Maryland Becomes the First State to Require Disability Training for Cops

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In 2013, Robert Saylor went to see a showing of Zero Dark Thirty with his aide, and when the film finished, he was unwilling to leave the theater. After staffers called police, his aide warned that he didn’t like to be touched, but police officers grabbed the 26-year-old man, who had Down syndrome, ultimately restraining him because he was struggling under their hands.

Within minutes, he was experiencing respiratory distress, and he ultimately died after police and medical responders were unable to resuscitate him. He joined the long list of people killed by police in the United States, among whom are many disabled people like him — people who don’t understand orders from police officers, are confused in chaotic environments, and pose no threat to anyone but still find themselves classified as dangerous.

The case was a watershed moment for the State of Maryland, even after a grand jury predictably failed to indict the officers involved. Disability advocates were furious, and pressured the state to take action to prevent future incidents. The response: a disability sensitivity training program, the first of its kind in the nation, which includes a four hour intensive to discuss issues specific to the disability community and how to interact with disabled people, including those with cognitive, intellectual and developmental disabilities, on the job.

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Moreover, the program is particularly unique because of who is taking a starring role in the leadership and teaching: disabled people themselves. Self-advocates are active at every step of the way to provide information to police about how they perceive the world, so that officers can make smart choices about how to engage when they know a subject is disabled or suspect disability may be clouding a situation.

Police officers are expected to respond very rapidly to situations they may not fully understand, with a focus on public health and safety. This can come into direct conflict with some disabled people, like D/deaf people who don’t hear or understand orders from police officers, developmentally disabled people who may reach for objects on an officer’s belt out of curiosity, combative mentally ill people confused because they are experiencing breaks with reality and psychosis, intellectually disabled people who don’t understand questions, or cognitively disabled people who become distressed in crowded and chaotic situations. Many law enforcement agencies have little to no training in disability issues like these, and the cost is high for disabled people.

Maryland will be the first state in the country to require police officers to undergo disability sensitivity training across the state. Some counties have already started training their officers in conformity with guidelines legislators are still hammering out, and the training will have secondary benefits too. Police officers in the program receive what’s called deescalation training, in which they work with subjects to defuse a situation using neutral, nonviolent means.

This guidance will be useful not just in situations where police interact with disabled people, but more broadly. Teaching police to turn to nonviolent methods that involve communicating with subjects to understand a situation and get control is important — especially in the state where Freddie Gray died, illustrating that police officers do not have a handle on dealing with subjects responsibly.

The inclusion of self-advocates will hopefully prove to be a model for similar programs elsewhere. Disabled people are often left out of conversations like these, represented by people speaking for them. Being able to interact with police allows them to engage in their communities, raise issues that nondisabled people might not consider, and connect with law enforcement to humanize the face of disability.

Police officers who actually meet disabled people will be better-equipped to interact with them in the outside world. Depending on the outcome of Maryland’s training, hopefully other states will use its legislation as a model for putting similar measures in place, making the streets safer for disabled people.

Publicado por

  • Ruan Carlos

    Discente da disciplina Áudio-descrição, do curso de graduação de Rádio, TV e internet, da Universidade Federal de Pernambuco (UFPE).View all article by Ruan Carlos

US Embassy denies blind Ghanaians visas for conference

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All but three of 30 blind persons who applied for visas to attend the World Blind Union Conference in the United States have been denied, Concerned Persons with Disabilities, said on Tuesday.

“We express our utter shock, surprise and disappointment at the manner the US Embassy in Ghana has dealt with the Visual Impaired Applicants who intend to travel to the US to the World Blind Union organized Conference,” spokesperson of the group, Adongo Atule Jacob said.

He told Adom News that the conference sought to improve the quality of life of blind persons and those with low vision people by providing a common platform for advocates, policy makers, consumers and service providers discuss pertinent issues.

The forum, expected to take off on August 18 in the US, would serve as a major platform for the stakeholders to expand both inter-regional and international networks, share information and learn about new techniques and service models.

But, Mr Jacob said, out of 30 visually impaired persons who have applied for the non-immigrant visa to attend the conference, only three have been granted visas, without granting same to their guides and wondered how they could be aided at the conference.

