Open Doors Organization

March 2013 News

Spring is finally here. At Open Doors Organization we welcome the season as a time of new growth, budding of new programs and the opportunity to reach new heights of achievement and new audiences.This April we launch our Certified Access Provider program with training in Newark and LA for Gateway Group One. On May 1, ODO takes on a whole new role--but you'll need to tune in next month for that announcement. In the meantime, I'm on spring break and watching children play dangerously on the permanent pool lifts.  I strongly urge the disability community to reconsider the use of portable pool lifts and to continue to fight for improved accessibility in the hospitality industry.

Eric Lipp, Executive Director, Open Doors Organization

Rio-Chicago Exchange

The director of ODO's Z Life Program, Constantine Zografopoulos, is heading to Rio de Janeiro for a 10-day exchange entitled "Sports and Disabilities - Opportunities and Awareness." Also participating are Karen Tamley, Commissioner of the Chicago Mayor's Office of Persons with Disabilities and representatives from RIC and Great Lakes Adaptive Sports Association. The team will inspect venues for the 2016 Olympics and Paralympics, meet with local officials and disability advocates and participate in a full-day seminar on Inclusion of People with Disabilities. Sponsoring the program is World Chicago.

ADA Bus Training

Pennsylvania is next on the roster for ODO's full-day ADA Bus Training.  If you'd like to schedule a class in your area, email Laurel Van Horn, Director of Programs.

ADA Motorcoach Training Flyer

Next Training:
Grantville, PA
April 24, 9am – 5pm
Holiday Inn Harrisburg Exit 80 Off I-81
Sponsored by Pennsylvania Bus Assn.
For details, email
Elaine Farrell

OTRB Rule Under Review

ADA regulations for Over-The-Road Buses are now under review. The DOT is seeking public comment on the percentage of accessible coaches in intercity bus fleets, volume of ridership, volume of complaints and whether requests for accessible service are being met. The comment period ends April 29, 2013.

TSA Passenger Support Specialists

Since last December, ODO has participated in webinar trainings for TSA's new Passenger Support Specialists. Three thousand of these specialists are now in place and ready to assist when a problem arises during screening of a passenger with a disability.  This is the newest addition to the TSA Cares program.  ODO's contribution was acknowledged recently in a NY Times article.

TSA Eases Screening for Injured Vets

Wounded Warriors who call or e-mail the TSA in advance of their trips will get benefits similar to those in the TSA's PreCheck program. They will be allowed to use dedicated screening lanes, leave on light outerwear, belts, shoes and hats, and keep laptop computers and compliant liquids in carry-on bags. Learn more.

Captioning Now Before Congress

Senator Tom Harkin has introduced two bills to expand access to captioning and image narration in movie theatres and airplanes. The Air Carrier Access Amendment Act would require air carriers to make captioning and video description available and also authorize the Access Board to create access standards for touch screen entertainment systems. Senator Harkin, who sponsored the ADA, will retire after this term in Congress.
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28 Mar  TSA helps wounded warriors get through screening more quickly!

22 Mar  Traveling to Chicago for Spring Break? Planning a trip for summer? Check out our  guide!
18 Mar  Steppenwolf Theater offering touch tours & audio description for 3 plays in their Garage Rep series! @SteppenwolfThtr 
15 Mar Another successful TSA webinar yesterday. Lots of great questions from the agents!
14 Mar  Expanding captioning laws to airplanes is huge step forward on travel access for people who are deaf! 
8 Mar  An example of TSA's wonderful new program for people with disabilities and older adults at Ft. Lauderdale Airport. 
6 Mar  ODO quoted in NPR story showing the importance of the disability market! 
5 Mar  NYT mentions ODO for working with TSA and their innovative, exciting Passenger Support Specialist Program! 
4 Mar  Remembering Ralph Braun today: pioneer of disability rights; ensured that kids in wheelchairs get to school safely.

Inclusive Travel & Tourism

Access in Wisconsin State Parks--Technology like the Discovery Pen, a handheld device which provides audio description, is helping visitors with disabilities access the great outdoors.

Lee County FL Accessible Tourism Guide--Fort Myers and Sanibel offer detailed information to visitors in a 135-page online guide.
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...

2013 CRO Trainings:

ODO Initial Training for  Complaint Resolution Officials is available on demand at major US airports and internationally. Call 773.388.8839 for details or visit us online:

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