VOLUME 31, NUMBER 14 THURSDAY, December 2, 1999

disABILITY Resources for all

send this article to a friend More and more people are experiencing some activity limitations due to chronic health conditions or impairments. More than 20 percent of the general population (54 million people) live with some level of disability and about half that number experience severe disability. Whether you have a slight impairment, are severely disabled, or you know of someone who is, there are a variety of Internet sites that can help you get information and counseling. Two in particular are ABLEDATA and Cornucopia of Disability Information (CODI).

Sponsored by the National Institute on Disabilities and Rehabilitation Research, ABLEDATA http://www.abledata.com/ is a project whose primary mission is to provide information on assistive technology and rehabilitation equipment to consumers, organizations, professionals and caregivers within the United States. You can search the ABLEDATA database free of charge for different models of a specific device, such as powered wheelchairs, or for products that address a functional need, such as eating or dressing. The "Reading Room" provides "News you can use" with periodicals, catalogs, videos and a monthly column on new products. Most publications, as well as database search results, are available in large print, cassette, Braille and on PC-compatible diskettes.

One local community resource is CODI at http://codi.buffalo.edu/, which provides a wealth of disability information for both consumers and professionals. The information addresses the UB community, Buffalo and Western New York, as well as state, national and international audiences. Topics include assistive technology, coming to terms with disability, computing, employment, legal information, traveling with disability and universal design. The disabilities covered are hearing, mobility and vision impairments in children and the aged. It also provides directories, organizations and centers for independent living, as well as publications, bibliographic information, college resources, government documents and statistics. The "Announcements" section provides a calendar of upcoming events.

Spearheading new ways to make movie theaters accessible to the nation's deaf, blind, hearing and visually impaired movie fans is the Media Access Division of WGBH Educational Foundation, which consists of "The Caption Center," "Descriptive Video Service" and the "National Center for Accessible Media." The Rear Window Captioning System for the hearing impaired and DVS Theatrical for the visually impaired user are collectively referred to as the MoPix System. Through closed captions and descriptive narration, this system enables these populations to enjoy films at movie theaters from the first day they open without altering the experience for the general audience. You can find out more about the MoPix project, how it works, a list of equipped, first-run and specialty theaters, and a helpful FAQs at http://www.wgbh.org/ncam/mopix/.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law on July 26, 1990. The ADA prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in employment, programs and services provided by state and local governments, goods and services provided by private companies and in commercial facilities. It contains requirements for new construction, for alterations or renovations to buildings and facilities, and for improving access to existing facilities of private companies providing goods or services to the public. For more information on ADA, connect to the U.S. Department of Justice homepage at http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/ada/adahom1.htm.

For information on connecting to the World Wide Web via University at Buffalo computer accounts, contact the CIT Help Desk at 645-3542.

-Sue Neumeister and Lori Widzinski, University Libraries

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