knowing what you have and how to give it.— Thomas Greanias, New York Times best-selling author of The Atlantis Prophecy.

See Inside This Book

March 8, 2010

Creature Discomforts

Filed under: Animations,Awareness Campaign,Disability — empowword @ 7:05 pm

By combining the real voices and experiences of disabled people, with the creativity of Aardman Animations, Creature Discomforts explores the barriers and attitudes faced by disabled people every day.

They hope that many thousands of people will think differently about disability, and support us in our aim to give disabled people an equal chance in life.

Please check out their website and have some fun


June 1, 2009

Guide to Planning Inclusive Meetings and Conferences

Filed under: In The Workplace,Inclusion — empowword @ 5:58 pm

From Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat

Meetings and conferences bring people together to share information, develop strategies, work toward common goals and celebrate successes. Participation is a key element in the success of these events. Given the time, effort and resources committed to planning events, it makes good business sense to ensure that all attendees can participate fully.

Although unintentional, the accommodation and inclusion needs of people with disabilities are often overlooked when meetings and conferences are organized.

This guide will provide meeting and conference organizers with practical tips and advice to ensure the full participation of persons with disabilities.

The guide provides information on:

  • Planning, organizing and conducting accessible and inclusive events
  • Products and services to maximize participation

The guide also provides the following tools:

  • An accessibility checklist for planners
  • Participant’s registration forms
  • The reference sheets on the role of event organizers, chairpersons and presenters

Read the entire guide

French Version of the guide can be found here

In the News: Living with a hidden illness

Filed under: Disability,In The News — empowword @ 5:38 pm

From BBC News
By Alison Potts

Many people – including colleagues and friends I have known for a long time -do not know I have MS.

Even those who do admit they often forget.

You can’t tell by looking at me. I am active, productive, a busy working mum with a wide circle of friends and until very recently had a successful career in the media, spanning 20 years.

I was diagnosed 15 years ago at the age of 27.

I never consciously took on a policy of non disclosure, but my instinct told me to try and carry on my life as normal with as little reference to the illness as possible.

I was grossly underestimating MS but I had no sense of what I was going to experience.  (read more)

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