Footpath no place to park

A white SUV is parked across the footpath nosing into a drivewayParking on and across footpaths in Australia is illegal. But how many times do you see this? Especially where the family has too many cars to fit on their driveway (they use the garage for storage). So what? For people who are pushing strollers or wheeling anything it means going out on the roadway. And not good for people who are blind or have low vision for the same reason. An article on the BBC News website explains some of the difficulties about this issue, especially now that the UK are providing designated places where it is OK now to Two cars parked with one wheel mounting the kerb of the footpathpark on the footpath. A backward step (excuse the pun). The article includes videos showing the problems. Hope it doesn’t happen here – legally, that is. 


Latest ACAA Newsletter

Front cover of the newsletterAccess Insight is the newsletter of the Association of Access Consultants Australia (ACAA). In the latest issue they have articles on designing for ageing communities by Lara Calder; designing for dementia by Paul Huxtable; and designing buildings for individuals with Autism by Shelly Dival. There is also some research on the shape and use of handrails (not grab bars) in aged care facilities by Nicole Maree Swan. You can read it online or download the PDF.


Upcoming conferences

Aerial view of a crowded conference scene where the session has finished and people are standing, sitting and walking about.National Disability Sports Conference 16-18 July 2018 Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre

International Federation on Ageing Conference 8-10 August, Toronto, Canada

Aged and Community Services Australia National Summit, 3-5 September, ICC Sydney.

Universal Design & Higher Education in Transformation Congress, 30 Oct – 2 November 2018, Dublin Castle, Ireland.

Australian Assistive Technology Conference 14-16 November 2018, Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre

AAG Conference “Advancing not Retiring: Active Players, A Fair Future” 21-23 November 2018, Melbourne

ACAA Access Consultants National Conference, August 2019, Luna Park Sydney. Save the Date notice.


Call for Posters and Table Topics

banner advertising the conference showing a city river scene and bridgeMissed the deadline to make a presentation at the 3rd Australian Universal Design Conference? How about a doing a poster? Or, perhaps you would like to eat and meet with a Table Topic and lead a small discussion group at lunchtime on the first day.

Nick Loder stands by his poster at a conferencePosters are a good way of showcasing your work. So if you have a great example of universal design we’d all like to see it. This is a good way for students to get involved too. Posters should be no larger than A1 (594 x 841 mm) and should be accompanied by a short explanation.  For more details about posters, contact Jane Bringolf.

People are seated around a large table and Elise Copeland from New Zealand is leading a Table Topic discussionTable Topics is where you can eat and meet and lead a lunchtime discussion using either questions, handouts, or a short presentation on a laptop to get the discussion going. With cabaret-style seating, it is easy for delegates to get their lunch and bring it to whichever table they are interested in. The lunchbreak on the first day will be extended by half an hour to get the most out of this activity. If you are interested in leading a Table Topic, contact Jane Bringolf.

Concurrent speaker abstracts and biographies are now available for you to peruse.


Speakers confirmed for the UD Conference

Square banner with conference date and theme, Home and Away, creating inclusion everywhere.All concurrent session speakers for the 3rd Australian Universal Design Conference are confirmed and you can now access their abstracts and biographies. The theme is Home and Away: Creating inclusion everywhere. The program is jam-packed with information and practical examples for house and home, for tourism, travel and getting out and about. Earlybird registrations available now.

Major keynote speakers are: Nicki Hutley, Partner, Deloitte Access Economics; Amy Child, Associate, Transport and Cities, Arup, and Chris Veitch, Tourism Consultant, Access New Business. Other keynotes are Nadia Feeney, Operations Manager, Australian Tourism Data Warehouse, Bill Forrester, Travability, and Kieran O’Donnell, Senior Project Officer, Australian Building Codes Board. Lenna Klintworth will be our Master of Ceremonies. Their biographies and presentation outlines will be available soon.

A special one hour interactive panel session on home modifications will be led by Michael Bleasdale and Liz Ainsworth. Specialist home modification builders will be part of the discussions. We will also have Table Topics during an extended lunch break on the first day. This allows everyone to get involved and a good way of networking. Want to showcase something – why not present a poster or a Table Topic?  


Build it, but will they come?

A blue sky and green grass fill this frame overlaid with a chalked outline of a single storey house with a chimney Will the upsurge in residential aged care places take account of the needs and preferences of potential residents? Also, will aged care developers factor in the trend towards staying put? Safdar Ali writes in Aged Care Insite that residential aged care developments “are often opportunistic, targeting high median house prices and land availability, not necessarily targeting need within a catchment. I observe that some catchment areas within a planning region are in a statistical oversupply whereas the planning region as a whole is in statistical undersupply.” With more federal funding coming into this area, more of the same may not be the answer.  Yes, baby boomers will want more choice, especially those with money to pay for thoughtfully designed places that consider their lifestyle preferences, but what about the rest? 

Editor’s note: If homes were universally designed and suited to ageing in place, residential care would not be needed until the very last year or so of life. I wonder if this has been factored into the scheme of things.  


Read my lips…

Two young men sit on a bench outside and are in conversationHow much of what a person says can a lip reader understand? What if they have a heavy accent because your language is not their first language – does that make a difference? Tina Lannin is an expert lip reader and in her article she explains the ins and outs of lip reading. She claims it is possible to understand all that is said but much depends on context. As for foreigners, it is not the accent that matters but the clarity of the speech. And of course, you can’t lip read words that you don’t know, so having a good vocabulary is essential for lip reading. Tina also works as an expert witness forensic lip reader. We can all help lip readers by facing them, not mumbling to our shoes, and speaking as we would to anyone else. And also making sure the faces of conference speakers are well lit. The article is titled, Can a deaf person read lips from a foreigner that speaks that person’s language? 

See also the four excellent posters that link to lip reading and people who are hard of hearing.


Accessibility with nail polish

kitchen stove with three pans and a panel at the rear with knobs. Above you can see the bottom of a microwave with reflected glare on the door.Some home appliances are difficult to use if you can’t see the small details like the print, or the label. With no physical buttons to push, and a reflective surface, flat panel appliances are particularly difficult if you have low vision. In the absence of inclusively designed appliances, home remedies are called for. Ideas such as bright nail polish to highlight buttons on the tv remote, are just some of the ideas in the Beyond Accessibility website post: 10 Ways to Make Homes Easier to Use. There are more similar resources on their website. It would be good if industrial designers consulted users before committing their designs to manufacture. No-one really wants to put nail polish or sticky labels on their new kitchen appliances.



Poster says it all

Poster use visuals to convey messages about how to speak to people who are deafAction Deafness has produced some really neat posters that speak volumes for deaf people. They can be purchased as A3 sheets from Action Deafness online shop. Having these posters around can remind people about their speaking behaviours in the same way as places have safety posters.

A related article in Metro gives advice in the form of 12 tips on talking to people with hearing loss. They include speaking as you would to anyone else, but there are some don’ts in the list such as: don’t assume they know you are talking to them, and don’t waffle.  


National Disability Sports Convention

Logo for the conventionThe first National Disability Sports Conference (NDSC) will be held 17-18 July in Melbourne in conjunction with the major sports convention. It will showcase disability sport management practices and innovative solutions. The aim is to create more opportunities for people with disability to engage in sport and recreation through the development of inclusive practices. The NDSC will also examine how the sports industry is positioning itself in preparation for the full rollout of the National Disability Insurance Scheme.The Australian Sports Commission identified that a lack of integrated sport and recreation programs and appropriately trained staff were some of the biggest reasons for people with disability not being able to participate.