He said the Embassy’s action contravened Article 9 (2) e and Article (19) b of the UN Convention on the rights of Persons with Disabilities and its optional protocol.
“Our investigation showed that all Visually Impaired Persons were assigned to one specific cage and [an African American] interviewer whilst for non-persons with disabilities, their names where mentioned out and assigned to different cages,” he said.

He called on the US embassy officials to investigate and grant the people deemed qualified the visas since the US prides itself as a defender of rights of the minority.

“The Visually Impaired Persons are not against the Embassy not granting a visa to applicants who do not qualify but rather against the discriminatory nature of which People with visual impairment have been denied visas,” Mr Jacob said.

He noted that blind persons have attended several conferences in Denmark, Switzerland and other developed countries including the UK and have returned, so disqualifying them on the basis of not having strong ties to their country of origin is untenable.

They have threatened legal action against the Embassy.

Publicado por

  • Ruan Carlos

    Discente da disciplina Áudio-descrição, do curso de graduação de Rádio, TV e internet, da Universidade Federal de Pernambuco (UFPE).View all article by Ruan Carlos

Air Canada amps up inflight entertainment accessibility for visually impaired

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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.

Publicado por

  • Ruan Carlos

    Discente da disciplina Áudio-descrição, do curso de graduação de Rádio, TV e internet, da Universidade Federal de Pernambuco (UFPE).View all article by Ruan Carlos

The Enlightenment and visual impairment

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Blindness is a recurrent image in Enlightenment rhetoric. It is used in a political context to indicate a lack of awareness, seen in a letter from Edmund Burke to the chevalier de La Bintinnaye, in poetic rhetoric, with the stories of the blind poets Milton, Homer, and Ossian circulating among the intelligentsia of the time, or simply as a physical irritation, when writers with long lives and extensive correspondences frequently complained of their eyesight deteriorating.

The reception of those with total blindness, however, changed during the course of the long eighteenth century. The experiences of three people (acknowledged as blind) serves to show the ways Enlightenment thinkers, and eighteenth century society in general, responded to those who were rendered separate by their blindness.

The first is John Vermaasen, who plays a small but fascinating role in the evolution of Enlightenment epistemology, appearing as a living thought experiment in Robert Boyle’s Experiments and Considerations Touching Colours (1665). An organist, Vermaasen was blind from the age of two. He came to the attention of Robert Boyle when it was discovered that he had what may be considered a case of synaesthesia; he was able (allegedly) to experience colours using his sense of touch. When presented with a selection of coloured ribbons, and asked to give their colour, Vermaasen would “place them betwixt the Thumb and the Fore-finger…his most exquisite perception was in his Thumb, and much better in the right Thumb than in the left” (Robert Boyle, Experiments, p. 45) and then describe the colours to Boyle and his companion, determining them on the basis of the asperity, or roughness, of the material. Boyle was also sent another anecdote about an encounter with Vermaasen by Henry Oldenburg, in 1665.

Boyle would go on to use this experiment to hypothesise a continuity between the experiences of the five senses, a concept that would have a profound impact on the investigation into the nature of empiricism conducted by figures such as David Hume, George Berkeley, and the French Philosophes in the eighteenth century, most notably Denis Diderot, who in 1749 would write his Letter on the Blind, advancing a theory of education for the blind based on these principles.

A less endearing postscript to this story comes from Jonathan Swift, who included a possible reference to Vermaasen in Gulliver’s Travels (1726), as part of his satirical portrait of the Royal Society in the academy of Lagado (Bk. III: Ch.5), implying that Swift, at least, didn’t believe a word of Boyle’s story:

“There was a man born blind, who had several apprentices in his own condition: their employment was to mix colours for painters, which their master taught them to distinguish, by feeling and smelling. It was indeed my misfortune to find them at that time not very perfect in their lessons, and the professor himself happened to be generally mistaken. This artist is much encouraged and esteemed by the whole fraternity.”
— Jonathan Swift, Gulliver’s Travels, Bk. III: Ch.5

We can see the identity of Vermaasen being torn between the theoretical implications of his synaesthesia and his own playful means of adapting that synaesthesia into a self-representation of his own. Ultimately though, as far as we can tell, his blindness does not appear to have damaged his professional or social life. It was transcended by the unique and philosophically interesting sensory experiences he had in place of sight.

