Over 4 million Americans experience severe vision loss and blindness, which, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), puts a $51.4B burden on our annual economy. The driving force behind the social and economic burden of blindness is the onset of additional debilitating conditions, morbidity, and lost productivity. Collectively, these forces stand in the way of inclusion and independence, deeply weaving their way into the physical, psychological, and social fabric of life for people who are blind and visually impaired. As these harmful barriers assumed an even greater impact amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the American Council of the Blind (ACB) has recognized the potential to elevate a national campaign focused on health and well-being.
Eric Bridges, ACB Executive Director, shared that “the more we engage individuals most at risk, the better we can create a pathway to empowerment the more they can play a leadership role toward securing full and equal inclusion and independence in our society”.
The campaign aims to increase physical well-being by undertaking a health and wellness campaign entitled “Get Up & Get Moving,” bringing together partners from the public and private sectors to create opportunities for physical activity through safe peer-to-peer and social events, leveraging technology, when possible, to make mobility easy.
ACB’s Campaign committee chair Tom Tobin, affirms that “the more we get up and get moving, the more we can come together and take back our health, showing the world that we can break down the barriers to independence when empowered with the right knowledge, tools, and desire.”
What we experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic a powerful indicator of how a diminished physical, emotional, and social lifestyle can place a heavy weight on health and wellness. Now is the time we must drive a national campaign that gets Americans who are blind and visually impaired up and moving.
- ACB, along with legal counsel, has created a Dear Provider Letter for blind and low vision individuals to use in health care settings like doctor’s offices and hospitals. The letter was created in response to the challenges experienced by our members and the broader community that were brought to the fore-front during the COVID-19 pandemic. Access more information about the Dear Provider Letter through this link.
- In December 2021, Peloton filed a limited waiver petition seeking to exclude their equipment from accessible user interface requirements for 18-months. ACB filed comments at the FCC and urged our members to submit reply comments with the FCC stating that Peloton equipment must be accessible for blind and low vision users. In the intervening months, ACB and Peloton communicated in a constructive and collaborative dialogue to ensure Peloton equipment is accessible for the widest audience possible. On August 1, 2022, the FCC granted Peleton’s request to withdraw its petition requesting a limited waiver of the Commission’s accessibility requirements with the support of ACB and the disability community. In addition to the withdrawal of the Peloton Accessibility waiver, we are excited by the announcement of the Google Talkback screen reader and enhanced accessibility features now available on the Peloton Tread.
- ErgData from Concept2: A major update of the ErgData app from Concept2 is now available on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store for Android. During development, Concept2 worked with the American Council of the Blind (ACB) to help ensure the app was accessible to people who are blind or have low vision.
- Read Clark Rachfal’s Get Up and Get moving article on Modern Wellness The Role of Health and Wellness in Independence
- ACB Health and Wellness Podcasts
- Get Up & Get Moving Kick-off
- History of the Get Up & Get Moving Campaign
- Planet Fitness, Home of the Judgement Free Zone, and the Coalition for Inclusive Fitness, Announce Accessible Exercise Equipment Commitment Benefitting People with Disabilities: Planet Fitness and the American Council of the Blind, Paralyzed Veterans of America, and National Council on Independent Living (collectively “Coalition for Inclusive Fitness” or the “Coalition”) announced a commitment to expand access to accessible exercise equipment.