Beth Haller writes about the new movie Blindness recently reviewed at the Cannes Film Festival here and here and here.
"I ... hoped that some blind actors would be involved but haven't heard
that they are. I wish non-disabled actors who have some connection to
disability would think about advocating on behalf of hiring actors with
disabilities. Mark Ruffalo survived
a benign brain tumor in 2000 that left him with partial paralysis,
which was not permanent. Ruffalo is fine stage and screen actor, who is
gaining much more power in Hollywood, and I'd love to see him put that
power to good use in assisting actors with disabilities to get hired."
I was pleased to be able to leave this comment on her blog Media Dis&Dat
I'm so pleased to have discovered this new movie thanks to you!
Steve (Kuusisto) and I (Connie) will be very interested in following
As for your comment: "I wish non-disabled actors who
have some connection to disability would think about advocating on
behalf of hiring actors with disabilities"... That's exactly what
Howard Renensland is doing with [with]tv. (www.with-tv.com) The rest of
us just need to support him by spreading the word, as I know you have.
Thanks for that, too!
D.C. – The American Association of People with Disabilities
(AAPD), the largest cross-disability membership organization in the U.S., was
pleased with the outcomes of the May 1st hearing held on Capitol Hill by the
U.S. House Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet chaired by
Representative Edward Markey (MA), and the strong testimony provided by the
hearing’s celebrity and hero witnesses. The hearing focused on draft legislation,
“Enhancing Access to Broadband Technology and Services for Persons with
AAPD now urges the U.S. Senate to consider similar legislative
steps to ensure equal access to technology for people with disabilities.
“Once again, Representative Ed Markey is helping to safeguard an
accessible future for people with disabilities,” said Andrew Imparato, AAPD
President and CEO. “We are hopeful that last week’s hearing has laid a solid
foundation for a bipartisan, bicameral strategy that will produce important
legislation in the coming months!”
This weekend my 18 year old daughter got completely sucked in to watching the America’s Next Top Model Season 9 marathon on VH-1. The show, hosted by Tyra Banks chooses several lovely young ladies from around the country and provides a combination of modeling training and elimination competitions so that by the end of their season there is one winner of a major modeling contract. I don’t know this for sure, but my guess is that all of those young ladies get a career boost from both the training and the exposure the show gives them.
I got interested in watching the show when my daughter informed me that one of the girls competing (Heather) has Asperger’s syndrome. It was fascinating to watch this young woman compete on the program and watching the dynamics of the folks around her as she advanced in the competition.
I applaud America’s Next Top Model for their commitment to diversity.
Probably the most fun for me was listening to my daughter’s commentary on the show. She has grown up with a younger brother who has a learning disability and a younger sister who has Down syndrome. And, while I knew she was certainly aware of disability issues, it turns out she is pretty analytical and quite passionate about them. (Yay!)
She first called my attention to the show to point out Heather and to say, “Mom, I am so excited, she is really good!” She said that she’d been worried about what angle the show would take and she didn’t want them to have a “pity contestant” or to make a fool of someone. She said that Heather had some struggles, but so did everyone and “her strengths are really strong, Mom!”
Later she called me in to comment on the social dynamics in the group. My daughter pointed out one of the contestants and said that this girl had targeted Heather from the beginning. The girl started out early in the series saying mean things to Heather and when that didn’t appear to affect her she escalated and escalated until she was finally able to rattle her. My daughter’s comment was that the best revenge was that Heather’s pictures really were better than this other girl’s.
Heather made it nearly to the top which was so exciting, but my daughter was disappointed by the disqualifying events. Throughout the series people were attentive to giving Heather the cues she needed and she responded to them pretty well. All of the girls had areas where they excelled and areas where they did not. The final tests were hard to watch though.
There was a contest where Heather was having trouble with the photo shoot (some of the other girls did 13 takes also!) One of the coordinators eventually fed Heather the words line by line, but the critique was about connecting with the camera… it was sort of a parallel accommodation.
I have run into this with my daughter at times where someone will tell me that they have been zippering her coat for her, for example, for months and she still can’t do it herself… They did something—maybe a lot—for her, but NOT what she needed. It’s an odd disconnect.
The argument could be made that in the real world of modeling no one will help her that much… I think when the intention is success there will be ways to create accommodations that work. If they had given all of the contestants their lines the night before they probably all would have done better—but the intention of that competition was to eliminate someone.
The part that upset me was in the activity called Go-Sees where the contestants drop in on a bunch of designers to show their portfolios and make a connection. They left Heather wandering around some city in China unable to find a single designer. She cannot follow maps. So her elimination eventually had nothing to do with her ability, her connection with designers, her commitment or her work ethic, it had to do entirely with her disability.
The fact that people walked past her and let her flounder on the streets shows just how well she was doing in the competition! They clearly felt very insecure.
I think eliminating her because of her runway skills or her lack of smoothness talking on camera—essential job skills—would have been fine, but eliminating her for her map-reading capabilities was ugly. Especially in the age of the GPS! And wouldn't a GPS manufacturer just love the exposure of having the show hand out their systems to their top 5 models for Go-Sees?
Oh well, she got into the top 5, if our house was any indication she was cheered by multitudes. She really is a top model with a fairytale story—and, oh yeah, she happens to have Aspergers.
Several weeks back I wrote about different ways one can identify whether or not a firm is truly committed to hiring people with disabilities. One factor I mentioned was to consider whether or not a firm has an Employee Resource Group for people with disabilities, as the group tends to facilitate and improve employee engagement on disability issues.
If you watched the Super Bowl, you may have learned of one such employee group called EnAble. EnAble is a group within PepsiCo that supports diversity and the inclusion of persons with different abilities.
EnAble created a commercial for the Super Bowl that was performed entirely in sign language and contained subtitles. The spot was created by and features PepsiCo employees who are members of EnAble. The ad is an attempt to demonstrate PepsiCo’s commitment to diversity by airing the first ad using ASL and subtitles only on a national broadcasting network (there was no sound at all).
According to PepsiCo, "this is one way we can give back through what we call Performance with Purpose. It's part of a larger effort to make PepsiCo the defining corporation of the 21st century. By bringing the world an ad performed by deaf employees in ASL, we feel like we've already scored the upset on Super Bowl Sunday."
While the ad may have produced mix feeling among members of our community, one fact remains true -- without a group like EnAble we may never have seen such an ad played during the Super Bowl. Additionally, EnAble opened the door for dialogue about the media’s level of engagement on disability issues, and raises awareness on the importance of corporate hiring practices to include hiring people with disabilities.
If you didn’t catch the ad, check it out below:
Two guys in a pickup truck (one’s drinking a Pepsi) are headed to a Super Bowl party hosted by their friend Bob, but they stop on the darkened upper-middle-class street after neither one remembers which house is his.
The two spend a bit of time arguing before the driver gets an idea and repeatedly honks the horn. House lights begin to pop on as they slowly work through the neighborhood, honking along the way.
They stop at the only house that remains dark and the driver declares, “That’s it!”
“Yeah, ya think?” the passenger replies sarcastically.
They walk up and ring Bob’s doorbell, prompting Bob’s foyer light to flash three times (it took me a few times before I caught that). Bob lets the pair in, and the passenger gives a quick “Sorry” to a puzzled neighbor before walking inside.
Inclusive Tourism is one important means through which persons with disabilities participate in society at a distance from their homes. At the same time, the presence of these tourists provides a model - and source of funding - for the inclusive practices and infrastructure necessary for their presence. Inclusive Tourism partially funds Inclusive Destination Development. Inclusive tourism is an example of democratization and the dissemination of human rights through a market-driven mechanism.
Known by various names in various places such as, accessible tourism or tourism for all, inclusive tourism is made possible by the widespread adoption of the Seven Principles of Universal Design:
1. Equitable Use: The design does not disadvantage or stigmatize any group of users. 2. Flexibility in Use: The design accommodates a wide range of individual preferences and abilities. 3. Simple, Intuitive Use: Use of the design is easy to understand, regardless of the user's experience, knowledge, language skills, or current concentration level. 4. Perceptible Information: The design communicates necessary information effectively to the user, regardless of ambient conditions or the user's sensory abilities. 5. Tolerance for Error: The design minimizes hazards and the adverse consequences of accidental or unintended actions. 6. Low Physical Effort: The design can be used efficiently and comfortably, and with a minimum of fatigue. 7. Size and Space for Approach & Use: Appropriate size and space is provided for approach, reach, manipulation, and use, regardless of the user's body size, posture, or mobility.
A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds.
- Francis Bacon
[with]tv has had the good fortune of connecting with Mr. Brad Saul, a very wise man judging from the number of opportunities he's "made". We've not yet had the pleasure of meeting in person, although we look forward to the day.
Perhaps you would like to "meet" him too, via the following introduction by Crain Communications Inc. Do so and you'll learn about multiple "opportunities" Mr. Saul has "made" on behalf of people with disabilities.
Tourism can be defined as the act of travel for the purpose of
recreation, and the provision of services for this act. A tourist is
someone who travels at least fifty miles from home, as defined by the
World Tourism Organization (a United Nations body).
more comprehensive definition would be that tourism is a service
industry, comprising a number of tangible and intangible components.
The tangible elements include transport systems - air, rail, road,
water and now, space; hospitality services - accommodation, foods and
beverages, tours, souvenirs; and related services such as banking,
insurance and safety & security.
The intangible elements include: rest and relaxation, culture, escape, adventure, new and different experiences.