RBTV #3: O direito das crianças com deficiência visual à áudio-descrição

Escrito por Francisco José de Lima e Rosângela A. F. Lima


Este artigo apresenta, em primeiro momento, robusta sustentação jurídica para o direito de as pessoas com deficiência visual ter acesso à áudio-descrição, defendendo que a não provisão desse recurso assistivo constitui, tanto negligência para com a educação da criança com deficiência visual, quanto discriminação por razão de deficiência. De um lado, esteia essa defesa em documentos internacionais de defesa das crianças, os quais as salvaguardam de maus tratos, da discriminação e da afronta à sua dignidade de criança e pessoa humana. De outro, sustenta o direito à áudio-descrição, na Constituição Brasileira, a qual define a educação como direito indisponível e garante esse direito a todas as crianças, com igualdade de condições, independentemente de suas características fenotípicas, sociais ou genéticas. Em um segundo momento, este artigo sustenta a defesa pela oferta da áudio-descrição, devido aos benefícios que este recurso assistivo pode trazer para a inclusão cultural e educacional da pessoa com deficiência visual, uma vez que, enquanto técnica de tradução visual, ela permite o acesso às imagens, por intermédio das palavras a serem ouvidas, lidas e/ou faladas, natural ou eletronicamente. Trata, também, de como as visões tradicionalistas sobre a capacidade de a pessoa cega fazer uso das imagens, produzindo-as e/ou as compreendendo, têm levado à negação de direitos, ao prejuízo educacional, e em última instância ao preconceito para com as pessoas cegas. Conclui, fazendo a assertiva de que não se trata de perguntar quando se vai oferecer a áudio-descrição, mas de se buscar as condições para melhor formar os áudio-descritores; melhor prover o serviço de áudio-descrição e melhor aparelhar o público alvo para a recepção desse serviço, começando com a criança pequena, lá na escolinha, até o adulto na universidade ou em outro locus social.

Palavras-chaves: áudio-descrição, direito inclusivo, criança com deficiência visual


This article presents robust arguments for the provision of audio description for children with vision disability in Brazil. It supports its point of view on national and international laws and conventions that protect children from all forms of harm and discrimination. Audio description is considered an assistive technology capable of given children access to education, culture and leisure by providing visual information of things and events that originally were not available to blind people. It concludes that it is necessary to invest on training audio describers, improve audio description services and educate blind people about receiving and profiting from audio description accessibility.

Keywords: audio description, people with visual disability, accessibility, attitudinal barriers.

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Air Canada amps up inflight entertainment accessibility for visually impaired

Originally published on https://www.thestar.com/business/2016/08/03/air-canada-amps-up-inflight-entertainment-accessibility-for-visually-impaired.html

The company announced its commitment to making all inflight entertainment systems accessible across its fleet of aircraft.

A human rights complaint filed against Air Canada has been resolved with the carrier promising to make its inflight entertainment systems accessible to visually impaired passengers.

Two Ontario residents filed a complaint against Air Canada with the Canadian Human Rights Commission after finding they were unable to use the airline’s touchscreen system to access movies and other diversions during their flights.

The complainants contended they were being deprived of a service that was available to other passengers and urged Air Canada to adopt a system with push buttons and other tactile indicators.

Air Canada has since announced it’s committing to making all inflight entertainment systems accessible across its fleet of aircraft.

The airline has already made changes to the systems in use on its 787 and 777 aircraft and promises future planes set for delivery in 2017 will be equipped with accessible technology.

The passengers who filed the human rights complaint say the settlement has exceeded their expectations.

“We never thought that they would go as far as confirming that everything from now on would be accessible,” plaintiff Marcia Yale said in a telephone interview.

“That’s more than we ever could have hoped for.”

Yale said her grievance with Air Canada began about eight years ago when she discovered the airline had made changes to its inflight entertainment systems.

Instead of the push-button controls she was accustomed to using to scroll through movies and TV shows, she said she was chagrined to discover a new touch-screen system on the back of the seat in front of her.

The new design prevented her from navigating the various menus or browsing through available channels, which in turn left her feeling shortchanged.

“We’re paying the same money for travel and we’re not getting the same service,” Yale said of the situation at the time.

Yale soon joined forces with John Rae, a fellow member of the Alliance for the Equality of Blind Canadians, to file a joint complaint through the Human Rights Commission.

Air Canada did not respond to repeated requests for comment, but Yale said the airline initially defended its practice by contending that inflight entertainment was not part of the service they provided because the hardware was built into the aircraft.

Yale said the company did make moves to address their concerns, however, by designing a template that could fit overtop of the touchscreen and provide a tactile frame of reference.

Air Canada issued a statement saying no inflight entertainment systems on the market today are currently designed to be accessible to the visually impaired, forcing the company to get creative internally.

The company said it adapted the current system, provided by Panasonic, to make it accessible. Yale said the new system now features a hand-held remote control, as well as audio functions that can be enabled through the touchscreen.

“We are extremely proud to have a creative and innovative team that was able to develop these solutions over the years. As technology evolves, we are hopeful that (inflight entertainment) systems manufacturers will follow our lead,” said Eric Lauzon, Air Canada’s manager of multimedia entertainment.

Enhancements to inflight entertainment and other seemingly secondary services will be crucial for airlines that hope to stay competitive, says one analyst.

Barry Prentice, professor with the I.H. Asper School of Business at the University of Manitoba, said air carriers increasingly struggle to compete on price.

This forces airlines to make themselves more attractive through offerings such as food and drink menus, low baggage charges or quality of inflight entertainment, he said.

“Accessibility for the visually impaired is an example of nonprice competition that could be difficult for a competing airline to offer, or at least to do so at the same cost,” Prentice said.

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Warhol Showcases Accessibility-Focused Initiatives At National Conference

Originally published on http://wesa.fm/post/warhol-showcases-accessibility-focused-initiatives-national-conference

Photos and paintings at The Andy Warhol Museum are set up chronologically by decade, starting at the top.

From the seventh floor, School Programs Coordinator Leah Morelli explains, “This is the floor in which his early life starts and the story begins.”

But even without a human guide, all visitors — including those with visual impairments — will soon have a tool to let them know where they are and what’s around them in the space thanks to the organization’s first audio guide.

“Usually on an audio guide, when you go to a museum, you see a number on the wall and you have to type that number in and press enter to hear the content,” Digital Engagement Manager Desi Gonzalez said.

Rather than manual entry, the Warhol is using technology called bluetooth beacons to push out content based on where visitors are located.

Cultural institutions from around the world get a sneak peek of that technology this week as part of the Leadership Exchange in Arts and Disability conference, or LEAD, which is being held locally at the Westin Convention Center in Pittsburgh for the first time.

The museum will share some of its best practices and accessibility initiatives with attendees, including the audio guide.

The guide application breaks down each location’s content into chapters and starts with an introduction.

Leah Morelli of the Andy Warhol Museum holds a tactile reproduction of Warhol's classic screenprinted painting of Marilyn Monroe. Credit Virginia Alvino / 90.5 Wesa
Leah Morelli of the Andy Warhol Museum holds a tactile reproduction of Warhol’s classic screenprinted painting of Marilyn Monroe.
Credit Virginia Alvino / 90.5 Wesa

In the gallery, Gonzalez hits play on her app, and a deep voice streams from her phone.

“Hi, my name is Donald Warhola. I’m a nephew of Andy Warhol, and I work here at the Andy Warhol Museum. Andy Warhol was born Andrew Warhola in the Soho section of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on August 6, 1928, and he lived here until he graduated from Carnegie Tech when he was 20 years old.”

But what comes next isn’t your typical audio tour. Gonzalez said the Warhol developed its first guide with accessibility in mind from the start. It includes selectable content for those with visual impairments like descriptions of the work.

The next chapter goes on: “6-foot-tall, 4-and-a-third-foot-wide canvas, features a single can of Campbell’s soup with a ripped and pealing label. The large black and gray can stands just to our right of center, rendered in graphite and thin casing paint.”

The application was all developed in-house by the innovation studio at the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh.

Chris Maury, 29, who provided feedback throughout its design process, said he’s looking forward to the app’s official launch.

He’s the founder of a Lawrenceville-based startup company in Pittsburgh, Convesant Labs, that designs tech for people with visual impairments. Five years ago he discovered he was slowly losing his own vision.

“[The optometrist] couldn’t fit a new prescription; my eyes just wouldn’t adjust correctly, and he was like, ‘That’s weird,’” Maury said. “So he took photos of the back of my eyes and saw scarring in the center, which is indicative of this retinal disorder called stargardt macular degeneration, which is what I have.”

Maury said he won’t be legally blind for a few years, but as-is, he can no longer drive a car or read restaurant menus. Overall, he said he’s still able to do 90 percent of what he could do before.

After his diagnosis, Maury founded Pittsburgh’s accessibility meetup, a group that focuses on technology and advocacy. The group works with the city to prioritize accessibility infrastructure and provided feedback throughout the Warhol’s audio guide development.

Maury said the goal of any application should be universal design so every user can have a positive experience.

“Throughout this entire process, from kind of the brainstorming phase to actually building it and testing it with users, it’s, ‘What are the needs of people with disabilities? What are the features we need to support? What are the needs of everyone else?’” Maury said. “How do we provide the best experience for both of them in the same space?”

Warhol staff said consultants, researchers and community members found that between the disability community and broader community, many needs were the same.

Danielle Linzer, the Warhol’s curator of education and interpretation, said making a welcoming and accessible space is about anticipating diversity while creating physical spaces, programming and products.

One size never fits all, she said.

“We’ve really been thinking a lot about choice,” said Linzer. “How can you provide individuals with disabilities with the same kinds of choice, the same kinds of opportunities that general visitors can come to expect from cultural institutions?”

Linzer said the museum will continue developing initiatives like sensory-friendly programming. The organization also uses portraiture to help people on the autism spectrum understand facial expressions and non-vocal communication.

During the LEAD conference, the Warhol is premiering several tactile reproductions of paintings to help visitors with visual impairments understand the shape and contour of works on display.

“Access is something that’s never really done,” Linzer said. “It’s not like, ‘Oh, we checked that box. We finished that work.’ It’s really about an almost philosophical approach and a practice of engagement, and it’s something that we are continually working to improve here.”

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