Susan’s Corner

A new year: it’s a time to reflect back and to look forward. Rick Hansen still fights for accessibility, reflecting on what he’s learned over 30 years. Gerald Le Dain, Supreme Court Judge ended his career suddenly in 1988; he experienced depression and was forced to resign. Would this injustice happen today? Smartphones are today’s reality: Chieko Asakawa, IBM employee, helped invent an app to empower people who are blind explore the world tomorrow.

Last fall, with the publication of a book on how the Man in Motion tour began, Rick Hansen was interviewed for CBC’s The Current. What’s fascinating about the interview are his thoughts on accessibility: “We need to actually see our built environment — you know, the place where we live, work, play and learn — they have to become completely inclusive. And we got to move from a potpourri of random responses to accessibility, to a professionalized, accredited lens in the entire development chain, from architects, to engineers to city planners, to advocates — all using the same viewpoint and standards.”

To read the full article and to listen:

The late Gerald Le Dain, was a well-respected lawyer. When he was appointed as a Supreme Court Judge in 1984 no-one thought his career would be over in 4 years. He was forced to resign when his wife requested a leave of absence after he was hospitalized for a bout of depression, even though he later recovered. At the time no reason was given for the abrupt end to his career. Now for the first time his family and former colleagues have come forward to tell his story, to reflect on the injustice he experienced 30 years ago and on how mental illness is treated in the workplace.

The first link tells his story until his retirement in 1988:

The second link is an update on what happened after his retirement:

TED Talks are always interesting, opportunities to learn about new directions in research, technology and many facets of human experience. Chieko Asakawa is an IBM employee who helped invent a smartphone app that enables many activities of daily living, such as face recognition and seeing labels. Since losing her vision at the age of 14, Chieko has wanted to be as independent as she possibly can. Now this app will empower her and others who are blind to do just that. To access the talk: