Accessible IT Technical Bulletin: July 2005

The Northeast ADA & IT Center at Cornell University provides training, technical assistance and materials on the ADA and accessible information technology throughout New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. This monthly technical bulletin is part of our dissemination efforts and if you do not want to receive this document or would like others from your organization added to our list, please call 1-800-949-4232 or reply to this message. Thank you

New Book: Building Pedagogical Curb Cuts: Incorporating Disability in the University Classroom and Curriculum

Published by the Graduate School, Syracuse University

In the book's preface, Nancy Cantor, Chancellor and President of Syracuse University says, "Building Pedagogical Curb Cuts" challenges us to alter the fixed concrete sidewalks of our lives and practices, arguing persuasively that there are imaginative ways to include disability in our classrooms and in our lives, to the benefit of all....The authors in this important and useful volume challenge us to move beyond restrictive, traditional methods of teaching, as well as exclusionary theoretical perspectives. They challenge us to create environments where the perspectives of all are taken into account, and they suggest many, many possibilities."

This collaboration is the work of the Beyond Compliance Coordinating Committee at Syracuse University and the Future Professoriate Program of the Graduate School of Syracuse University.

The book offers 17 articles spread over three basic categories: Incorporating Disability in the Curriculum; Designing Instruction for Everyone; and Students with Disabilities in the Classroom. The Authors challenge educators and instructional designers to create environments where the perspectives of all are taken into account and they suggest many possibilities. The PDF copy of the book is currently available for FREE at:

Archived Webcast on Web Accessibility

On June 22, the University Computer Policy and Law Program at Cornell University hosted a seminar and webcast titled: "Solve the Mystery of the Accessible Web." The program featured presentations by Deborah Buck, Executive Director of the Association of Assistive Technology Act Programs (ATAP) and Sharon Trerise, Coordinator of Accessible IT at the Northeast ADA & IT Center. Topics presented in the seminar included web accessibility standards and guidelines, the types of barriers to access that people with disabilities may encounter when using the web, the broad population that is benefited by accessible web design, applicable federal legislation and web accessibility policies that have been developed across the country.

You can view an archive of this webcast as well as many others sponsored by the University Computer Policy and Law Program, at

Closing the Gap Forums

Closing The Gap Forums is a discussion board exploring the many ways that technology is being used to enhance the lives of people with special needs. Please feel free to participate in the discussions listed below and share this valuable resource with friends and colleagues. There is no fee to participate. Visit: and check out the "Featured Discussions".

IDEA proposed regulations for National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standards (NIMAS)

Troy R. Justesen, acting director of the Office of Special Education Programs, U.S. Department of Education, has announced an addition to the proposed regulations to implement the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA 2004).

In its reauthorization, IDEA 2004 provides for the Department to establish the National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard (NIMAS), a standardized format for electronic files that allows classroom materials to be adapted to products ranging from Braille editions of textbooks to on-screen displays of text and graphics. It provides students with blindness, low vision and print disabilities improved access to textbooks.

In past years, the lack of a standardized format meant that publishers had to produce materials in multiple formats--often causing delays that meant students with disabilities did not receive their textbooks in time for the beginning of the school year. The use of this standard will allow students and teachers to more quickly access general curriculum materials, giving students with disabilities the same educational resources as their non-disabled peers.

The proposed regulations for establishing NIMAS was published in the Federal Register on Wednesday, June 29, 2005 (PDF version, HTML version). As with the other proposed regulations implementing IDEA, public comment is invited on the NIMAS proposed regulations. The schedule for the four remaining public meetings, as well as information on how to provide comments, is available at our IDEA 2004 Web page at

New York Statewide Accessible Technology Training Calendar

As part of a collaborative effort of the Northeast ADA & IT Center at Cornell University, the New York State Developmental Disabilities Planning Council and the Commission on Quality of Care and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities (Office of Advocate for Persons with Disabilities), a website has been developed to provide information about existing training programs and curriculum in the areas of Assistive Technology, Accessible Information Technology and Universal Design for Learning. The emphasis of the website will be on providing information about local training opportunities, within New York State. We anticipate that this information will be valuable to educators, educational administrators, service providers, parents and students.

Please visit the website for more information about this online resource,

CALL FOR ENTRIES: The New York State Forum's Accessible Can Be BeautifulWeb Design Contest

It is a common myth that an "accessible" web site equals a "plain and boring" web site. To prove that a web site can be as beautiful as it is accessible, the New York State Forum invites interested web designers to take part in a contest to redesign the IT Accessibility Committee's "IT Accessibility Curriculum and Resources" web site (URL:

The successful contest entry will propose a design that meets the criteria of an accessible web site and demonstrates the principles of standards-based design, while being an attractive addition to the World Wide Web.

When it was first designed, the "IT Accessibility Curriculum and Resources" web site deliberately emphasized information delivery rather than aesthetic style. To increase awareness of accessible design, and explode the "accessible = boring" myth once and for all, we challenge web designers to apply their creativity to redesign our site to be both accessible AND beautiful.

The contest starts on July 1, and closes on August 1. Finalists will be selected and the winner will be announced at the October 6 Webmasters' Guild 10th Anniversary Celebration. The contest is open to any New York State resident, with the exception of IT Accessibility Committee members, Forum staff members, and their families. Individuals and teams of up to four individuals may enter. Up to four runners-up will receive honorable mention and their work will be displayed on the NYS Forum site. The prize is $500.

Find specific information contest rules on the NYS Forum's IT Accessibility Committee website:

EASI online course: "AT on a Shoestring" workshop

Assistive Computer Technology on a Shoestring the EASI Way is the newest online course produced by EASI to provide help for support staff, counselors and teachers who support students with disabilities. It is being offered starting July 5. (EASI courses are $350 and five courses earn the Certificate in Accessible Information Technology.)

Many of today's assistive technologies are complex, sophisticated and frequently expensive. While they are powerful, versatile and can readily be modified to meet individual needs, there are some other assistive technologies that are less expensive and still fill an important gap in the array of tools to support users with disabilities. These less expensive alternatives will in no way replace the more professional applications. However, for someone with a less severe disability, for an aging senior or a person with a temporary disability or for someone wanting experience with assistive technology before making a significant purchase, they are important tools to explore.

Often, these tools are all that an individual needs. For a small institution with tight budgets, these technologies can be kept available to provide support for a wide range of people with disabilities until a more appropriate application has been purchased. Knowledge of these tools can help course participants be an important resource for the community as well.

Read the syllabus and access online registration at

Northeast ADA&IT Center
201 ILR Extension Building
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853

1-800-949-4232 (TTY and voice)