December 16, 2010 - Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act of 2010 Passes House and Senate
The House and Senate have passed The Pedestrian Safety Enhancement of 2010 which will soon make it safer for people with a visual impairment to cross streets. People who are blind and visually impaired are trained to listen for the sounds of vehicles in order to determine when it is safe to cross a street, but the increased use of hybrid and electric cars, which do not emit sound, has made it more dangerous for people with a visual impairment to travel. The Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act requires standards for an alert sound that allows blind and other pedestrians to detect a nearby electric or hybrid vehicle, within the next three years. Lighthouse International supported this legislation, and since its introduction, has educated Members of Congress about the bills importance to people with a visual impairment.
November 29, 2010 - John C. Liu Hosts Disabilities Awareness Event at Lighthouse International
New York City Comptroller, John C. Liu, hosted a Disabilities Awareness Event at Lighthouse International on November 29, 2010. The event honored the contributions of four individuals who have worked to advance the rights of people with a disability. Dr. Cynthia Stuen, Senior Vice President Policy and Education at Lighthouse International, provided opening remarks to the attendees and thanked the Comptroller for his continued work on behalf of people with a disability.
November 4, 2010 - Lighthouse International Testifies at New York City Council Transportation Committee
PHOTO CREDIT: DNAinfo/Jill Colvin
Lighthouse International and members of the Pedestrians for Safe and Accessible Streets Coalition (PASS Coalition) testified at a New York City Council Transportation Committee on pedestrian safety about the need for the city to install more Accessible Pedestrian Signals (APS). APSs make pedestrian signal information available to people with a visual impairment through the use of audible tones or speech messages. As New York City undertakes a massive effort to increase pedestrian safety, Lighthouse International testimony urged the city to include Accessible Pedestrian Signals as part of their pedestrian safety improvements.
October 14, 2010 - Lighthouse International Submits Comments to FCC on Mobile Device Accessibility
Lighthouse International submitted comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regarding the experience of people with disabilities in using mobile devices. The information the FCC assembles will contribute to the agency’s future policy decisions regarding accessible mobile devices and help to expand accessibility for people with visual impairment. Read on for Lighthouse International’s comments.
October 8, 2010 - President Obama Signs 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act
On October 8, 2010, United States President Barack Obama signed into law the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010. The legislation requires smart phones, the internet and television programming to include audible and visual notifications so they are accessible to anyone with a vision or hearing loss.
“The Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010 is landmark legislation that will benefit people with a visual impairment,” said Lester Marks, Director of Government Affairs at Lighthouse International. “Over the next several years, as the mandates of this law are enacted, accessibility of all mobile devices will be the norm, as will accessible on-screen television menus, voice description of on-screen action, and emergency broadcast information.”
The Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010 is part of the Obama Administration’s initiatives to level the playing field for anyone seeking employment. “Too many Americans with disabilities are still measured by what folks think they can’t do, instead of what we know they can do,” said President Obama in a speech. “The bill I’m signing today into law will better ensure full participation in our democracy and our economy for Americans with disabilities. It sets new standards so that Americans with disabilities can take advantage of the technology our economy depends on.”
September 21, 2010 – New York State Senator Liz Krueger Helps Open New CDC Classroom
New York State Senator Liz Krueger joined Lighthouse International for the ribbon-cutting ceremony of a new classroom in the Child Development Center (CDC). The CDC is a unique school that offers comprehensive services for visually impaired and sighted children from two to five-years-old in an integrated preschool setting. The new classroom was made possible through the support of Senator Krueger and will enable the CDC to expand its enrollment. The classroom is specially designed to accommodate 12 children who are visually impaired and have other disabilities.
July 26, 2010 – Lighthouse International Celebrates the 20th Anniversary of ADA
Volunteers and students from Lighthouse International's Columbia Summer Youth Transition Program attended a ceremony on July 26, 2010, honoring the 20th anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA, signed into law in 1990 by President George H.W. Bush, prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in employment, state and local government, public accommodations, commercial facilities, transportation, and telecommunications.
“The ultimate goal of the ADA is the full integration of people with disabilities into society and progress is being made after 20 years,” says Cynthia Stuen, Senior Vice President of Policy, Evaluation and Education at Lighthouse International. “With the aging of our population, we can anticipate more people living with disabling conditions, especially vision impairment. It is important to look at the range of vision rehabilitation services that need to be provided to prevent excess disability for people of all ages.”
The ADA 20th anniversary, which took place at Lincoln Center in New York City, was organized by Art Education for the Blind and Project Access, an Access to the Arts Working Group.
July 26, 2010 – The House of Representatives Passes The Twenty First Century Communications Act
The House of Representatives passed HR 3101, The Twenty First Century Communications Act, by a vote of 348 to 23. This bill will significantly expand access to accessible technology for people with vision loss. The bill's highlights include, requiring audible descriptions for on-screen action, cable TV selection menus must be accessible for people with a visual impairment, and easier web navigate through improved interfaces on smart phones. A related bill, S.3304, The Equal Access to 21st Century Communications Act, has been introduced the Senate by Senator Mark Pryor (D-AR).
Lighthouse International is a member of the Coalition of Organizations for Accessible Technology (COAT), which has been leading the charge. Many thanks and congratulations to the coalition’s leadership on this landmark legislation!
Learn more about COAT and how you can help pass the Equal Access to 21st Century Communications Act.
July 14, 2010 – Lighthouse International Sponsored a Congressional Briefing on Low Vision
Lighthouse International and its vision community partners hosted a Congressional briefing on July 14, 2010, entitled Low Vision and Vision Rehabilitation: A Growing Need. Lighthouse President and CEO Mark G. Ackermann set the stage by reviewing the demography of our aging population and the increased risk of vision impairment.
The featured speaker was Michael Fischer, Chief of Optometry Service at the Northport Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center and a consulting low vision clinician at the Lighthouse. Mr. Fischer announced that the Lighthouse recently convened a group of stakeholders in the vision community to explore legislative options for reimbursement for the specialized vision rehabilitation professionals. “With the appropriate rehabilitation, most people can perform the needed daily living tasks independently if greater access to vision rehabilitation services is needed,” Dr. Fischer said.
Congressman Gene Green (D-TX), co-chair of the Congressional Vision Caucus, and Congressman John Boozman (R-AK), a member of the Congressional Vision Caucus, also spoke during the briefing.
Carl Tuvin, Dr. Bruce Rosenthal, Congressman John Boozman, Cynthia Stuen
Michael Fischer and Mark G. Ackermann
Mark G. Ackermann and Congressman Gene Green
April 27, 2010 – Mark Ackermann, President and CEO of Lighthouse, Visits New York State Legislators
Mark G. Ackermann, President and CEO Lighthouse International, along with vision rehabilitation professionals from the Lighthouse staff, visited New York State Legislators in Albany, N.Y. to discuss the importance of rehabilitation for the visually impaired. In meetings with elected officials, the Lighthouse staff emphasized the importance of vision rehabilitation services and discussed the growing need caused by the aging population.
Photos of the Lighthouse advocates in Albany, N.Y.
From Left to Right:
Cynthia Stuen, Karen Kramer, Merrie Bramlett, Jeff Ambury, Delia Salina, Patricia Roldan, Erica Grullon., Lester Marks
From Left to Right:
Mark Ackermann, Sara Barnard, Delia Salinas, Karen Kramer, Lester Marks
Photos by Erin Dey
March 11, 2010 – Mark Ackermann, President and CEO, Attends Congressional Briefing on World Glaucoma Week
Lighthouse International attended a Congressional Briefing, sponsored by The Alliance for Eye and Vision Research, to educate House members about the latest Glaucoma research and to commemorate World Glaucoma Week 2010. President and CEO, Mark Ackermann and staff meet with members of the House and Senate to discuss fiscal and legislative priorities for FY2011.
Cynthia Stuen,PhD, Senior Vice President Policy Evaluation and Education, Lighthouse International, Representative Sheila Jackson Lee (D-18) of Texas, and Mark G. Ackermann, President and CEO of Lighthouse International.
Mark G. Ackermann, President and CEO of Lighthouse International, U.S. Congressman John Boozman (D-3) of Arkansas, Andrea Densham, Prevent Blindness America and Cynthia Stuen, PhD, Senior Vice President Policy Evaluation and Education, Lighthouse International
Mark G. Ackermann, President and CEO of Lighthouse International and U.S. Congressman John Adler (D-03) of New Jersey.
Photos by Erin Dey
March 10, 2010 – Lighthouse International Visits Kirsten Gillibrand, United States Senator for New York
Kirsten Gillibrand, United States Senator for New York, was host to Lighthouse International for a discussion on the issues facing the low vision community. Attending the meeting with Senator Gillibrand was Mark Ackermann, President and CEO of Lighthouse International, and Cynthia Stuen, Senior Vice President of Policy, Evaluation and Education at Lighthouse. The discussion focused on the growing population of older Americans and the impact they will have on the rehabilitation services available for people with visual impairments.
Photos of Lighthouse's meeting with Senator Gillibrand:
From Left to Right
Cynthia Stuen, Kirsten Gillibrand, Mark Ackermann
Photo by Erin Dey
Kirsten Gillibrand and Mark Ackermann
Photo by Erin Dey
March 3, 2010 - Lighthouse's Dr. Cynthia Stuen Talks Audio Signal Boxes with NYT's City Room
Dr. Cynthia Stuen, Lighthouse's senior vice president for policy, evaluation and education, weighs in on the city's installation of audio signal boxes and why they are important for the visually impaired. Read the full blog post.
February 25, 2010 - Lighthouse Music School Advocates for State Funding via YouTube
Leslie Jones, Executive Director of the The Filomen M D'Agostino Greenberg Music School at Lighthouse International, testifies to the New York State Senate and Assembly on proposed budget cuts to the New York State Council on the Arts. Watch the video now.
February 1st & 2nd, 2010 – Educating Seniors About Eye Care
As part of AMD/Low Vision Awareness Month, Lighthouse International teamed up with New York City Council Members James Vacca and Annabel Palma, from the Bronx, to educate seniors on the importance of getting regular eye exams, and to act early if their vision changes. Lighthouse International visited the Throggs Neck JASA senior center with Council Member Vacca, and the James Monroe Senior Center with Council Member Palma. The two day event was a big success and educated nearly 150 seniors on vision loss, will help get those in need, the necessary eye care.
January 4, 2010 – President and CEO Advocate Against Access-A-Ride Cuts
Mark Ackermann, President and CEO of Lighthouse International, sent a letter to the Metropolitan Transit Authority opposing the proposed plan to cut back Access-A-Ride service. Access-A-Ride is a vital mode of transportation for people with a disability. Without such service thousands of people each day would have no means of getting to doctor visits. Click here to read the full MTA Letter.
January 2010: Focus on Low Vision: Healthcare Reform and Vision Rehabilitation
With healthcare reform on the horizon, several coalitions are working to make sure vision impairment and its rehabilitation be recognized. Dr. Cynthia Stuen, Senior Vice President, Policy, Evaluation, and Education examines these efforts. Read Dr.Stuen's full article.