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ITTATC - November 1, 2003
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Information Technology Technical Assistance and Training Center: Promoting accessibility through training and assistance.
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funded by:
National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research
(grant #H133A000405)

Georgia Institute of Technology


*** ITTATC has reached the end of its 5-year grant, so (as of 5/15/06) this website is no longer being updated. Please be advised that the information on this site may be out of date. ***

November 1, 2003

The Information Technology Technical Assistance & Training Center


***Promoting Accessible IT & Telecommunications***

November 1, 2003 (Vol 3, Issue, 13)

In This Issue:


  1. Assistive Technology Showcase: November 2003 Assistive Technology Month Exhibit
  2. Enterprise Architecture Conference: Enabling Results-Oriented Government
  3. State of Technology Conference on Mobile Wireless Technologies for Persons with Disabilities


  1. FCC Consumer Advisory Committee Meeting


  1. A New Study Released by Deloitte-Research on ROI in Government
  2. Bush Signs Homeland Security Appropriations Bill
  3. Microsoft Announces Funding Program for Community-Based Technology Centers
  4. US Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) Awards
  5. California to Regulate VoIP Providers
  6. Survey Sets Information-Technology Benchmarks for Campuses, and Suggests a Lingering 'Digital Divide'
  7. Wireless Industry - Ready To Meet The Challenge


  1. Conference Held on Digital Wireless Phones and Interference Problems
  2. Closing the Gap Conference on Assistive Technology


  1. Screen Magnification and the Web
  2. Cell Phone Accessibility
  3. EEOC Fact Sheet on Job Applicants and the ADA
  4. ACCESS MAZE: Accessibility Design Training Video
  5. FirstGov in Spanish
  6. WGBH's Media Access Group Launches Spanish Web Site for Individuals with Hearing and Visual Disabilities
  7. Tilt Phone Technology
  8. Disability Statistics Website


U.S. General Services Administration
Center for Information Technology Accommodation (CITA)

For the month of November the GSA, CITA, Assistive Technology Showcase will be showcasing a Ricoh Copier with Enable Module. This event is free and no registration is required.

Ricoh and Enable have partnered together to develop a copier that is 508 compliant. If you are interested in purchasing a copier for your office or company, or want to learn more about his product, please come to GSA and learn how this copier provides access to persons with disabilities. A representative from Ricoh and Enable will be at GSA on scheduled dates if you are interested in meeting with these companies to discuss their product.

The Ricoh Copier with Enable Module will be available for demonstration on the following days from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. to 3 p.m.

  • November 3 (Ricoh Representative will be at GSA)
  • November 7
  • November 10
  • November 12 (Enable Representative will be at GSA)
  • November 17 (Enable Representative will be at GSA)
  • November 24 through 26
U.S. General Services Administration (Central Office)
1800 F Street, NW, Room 1216
Washington, DC 20405

If you need a sign language interpreter please contact Marilyn Estep at .

Who can attend:
Government and non-government employees and individuals interested in technology for persons with disabilities.

Security Information:
All government employees and contractors with government ID's can proceed through security checking station, non-government employees will have to sign in and have a CITA employee escort you to room 1216, the guard will call CITA for assistance.

Take the Metro, Orange or Blue line to Farragut West, exit the Metro on the 18th street side and walk south on 18th street about 4 blocks. GSA is on the corner of 18th and F Street. Main entrance is at the middle of the building on F Street.

For further information please contact Marilyn Estep, 202-501-3322 (voice) 202-501-2010 (TDD), or email:


Government Computer News Management presents the 2nd annual Enterprise Architecture (EA) Conference, which will take place at the Renaissance Hotel in Washington, D.C. on November 18-19, 2003.

This conference will provide an understanding of the policy behind Enterprise Architecture (EA) and how to plan and implement an Enterprise Architecture. Participants will have the opportunity to learn from their government peers and top federal government officials from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Department of Defense (DoD), Department of Homeland Security, and other major agencies.

To view the agenda, sponsorship information, as well as to register, access:


The State of Technology Conference will take place May 11-12, 2004 in Atlanta Georgia. It is hosted by the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Mobile Wireless Technologies for Persons with Disabilities. This international conference brings together the leading researchers, practitioners, academicians, consumers and advocates in the important area where wireless technology and rehabilitation research intersect.

Sessions, Roundtables & Debates include:
  • Mobile Wireless Technologies
  • User Needs
  • Policy & Research
To learn more about the conference, access:

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The Consumer Advisory Committee (CAC) will hold its next meeting on Thursday, November 20, 2003, 9:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M., at the Commission's Headquarters Building, Room TW-C305, 445 12th Street, S.W., Washington, DC 20554. The meeting is open to the public.