Thomas Blacklock (1721-1791), nineteenth-century engraving based on eighteenth-century painting. Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.
Thomas Blacklock (1721-1791), nineteenth-century engraving based on eighteenth-century painting. Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.
The same cannot be said for the second of our cases, however: Thomas Blacklock. Blacklock was a Scottish poet and clergyman who lost his sight to smallpox in infancy, but went on to become an advocate and pioneer of unique educational techniques for the blind. In 1760, he was nominated to the ministry of Kirkcudbright, only to find his potential congregation turned against him because of his blindness, creating an environment so toxic that his ordination was delayed until 1762, and he was only able to hold the position for three years, before resigning in 1765.

Blacklock’s understandable outrage at this rejection manifested itself in a satirical poem which he wrote in 1765, but which remained unpublished until 1903, so damning was it of the members of his congregation who had rejected him, out of nothing more than a prejudice against his blindness. This satire, called ‘Pistapolis’, is filled with evocations of the aural nature of sermonizing, highlighting the degree to which sight is irrelevant. A typical stanza runs as follows, addressing the poetic Muse:

“…if in thy view their procession should pass,
Though thy Tongue were of Iron, and thy Lungs were of brass,
To praise them in strains, like thy subject refin’d,
Were to p—ss in the ocean, or f—rt at the wind.”
— ‘Pistapolis’, (1765), unpub.

Though he was clearly embittered by his experiences, Blacklock went on to re-invent himself under the patronage of the poet and essayist James Beattie, becoming an expert on Scottish musical culture at Marischal College, Aberdeen, again exploiting his finely tuned ear.

In the case of Blacklock, we can see the liberating potential in the Enlightenment, particularly in Scotland. Blacklock was able to realize his secular, religious, and pedagogical potential by turning to the figures of the Scottish Enlightenment like James Beattie. He was able to move towards improving society for those marginalized like himself through a programme of pedagogy and publication, an early form of disability rights activist.

Later in the eighteenth century support for the blind became institutionalized. However, this also had its limitations. Anna Williams (our third case) was a Welsh poet who lost her sight later in life, and was given an annuity to support her by the bluestocking socialite and Shakespeare critic Elizabeth Montagu. In a letter of thanks, Williams says:

“I may with truth say I have not words to express my Gratitude as I ought, to a Lady whose bounty has by one act of benevolence doubled my Income, & whose tender Compassionate assurances, has removed the future anxiety of trusting to Chance, the terror of which only Could have prompted me to stand a publick Candidate for Mr Hetheringtons Bounty.”

Elizabeth Montagu, mezzotint engraving, John Raphael Smith, after Sir Joshua Reynolds, mezzotint, published 10 April 1776 (1775). Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.
Elizabeth Montagu, mezzotint engraving, by John Raphael Smith, after a portrait by Sir Joshua Reynolds, published 10 April 1776. Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.
It is the reference to Hetherington’s Bounty which is particularly significant here. This was an annuity of £10, to be given to one of 50 blind people “objects of charity, not being beggars, nor receiving alms from the parish” (London Evening Post, 29 March 1774–31 March 1774) from a bequest of £20,000 given by Hetherington to Christ Church Hospital. While Hetherington’s intentions were praised as noble, the extent to which his charitable donations were able to ameliorate the conditions of those both poor and blind in London as a whole was called into question.

The celebrated philanthropist Jonas Hanway quantified the blind poor of the metropolis, organizing them into categories based on age and ability to sustain themselves. Hanway finds that the poor urban blind in need of Hetherington’s bequest amounted to over 600, concluding that “we must turn our thoughts to a more practicable mode, distinguishing the most distressed, and appealing to the most affluent and charitable” (Jonas Hanway, Defects, p. 262).

Anna Williams is clearly aware of the excessive demand being placed on the Hetherington annuity, as well as its informal process of deciding who was a valid candidate, claiming that submitting to it would be “trusting to Chance”, making it little more than a lottery.

Thus we can see, in these three stories, the ways in which those recognized as blind responded to the changes in society within their own communities and times across the period of the Enlightenment. Vermaasen recognized the public and philosophical potential of his unique sensory gift, and exploited it to build an identity in the early Enlightenment scientific drive to investigate and elucidate the strange or unknown of the previous generation. Blacklock saw the potential in new secular power structures developing in the universities and formal or informal circles of intellectual patronage to develop a political and pedagogical identity outside of the church. Williams, while herself benefitting from the informal patronage of the eighteenth century social network, was witness to the burgeoning impersonal, “telescopic philanthropy”, which would become a standard model of Victorian social enterprise.

