Change in Certification Procedures for Print Disabled

Up until February 12, 2021, for someone to be certified as print disabled in the USA, a certification from a Medical Doctor was required.

On February 12, 2021, the Library of Congress removed the requirement for certification by a medical doctor for those with reading disabilities. Educators, school psychologists, and certified reading specialists are now among the professionals authorized to certify students with reading disabilities.

Read the Library of Congress’s final rule: Loans of Library Materials for Blind and Other Print-Disabled Persons: A Rule by the Library of Congress on 02/12/2021

Webinar: Dragon speech recognition made easy!

There are a number of Speech Recognition Programs, Microsoft Windows Speech Recognition, Word Dictation, Voice to Text (Google Chrome) among others. But the Gold Standard is still Dragon Naturally Speaking.

The South Carolina Assistive Technology Program is offering a Webinar on the basics of using Dragon Naturally Speaking on May 19, 2020, starting at 10:00 AM Eastern Time.

Click here to register: Register Now

FREE WEBINAR: Microsoft Writing Tools for Remote Learning

Presented by Microsoft and ATIA

Microsoft has created free, accessible tools to help support creation of content for learners of all abilities. Learn how to access these features built in and across platforms to support remote learning. The presenters will cover the following features built into Word and Word Online: Dictation, Word Prediction, Translation, Editor and the ability to customize accessibility features such as color filters, mouse, cursor etc.


Free Webinars Courtesy of South Carolina Assistive Technology Program

The SCATP has announced two FREE webinars for the month of MAY. One for May 7, 2020 and the second for May 12, 2020

Practical UDL/Personalized Instruction Tools for ALL Students Webinar

Date: May 7, 2020

Time: 9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. ET

Speaker: Tim Jones

Cost: Free!


As many as two-thirds of students in classrooms today score below proficiency in reading, writing, and STEM.  This includes students who speak English as a second language, students with disabilities, and many other students who do not yet possess the skills needed to meet today’s rigorous standards.  While today’s digital environments provide great tools for presentation of materials, many lack STEM and literacy supports needed by these students.

In this session, attendees will see a demonstration of Read&Write for Google Chrome, EquatIO, and WriQ. These are powerful programs with over 25 million users.  These ELA and STEM-focused products work with BOTH Office 365 as well as G-Suite programs. Participants will learn more about common technology supports such as text-to-speech, word prediction, dictation, text and picture dictionaries, annotations… and more… that can help ALL students and especially those who struggle with reading and writing.  These tools can be used through the Chrome, Edge, Explorer browsers on PCs, Macs, IPads and Chromebooks.

Participants will:

  • Learn to accommodate different learning styles using tools from the Read&Write and EquatIO Toolbars
  • Create customized vocabulary lists and study guides
  • Find new resources for accessing digital text
  • Discover a great tool for grading writing with customizable rubrics
  • Learn how to access a “Free for Teachers” account

Helping Students Struggling with Executive Function Build Organization Skills for Transition Webinar

Date: May 12, 2020

Time: 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 am.

Speaker: Tammy Wallace

Cost: FREE!


The speaker will share tools and resources to help parents, teachers and other support staff who work with students with executive function deficits.


  • Participants will be able to identify students struggling with executive functioning
  • Participants will be able to name 3 specific technology tools that may support students with their executive function skills
  • Participants will be able to name 2 strategies to help students struggling with executive functioning

Levels of Website Accessibility (WCAG)

Universal Handicap Symbol

As covered in a previous blog, making sure website accessibility is included in the design process is probably the simplest way to ensure it happens.

But there is still a need for testing. 

We need to know what to test for. The guidelines issued by the W3C give a starting place

The standards outlined in W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines are organized into three level; A, AA and AAA.

Level A cover the most basic web accessibility features and is the minimum standard a website should meet. For example, the WCAG guideline All non-text content that is presented to the user has a text alternative that serves the equivalent purpose, except for the situations listed below. A solution at this level would be providing a transcript for pre-recorded audio.

Level AA requirements ensure that content achieves a greater degree of accessibility People with disabilities will have an easier time accessing content that meets Level AA criteria than they would with content that only meets Level A. A solution at this level.  A solution at this level would be providing an audio description for pre-recorded audio.

Level AAA is the highest and most complex level of web accessibility.  This level includes additional requirements, some of which enhance those established in Level AA criteria.  For pre-recorded audio, sign language interpretation should be implemented.

A quick reference to the WCAG guidelines can be found here: How to Meet WCAG 2 (Quick Reference)

Remember, Level A is the minimum a website should meet for the page to be considered accessible.  Level AA is the level most websites should strive for, this should also ensure compliance with the 508 Standards.  Level AAA is the “Holy Grail” of accessibility, but whenever possible the WCAG standards at this level should be implemented.

