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(in-person) HDA - Hackers With Disabilities is back for 2021

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  • #16
    The biggest thing for me (other than breathing) is standing. I have orthostatic hypotension, which essentially means that I faint if I stand still very long.

    I don't need a wheelchair, but for any kind of line I either need a chair, or to sit on the floor. Sitting on the floor tends to get weird looks.

    For the rooms themselves, I prefer rooms with accessible showers, as long as I'm not taking one that is needed for someone in a wheelchair. Again, I can sit on the floor if I need to, but a chair is better. Packing a shower chair is a bit inconvenient, but if I know in advance that I can't get an accessible room I can try to find a place to buy one, or fedex one to the hotel.

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    • #17
      Originally posted by kathysrazor View Post
      The biggest thing for me (other than breathing) is standing. I have orthostatic hypotension, which essentially means that I faint if I stand still very long.

      I don't need a wheelchair, but for any kind of line I either need a chair, or to sit on the floor. Sitting on the floor tends to get weird looks.

      For the rooms themselves, I prefer rooms with accessible showers, as long as I'm not taking one that is needed for someone in a wheelchair. Again, I can sit on the floor if I need to, but a chair is better. Packing a shower chair is a bit inconvenient, but if I know in advance that I can't get an accessible room I can try to find a place to buy one, or fedex one to the hotel.
      This was talked about directly on the call yesterday. Both the hotels and the DEF CON staff have seen my proposal for a separate registration line for HDA so that people like yourself do not have to partake in linecon.

      As far as I have been able to tell, rooms are ADA compliant as required, but they may not have shower chairs. I have seen rooms that have accessible showers that you can wheel a wheelchair into, but I'm not sure if any have shower chairs. I'll inquire about that and let you know what I find out. Locally there are a large number of medical supply shops where you can buy such things, however you might want to look into buying it from Amazon and having it drop-shipped to the hotel to save money. I know my shower chair would be more than a problem to pack and take with me, so I surely hear you on that count.

      All that aside, this is a hacker convention - we always get weird looks from some people, but always remember you are one of us.

      - D

      Comment


      • #18
        Originally posted by kathysrazor View Post
        The biggest thing for me (other than breathing) is standing. I have orthostatic hypotension, which essentially means that I faint if I stand still very long.

        I don't need a wheelchair, but for any kind of line I either need a chair, or to sit on the floor. Sitting on the floor tends to get weird looks.

        For the rooms themselves, I prefer rooms with accessible showers, as long as I'm not taking one that is needed for someone in a wheelchair. Again, I can sit on the floor if I need to, but a chair is better. Packing a shower chair is a bit inconvenient, but if I know in advance that I can't get an accessible room I can try to find a place to buy one, or fedex one to the hotel.
        OK I have some news for you :

        While all rooms have accessible devices , if you ask for an " accessible room " when making your reservations you can get a room that has a wheel in shower.

        As for shipping, see the attached PDF.

        Let me knwo if you have any other questions!

        Attached Files

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        • #19
          Thank you.

          Comment


          • #20
            The Nevada Health Response (COVID-19 division of NHHS) had exemptions to the mask mandate (when there was one) for individuals with disabilities, specifically individuals:

            Who have a medical condition, whether it be mental health, disability, or other health reason that prevents them from wearing a face covering. This includes people with any medical condition for whom wearing a face covering can obstruct their breathing or who are unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove a face covering without assistance.
            Will Defcon be honoring disability accommodations for fully vaccinated individuals with respiratory issues, and if so what would the required documentation be? I can power through it with a rescue inhaler if I have to, but I generally prefer to not have asthma attacks in the first place, and to limit my use of bronchodilator in general. Salbutamol tolerance builds up after 5 doses, and is significant after 7.

            Ontario has been on lockdown for a while, but I can try to get in to see my doctor for something different/stronger if I'm going to end up building up a tolerance to my inhalers.

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            • #21
              The problem will be everyone is trained to ask people not wearing a mask to put one on or leave the convention. If you don’t wear one you will be constantly asked to, and attendees will be repeatedly reporting you to staff.

              This is why it would be better to attend virtually. As a private event in a difficult year we need one size fits all rules or we will be burried with exceptions without the staff to manage it.

              Not the answer I want to give but this year it is the only one I can.
              PGP key: dtangent@defcon.org valid 2020 Jan 15, to 2024 Jan 01 Fingerprint: BC5B CD9A C609 1B6B CD81 9636 D7C6 E96C FE66 156A

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              • #22
                UPDATE :
                - We have new maps, but they are not complete yet. I am waiting for space assignments so that we can mark where things like registration will be located.
                - We have confirmation that both hotels have service animal relief areas, where they are located , mops and pictures
                - Scooters : The hotels ask that if you need a scooter and are not bringing one with you, to work with the bell desk to rent one via a local supplier. If you should rent directly with a local company you will need to arrange drop off and pick up with them, as the bell desk will not accept nor hold them for pickup/delivery. You may charge your scooters at any available outlet so long as doing do does not interfere with traffic going by or create a hazard.
                - Masks : Masks will be mandatory. See the note in our HDA forum from The Dark Tangent.
                - HDA SCHWAG : A work in progress. Updates soon. We will have flags as we did before , and pinback buttons. These are for everyone who wants to show their support for HDA, but we ask that you limit the flags to people who are on scooters or chairs as they also act as an indicator that they are there.
                - QUESTION FOR YOU : A Scooter / power chair decoration contest! Who can geek out their mobility devices. If you think this is an idea you could get behind let me know. I'll work on prizes.

