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profoundly yours the abledbody blog

If you’re running a business – small, medium-sized or large – you should check out Think Beyond the Label’s Hire Gauge. I would argue it’s a must. Hire Gauge is the first-ever online tool to calculate the return on the investment (ROI) your organization can generate from hiring qualified workers with disabilities. For a typical large business, this can mean nearly $32,000 in tax credits, deductions and hiring cost savings – not to mention the additional benefits of diversity in the workplace, from employee morale and loyalty to the opportunity to tap new markets. All you need is two minutes (literally) to answer a short series of questions. Right before your eyes, Hire Gauge does the math on the results you can expect from your inclusive hiring initiatives. Right down to the dollar. More and more business are using Hire Gauge Think Beyond the Label says they built this interactive ... keep reading »
Amazon introduced a new version of Kindle, its electronic book reader. But once more, the device fails to include many assistive technology features. To be sure, the Kindle 2 includes a sleeker design and a lighter console. For the disabled, the most interesting feature by far is a text-to-speech function that allows readers to listen to books with a robot-like computerized voice that is delivered — some say — with a Eastern European accent. What’s interesting is, though Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos didn’t say as much, his company partnered with a key assistive technology company, Nuance Communications, to build the speech capability into the Kindle 2. Nuance is the maker of RealSpeak software, which is the same technology that enables text-to-speech on Nokia cell phones and Freedom Scientific’s JAWS screen readers to make them accessible for the blind and visually impaired. Nuance also makes Dragon NaturallySpeaking, a speech-recognition program that’s ... keep reading »
President Bush on Thursday signed the ADA Amendments Act of 2008, a little more than 18 years after his father signed the original ADA. Bush’s father stood by his side as his son signed the bill into law. Barack Obama, one of the bill’s co-sponsor’s, made a statement saying “it must be a priority for our government to do everything it can to protect and respect the needs of these Americans….Eighteen years ago, enacting the Americans with Disabilities Act was a historic milestone for millions of Americans when it was signed into law. It gave Americans with disabilities better access, more opportunities, and increased independence…While we still have much more to do, this law is an important affirmation of our commitment to Americans with disabilities.” For the record, McCain is a supporter of the 1990 law. Palin, who has a son with Down Syndrome, says she will work to “speed research” ... keep reading »
In the New York Times Sunday Magazine’s “Unintended Consequences” (Jan. 20, 2008), authors Stephen J. Dubner and Steven D. Levitt pose the argument that some “special-interest” laws, such as the American with Disabilities Act (ADA), may hurt the very people it intended to benefit. Dubner and Levitt, who are also the authors of the best-selling book “Freakonomics” and a blog of the same name, give a qualitative and quantitative example supporting their case. First up: A Deaf patient from Los Angeles sought medical advice and treatment for her knee from Dr. Andrew Brooks. She asked the doctor to hire and pay for a sign language interpreter, and told him that she was well within her rights to do so under the ADA. Brooks agreed to pay, but surmised that he’d lose money by treating the patient: “As it turned out, an interpreter would cost $120 an hour, with a two-hour minimum, and ... keep reading »

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