The University Faculty Senate Committee on Disabilities Issues
The City University of New York

Enabling Access to Excellence

What's This All About? Show Me!

An  11  1/2 minute captioned multimedia presentation at features college students with a variety of disabilities.  They explain the educational technology related obstacles we see them encounter, as well as what works best for them and why.  The presentation is offered in several media formats, and there is a separate text transcription available from the same page. Note: To view captions using the Windows Media Player, you may have to enable this feature through the VIEW menu.

The U.S. Department of Education has a PowerPoint presentation on the web called  "People With Disabilities in the Federal Workforce."  Select from choices at to view it as a powerpoint slide show, a pdf file, or as html.  To select  html, pick the first entry in the list of slides, and then navigate using the arrows on that slide.

Utah State University's Accomodating Students With Disabilities  (ASD) offers sample videos and demos on their web site at .

A valuable overview for project planning is the brochure produced by the University of Washington - "Designing Your Project to Be Accessible to All Participants," at

General Resources

Overview of Technology  Issues
The following sites are useful for an overview as well as for the variety of  FREE detailed information they provide.

"Left Out Online: Electronic media should be a boon for people with disabilities, but few colleges embrace the many new technologies that could help."

From the WebAIM site as of November 2002:

"...Web Accessibility In Mind (WebAIM) is administered through a grant provided by the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE) Learning Anywhere Anytime Partnerships (LAAP).  Our goal is to improve accessibility to online learning opportunities for all people; in particular to improve accessibility for individuals with disabilities who currently may have a difficult time getting access to postsecondary online learning opportunities..."

Are you creating materials for your students and want to understand how to provide accessible materials?  Solutions on this site.
Jim Thatcher worked for IBM for 37 years [1963 - 2000], with 15 years "devoted to assistive technology and accessibility." See especially the free tutorials on this site.

User Tools
While some access tools can be controlled by the users, they just don't work if what they are trying to read and interpret is not created in an accessible way.  Access success presupposes utilization of often simple techniques by developers, and some even then require specialized software on the user end.  The following are relatively new attempts to reduce problems of accessibility for people with disabilities.

Microsoft's tutorials on basic accessibility options for Microsoft products are available at .

NYC Information (see also NYC Law - below)

NYS Information (see also NYS Law - below)
US Government Information (see also US Government Law - below)

Selected National / International Conferences

Library Resources

This tutorial is free to members of the American Library Association (ALA), and is offered periodically.   The archived tutorial is at .

More on library accessibility is on our library resource page.

Travel Resources
AAA has a series of Barrier-Free Travel Guides for some major cities and regions.  They are available in some bookstores and from AAA.

There are other books as well --- search on a book seller's web site for terms like "barrier free travel" or "disability travel" or disabilities travel."

Selected Resources on the Law
New York City Law
New York State Law
Although we haven't seen an implementation plan, a recent modification to Chapter 219 of NYS law is related to accessibility of college level textbooks. This is described on NY State's Vesid site at :
New NYS Law Improves Access to College Level Textbooks! Effective January 5, 2004, the NYS Education law is amended to add a new article 15B, section 715 requiring publishers and manufacturers of instructional materials for students attending college in NYS to also make available, at comparable cost to the printed version, electronic versions of printed instructional materials. Senator Paterson, one of the bill's sponsors, writes, "All students, including those with physical disabilities, deserve an equal [opportunity] to excel at their post-secondary education. This legislation is intended to ensure that students with disabilities attending a post-secondary institution in New York State have the same resources available to them as students without disabilities." To read the Senate bill, go to, click on Bills & Laws and search for Bill S3306-A.
".... Attorney General Eliot Spitzer today announced settlements with two major travel web sites that will make the sites far more accessible to blind and visually impaired users...The Attorney General opined that the Americans With Disabilities Act requires that private web sites be accessible to blind and visually impaired Internet users..."  From the same press release: ..." The Attorney General also extended his thanks to the American Foundation for the Blind, for its invaluable assistance, as well as to the Baruch College Computer Center for Visually Impaired People..."

"...On July 29, 2003, New York State Education Law was amended by adding a new section 715 to implement Chapter 219 of the Laws of 2003. This law requires publishers and manufacturers of instructional materials that are essential to a student’s success in the course of collegiate study to be made available in alternate formats in a timely manner. This law took effect August 15, 2004...

...The purpose of these training workshops is to update appropriate college personnel (staff that work with students with disabilities and information technology staff) on their responsibility to provide effective alternate format materials and how to effectively work with publishers in implementing the new law."

Information about the law is available at .

US Government Law

           Section 508 Requirements for Electronic Accessibility for People with Disabilities

More on Section 508 Requirements for Electronic Accessibility for People with Disabilities

Electronic and Information Technology Access Advisory Committee / Final Report - May 12, 1999.  From the site:

"...A separate law, the Technology-Related Assistance for Individuals with Disabilities Act of 1988, later replaced by the Assistive Technology Act of 1998, and now known as the AT Act, has required states to provide assurances of their compliance with Section 508 as a condition to receiving Federal funds for their technology assistance programs. Although all of the states have submitted such assurances, the lack of Federal efforts to enforce Section 508's provisions has put the value of these assurances into question. The new Section 508 standards will provide much needed guidance to ensure compliance with these assurances..."
US Dept of Education's Requirements for  Accessible Electronic and Information Technology Design
Department Receives Awards for Section 508 Best Practices (November 2003)-
According to the November 2003 award information on the site,
"...The Education Department and the Patent and Trademark Office developed programs to integrate Section 508 accessibility requirements into all phases of their IT plans. For their efforts, the agencies today received the first Government Best Practices awards at the IDEAS conference in Washington.

Education’s Assistive Technology Program in the CIO’s office assesses individual employee needs to overcome accessibility barriers to using IT systems. It also identifies technology sources, provides acquisition assistance, technology installation, training and reviews Web systems for department bureaus and other federal agencies..."
Telecommunications access issues and related laws.
US Department of Justice - Americans With Disabilities Act ADA Home Page

Bobby WorldWide Approved AAA

Comments about this site? Email us at

[CUNY Access Home Page]
[CUNY Home Page]