Technology and Disability Policy Highlights: April 2017

Date of Publication: 
2017 May

In April, the United States Senate passed a resolution [S.Res.122], designating April as National 9-1-1 Education Month. The resolution acknowledges modernizing the system, access for people with disabilities via a variety of methods, and public education, including children, on how and when to use 9-1-1. The Resolution calls attention to the various issues facing the public, government and industry stakeholders. Though April is past, awareness and education efforts are ongoing. By example, the FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau announced the re-charter of the Communications Security, Reliability, and Interoperability Council (CSRIC). Selected members will carry out the mission of CSRIC by making recommendations on issues such as Next Generation 9-1-1 (NG9-1-1), emergency alerting, and national security/emergency preparedness communications systems. Mark Fletcher and Richard L. Ray have been appointed to lead the FCC Disability Advisory Committee’s (DAC) Emergency Communications Subcommittee. The DAC assists the FCC with creating inclusive policy recommendations, and provides an avenue for stakeholders, including people with disabilities, to present concerns and ideas to the FCC. 

In Wireless RERC News, the recently published book, Disability and Social Media: Global Perspectives, includes a chapter co-authored by Assistant Professor, Dr. DeeDee Bennett (University of Nebraska at Omaha), Wireless RERC Project Director, Dr. Paul M.A. Baker, and Wireless RERC, Principal Investigator, Dr. Helena Mitchell. Chapter 9, New media and accessible emergency communications: A United States-based meta-analysis, includes a discussion of accessibility and usability of new media platforms, and provides strategies for implementing accessibility into emergency information delivered via social media.

In keeping with activities in the mobile emergency communications space, Wireless RERC researchers, Salimah LaForce and Ben Lippincott, and consultant, Kay Chiodo (Deaf Link), will present at the Pacific ADA Center and the ADA National Network Learning Session on May 11, 2017, from 2:30 pm to 4:00 pm EST. The Emergency Preparedness webinar series focus on key strategies and approaches to emergency management, preparedness, and inclusion of people with disabilities. Learning objectives understanding (1) the use of wireless emergency communications tools by people with disabilities, as well as their expressed needs and preferences; (2) emergency message content tips that improve accessibility, trust, and reliability of emergency information; (3) "How-to's" for subscribing and enabling accessible emergency alerts on Android and iOS devices for people with disabilities; (4) recommendations for trustworthy apps, internet resources, and social media feeds related to accessible emergency alerts; and (5) how to effectively alert members of the Deaf community. Register here to attend this webinar.

This issue also includes news about the Partnership for Employment and Accessible Technology (PEAT), a Make-A-Thon to develop prototypes for people with disabilities, and more.


The contents of this website were developed under a grant from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR grant number 90RE5025-01-00). NIDILRR is a Center within the Administration for Community Living (ACL), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The contents of this website do not necessarily represent the policy of NIDILRR, ACL, HHS, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.