“Dots and Dashes” is a short newsletter featuring a variety of topics and ACB stories. This issue features a call to action on H.R. 4129, plus articles about the FCC’s public notice about making emergency information accessible, the latest Advocacy Update podcasts, the Benefits of Audio Description in Education contest for blind students ages 7 to 21, and information about Apple TV+ being optimized for blind, deaf and hard of hearing individuals.
Call to Action! Tell Congress to Support H.R. 4129, and Provide Coverage for Low Vision Devices
Representatives Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) introduced the Medicare Demonstration of Coverage for Low Vision Devices Act, H.R. 4129! This bill is one of ACB’s legislative imperatives this year. Once it becomes law, H.R. 4129 would direct the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to construct a five-year pilot program for the coverage of low vision devices. Other co-sponsors of H.R. 4129 include Reps. Steve Cohen (D-TN), Adam Schiff (D-CA), Ann Wagner (R-MO), and Susan Wild (D-PA). Reps. Maloney and Bilirakis recirculated a communication to all their colleagues in the U.S. House about supporting this legislation, and it is important that our members hear from us about this bill as well. ACB encourages all members to contact their members of Congress to support H.R. 4129! Please update the ACB national office on your outreach by sending a message to firstname.lastname@example.org.
To contact your senators or representatives, call the U.S. Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121, and ask to be connected to the senators and representatives for your state. Or visit www.senate.gov to find your senators’ contact information. To locate your representatives, visit www.house.gov/representatives.
- Ask your representative to co-sponsor H.R. 4129, the Medicare Demonstration of Coverage for Low Vision Devices Act, and ask your senators to introduce a companion bill to H.R. 4129.
- This legislation would provide greater access to low vision devices for Americans with vision loss, and allow them to live more independent and integrated lives in their communities.
- This demonstration of coverage would provide quantifiable data for the need and cost of CMS coverage for low vision devices.
- This bill is supported by: American Council of the Blind; American Foundation for the Blind; Aira; Blinded Veterans Association; National Association for the Employment of People who are Blind; National Industries for the Blind; OrCam; & Vision Serve Alliance.
FCC Issues Public Notice about Making Emergency Information Accessible
On August 30, 2019, the FCC’s Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau released a Public Notice to remind video programming distributors, including broadcasters, cable operators, and satellite television services that deliver video programming directly to the home, of their obligation to make televised emergency information accessible to persons who are blind, visually impaired, deaf, or hard of hearing.
This Public Notice also provides information for consumers about where they can find more information about access to televised emergency information – including an American Sign Language video at www.fcc.gov/TVEmergencyAccessASL – and how to file complaints when televised emergency information is not accessible.
Links to Public Notice:
For more information about accessible televised emergency information, visit https://www.fcc.gov/general/access-emergency-information-television. For specific questions, please contact Debra Patkin, Attorney Advisor, Disability Rights Office, Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau, at (202) 870-5226 orDebra.Patkin@fcc.gov. TTY users may call the FCC’s TTY number at (888) 835-5322.
Benefits of Audio Description in Education Contest
To read this release in its entirety, go to http://acb.org/adp/articles/badie2020.html.
ACB’s Audio Description Project and the Described and Captioned Media Program (DCMP) are continuing their co-sponsorship of an exciting opportunity for blind and visually impaired young people, in four categories from ages 7 to 21: the Benefits of Audio Description in Education (BADIE) contest.
Students choose an audio-described film or video from the thousands of titles available through DCMP - visit www.dcmp.org. Or they can borrow an audio-described video or film from a library, and dozens of audio-described videos are available for purchase through at www.acb.org/adp/dvds.html.
Reviews can be submitted in writing, in braille or via an audio recording. Register for the contest at http://listeningislearning.org/badie.html. Entries can also be submitted via email or postal mail (submissions from outside the United States are fine) to:
ACB-DCMP Benefits of Audio Description In Education
1703 N. Beauregard St., Suite 420
Alexandria, VA 22311 USA
Phone: (202) 467-5083
DEADLINE FOR ENTRIES: Friday, December 6, 2019
Contest winners in each category will be chosen by January of 2020, and the grand prize winner will receive an iPad Mini! Each first-place winner will receive a $100 iTunes gift card. Second-place winners will receive a $50 iTunes gift card, and third-place winners will receive a $25 iTunes gift card. Each supporting teacher who has a first-place winning student will be awarded a $100 Amazon gift card.
In the September 19th edition of the Advocacy Update podcast, hear from Jenine Stanley, Explorer Community Manager for Aira. Learn how Aira may be used as a tool to navigate inaccessible products and services, whether when dealing with household appliances and exercise equipment, or forms and websites online. Jenine shared with us how ACB members may utilize five free minutes of Aira to complete small tasks, as well as how to find locations, services and products that offer free Aira service. Be sure to take advantage of free Aira service at ACB state conventions, and let us know how the service is working for you at email@example.com. To learn more about Aira, visit www.aira.io. Listen to this episode via your favorite podcast player or online at http://acbradio.org/acb-advocacy-update-9-19-19.
Claire and Clark discuss digital accessibility on the September 12th edition of the Advocacy Update. As more aspects of our everyday lives are interconnected with the Internet and technology, it is more important than ever to ensure access for people with disabilities. If you encounter inaccessible hardware, software, websites or mobile applications, let the ACB National Office know at firstname.lastname@example.org. Listen online or via your favorite podcast player at http://acbradio.org/acb-advocacy-update-9-12-19.
Got an idea for a future podcast? Send it to email@example.com.
Apple TV+ Will Be Optimized for the Blind, Deaf, and Hard-of-Hearing
To read this article in its entirety, go to https://www.cordcuttersnews.com/apple-tv-will-be-optimized-for-the-blind-deaf-and-hard-of-hearing/.
Apple TV+ will make it easier for those with visual and hearing impairments to enjoy their original content.
Sarah Herrlinger represented Apple at the Audio Description Project Conference in July. During the panel, she said the goal for Apple TV+ is to offer audio descriptions for all the shows available on that platform. (Listen to the full audio from that panel here.) Now that we have more information about the launch of Apple TV+, we know more about the plan for making the content accessible for the blind, deaf, and hard-of-hearing.
In their press release from this week’s event, Apple said this:
Audiences worldwide can enjoy Apple TV+ originals subtitled and/or dubbed in nearly 40 languages, including Subtitles for the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing (SDH) or closed captions. Apple TV+ series and movies will also be available with audio descriptions in eight languages.
Visit The Audio Description Project to learn more about how streaming services are meeting the needs of individuals with visual impairments. The Audio Description Project is an initiative of the American Council of the Blind.