Open Doors Organization

May 2012 News

Over the past year I have traveled all over the US to hub cities for US Airways, United and American. During these trips I have conducted what we call “Stowage Trainings”.  These trainings educate the airlines' ramp personnel on how to properly handle assistive devices. The training is very flexible and is delivered in a live, hands-on setting, sometimes even with access to the ramp, a belt loader and a plane. These trainings have been very influential in my life. They have such a deep and profound affect on the attendees that they have kept me going when the non-profit world has worn me down.  Next up, we will be doing these training at London’s Heathrow Airport May 16-22 and I encourage all airlines across the world to experience this highly effective training!  Do not hesitate to call or email us to schedule a date!

Eric Lipp, Executive Director, Open Doors Organization

ODO Now A CFC Grantee

Open Doors Organization has been accepted in the Combined Federal Campaign, the world’s largest and most successful annual workplace charity campaign. Pledges are made by Federal civilian, postal and military donors during the campaign season (September 1st to December 15th) to support eligible non-profit organizations that provide health and human service benefits throughout the world.

CLIA Task Force on Safety

In the wake of the Costa Concordia disaster, the Cruise Lines International Association formed a task force to review operational safety measures and make recommendations for best practices.  According to Captain Ted Thompson, Senior VP, Technical & Regulatory Affairs, emergency procedures regarding passengers with disabilities are among the issues under review. 

Open Doors Organization has sent a letter to the committee expressing our concerns including the need for consistency across cruise lines and enhanced training.  More on CLIA safety initiatives.

May Events

National Restaurant Association Show, May 5 – 8, McCormick Place, Chicago, IL. This is one of largest hospitality expositions in the world. Open Doors Organization will once again have a booth to showcase our work in accessible travel and tourism as well as our new Hotel ADA Training.  Stop by for a chat!  We’re in Booth 7478.  More...

National ADA Symposium, May 30-June 1, Indianapolis, IN.  This important annual event provides comprehensive training on the ADA.  On May 31, from 1:30-3:00 pm, ODO Director Eric Lipp will give a presentation entitled, “Hospitality: Serving Customers With Disabilities.”  More...

ADA Hotel Training

On May 22nd Open Doors Organization will launch a new ADA Hotel Training program in partnership with the ADA National Network and EIN SOF Communications. The 6-hour training, to be offered nationwide, will address new hotel-related ADA regulations and accessibility standards.

The first training will take place at ODO headquarters in Chicago. Additional dates and locations will be announced shortly. For further details and registration, contact ODO at 773-388-8839 or by email.
Chicago: May 22 Flyer

Kudos to Alitalia

Thanks to Alitalia's caring staff and their commitment to passengers with disabilities, Alex Vismara, who is autistic and non-verbal, was able to fly alone from NYC to Rome and back this Easter vacation, a real achievement for him. Alex, a resident of Florence, Italy, is 26 years old and attends Triform Camphill Community in Hudson, NY.  

Alex’s mother, Cornelia Danielson, reached out to Alitalia through Open Doors Organization which provides CRO training for the airline. Since Alex can follow instructions in case of emergency, Alitalia judged that he could safely fly alone if accompanied to and from the plane. Cornelia Danielson, an art historian who leads tours for Context Travel, is the author of The Accessible Guide to Florence.

Motorcoach ADA Training In FL & IL

On April 2-5, Open Doors Organization provided ADA training in Largo and Orlando for the drivers, sales staff and managers of Escot Bus Lines. Escot President Brian Scott, shown above with trainers Laurel Van Horn and Godfrey LeBron, has been one of most proactive operators in the industry.

The next Motorcoach ADA Training is set for May 23 at ODO Headquarters in Chicago.  For details, call 773-388-8839 or email Emma Schwartz.

Headlines on Twitter

Student's case study for their MBA on ODO!

ODO heads to London in two weeks!

India’s Supreme Court issues notice to SpiceJet, deplaning woman w/disabilities

Passengers with disabilities uses the EU law against budget airlines

ChiTown Tues Tip: gear up for summer w & two awesome chi-based orgs! #Chicago

Eric and craig r in PHX! AAAE conference and stowage training for US Air on weds email if u want 2 attend!

Don't let PWD be excluded from using Swimming Pools

ChiTown Tues Tip: gives you all the accessible restaurants, lodgings, & tourism highlights at ur fingertips! #chicago

Amazing disability device! We hope it continues to develop and evolve:

Sharing TSA's comment on viral video of kid in cast being screened:

TSA Comment on viral video

Deadline for hotel pools to be ADA-compliant extended but firm. A must-read!

#FF Miami Cruise Conference Friends include @CruiseNorwegian @RoyalCaribbean @DisneyCruise @PrincessCruises

Eric and Laurel r in Miami at cruise conference! safety is MAJOR topic! cruising is gr8 4 all disabilities! try NCL or Royal Caribbean

Hotels don't panic on USAToday article u just need a plan 2 install pool lift- not a lift just yet! call ODO

And much more!

Inclusive Tourism News

New study from Keroul, the disability nonprofit based in Montreal, shows accessible tourism is economically important to Quebec.

Indian Government sets up Committee on Rights of Air Passengers with Disabilities.

India’s UNESCO World Heritage sites, the Ellora and Ajanta Caves, to offer access to tourists with disabilities.
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...


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Los Angeles: 7/11-12
New York: 8/14-15
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Chicago: 11/07-08
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