Open Doors Organization

August 2012 News

Summer is ending and our focus at ODO is changing. We wave goodbye to the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and say hello to the 2012 Universal Access in Airports (UAIA) conference. We are excited to host this 4th biennial UAIA where once again the aviation industry will come together to share best practices and improve accessibility. We are also looking forward to the fundraising season with the goal of financing our Children's Museum Project, Easy Access Guides and Cruise Emergency Preparedness Training. On another note, I’d like to praise Laurel Van Horn and Godfrey LeBron for their work with dozens of motorcoach companies and the United Motorcoach Association (UMA).  If you are a bus company and need ADA training, please let us know and we will try to schedule an event in your area!
Eric Lipp, Executive Director, Open Doors Organization

UAIA 2012 - Don't Miss It!

Universal Access in Airports, which takes place on Oct. 16-18 in Seattle, offers a unique window on disability issues in aviation. Attendees will learn from top experts like Vicky Curtis of Boeing and hear feedback from passengers with a variety of disabilities. Kicking off the event will be Brad Tilden, the new CEO of Alaska Airlines. The full list of speakers will be posted shortly.

Thanks to our generous sponsors, registration is only $159 and includes breakfasts, lunches, snack breaks and a cocktail party. The cutoff date is Sept. 12 for the UAIA rate of $129 at the DoubleTree by Hilton Seattle Airport.  Call 206.246.8600 or 800.222.8733 and mention "OPD."

UAIA Mailer
Preliminary Agenda

Watch The Paralympics

From Aug. 29 to Sept. 9, U.S. Paralympics will provide 10 daily video highlights packages on its Paralympics YouTube Channel.  NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) will air one-hour highlight shows on Sept. 4, 5, 6 and 11 at 7 p.m. EDT. On Sept. 16, NBC will broadcast a 90 minute special from 2-3:30 p.m. EDT. All NBC and NBCSN coverage will re-air on Universal Sports Network and

Disability and Aging

According to the US Census Bureau's new report, Americans with Disabilities: 2010, 51.8% of Americans aged 65 and older have a disability, 36.9% a severe disability. This age group is projected by the Bureau to jump from 40.2 million in 2010 to 71.8 million in 2030, a whopping 78% increase. Come join us at Universal Access in Airports 2012 for a panel entitled "Accommodating Older Travelers" and learn how the aviation industry is rising to the challenge.

Equal Access Ticketing

At, a sales agent for bus companies nationwide, one can now book an accessible coach online or request other disability-related assistance. A time-stamped message is then sent to the contracted carrier who will contact the passenger for details. ODO's Laurel Van Horn, working with Godfrey LeBron and Ken Presley of UMA, assisted with the website redesign, truly an industry-first.

ADA Motorcoach Training

ODO's most recent class in Albany drew 16 companies and 36 attendees.  We've now trained in 6 states and are planning sessions for 3 more as word spreads on this unique day-long program.

Upcoming Class
Orlando, FL - 10/27-28
Sponsor: Florida Motorcoach Association
For details, email Linda Morris.

Hotels Making A Difference

Shown above are employees of the Hotel Panda in Budapest where 95% of the staff has a disability.  The history of this remarkable property and how they accommodate the needs of both employees and guests was explored in an article in Disability Horizons.

Scandic Hotels, a chain with 160 hotels in the Nordic region and Northern Europe, has made "Design for All" a key focus of its brand and marketing. Their disability access ambassador, Magnus Berglund, who personally audited their hotels, developed a 110 point Accessibility Standard, 81 of which are mandatory for all properties. Each hotel's website includes details on access. Scandic's unique program is featured in EP Magazine, Business in Hospitality.

Access Board Webinars

The next Access Board webinar on "Webinar Accessibility" takes place Sept. 6 from 2:30 - 4:00pm (EDT). Register for free at  The site also has archives of past webinars.
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Twitter Feed

Aug 29  Eric is in DC today at FAA airport event. Richard Devylder from DOT just moved the crowd with gr8 video from PBS special!

Aug 24 ODO thanks our 2 AMAZING interns Ben and Adam!! Both r entering freshmen year in college!

Aug 20 We're excited for Motorcoach ADA Training tomorrow in Albany. Welcome all New York bus companies!!

Aug 16 We had another great CRO Training with a dynamic class & thoughtful questions!!

Aug 7 USA Today discusses Alaska Airlines controversy and quotes Eric:

Aug 6 I cannot stress how important it is to self identify if u need assistance!! flying cruising lodging even dining out, speak up! be proud!

Aug 4 RT : Oscar makes world history. Skies the limit now people. That was my highlight of the Olympics... Cheetahhhhh...

Aug 2 Eric in Seattle next week! Visiting the GREAT Alaska Airlines! Also pleased to announce Sea Tac Port Auth as co sponser of UAIA!!


Inclusive Tourism News

ENAT - European Network for Accessible Tourism is now publishing a weekly newspaper on Facebook entitled Accessible Tourism News.

Simon Darcy, Australia's leading expert on disability access, publishes a more scholarly blog entitled Accessible Tourism Research. See his August 8th blog on employment in hospitality and how people with disabilities are presumed incapable.

Disability Horizons, A 21st Century View of Disability, is an attractive, informative online magazine from the UK. The travel section this month focuses on London and the Paralympics.
Open Doors Organization (ODO), a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization based in Chicago, Illinois was founded in 2000 for the purpose of creating a society in which all persons with disabilities have the same consumer opportunities as everyone else. We aspire to teach businesses how to succeed in the disability market, while simultaneously empowering the disability community.  more...

Remaining 2012 CRO Trainings:

Los Angeles: 9/11-12
New York: 10/24-25
Chicago: 11/07-08
Los Angeles: 12/05-06

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