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April 2013 Technology and Disability Policy Highlights

In April the final report on NIDRR’s long-range plan for 2013-2017 was released and included continued support of research development focused on employment, community participation, and the health and function of individuals with disabilities. In addition, funding opportunities were announced and a new Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center (RERC) was proposed by NIDRR. The two funding opportunities are for research on individuals with disabilities from minority backgrounds, specifically and for research focused on hearing enhancement. The proposed RERC would be dedicated to Universal Interfaces and Information Technology Access that could be applicable in the home, community and workplace.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released a Report and Order and a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FCC 13-45) focused on increasing the accessibility of emergency information via video programming. The Report and Order requires all emergency information communicated through video programming to be fully accessible to individuals with vision loss. The FCC also seeks comments on whether a multichannel video programming distributor service should be covered by the emergency information rules adopted in this Report and Order.

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Project Civic Access entered a settlement agreement with the City of Jacksonville, Florida in April. Under Project Civic Access, the DOJ found several of the city’s facilities to be non-compliant with ADA standards and under the five year agreement, required Jacksonville to correct all deficiencies to ensure individuals with disabilities could fully participate in community life.    

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The Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center for Wireless Technologies is sponsored by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under grant number 90RE5007-01-00. The opinions contained in this website are those of the Wireless RERC and do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services or NIDILRR.