                As always , any questions please let me know.

                - D

                Comment


                • number6
                  number6 commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Originally posted by Delchi View Post
                  UPDATE :A Scooter / power chair decoration contest! Who can geek out their mobility devices. If you think this is an idea you could get behind let me know.
                  I seem to recall a contest to do this at a previous DEF CON. If you were not involved with it, consider people involved in previous attempts and the posted content for ideas, or contacting them directly: https://forum.defcon.org/node/749 "Pimp My Rascal" back in 2013 (DEF CON 21).

                  Rascal being broken down and rebuilt in the "Car Hacking" area also mentioned in a review of DEF CON 25: https://forum.defcon.org/node/227266...405#post227405 : maybe you can involve people from the Car Hacking Village in this if you find that could help.

                  HTH
                  Last edited by number6; July 4, 2021, 17:56.

              • #23
                Originally posted by Dark Tangent View Post
                This is why it would be better to attend virtually.

                ...

                Not the answer I want to give but this year it is the only one I can.
                Isn't that the thing with disabilities, though? We build an inclusive environment as a society, because it's better to deal with the exceptions than to punish people for having bodies that are a little bit different.

                When my spouse and I set up our flight school, we were legally required to wrap the lines on the hot water under the sink, replace the handles with ones that could be opened one handed, adjust the door tensioner so that it had a limited amount of pull, etc. It was our legal, and moral responsibility to provide all reasonable accomodations for the differently-abled, even when it required training and actual spending of our money. This was a precondition of our occupancy permit.

                Having previously worked at one of only two handicap-modified flight schools in Canada, it was important to us anyway, and we saw the difference that it made in people's lives to include the differently abled, even when it was inconvenient dealing with exceptions. We took it the extra distance, making arrangements to have a pilot in a wheelchair able to work for us as well. The lockdowns killed the school, or we would be operating that school still, specifically targeting pilots with disabilities.

                Not all disabilities are visible, and the past 16 months have been harder on some of us than others. Before the vaccines came out, I ended up staying home a lot, and having to schedule things in order to limit the continuous mask wearing time. I'd get in, get what I needed, and get out before my asthma attack kicked in - or just order delivery. The CDC's new guidance has been a godsend, as businesses took much the same attitude as Defcon, ignored the legally required exemptions in almost all mask orders, and just trespassed people instead of dealing with disabilities.

                It just seems odd to me to be willing to work with all other kinds of disabilities, but say "oh, sorry, if you have a lung-based disability, stay home, because we don't want the hassle, and don't want to deal with training." We certainly don't allow stores or employers to just go "oh, we don't need to be ADA compliant, because we will just fire or tresspass anyone who shows up in a wheelchair."
                Last edited by kathysrazor; July 4, 2021, 20:31.

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                • #24
                  As an alternative to a face mask, would a face shield be an acceptable way to balance the desire of others to feel safe with my need to be able to breathe?

                  As you've yourself seen many times, an online experience can't replace what Defcon fundamentally is. I've made arrangements to meet with people, booked hotel and air flight, etc. I'd really prefer to find some way to meet in the middle, and to meet the spirit of accessibility regulations - reasonable accommodations that don't require complete non-participation on the basis of physical limitations.

                  Comment


                • #25
                  Originally posted by kathysrazor View Post

                  Isn't that the thing with disabilities, though? We build an inclusive environment as a society, because it's better to deal with the exceptions than to punish people for having bodies that are a little bit different.

                  When my spouse and I set up our flight school, we were legally required to wrap the lines on the hot water under the sink, replace the handles with ones that could be opened one handed, adjust the door tensioner so that it had a limited amount of pull, etc. It was our legal, and moral responsibility to provide all reasonable accomodations for the differently-abled, even when it required training and actual spending of our money. This was a precondition of our occupancy permit.

                  Having previously worked at one of only two handicap-modified flight schools in Canada, it was important to us anyway, and we saw the difference that it made in people's lives to include the differently abled, even when it was inconvenient dealing with exceptions. We took it the extra distance, making arrangements to have a pilot in a wheelchair able to work for us as well. The lockdowns killed the school, or we would be operating that school still, specifically targeting pilots with disabilities.

