Monday, December 14, 2009

Amazon's Kindle and Accessibility

Kindle, the popular wireless reading device by Amazon, may become more accessible to persons with visual impairments. The Daily Orange reports that Amazon has responded to complaints by Syracuse University and University of Wisconson that students with visual impairments had difficulties navigating through their documents with the device.

In a news release, Amazon stated that they plan to implement an audible menu and extra-large font to make Kindles more accessible.

You can read the original article here.

Toys 'R Us Differently-Abled Toy Guide

Stressing about the holidays? The Toys 'R Us Differently-Abled Toy Guide can help parents, grandparents, uncles and aunts find the perfect gift for their young loved ones with disabilities. The guide suggests toys that enhance particular skills and abilities; you can choose from auditory, creativity, fine motor, gross motor, language, self-esteem, social skills, tactile, thinking, and visual. The site also offers further refinement by age group, gender, theme (like Fairies, Cars, or Sesame Street), and price range. Almost every toy description is accompanied by reviews from parents.

If you don't want to order your gifts online, a box beneath the shopping cart allows customers to search for stores near their zip code and confirms whether the toy is available at that location.

Need more ideas? CeDIR owns several books on toys and recreation:
-The new language of toys: Teaching communication skills to children with special needs
-Fun with messy play: ideas and activities for children with special needs
-Play and imagination in children with autism

Email us if you're an Indiana resident and interested in checking any of these out!

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Power to Spring Up

In The power to spring up: Postsecondary education opportunities for students with significant disabilities Diana Katovitch provides an overview of the options available for students with disabilities who wish to pursue higher education. She covers modified academic programs on university campuses, vocational residential programs for students with special needs, and a range of possibilities in between. Each chapter is devoted to either a comprehensive description of a specific program or a range of options for specific disabilities. The book also guides students through a planning process of deciding whether they're ready for college, whether their future aspirations require a college degree, etc.

Interested in this book? Indiana resident? Email us!

Not an Indiana resident? Find this book at your local library through WorldCat.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

School is Not Supposed to Hurt

School is not supposed to hurt: Investigative report on abusive restraint and seclusion in schools is a 60-page publication by the National Disability Rights Network. The report delves into the inadequacies of legal protection, summaries of prominent cases, and suggestions for the current federal administration to reduce instances of harmful restraint of students with disabilities.

In addition to the public PDF linked above, CeDIR also owns a a copy for lending. Email us for more information if you're an Indiana resident!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Lower Attendance and Graduation Rates for Students with Disabilities

The Consortium on Chicago School Research reports that high school freshmen with mild cognitive or emotional disabilities missed five to eleven more days per semester than students who hadn't been diagnosed with a disability. The high number of absences correlates to lower performance, and ultimately lower graduation rates.

According to a press release in the Chicago Tribune, "Among on-track students, 87 percent of students without disabilities graduate in five years. That drops to 77 percent of students who have learning disabilities and to 57 percent for those with emotional disturbances."

Rod Estvan, education coordinator at Access Living, says the findings are a sign that many students with disabilities are undiagnosed or undersupported.

You can read the story here.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Cerebral Palsy and Dance

Last month, the New York Times featured an actor with cerebral palsy who vastly improved his motor control by learning to dance. The man, Gregg Mozgala, is 31 and has been undergoing physical therapy since childhood to straighten his gait. Through a performance with the organization Theater Breaking Through Barriers, Mozgala met choreographer Tamar Rogoff, who has been coaching him since.

Mozgala says that a tension-releasing technique, common to dancers, has been instrumental in allowing him to regain control of his body. "My body just really took to it...I did that for about 20 or 30 minutes, and when I stood up, I was walking completely differently. My feet were flat on the ground." He is now performing Rogoff's piece in New York, and will again at the VSA International Arts Festival in June at the Kennedy Center in Washington.

A rheumatology specialist at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan says his progress sets an example for people with disabilities everywhere: "It’s not over," he said. "There's always a chance to change. You should not — you dare not — give up."

You can read the original article here.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Winter Heating Assistance

ARC Master Trust Winter Heating Assistance Program: The Arc of Indiana is now accepting certification forms for The Arc Master Trust's 2010 Winter Heating Assistance Program. $35,000 has been approved by The Arc of Indiana's Board of Directors for the 2010 program. This will allow 350 low-income individuals with disabilities to receive assistance with $100 toward their winter heating bills. Funding for the Winter Heating Assistance Program comes from The Arc of Indiana's Master Trust Remainder Fund.

The Trust wants to distribute funds as equally as possible throughout the state. Therefore, a limited number of applications will be accepted from each of Indiana's counties. Also, for 2010 initial payments will be made only to those that have not received assistance in the past. If they have received assistance in the past, their name will be placed on a waiting list. After first time applicants have received their check, and money remains to be distributed, checks will be issued to those on the waiting list on a first come first served basis. Complete information about the 2010 Winter Heating Assistance Program is available on The Arc of Indiana’s web site at

Friday, December 4, 2009

Making the MDGS Disability-Inclusive

Yesterday's International Day for Persons with Disabilities was themed "Making the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) disability-inclusive." The MDGs are "the set of global targets to halve poverty, hunger and other social ills by 2015," as set out by United Nations officials like Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

American singer Stevie Wonder, who has vision impairment, was appointed the new "Messenger of Peace." In a New York news conference to address his appointment, he said, "It is beyond my ability to fathom that 10 per cent of the people of this world [living with disabilities] do not matter to the other 90 per cent of the people in the world...seeing a person who’s left without an opportunity means that we are all with a disability."

You can read more about the goals and activities of IDPwD at the UN News Centre.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

International Day of People with Disability

Happy IDPwD! Today, events around the world will bring together people with disability and the general community. The goals of IDPwD are to:

• showcase the skills, abilities, contributions and achievements of people with disability
• promote a positive image of people with disability
• involve people with disability and the broader community in activities to celebrate and raise awareness of IDPwD.

The official International Day of People with Disability website is based in Australia, and can be accessed at You can also celebrate by visiting the IDPwD Facebook page!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Whistler Resort and the Paralympics

Whistler Village, British Columbia is getting an accessibility makeover in preparation for the 2010 Paralympics. The village, which is a resort-style city, will be the site of the medal ceremony and other Olympic-related events.

Some of the upgrades include transportation improvements, with an addition of 21 new accessible vehicles to the public system, wheel-chair accessible taxi services, barrier-free pathways to get around the city, and the creation of a database of accessible lodging establishments.

For more information about the transformation, see the Able Traveler article on Whistler. For more information about barrier-free travel, see some of our past posts on the subject.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped

The National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped is a national network of cooperating libraries that provide braille and audio materials circulated to eligible borrowers in the United States by postage-free mail. A US resident is eligible if they have a visual acuity of 20/200 or less or limited range of vision with correcting lenses, or those certified by a competent authority as unable to use standard print materials as a result of visual or physical limitations.

The service can provide books in English or Spanish. The NLS also publishes biweekly reviews of the most recent additions to their braille and talking book collections.

To find a local participating library, consult this search engine. To sign up for mail-order library service, visit this page. To browse their collection, you can utilize their online catalog.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Faith and Disabilities

The turkeys have been carved and the trees are going up; the holiday season is upon us. Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or others, CeDIR has resources to help create inclusive faith communities this holiday season.

-Praying with Lior
-Including people with disabilities in faith communities : a guide for service providers, families, & congregations
-Believing, belonging, becoming
-Faith communities and inclusion of people with developmental disabilities

Monday, November 23, 2009

Support Groups

Are you looking for a support group for yourself or loved ones? The Bloomington Hospital has established several tailored to specific conditions (all phone numbers with area code 812):

Adolescent Bereavement: 353-9818
For children and teens who have lost a loved one

Adult Bereavement: 353-9818
For adults who have lost a loved one

ALS: 353-9299
For anyone with ALS and their family or friends

Alzheimer's: 353-9299
For caregivers fo individuals with Alzheimer's and other dementias

Breast Cancer: 353-5669
Support for women undergoing treatment for breast cancer

Cancer-all types: 353-5669
For individuals undergoing treatment for any cancers and their families

Celiac: 339-3424
For individuals with gluten intolerance

Diabetes: 353-9258
For individuals with diabetes

Fibromyalgia: 353-5534
For individuals with Fibromyalgia syndrome

HIV/AIDS: 353-3261
For individuals with the human immunodeficiency virus

Postpartum Depression: 337-8121
For women experiencing depression following the birth of their babies--family members welcome

RTS: 353-5482
Fr people who have experienced miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, stillbirth or newborn death

Stroke: 353-9818
For individuals who have had a stroke and their caregivers

Tobacco: 353-5811
For individuals in the process of quitting or who have quit tobacco products

Friday, November 20, 2009

Arthritis Myths

Do your bones creak because of the cold? Because you slouch? Probably not. Causations like these are largely myths, as the Harvard Medical school points out in their article "Top 10 Things that Don't Cause Arthritis". Here are some mythical reasons for joint pain:

1) Overuse. Unless you're a jack-hammer operator or professional athlete, you are not at increased risk for arthritis.

2) Cold, damp weather. This belief is common, but scientifically unsupported.

3) Medications. The type of medicine that causes bone death is very, very rare.

4) Infections and vaccinations. Infectious diseases can cause arthritis, but only a small fraction of cases can be attributed to them.

5) Diet. What you eat has almost nothing to do with arthritis--though shoveling in the pie and french fries can lead to obesity, which worsens joint symptoms.

For the full list of myths with more extensive explanations, follow the link above.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Getting Closer to a Treatment for Down Syndrome

Researchers from Stanford and the University of California San Diego have found a way to restore learning in mice with a Down syndrome-like condition.

The scientists administered xamoterol to mice who had three copies of one of their chromosomes (similar to the origin of Down syndrome). Before the tests, mice suffered neural degeneration and had difficulty learning to adapt to new environments; for example, they did not build nests when transferred to new homes and could not recognize patterns in audio tones. After the drug took effect, the nest-building and pattern recognition was restored.

The xamoterol worked by being converted by the body into norepinephrine, which is a natural neurotransmitter.

To read more about the discovery, read the press releases at the University of California or MedPage Today.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Introduction to Special Education in Indiana

An Introduction to Special Education in Indiana is a pamphlet developed by Cathy Beard at the IIDC's Early Childhood Center. The handy booklet details laws and services for parents of children in special education or burgeoning SE teachers.

The ECC is offering free copies until our stock runs low. Contact 812-855-6508 to obtain a copy. The CeDIR library also has several copies available for borrowing when the department runs out; email us if you're interested and an Indiana resident.

Make sure to check out the ECC's other publications on their site.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Special Education in Contemporary Society

Special education in contemporary society: an introduction to exceptionality is a textbook for college students by Richard Gargiulo. In addition to a comprehensive text on policies, cultural diversity, families, and specific disabilities, the book features special sections in every chapter: interviews with individuals with learning disabilities, targeted teaching strategies, and suggested learning activities.

Interested in this book? Indiana resident? Email us!

Not an Indiana resident? Find this book at your local library through WorldCat.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Is Your Website Accessible?

This Wednesday at 2pm, ADA Online will host a webinar called "Tips and Tricks for Accessible Web Design." The event is part of the Accessible Technology audio conference series.

This event is free, but requires registration at: