Staunton Media Lab Named DBVI Business of the Year

   From left to right: Cindy Roberts, Coordinator of Workforce Services, DBVI; Coley Evans, Audio Director, SML; Tiffany Sweat, Administrative Assistant, DBVI; Steve O'Keefe, Executive Director, SML

 

Staunton Media Lab Named DBVI Business of the Year

Coley Evans, SML Audio Director, Named Employee of the Year

Statewide Recognition for Employing the Blind and Vision Impaired

For Immediate Release
Monday, October 10, 2016

The Staunton Media Lab, a media arts program for the deaf, blind and uniquely able, was named DBVI Business of the Year at a ceremony in Richmond on October 5th at the Azalea Avenue campus of the Virginia Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired (DBVI).

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Book Review - Inside Deaf Culture by Carol Padden and Tom Humphries

Inside Deaf Culture Book Cover

Inside Deaf Culture

@2005 by Carol Padden & Tom Humphries

First Harvard University paperback edition 2006

Reviewed by Steve O'Keefe

Is being deaf being defective?

The obvious answer is no. A lack of hearing is not a disability. A lack of hearing in a culture defined by people who can hear is a hardship, not a disability. The loss of one's hearing can lead to disability. It can also lead to a blissful discovery of a world without sound and kinship with others who successfully navigate the silent life.

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The Role of 3D Printing in Assistive Tech

graphical printer in 3d

The possibilities in 3D-printed assistive technology are growing, mostly due to a few think tanks, effective nonprofits, individuals with a cause and their successful crowdsourcing initiatives; and the fact that the world population is aging rapidly. A lot of this tech benefits people with limited motor function, but also the visually and hearing-impaired, as well as the elderly.

According to one Stanford study, “Exploring Markets for Assistive Technologies for the Elderly,” the world population “will age dramatically by 2050 — a problem especially for Japan, Europe and the U.S. Large elderly populations will place a growing strain on human caregivers as well as health and social systems.”

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In the Recent Accessibility Tech News

Disney's 'Finding Dory'

The end of last month was marked by a few significant developments in the world of accessibility tech. No major breakthroughs this time — but even small steps indicate that people who can make a difference are working on making the world a little more comfortable and accessible to everyone — and maybe even a little brighter.

Understanding that everyone is uniquely abled is the key to realizing that we must have the tech available to everyone, including people with audio, visual, and physical limitations. As Selena Larson points out in her article in The Week:

“Although companies are required by law to make their apps and services accessible to people with disabilities, it’s still widely overlooked, especially among early-stage companies who are trying to build and grow quickly.”

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Which Apple WWDC2016 Announcements Could Be Useful to People With Disabilities?

WWDC audience and stage

During its annual WWDC conference for software developers held last week in San Francisco Apple announced a few improvements to it its systems, such as opening Siri up to third-party app developers and coming to Mac, and making Apple Pay available online.

While none of the announcements could be considered earth-shattering, and, some argue, are just part of playing catch-up to the major platforms like Amazon, Google and Facebook, these enhancements could definitely be useful to us all, including to the people living with disabilities.

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Doing Good Is Good for Business: Measuring the Impact of B-Corps

B the change logo

You don’t have to be Bill Gates or Warby Parker or Toms or Patagonia, or any large company, to start doing good by donating money to causes or giving away your product to those in need. As Jason Lim points out in Forbes, “A company simply needs a conviction and attitude of doing things that are bigger than themselves.”

The growing movement

And this is exactly what a legion of B Corps — which calls itself a “movement” — is proving, with 1,767 certified companies, in 50 countries, representing 130 industries. According to B Lab, a nonprofit that offers the certification, 450 new B Corps were certified in 2015, and about 11,000 new companies have used the B Impact Assessment (more on that later).

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Steadily Embracing Assistive Tech Worldwide

devices for the disabled

We’ve recently discussed the latest improvements and inventions in the world of assistive technology. This post is an update on what’s been going on nationally globally in the past month.

Although there were no major breakthroughs recently in terms of new devices or technologies coming to the market the related studies and events held worldwide indicate that we’re steadily embracing the need and the marketing opportunities for assistive technologies.

Assistive tech market is growing nationally

The “Disabled and Elderly Assistive Technologies” report released by Research and Markets on May 26, 2016, gave an overview of the current markets and trends for disabled and elderly assistive technologies, including voice synthesizers, Braille readers, and wireless monitoring devices.

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Social Entrepreneurship: Feeling Good for Profit

string of lightbulbs, hands reaching to screw last one in

Just like “impact investing,” “social entrepreneurship” has been a buzz term for a while, along with “social responsibility,” “corporate sustainability,” and the concept of B Corporation.

Investing in social entrepreneurship is not just for the public problem-solvers of Silicon Valley who want to do good while turning a profit. Sure, Uber gives rides to jurors in Michigan and Airbnb is working with Portland and San Francisco on streamlining disaster response in case of an earthquake or other emergency, but some argue that every business should be socially conscious.

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How Can You Help?

Volunteer.  We need you! Do you know sign language? Do you know Braille? Do you know English? Do you have language? Then SML needs you! Call us at 540-324-7023, or email

A Wish Goes A Long Way

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