The next post will cover methods and tools to test a website for the WCAG standards.

Web Accessibility Quick Checklists

It’s important to ensure that the websites you develop and work with at least meet the minimum standards of accessibility, especially the 508 Standards.  The easiest way to accomplish this is make the checklist part of the initial design and workflow.

Much of this blog was inspired by several presentations at WordCamp Atlanta 2019, particularly the presentation by Joseph LoPreste of StPeteDesign.

The checklist below will assist in making a website 508 Compliant.

  • Make sure all images on your site have alt-text tags – People using screen readers don’t see images, so make sure that the alt-text of each image is descriptive – especially if the image contains text.
  • Make sure that each field in every form on your site is properly labelled – Without labels, forms will not be viewable on screen readers.
  • Make sure your site can be navigated using only a keyboard – Not everyone uses a touchpad or mouse, so make sure that there aren’t any features on your site which requires them.
  • Make sure your videos are setup for Closed Captioning. You must make sure that all videos you create have a manuscript for the Closed Captions. Also, provide an Audio transcribing for non-audio videos or animations.
  • The color of any given content cannot be the only indication of value or what it is.
  • Make sure there are flexible time limits associated with the website or software. Check that auto updating, moving, blinking, and scrolling content can be paused or adjusted.
  • Make sure to include a skip navigation link or something equivalent, so the user can bypass repetitive content.
  • Make sure that user Input errors are identified and described in the text to the user.
  • Make sure your font size is at least 18+.
  • Make sure that your contrast is at least 3:1 for links and 4.5:1 for all other content.
  • Make sure that all of your link texts are descriptive.
  • Make sure that all documents on the website (not external links), such as PDF or Word are fully accessible

There are automated tools and plug-ins which can identify most of the above when a website nears completion.-

The next blog post will cover several of these.

Section 508 and Website Accessibility

The standard Handicapped sign of  a stick figure in a wheelchari
Handicapped Sign/Logo

In 2018 it’s estimated that there were almost 3000 lawsuits filed under the ADA (Americans for Disability Act) in the US. The 2017 estimate for these lawsuits was only a little more than 800.

The lawsuits are being filed under ADA Section 508 which states that all information and electronic technology must be made accessible to people with disabilities. Similar standards are required in the EU.

Section 508 requires all entities with “places of public accommodations” to provide website and app accessibility to people with disabilities.   In the US, this has been the Federal Government and contractors who deal directly with the Federal Government.  By extension, this also covers State and Local Governments as well. 

Most of the current lawsuits are being filed against NGO’s and private businesses are only for compliance and legal fees, not damages. These issues are still being litigated in State and Federal Courts.

At the WordCamp Atlanta, there were several presentations on how to check to make sure your website meets the Section 508 standard.

The next blog post will have a checklist for helping meet the 508 Standard.

March 2019 US Disability Unemployment Rates

March 2019 Unemployment Rates
Table A-6 and A-2
Bureau of Labor Statistics, USDOL

Persons with a Disability 

Unemployment Rate 7.9%       Participation Rate 21.5%  

Persons without a Disability 

Unemployment Rate 3.8%       Participation Rate 68.5%


Unemployment Rate 12.1%    Participation Rate 33.3%

Estimate of the number of people with a diagnosed or undiagnosed Learning Disability

Next release date is May 3, 2019.

Presentations and Accessibility

Accessible Educational Materials Logo
Accessible Educational Materials Logo

The National Center on Accessible Educational Materials presented a webinar on August 21, 2018, on making presentations accessible. The video shows techniques to make PowerPoint, Keynote and Google Slides accessible.

The webinar, which is closed captioned, is available for replay here:

Accessible Presentations: How to Design and Deliver Content for Diverse Audiences

The slide deck and digital handouts are also available.

The Web, Accessibility and Word Camp Atlanta 2018

Word Camp Atlanta 2018 (a weekend for learning about Word Press) was held the weekend of April 14 and 15th. The theme this year was Diversity.  As part of that, there were several presentations on accessibility.  The presentations were in addition to the Keynote from Aimee Copeland.

The three sessions covered Reasons for website accessibility, how to evaluate a website for accessibility and how to build an accessible website.

The specific presentations were:

Making the case for accessibilityChristine Laikind

Evaluating the Accessibility of Websites with Web-Based Tools, Web Resources, and Plugins (Full Session)Kim Camp Smalley

Building Accessible Websites: Your New SuperpowerMelanie – G Adcock

The presentations were recorded and like most Word Camp presentations will be online within the next few months.  The links will be posted when they become available.

Word Camp Atlanta 2018 Logo