News, Events and Accessible Resources from ODO

May 2014 News

I recently had some complications due to my disease (VHL-Von Hippel Lindau) and spent a few days in the hospital. This was a quick reminder of how delicate my life may be. But it's what happened after my discharge that amazes me. I went to the Walgreen's drive up window to pick up my new prescriptions. They must have been busy because I had to wait a few minutes, and that's when the older gentlemen in the car behind me decided to honk his horn. I rolled my window down and simply said "Please have some patience." Then he gave me a barrage of swear words and we yelled at each other. Living with my disease for 15 years, I now consider myself a professional "patient," and that word is an important word for all its meanings. "Patient"--we all become one and we should have some.

Eric Lipp, Executive Director
Open Doors Organization


AIR Autism Event at EWR

What an exciting moment for the students from Newbridge Center at Cherry Hill School as they boarded an airplane for the first time. The program, organized by Autism Inclusion Resources and ODO, took place on April 29 at Newark International Airport. The 12 youngsters, accompanied by family members and teachers, sailed through check-in, security and boarding lines without a hitch and even got to spend time in the cockpit as they left the plane. This is the first of a series to be sponsored and hosted by United Airlines in 2014. The program's goal is to give families the tools and confidence to travel despite the challenges of autism. By the end of the day, one family was already planning a trip to Greece. Heartfelt thanks go out to Rosalie Crabbe and her great team at United Airlines. For additional details and photos, visit the school's website.

New Association for Accessibility Professionals

Open Doors Organization, which has long advocated for such an association, is now a founding member of the newly formed IAAP. The group's mission is "to define, promote and improve the accessibility profession globally through networking, education and certification in order to enable the creation of accessible products, content and services."  IAAP's main focus is accessible information and communications technology (ICT), but by joining we hope to extend the association's reach to also encompass travel and tourism professionals. IAAP is already offering monthly webinars: Human Factors and Accessibility, scheduled for June 24, will explore the relationship among human factors, ergonomics, usability, accessibility and universal design. IAAP's global launch will take place at  M-Enabling Summit 2014 in Arlington, VA, on June 9.

CCAC Videos Online

The Chicago Cultural Accessibility Consortium is now posting captioned videos of its monthly educational programs online so that institutions worldwide can benefit. The second program in the series entitled "Disability Awareness Training for Front-line Staff" features ODO's Eric Lipp and Risa Rifkind. The most recent session, "Providing Services and Programming for Guests who are Blind or Have Low Vision," is also audio described. Upcoming Programs.

Airport Improvement Magazine

Airport Improvement, available free in print and online, is a great way to keep abreast of what's happening in airports worldwide including advances in accessibility. Publisher Paul Bowers is also a supporter of Open Doors Organization. Special thanks to him for displaying four new banner ads for ODO's aviation-related programs including Universal Access in Airports 2014!

European Accessible Tourism Directory

Pantou is the Greek word for Everywhere. This new website makes it easy for travelers with disabilities to find the services and facilities they need while promoting accessible tourism suppliers in the European Union and Accession countries. In addition to transport, tours, venues attractions and accommodations, Pantou lists travel agents and tour operators who provide accessible services to inbound customers. The directory is managed by ENAT, the European Network for Accessible Tourism non-profit association. Now we just need a similar directory for North America!

2014 CRO Classes

ODO's Initial Complaints Resolution Official Training is available on demand in the U.S. and overseas. Next Group Trainings: LAX, July 9/10; ORD, Sept. 17/18. Call 773.388.8839 or email Risa Rifkind for details and registration.
Early Bird Registration until June 30

5th Universal Access In Airports (UAIA)

Mon., October 6 – Wed., October 8, 2014
Chicago Marriott O’Hare

Best practices for air travelers with disabilities and seniors
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