The Committee will consider: (1) recommendations of its Telecommunications Relay Services (TRS) Working Group regarding outreach and funding for these services; (2) a recommendation of its Broadband Working Group regarding further study of broadband issues; (3) recommendations of its Consumer Complaints, Education and Outreach Working Group regarding funding for, and effective methods of, outreach to consumers; and (4) a progress report of its Ancillary Services Working Group. There will also be time for working group meetings between 10:00 A.M. and 12:00 P.M. The Committee will also receive briefings by FCC staff regarding Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau activities and other matters.

For more information, access:

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[Information taken from a September 24, 2003 Government Technology News Release]

A study released by Deloitte Research offers a new approach for evaluating the return on investment (ROI) of government technology investments. According to the study, public sector organizations should evaluate information technology (IT) investments not only by the cost savings they generate for government, but by the financial benefits they create for citizens and businesses. The study brings a new dimension to the valuation of IT, suggesting a direct correlation between e-government and economic competitiveness.

Conducted by the thought leadership arm of Deloitte, the research introduces a new ROI concept that Deloitte calls "Citizen AdvantageTM." Citing state, local and federal examples, the study examines the time and effort it takes to comply with regulatory and reporting requirements - activities often equated with red tape and extraordinary burdens to businesses and citizens trying to conduct government transactions. By Web-enabling and streamlining activities such as permitting, licensing and reporting, governments can significantly ease regulatory compliance burdens, which, in turn, helps fuel economic competitiveness.

The Deloitte study outlines five ways that IT initiatives can ease compliance activities: provide information in one easy-to-access location; simplify and streamline reporting requirements; reduce the number of forms; make transactions (paying fees, obtaining permits) easier; and help businesses understand what regulations apply to them.

To read the full Government Technology News Release, access: To learn more about Deloitte's Citizen Advantage, access:


[Information taken from an October 2, 2003 Government Technology News Release]

President Bush signed the first-ever homeland security appropriations bill at the Department of Homeland Security. Overall, the Department's FY 2004 budget authority totals $37.6 billion: $30.4 billion provided by the Congress plus an additional $7.2 billion in fees. Included in the bill were federal aviation, border, immigration and port security systems, as well as training of federal agents.

To read the full Government Technology News Release, access: To view a complete listing of all programs and allocations, which is available in the Department of Homeland Security FY 2004 Budget Fact Sheet, access:


Microsoft Corp. has announced the launch of Unlimited Potential (UP), a global initiative focused on providing technology skills for disadvantaged individuals through community-based technology and learning centers (CTLCs). Microsoft will commit more than $1 billion to the initiative over the next five years.

Microsoft will consider the following CTLC organizational types eligible for funding: nonprofit (501(c)(3) designation in the U.S.) or nongovernmental organizations that hold charitable status in their country; school-based (a nonprofit or governmental organization that provides services to the community during non-school hours such as evenings and weekends); and government funded and operated.

See the Microsoft Community Affairs Web site for complete giving guidelines and application procedures.


NTIA announced the award of almost $14 million in Technology Opportunities Program (TOP) grants to 28 nonprofit organizations, including state, local, and tribal governments, in 22 states. The grants, matched by $14.8 million in contributions from the private sector and state and local organizations, demonstrate how information technology can address public concerns over areas such as economic development, housing, public safety, health, and e-government. TOP received 569 applications for funds during this grant round.

To view the list of grant recipients and to learn more about TOP, access:


[Information taken from a September 30, 2003 CNET Tech News,]

The Golden State is the largest state to decide that voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) providers are subject to the same rules and regulations as all other telephone service providers. In recent weeks, Wisconsin and Minnesota decided the same thing.

VoIP providers argue that a state's rules govern only telephone calls made over traditional telephone networks. VoIP calls use the Internet and should be excluded, the providers argue. But that distinction is becoming irrelevant, said John Leutza, director of the California Public Utilities Commission's telecommunications division. "They sure look like a phone company in nearly every regard," he said in an interview Tuesday. "This will be California's policy, going forward."

Because of its size and national stature, California's decision to bring VoIP providers into the regulatory fold could have enormous sway on the dozens of other state's now investigating a similar step. Representatives from Vonage and several of the other net telephony providers subject to California's request were not immediately available for comment.

This is a 180-degree swing in thinking by the nation's telephone regulators. State and federal officials were once happy to Net telephony providers operate outside of ordinary telephone regulations. After all, the young companies had a tough enough task selling a little-known but promising new technology to make phone calls over the Internet. They didn't need regulations--or the extra costs and technical problems that go with them.

But with U.S. IP telephony subscriber totals nearing the 2.5 million mark, and VoIP generating some 10 percent of all calls, a growing number of states and the FCC have begun exploring whether to put VoIP providers on their regulatory radar. Analyst group In-Stat/MDR believes there will be 7 million VoIP phones in circulation by 2007.

Leutza said the state had asked VoIP providers Vonage, VoicePulse, SBC Communications, Net2Phone and Packet8 to apply for the same license that landline phone companies need to operate in California. "There could be discipline, but we haven't decided on what yet," should they miss the Oct. 22 deadline for the application to be submitted, he said.


[Taken from the Chronicle of Higher Education:]

A new study from Educause offers a picture of how colleges and universities pay for information technology and manage their IT departments. While few of the report's findings are startling, it does offer some evidence of a continuing "digital divide" between relatively affluent and needy students in access to technology.

The 82-page report, based on a survey of 621 institutions, focuses on many inside-baseball matters, such as staffing levels in departments responsible for instructional technology or research computing. The report, along with a new database service Educause has developed, provides benchmarks for colleges to use when analyzing their own information-technology practices.

In many respects, the data show no sharp differences among the institutions that participated in the survey, which was completed earlier this year. Staff salaries and benefits consume about 50 percent of the central IT budgets at all institutions surveyed, regardless of their size, the report says.

However, the survey did find that about 20 percent more students own computers at private institutions than at their public counterparts. "It just provides evidence that the digital divide is still there and is something that we ought to be concerned about," Mr. Hawkins said.

Educause is an association for colleges interested in information-technology issues. It offers access to the new database, which it calls the Core Data Service, to its members who participate in the survey. It also provides tools for analyzing the data.

The new survey does not supersede but rather complements other surveys of colleges' spending on information technology, Mr. Hawkins said. Two such surveys are the Campus Computing Project and the Cost of Supporting Technology Services survey.


[Information courtesy of Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association (CTIA)]

The digital wireless industry is ready to meet the challenge of making phones easier to use by an estimated 6 million hearing aid wearers in the United States. Wireless phones are becoming more and more important in our everyday lives - for business, keeping in touch with friends and family, and safety. Today more than 150 million Americans use wireless telecommunications and the number is growing.

The digital wireless revolution has brought many benefits to consumers. However, at the same time the increased use of digital technologies has proven problematic for some people who wear hearing aids. Signals from digital wireless phones can be unintentionally picked up by hearing aids and processed through the hearing aid circuitry resulting in a "buzz". This "buzz" can make it difficult or impossible for the hearing aid wearer to hear telephone conversations.

In July of this year, the Federal Communications Commission modified the Hearing Aid Compatibility Act of 1988 to include wireless telephones. This means, that in the future, hearing aid wearers will have a greater selection of phones that they can use. A certain number of these phones will have built in t-coil compatibility and the interference experienced by some hearing aid wearers when using digital wireless phones will be reduced. Of course, hearing aid wearers will also need to check the immunity level of their hearing aids to ensure the appropriate fit between these new digital wireless phones and the user's hearing aid.

When will these new phones be available?

  • In two years each large wireless carrier will have at least two phone models or 25% of its models offered (whichever is greater) with reduced RF interference for each air interface offered (e.g. GSM, CDMA, TDMA). /
  • In three years wireless carriers will offer built in t-coil coupling in at least two phone models for each air interface the carrier offers.
  • By February 18, 2008, 50% of all digital wireless phone models will have reduced RF interference.
There are some exceptions. Those manufacturers that offer only one or two phone models for sale in the U.S. do not have to comply with these requirements. And manufacturers offering only three models for sale in the U.S. must reduce interference and provide t-coil compatibility for at least one of its phones.

What can I do now to find a digital wireless phone that may work with my hearing aid? The Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association has developed a website that can help. features:
  • frequently asked questions for hearing aid wearers who want to purchase digital wireless phones;
  • listing of wireless phones and accessories to try if you wear a hearing aid; and,
  • a great message board for consumers to share timely information about the combinations of hearing aids and wireless phones.

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Digital wireless phones present significant compatibility and interference problems for people who use hearing aids and cochlear implants. The ACCESS Board assumed a lead role in organizing a conference on the subject held in September at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C. Sponsored by the Interagency Committee on Disability Research (ICDR), the "Summit on Interference to Hearing Technologies by Digital Wireless Telephones" explored compatibility issues and potential solutions. Digital wireless phones, unlike analog wireless phones, can emit interference caused by radio frequency from the antenna and magnetic interference from the battery leads and other electronic components. Noises resulting from such interference, which were simulated at the conference, make them virtually unusable by people who use hearing technologies.

Participants included representatives from the digital wireless phone and hearing technologies industries, disability organizations, research centers, and Federal agencies such as the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Presentations were made on laws and public polices that address hearing aid compatibility, new technological developments and phone designs that reduce interference, and the results of laboratory and consumer testing. Proceedings from the conference are posted on ICDR's website at

The conference proved timely in light of an FCC ruling issued a month before that directs wireless phone manufacturers and service providers to take steps to reduce the amount of interference caused by handsets. Besides the FCC directive, improved compatibility will facilitate compliance with design requirements the Board has issued under the Rehabilitation Act (Section 508) and the Telecommunications Act (Section 255). The Section 508 standards, which apply to information technology procured by the Federal government, require that minimized interference be taken into consideration in the procurement of telecommunications products. The Telecommunications Act Accessibility Guidelines require telecommunications manufacturers to make their products accessible where it is readily achievable to do so.


ITTATC staff attended the 21st annual Closing the Gap Conference, held in Minneapolis, MN, Oct. 16-18, 2003. The theme was, "Computer Technology in Special Education and Rehabilitation". They presented at a pre-conference session held at the PACER Center, and organized by the Alliance for Technology Access, on the morning of October 15, 2003.

For additional information on the Conference itself, see, For information on the ITTATC presentations given at the pre-conference, contact Timothy Creagan, Director of ITTATC Consumer Training, at

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"Screen Magnification and the Web," is the third in a series of instructional videos featuring Neal Ewers, an Accessibility Specialist at the Trace Center, which is located at the College of Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Created in partnership with University of Wisconsin's Division of Information Technology Learning Technology and Distance Education Program and John Klatt, this video is a great introduction to screen magnification and other techniques used by people with visual impairments to access the Web.

"Screen Magnification and the Web" allows a user to discover how screen magnification software is used to access the Web, and what Web designers can do to improve access. "Introduction to the Screen Reader" is another video in the series and allows a user to experience how screen readers assist people who are blind read the Web and electronic documents. The other video in the series, "Screen Readers and the Web," allows a user to learn relatively easy tips Web designers can use to increase access to the Web by a variety of users.

To learn more about these videos, along with how to obtain copies, access:


One of the problems facing the visually impaired is the use of the mobile phone. It is designed basically on visual concepts, without considering the needs of the blind and partially sighted. Cell Phone Accessibility is a computer application which makes the mobile phone accessible in different ways and allows its uses to be adapted to the needs of the visually impaired.

Cell Phone Accessibility has a powerful voice synthesizer, which allows simple access to all the uses of the mobile phone. It is designed to work in all new generation mobile phones, regardless of the operating systems they run on. It does not need any additional external adaptive device to work. Once loaded in the mobile phone it is fully functional.

To learn more including information about the software application and required cell phone models, access:


Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) makes it unlawful for an employer to discriminate against a qualified applicant or employee with a disability. The ADA applies to private employers with 15 or more employees and to state and local government employers. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforces the employment provisions of the ADA. The ADA defines an individual with a disability as a person who: (1) has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity, (2) has a record or history of a substantially limiting impairment, or (3) is regarded or perceived by an employer as having a substantially limiting impairment. An applicant with a disability, like all other applicants, must be able to meet the employer's requirements for the job, such as education, training, employment experience, skills, or licenses. In addition, an applicant with a disability must be able to perform the "essential functions" of the job the fundamental duties either on her own or with the help of "reasonable accommodation." However, an employer does not have to provide a reasonable accommodation that will cause "undue hardship," which is significant difficulty or expense. This fact sheet addresses common questions about how the ADA protects applicants with disabilities. The information in this fact sheet also applies to applicants for federal employment, who are protected from discrimination by Section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act. Section 501's requirements are the same as those that apply to employers covered by the ADA. There are many other documents, some of which are listed at the end of this fact sheet, that provide more in-depth information about the employment rights of individuals with disabilities. To view the EEOC Fact Sheet, access:


The Minneapolis Advisory Committee on People with Disabilities has created a video "Access Maze" to demonstrate the challenges - and solutions - for creating user-friendly accessible offices, homes and other living, working and business spaces. While design may meet ADA requirements, some features, such as the wideness of doors, floor surfaces, table heights and work surfaces and the ability to maneuver and turn, still may make it challenging for many people with disabilities.

The video is a spin-off of the "Access Maze," which the committee developed in the mid-'90s (the Maze received national recognition and was awarded the Grand Prize from the National Organization on Disability). The idea for the maze came from a few architects and an interior designer, who wanted to get the word out among other design professionals about how to improve accessibility. The Access Maze was a full-scale model of the Americans with Disabilities Act standards for accessible design. The wooden construction demonstrated most of the design options including doors, ramps, bathroom transfers and ranges of reach for fixture installations. The Access Maze was carefully constructed to the code's minimum standards. Individuals could experience the Maze by using a wheelchair to try the different ramp slopes and experience for themselves the accessibility difficulties that exist even though ADA code is met. This maze was set up at several conferences at the Minneapolis Convention center, where many individuals experienced the code limitations. For more information, access:


The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) launched FirstGov en EspaƱol, the government's first and only Spanish-language information Web portal on October 16. FirstGov en EspaƱol links visitors to the entire spectrum of Spanish-language Web sites and Web pages available from the federal and state governments. FirstGov en Espańol will provide online information and services to the more than 26 million Spanish-speaking residents of the United States. To view the website, access:


WGBH's Media Access Group - a non-profit service that makes television, film, and video accessible to audiences who are deaf, hard of hearing, blind, and visually impaired has launched a fully accessible mirror website in Spanish.

The Media Access Group's website,, details captioning and descriptive services and resources in media accessibility for individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing, blind, and visually impaired. With the introduction of the newly translated site, users may move smoothly back and forth between the English and Spanish versions.

Web visitors may access the site in Spanish by going directly to: Funding to create this Spanish-language companion website was provided by the United States Department of Education.

In addition to providing Spanish language audiences with these online resources, the Media Access Group at WGBH collaborates with CBS each week to provide both Spanish- and English-language captioning for 60 Minutes and 60 Minutes II. English-language captions are available on caption channel 1 (cc1), while Spanish captions are available on caption channel 3 (cc3). Viewers can choose between these separate caption streams via their television's remote control. Closed captioning for these broadcasts is fully funded by CBS.

For more information about WGBH's access services, please call 617-300-3600 (voice and TTY) or visit .

Larry Hardesty

[Information taken from Innovation News: MIT's Magazine of Innovation}

The same tiny gizmos that deploy air bags in cars could soon make cell phones less cumbersome to use. Several academic and corporate labs are developing ways to use ultrasmall accelerometers and gyroscopes-which sense a car's sudden deceleration during a crash and trigger the air bags-in the guts of cell phones and other handheld devices. This makes common tasks, such as scrolling through lists, entering numbers, and moving information from one place to another, much easier; you simply tilt the gadget in various directions.

For more information, access: Note, in order to read more of the article, you must be a subscriber to this magazine.


In the Summer of 2003, the Rehabilitation Research and Training Center for Economic Research on Employment Policy for Persons with Disabilities at Cornell University ( rolled out a new website that provides comprehensive, up-to-date disability statistics relating to employment. Statistics are provided at the national and state levels over the period 1980-2001. Currently, all statistics are estimated by RRTC staff using the Census Bureau's Annual Demographic Supplement of the Current Population Survey.

The Disability Statistics website can be accessed at:

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Welcome to the distribution list for ACCESS E and IT NEWS…Promoting Accessible Information Technology and Telecommunications…e-news from the Information Technology Technical Assistance and Training Center (ITTATC).
ITTATC welcomes your suggestions, as well as your contributions of interest to members of this listserv concerning accessible electronic and information technology and telecommunications. All contributions must be received by the 25th of each month for consideration for the next month's newsletter. For questions, suggestions, or to submit a contribution, please contact Timothy P. Creagan, Esquire, ITTATC Director of Consumer Training, at or Laura Farah, Program Associate, Law, Health Policy & Disability Center, University of Iowa College of Law,
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Feel free to visit the ITTATC website at Past copies of ITTATC Newsletters will be archived on the ITTATC Website.

This is a publication of the Information Technology Technical Assistance and Training Center (ITTATC) which is funded by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research of the U.S. Department of Education under grant number H133A000405. The opinions contained in this publication do not necessarily reflect those of the Department of Education.
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Information Technology Technical Assistance and Training Center
Center for Assistive Technology and Environmental Access
Georgia Institute of Technology
490 10th Street NW · Atlanta, GA 30318
Telephone: 1-800-726-9119 (Voice/TTY) · Fax: 404-894-9320 · Email:

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