– See more at:

Publicado por

  • Ruan Carlos

    Discente da disciplina Áudio-descrição, do curso de graduação de Rádio, TV e internet, da Universidade Federal de Pernambuco (UFPE).View all article by Ruan Carlos

New law requires movie chains to offer open captioning and audio descriptions in theatres

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Honolulu, Hawaii – A bill introduced by Kauai Representative James Tokioka (Wailua Homesteads, Hanamaulu, Lihue, Puhi, Old Koloa Town, Omao), and signed into law by Governor David Ige will make Hawaii the first state in the nation to accommodate for the hearing and visually impaired at movie theatres statewide.
HB1272 requires anyone that operates a motion picture theater in more than two locations in the state to provide open captioning during at least two showings per week of each motion picture that is produced with open movie captioning. It also requires them to provide an audio description of any motion picture that is produced and offered with audio description. The measure takes effect Jan. 1, 2016 and sunsets Jan. 1, 2018.
The law allows equal access to movie theaters for the deaf, blind, deaf/blind and hard-of-hearing communities. It also brings Hawaii closer to achieving full inclusion for our deaf and blind communities that was first initiated with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990.
The law removes communication barriers and provides equal access to persons who are deaf, hard of hearing, blind or have poor vision through reasonable accommodations at movie theaters. It will also help seniors who have trouble hearing, as well as individuals who are learning English as a second language by providing the written dialogue on screen.

Publicado por

  • Ruan Carlos

    Discente da disciplina Áudio-descrição, do curso de graduação de Rádio, TV e internet, da Universidade Federal de Pernambuco (UFPE).View all article by Ruan Carlos

Derek Rabelo Overcame Blindness to Become an Amazing Surfer

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Derek Rabelo’s father wanted nothing more than to have a son who surfed. He even named his son after Hawaii’s first champion, Derek Ho. But his father’s dreams were dashed when Rabelo was born completely blind, the result of glaucoma. “Many people told me that surfing was too dangerous for me and I couldn’t do it,” Rabelo says. But he began listening to the sounds of the ocean and had a revelation. “I had the blood of a surfer coursing through my veins,” Rabelo says. So he hit the water with a board in his hand.

At first, it was incredibly difficult for Derek to even stand on the board. “Every time I fell, I stood up and tried harder,” he says. Through his struggles in the water he realized that being sightless gave him an advantage over others. “I cannot see [the ocean] as you do. But I can feel and hear it better than you,” he says. Person after person told Rabelo he couldn’t do it, but he persevered and eventually stood on his board. “These words made me even more determined to continue the dream I shared with my father with hard work and passion,” he says. “I achieved my goal and was able to stand on the waves, proving them otherwise.”

Rabelo would go on to become an amazing surfer and now shares his story of overcoming a disability and embracing his uniqueness with others at surf camps, schools, and global conferences. Rabelo’s story is a call to ask ourselves if there are any dreams we aren’t pursuing because of self-imposed limitations or those placed on us by others. In the words of Rabelo, “All these negative words are like waves in the ocean trying to tip you over and make you fall.”

Publicado por

  • Ruan Carlos

    Discente da disciplina Áudio-descrição, do curso de graduação de Rádio, TV e internet, da Universidade Federal de Pernambuco (UFPE).View all article by Ruan Carlos

AMC Theatres Sued for Discriminating Against the Blind

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A group of blind movie patrons filed a federal class action suit this week against AMC Theatres, one of the nation’s largest movie theater chains, alleging that AMC discriminates against blind moviegoers.

The lawsuit claims that AMC fails to provide working audio-description devices for visually impaired kids and adults, instead offering broken devices or ones with dead batteries, as well as frequently handing out devices meant for the hard of hearing instead.

Audio-description devices for the visually impaired consist of a simple headset and audio track that relate key visual elements of the movie. “Without audio description,” notes the lawsuit, “blind individuals watching a movie do not know what is happening in scenes without dialogue and may misunderstand the meaning of other scenes.”

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This Hiker Isn’t Letting Blindness Slow Him Down 2:38
The proposed class action suit, filed by representative plaintiff Scott Blanks of San Francisco, claims that AMC, which owns and operates over 300 movie theaters across the country, “fails to adequately maintain the equipment for playing audio description, fails to adequately train its staff on maintenance, set-up, and use of the equipment, and fails to adequately keep equipment charged and properly programmed.”

AMC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In one example cited in the lawsuit, a blind woman who went to “The Imitation Game” was given multiple non-functioning audio devices. When she finally received one that worked, she discovered that it was playing the audio track for “Fifty Shades of Grey” instead. In another incident, a group of blind children being taken to a Spongebob movie could not enjoy the film due to issues with their devices.

“We all want to have the same experience, the same escapism, the same access to entertainment,” Blanks said.

Additional plaintiffs include the California Council of the Blind, Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired, plus several other blind individuals. Together, they are seeking a court declaration that AMC discriminates against blind and visually impaired movie patrons, an order that AMC ensures its equipment works properly, and attorney’s fees and legal costs for violating the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Publicado por

  • Ruan Carlos

    Discente da disciplina Áudio-descrição, do curso de graduação de Rádio, TV e internet, da Universidade Federal de Pernambuco (UFPE).View all article by Ruan Carlos

YouTube sensation, pole vaulter, rock star

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Meet the new generation of young people who are rewriting the rules about blindness

Quick – what comes to mind when you think about people who are blind? YouTube sensations? Pole vaulters? Rock stars?

If none of those descriptions were on your mental list, maybe it’s time for a new list.

Meet the new generation of young people who are blind. For them, blindness is one part of who they are – but not the most important part. They’re not afraid to take chances. They’re proof that determination overcomes any limitation. And they’re so busy achieving their dreams they may not even realize they’re rewriting the rules about what it means to be blind.

Flawless beauty

When teen girls need makeup tips, they go to the Internet. When they need really good makeup tips, they go to YouTube and get advice from a young woman who’s blind.

She’s Lucy Edwards, 20, a UK native whose make-up tutorials have been viewed more than 650,000 times. She has her own YouTube channel called YesterdaysWishes, which promises: “You can have blindness and beauty.”

Edwards lost her vision completely three years ago from a rare condition called incontinentia pigmenti. So she memorized key points on her face and practiced applying her makeup by touch. Her videos were originally intended for other teens who are blind, but Edwards soon attracted a sighted audience who appreciated her fail-proof advice and product suggestions.

Being able to do her own makeup gives her a sense of confidence, Edwards said. “Because I’m making myself pretty, it makes me feel better about myself on the inside,” she said. “I don’t have to ask someone, ‘Do I look good today?’ Because I know that I do.”

Vaulting over blindness

She’s the only pole vaulter in Texas who needs a guide dog to get to the starting line.

But once Charlotte Brown gets there, athletic skill takes over. She sprints down the 81-foot runway, counting each step and planting her pole at step number seven. She soars more than 11 feet in the air over a crossbar she can’t see.

Brown developed cataracts when she was four months old, and began to lose her vision at age 11. In high school she became completely blind – but she didn’t let that stop her. As a senior in 2015, Brown won a bronze medal at the Texas high school state championships, and her guide dog Vador joined her on the podium.

Now Brown is heading to Purdue University on an academic scholarship. “The message I would pass on to anyone my age is don’t put limits on yourself,” she said. “No matter how impossible something may seem, there is a way to do it!”

Rock star cool

On stage, Casey Harris could be just another musician with styled blond hair and hipster shades. His white cane is the first clue that he’s more than that.

Harris is the keyboardist for the buzzed-about indie rock band X Ambassadors. He’s been blind since birth because of Senior-Loken syndrome, a rare genetic condition. “I might be visually impaired but I’m just an ordinary guy playing pretty dope music,” he said.

Harris plays a Nord Lead 4 keyboard synthesizer, which has tactile knobs he can operate by touch. His old-school synthesizer sound anchors the Brooklyn-based band’s melodic songs like “Renegades,” which hit the top of the alternative rock charts in 2015. The “Renegades” video also offers a clue about that makes Harris different – it features people with blindness and other disabilities hiking, lifting weights and boxing.

“The message of our music is the extraordinary exists within the ordinary,” Harris said. “It celebrates the ordinary person and says no to discrimination and ignorance.”

