Sunday, March 19, 2000

New phone, drug to help disabled

Enquirer contributor

        When cellular phones first came on the market, many people with disabilities were among the first customers. People who use wheelchairs recognized the safety of having a phone handy. Blind people latched onto the convenience of being able to phone for a taxi without wandering through an unfamiliar maze to find the pay phone.

        But digital phones have left those who are hearing or speech impaired out of the mobile phone loop. Until now.

        Many deaf, hearing-impaired, and speech-impaired people conduct phone conversations with the use of a TTY (text-telephone device) which sends printed text transmission to a screen rather than the sound of a voice. Lucent Technologies has developed technology that will enable digital phones to transmit TTY signals.

        Mobile phone manufacturers are beginning to produce new TTY-friendly phones and TTY vendors are beginning to manufacture equipment that can be used with digital phones. Both products should be available from a variety of companies by the middle of 2001.

Paralysis drug
        Acorda Therapeutics has conducted the first two clinical trials of a drug called Fampridine-SR (commonly known as 4-AP), which would return some function and sensation for individuals with certain types of spinal cord injuries or multiple sclerosis. Being hailed by some as a wonder drug, additional trials are now being scheduled in Denver, Miami, Seattle, Birmingham and several other cities. Candidates with spinal cord injuries occurring prior to August 1998 from the C4 to T10 levels, ages 18 to 70, are invited to participate. (No, this does not include Christopher Reeve, whose injury was higher on the neck.)

        Additional trials involving individuals with MS will be conducted later this year. For further information, visit the Acorda web site at

Voter exit polls
        Jim Dickson of the Washington DC-based National Organization on Disability's Vote 2000 Campaign, reports that disability is not among the information gathered when polling voters. The exit polls conducted by Voter News Service ask voters a number of questions regarding gender, age, race, and political affiliation. Voters are asked whether they watch presidential debates, belong to a union, went to college, and how much money they make. They are not asked if they have a disability.

        Why, Mr. Dickson wants to know, are Americans with disabilities left out as a voting block when 35 million citizens of voting age have disabilities. Their issues would be more likely to be addressed by candidates if the group were identified as such, he says.

        For more information or to see how you can promote the inclusion of voters with disabilities, contact Mr. Dickson at the NOD Vote 2000 Campaign at (202) 298-5960 or go to

        Cincinnati writer Deborah Kendrick is a nationally recognized advocate for people with disabilities. Write her at Cincinnati Enquirer, Tempo, 312 Elm St., Cincinnati 45202. E-mail:


911 operators in their own crisis
Fear and hope in Avondale
Sirens sprouting with spring
More sirens at ready
Who counts? Only those willing, able
How do they stand Pat?
Boy, 11, pleads in theft of car, kidnapping
Colson featured speaker at Catholic men's conference
Ohio exam has pupils cramming
Ohio still rated low in repairing schools
New graduation rules have schools scrambling
Patients learn survival skills
Workers' comp. bill under fire
GOP pair score points with faithful
Allegations of secrecy add up
Collection frames rich culture
Collection runs gamut of this genre, Driskell says
Works from permanent collection coincide with Driskell exhibit
Museum acquires sculpture by Elizabeth Cattlett
Summerfair poster designer did it the old-fashioned way
Freedom of the road still cheap at $1.60/gallon
CSO soloists give rousing show
Downtown Theatre Classics ambitious
He made the Easter Bunny what it is today
'Lion King' choreographer brings his pride to Aronoff
Louiso to chat about 'Fidelity'
- New phone, drug to help disabled
Queen City's moments to shine reflected in book
Schiff's photos circle the city
The myth behind cowboy vampire
Top hip-hoppers blast Annie's
Bill would let voters cross over freely in primaries
Child support cases hinge on DNA testing
Committee plans cultural center
Democrat takes on GOP stronghold
Despite slayings, co-op program stays
Finding leader Monroe's priority
Forum studies Covington services
INS says Census data safe
Jury to hear cardiologist's claims
Scubafest to raise interest in sport
'Spark' generates glowing accolades