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星期一, 5月 02, 2016

AG HEALEY GIVES $315,000 TO ORGANIZATIONS WORKING TO IMPROVE ACCESS AND OPPORTUNITIES FOR INDIVIDUALS WITH DISABILITIES

AG HEALEY GIVES $315,000 TO ORGANIZATIONS WORKING TO IMPROVE ACCESS AND OPPORTUNITIES FOR INDIVIDUALS WITH DISABILITIES
Ten Organizations Across Massachusetts Selected; Funding is a Result of Settlements Including with ATM Owner and Operator Cardtronics, Inc.

BOSTON — As part of her commitment to breaking down barriers for those living with disabilities, Attorney General Maura Healey announced today that her office has selected 10 organizations across Massachusetts to receive $315,000 in grant funding to improve access and opportunities for individuals with disabilities.

“We must strive to do better to guarantee equal rights for everyone with a disability,” said AG Healey. “When people with disabilities cannot actively participate in our society, we lose the benefit of the special talents and gifts each person brings. This grant program provides the funding needed to develop creative projects that utilize technology and innovative design to improve the lives of families across our state.”

            The grant program is funded through a settlement with ATM owner and operator Cardtronics, Inc., resolving claims relating to the company’s failure to comply with a court order requiring it to make the company’s machines accessible to blind and visually impaired consumers.

Through the Innovating to Improve Access and Opportunity for Individuals with Disabilities one-year grant program, the AG’s Office has awarded funding to:

·         Cape Cod Community College in West Barnstable for the purchase of adaptive technology that will benefit students with physical and intellectual disabilities.
·         Rewarding Work Resources in Brookline for technology to integrate an automated job posting board into its existing website to improve the process for hiring personal care attendants and respite worker for elders, individuals with disabilities, and their families statewide.
·         Children’s Center for Communications/Beverly School for the Deaf for equipment to pilot a new model for the remote delivery of speech and language pathology services to children with special needs in Essex and Middlesex counties.
·         The National Braille Press, a Boston nonprofit braille publisher, for a new editor application for Microsoft Word with advanced word processing functions for a braille computer that would allow blind users to read specialized editing formats.
·         South Shore Educational Collaborative in Hingham for the purchase of equipment to create a 3D Printing Lab for use in an integrated STEM and Business Management course for students diagnosed with a wide range of disabilities. The course would cover essential math and science skills as well as business management skills, and would produce products intended to assist individuals with disabilities in Barnstable, Norfolk, Plymouth and Suffolk counties.
·         Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Charlestown for a handicapped parking space finder application and related technology, which will allow handicapped drivers to more easily find parking spaces.
·         WGBH Educational Foundation in Boston to create and distribute a free high quality, easy to use video captioning tool that will produce caption files compatible with all major web browsers, online media players and social media.
·         Hillcrest Education, with sites in Great Barrington, North Adams, Pittsfield and Lenox, to purchase 20 iPads with assistive technology for nonverbal children with autism, allowing them to communicate more easily and improve their overall functioning capabilities.
·         Melmark New England in Andover to develop an application to teach students and teachers how to use The Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS), a form of augmentative and alternative communication for individuals with autism.
·         Advocates, Inc. in Framingham to redesign the Autism Alliance of MetroWest website in order to provide enhanced resources and support services for families caring for loved ones with autism in Middlesex, Norfolk, Suffolk and Worcester counties.

Experts on accessible technology from Yahoo, Apple IBM and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology assisted the AG’s Office in reviewing applications for the grant funding.

As part of her effort to protect the civil rights of all residents, AG Healey in July 2015 announced the formation of her office’s Disability Rights Advisory Committee to advise her and her staff on matters pertaining to inclusion, access, and equality for individuals with disabilities.