Publicado por

  • Ruan Carlos

    Discente da disciplina Áudio-descrição, do curso de graduação de Rádio, TV e internet, da Universidade Federal de Pernambuco (UFPE).View all article by Ruan Carlos

Nigeria: President Appoints Visually Challenged Man As Special Assistant

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President Muhammadu Buhari has appointed a visually impaired veterinary doctor, Samuel Inalegwu Ode Ankeli as his Senior Special Assistant, with responsibility for handling matters concerning persons living with disability.

Mr. Ankeli headed the Directorate of Persons With Disability at the Buhari/Osinbajo APC presidential campaign headquarters, the first of any such department in a political party in Nigeria.

“He led a team that successfully mobilized a large number of the more that 24 million disabled persons in the country to support the APC candidate and his running mate in the 2015 presidential election campaign,” a statement by presidential spokesperson, Garba Shehu, said.

Mr. Ankeli hails from Benue State. He went to school in Giwa, near Zaria and Kaduna before reading veterinary medicine at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.

He worked with the Benue State government before quitting to give time to his activist role in the promotion of the wellbeing of the blind and people with all kinds of disability.

He leads a very active religious and sporting life.

He is married, with children.

Publicado por

  • Ruan Carlos

    Discente da disciplina Áudio-descrição, do curso de graduação de Rádio, TV e internet, da Universidade Federal de Pernambuco (UFPE).View all article by Ruan Carlos

Disabled Characters on Television: 95% of Roles in Top 10 Shows Played By Able-Bodied Actors — Report

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The study determined that only four actors with disabilities were cast during the 2015-2016 season, amounting to less than 2 percent of all actors on screen.

Liz Calvario

A new study by Ruderman White Paper took a comprehensive look at the employment of actors with disabilities in television. Their findings concluded that 95 percent of characters with disabilities in top 10 TV shows are played by able-bodied actors, an act that, according to the Ruderman Family Foundation, reveals the “unjust and troubling discrimination of actors with disabilities in Hollywood.”

Co-authored by “Seinfeld” actor Danny Woodburn and Kristina Kopić, advocacy content specialist at Ruderman, the study examined 31 shows across all platforms, from streaming, cable and network, and also determined that only four actors with disabilities were cast during the 2015-2016 season, amounting to less than 2 percent of all actors on screen. With people with disabilities representing nearly 20 percent of the US population, it concluded that they are the most underrepresented minority in Hollywood.

READ MORE: If You Want True Diversity in Hollywood, Don’t Forget About Seniors and Actors With Disabilities

“The protest and ensuing media frenzy ignited by the ‘Oscars So White’ campaign has shaped an ideology around diversity in entertainment. This off-balanced idea of diversity has led to policy and even proposed legislation that has excluded people with disabilities,” said Woodburn in a statement from Variety. “The Ruderman White Paper On Employment Of Actors With Disabilities In Television is our attempt to bring perspective to inclusion, to reinforce access and an understanding of authenticity as an expression of what true diversity means and to finally let the least represented group in this medium be heard.”

ABC’s new comedy “Speechless,” starring Minnie Driver, features Micah Fowler, an actor who has cerebral palsy in real life and plays JJ, the family’s eldest child. While this is a step forward, the Ruderman Foundation hopes to have more studios hire more actors with disabilities.

READ MORE: 2015 Vida Count: WOC, LGBTQ and Women with Disabilities Underrepresented in Publications

“The entertainment industry has a significant impact on how our society views various minority groups. Part of this is rooted in the fact that our population spends more time watching television than socializing with friends. Because of the widespread stigma in Hollywood against hiring actors with disabilities, we very rarely see people with real disabilities on screen,” said Jay Ruderman, president of the Ruderman Family Foundation. “This blatant discrimination against people with disabilities not only is fundamentally unfair to the approximate 20 percent of our population with disabilities, it also reinforces stigmas against people with disabilities. By systematically casting able-bodied actors portraying characters with disabilities, Hollywood is hurting the inclusion of people with disabilities in our country.”

Publicado por

  • Ruan Carlos

    Discente da disciplina Áudio-descrição, do curso de graduação de Rádio, TV e internet, da Universidade Federal de Pernambuco (UFPE).View all article by Ruan Carlos