courtroom-thumb-450x360.jpgDiscrimination
Are some forms justified?


After meeting with Mr. Shea and some of the students at the Morehead School, I realized that there is much more discrimination towards the deaf and blind than I had initially thought. One of the blind students told us a story of being at McDonald's and how she was not given the correct change. She told the cashier, "I am blind, I'm not stupid." I found it was really sad that someone would try to take advantage of someone or treat someone differently because of a disability.

-Erika M.

After hearing the story that Erika was talking about I thought that getting her change back and getting free Mcdonalds was good. However, I feel like more punishment should have been done against the cashier who did this to the girl who was low-vision. I was thinking that maybe she should have been automatically fired and not just repermanded.
-Brianna G

I found this really great site from the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) that has all the information and details about Discriminating against the Disabled. This site also lists what the law thinks a "Disabled" person is. http://www.eeoc.gov/types/ada.html . I think that discrimination against the disabled is a horrible thing, and i agree with Brianna when she says the punishment should be more severe for people who do it.
- Harrison A.

Example of Discrimination:
http://www.off-road.com/offroad/article/articleDetail.jsp?id=299914

After reading this article, I realized the importance of any situation. While this may seem like an ignorable situation to us, it obviously really hurt the disabled person in this story. I hope that after this discovery term we will accept differently able people, but at the same time, give them the respect they deserve.

-Kunal



Universal Design:


From Wikipedia:
Universal design is a relatively new paradigm that emerged from "barrier-free" or "accessible design" and "assistive technology." Universal design strives to be a broad-spectrum solution that produces buildings, products and environments that are usable and effective for everyone, not just people with disabilities. Moreover, it recognizes the importance of how things look. For example, while built up handles are a way to make utensils more usable for people with gripping limitations, some companies introduced larger, easy to grip and attractive handles as feature of mass produced utensils. They appeal to a wide range of consumers.
As life expectancy rises and modern medicine has increased the survival rate of those with significant injuries, illnesses and birth defects, there is a growing interest in universal design. There are many industries in which universal design is having strong market penetration but there are many others in which it has not yet been adopted to any great extent.
Universal design is a part of everyday living and is all around us. The "undo" command in most software products is a good example. Color-contrast dish ware with steep sides that assist those with visual problems as well as those with dexterity problems are another. Additional examples include cabinets with pull-out shelves, kitchen counters at several heights to accommodate different tasks and postures and low-floor buses that kneel and are equipped with ramps rather than lifts.


What are the current forms of Universal Design?



For the Blind:
lind_crosswalk.jpg
They are creating signals with audio beeps so that the blind can hear when they are supposed to cross the street. This new technology is known as TalkingPS or Talking Pedestrian Signals. Currently, engineers are designing a vibrating signal which would allow people who are both visually impaired and deaf to simply touch the street posts or the push button. This would also be the same for elevators and building features.

Currently, at crosswalks and intersections pathways have bumps so the visual impaired will recognize that a street is coming up and that they should stop. Pathway texture is the most important ways that blind people can recognize there surroundings. A few years back, the Extreme Makeover: Home Edition's design team created a house for a blind man and his family. They were able to texturize the walls in the home so that he would be able to feel his way around without using a cane. Moreoever, the whole house was on one level so that he didn't have to walk up stairs as often. Another technology they made was a "Walk in" shower which you simply had to walk through and would immediately turn on; in order to change the temperature you just had to say it.


For Wheelchairs:
wheelchair_house.jpg
This is most likely a home or school which is wheelchair accessible with a ramp


Currently, legislation has been passed that all schools and public buildings must have wheelchair ramps and be completely accessible by wheelchairs. This means they must be on one level or have an elevator. Our speaker on Monday told us about the situation her son was faced with: he couldn't go to other peoples houses because they weren't wheelchair accessible. Architects and engineers are now beginning to improve buildings so that ramps are not as steep and houses that are two stories have an elevator. Another problem the dance teacher talked about was how do people in wheelchairs wash there hands if the sink is too high and the soap is higher. Perhaps architects could design a bathroom that would allow for anyone to feel welcome.
external image moz-screenshot.jpg

What is NC currently doing to incorporate the differently able?

Universal Design in NC is currently being led by the Center of Universal Design in cooperation with the architecture and design school of NCSU. They work internationally with the Beijing Institute of Technology and domestically with the National Children's Museum in Washington D.C. They currently have four different programs: Research, Design, Education, Outreach.

Research:
  • Advances knowledge of universal design principles
  • Identifies user needs
  • Conducts design and market research
  • Evaluates Universal Design solutions

Design:
  • Provides concept development for new products
  • Conducts architectural and product evaluations
  • Plan consultation
  • Provides design and marketing assistance to business and industry

Education:
  • Educates students, city/state leaders on universal design
  • Conducts seminars to assist in program development

Outreach:
  • Develops materials and publication
  • Provides telephone and referral services
  • Provides informational presentations



Universal Design Links:
Access for the Blind
Wisconsin University: Universal Design
NCSU Universal Design





Insurance Discrimination:

When asked whether her daughter was a carrier, Ms. Beach (the son with Muscular Dystrophy) said it was "highly likely that she is a carrier. In fact, we talk about this a lot." Then another student asked, "Have you considered getting her tested?" She replied, "We could, but the problem is the insurance company can get a hold of it and would take advantage."

If you were in Dr. Polish's class you might remember him giving us an article (Keeping your Genes Private) about this very issue.

Technology and genetic study has progressed so far that people are now able to see if they are likely to have diseases or mutations. The problem is that this technology has been affected by marketers who wish to profit from the tests, including insurers. Many insurers sponsor these tests and in return would be given the results. This "fraud" is also played by the drug companies which use these results to tell you to buy their products and "personal drugs" so that you can remain healthy for longer.

The fact that both the drug and insurance companies use these very personal results for their profit has scared people from using the technology. Furthermore, people are questioning the reliability of these tests. Consequently, the progress of this technology has been halted.

Should justice be given to people who have taken these Genetic tests and been discriminated by the insurance company?