discrimination is prohibited against “a qualified individual on the basis of disability.”
What is Disability?
Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act has had a few very important changes in the past few weeks, not the least of these are the definition of ‘disability.” In 2009, the ADAAA addressed the need to broaden the definition of disability – modifying key terms to help those to identify what is a disability.
At Our Ability, we are helping organizations nationally with their implementation of the new laws in regard to Section 503. In doing so, you want to take a look at three different areas within our blog over the next few weeks. As always, we need to help define what is a disability. While it may be easy to see my disability, we may not be able to see it in others. We may not be able to recognize the proper accommodations needed so as not to discriminate.
A “disability” is still impairment the substantially limits one or more major life activities. As a person with a disability – this is no real change. But, now it allows the recognition of episodic impairments or those in remission.
The ADAAA modifies the definitions of “substantially limits” as well as “major life activities.” Work, communication, driving, can all be considered life activities.
With the inclusion of episodic and remission language, disability can include epilepsy, alcoholism and cancer. In dealing with these impairments and illnesses, an individual’s very employment activities can be affected by dealing with such differences.
The real change in the definition, broadens the understanding and openness of differing abilities within all of us. It also recognizes the struggles of those hidden disabilities some individuals may not recognize. The growth in PTSD and TBI has specifically raise the awareness within the Department of Labor and the government in recognition of these new regulations.
So why does it matter? It’s how we deal with accommodation. It defines how inclusive we are as a society and specifically as an organization when running a business.
Our Ability is about helping individuals find employment, to be comfortable in identifying their disability to a potential employer or existing employer and to facilitate the change needed inside an organization for accommodation.
Organizational change is vital to growth. One major United States business asked me last week to identify those organizations that do well in reaching out to people with disabilities. I’m happy to share our experiences within an organization to enhance the inclusive culture. I mentioned the very fact they asked the question means they are a long way towards inclusion. But, there is work to be done.
Our Ability has had success in working with businesses. We work with human resource organizations to discuss the definition of “disability” as well as its internal ramifications. In the past two years, we have helped produce video to address these topics. The main character in this video below is a man dealing with cancer and its remission.
If there is any way we can help your organization large or small – please reach out and ask. We are passionate about the need to identify the ability within all of us.
David: Cancer survivor –
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We firmly believe that the internet should be available and accessible to anyone, and are committed to providing a website that is accessible to the widest possible audience, regardless of circumstance and ability.
To fulfill this, we aim to adhere as strictly as possible to the World Wide Web Consortium’s (W3C) Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.1 (WCAG 2.1) at the AA level. These guidelines explain how to make web content accessible to people with a wide array of disabilities. Complying with those guidelines helps us ensure that the website is accessible to all people: blind people, people with motor impairments, visual impairment, cognitive disabilities, and more.
This website utilizes various technologies that are meant to make it as accessible as possible at all times. We utilize an accessibility interface that allows persons with specific disabilities to adjust the website’s UI (user interface) and design it to their personal needs.
Additionally, the website utilizes an AI-based application that runs in the background and optimizes its accessibility level constantly. This application remediates the website’s HTML, adapts Its functionality and behavior for screen-readers used by the blind users, and for keyboard functions used by individuals with motor impairments.
If you’ve found a malfunction or have ideas for improvement, we’ll be happy to hear from you. You can reach out to the website’s operators by using the following email
Our website implements the ARIA attributes (Accessible Rich Internet Applications) technique, alongside various different behavioral changes, to ensure blind users visiting with screen-readers are able to read, comprehend, and enjoy the website’s functions. As soon as a user with a screen-reader enters your site, they immediately receive a prompt to enter the Screen-Reader Profile so they can browse and operate your site effectively. Here’s how our website covers some of the most important screen-reader requirements, alongside console screenshots of code examples:
Screen-reader optimization: we run a background process that learns the website’s components from top to bottom, to ensure ongoing compliance even when updating the website. In this process, we provide screen-readers with meaningful data using the ARIA set of attributes. For example, we provide accurate form labels; descriptions for actionable icons (social media icons, search icons, cart icons, etc.); validation guidance for form inputs; element roles such as buttons, menus, modal dialogues (popups), and others. Additionally, the background process scans all of the website’s images and provides an accurate and meaningful image-object-recognition-based description as an ALT (alternate text) tag for images that are not described. It will also extract texts that are embedded within the image, using an OCR (optical character recognition) technology. To turn on screen-reader adjustments at any time, users need only to press the Alt+1 keyboard combination. Screen-reader users also get automatic announcements to turn the Screen-reader mode on as soon as they enter the website.
These adjustments are compatible with all popular screen readers, including JAWS and NVDA.
Users can also use shortcuts such as “M” (menus), “H” (headings), “F” (forms), “B” (buttons), and “G” (graphics) to jump to specific elements.
We aim to support the widest array of browsers and assistive technologies as possible, so our users can choose the best fitting tools for them, with as few limitations as possible. Therefore, we have worked very hard to be able to support all major systems that comprise over 95% of the user market share including Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari, Opera and Microsoft Edge, JAWS and NVDA (screen readers), both for Windows and for MAC users.
Despite our very best efforts to allow anybody to adjust the website to their needs, there may still be pages or sections that are not fully accessible, are in the process of becoming accessible, or are lacking an adequate technological solution to make them accessible. Still, we are continually improving our accessibility, adding, updating and improving its options and features, and developing and adopting new technologies. All this is meant to reach the optimal level of accessibility, following technological advancements. For any assistance, please reach out to