                  Not all disabilities are visible, and the past 16 months have been harder on some of us than others. Before the vaccines came out, I ended up staying home a lot, and having to schedule things in order to limit the continuous mask wearing time. I'd get in, get what I needed, and get out before my asthma attack kicked in - or just order delivery. The CDC's new guidance has been a godsend, as businesses took much the same attitude as Defcon, ignored the legally required exemptions in almost all mask orders, and just trespassed people instead of dealing with disabilities.

                  It just seems odd to me to be willing to work with all other kinds of disabilities, but say "oh, sorry, if you have a lung-based disability, stay home, because we don't want the hassle, and don't want to deal with training." We certainly don't allow stores or employers to just go "oh, we don't need to be ADA compliant, because we will just fire or tresspass anyone who shows up in a wheelchair."
                  My opinions are my own, and should be taken that way.

                  I hear you , and I understand both your frustration and your willingness to work with us to find a way to resolve things. I will look into the potential allowance of a full face shield being acceptable, but please understand that in the end there are people who have a final say that are not me.

                  That said I hope that you can understand that there is a difference between making accommodations for day to day access such as adjusting doors & bathroom facilities and having to make accommodations during a pandemic , with multiple government agencies at the federal, state, and local level, sometimes in conflict with each other. It's likewise also very easy to demonize and say that people are making decisions to 'punish' people who are different, or differently-abled when there is no intention to do any of these things. No one is being trespassed , and I hope you understand that I will do my best to research into acceptable accommodations, if they are possible. While it may appear that it's targeting people with disabilities, consider that this is a matter of a biological spread of a disease, and that all reasonable steps to prevent the spread of that disease need to be paramount for the good of all. Try to think of it in that light - protection of all against a biological hazard and not people trying to single out and punish disabled people. Very few people that I am aware of want to single out people and make them feel out of place, unwelcome , or uncomfortable. It's not unheard of, but it is not the case here. It's not about your requirements, your medical condition(s),your being differently abled, or any singling out. It is about the pandemic, the disease, and the desire to be as inclusive as possible without putting people in danger. At the same time please keep in mind that there are people who, if they became infected, would seize on any opportunity such as a relaxing of mask protocols or procedures to hold someone responsible for their illness. You have to think and care for yourself, the organizers have to think and care for thousands of people. The pandemic is a unique situation, with conflicting guidance & regulations, at multiple levels. It is more than just an ADA situation.

                  Please do not see yourself as unwelcome, a complication, or a burden. See the situation, a global pandemic, as the problem. Being tasked with a one size fits all solution in a pandemic is an impossible mission, and not one that can be fixed with duct tape and an adjustment to a door.

                  In an effort to show you how much I understand, please know that I have been locked down in my apartment for years, even prior to the pandemic because of the lack of accommodation available from the city of Las Vegas to provide transportation for me. I have had many a fight, many an argument and many a discussion about the topic in an effort to get out more, get medical attention, and to have a life. I have been told flat out no, and I have had places go the extra mile to dismantle doorways so I could get in. I have lived this struggle, so I feel I can honestly say I hear and understand you and with empathy & determination I will try my best to find a workable solution. I can not promise you one, but if it fails it will not be for lack of trying, understanding, or without spirit of community.

                  Thanks ,
                  - D

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                  • #26
                    I appreciate it. I don't want to come off as unappreciative, nor (truth be told) feel like I'm being a burden to others. I guess it was easier to understand before the vaccines, because it's like "yeah, I'm paying a disproportionate price, but I'm doing it to help others". Somewhat ironically, it would be a lot easier emotionally if the vaccines didn't work nearly 100% effectively, because then it would be doing my part for a good reason.

                    When the news talks about 99.8% of the people in the hospital not being fully vaccinated, it feels like compulsory mask policies without exemptions are a combination of kicking me while I'm down, and like after doing my part now I'm expected to pay the price for the people who are going to lie about being vaccinated.

                    Intellectually, I get it. Emotionally, it's just yet another way my body is failing me, in a long line of failures. Hormone and birth issues cause all kinds of body problems, but because I'm extremely tall people are always telling me how lucky I am, how they wish they had my body, how great I have it. They don't see the spontaneous dislocations, the mental issues, the chronic migraines, the connective tissue issues, the inability to stand, the difficulty breathing, the sleep deprivation. My issues are hidden, and I get sensitive. It's not you, and I know that, but it's hard sometimes not to feel like it's one more case of "invisible hardships don't exist".

                    I know I could have it worse, and I know DEFCON isn't the enemy. My whole life, I've had to fight just to have a semi-normal life, to hold a job, to get through school. I've learned that I often have to fight the system to be able to participate in society, and I need to keep in mind that the system is not the people, and the people aren't the system. DEFCON's approach of "all masks, no exceptions" is done out of a desire to protect everyone, but the receiving end still feels like a lot of my life, with organizations and governments going "it's not worth working around your limitations, so we're going to [fire/warehouse/not educate] you."

                    Again, thank you.

                    Comment


                    • #27
                      Take a look at this : https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019...-guidance.html

                      While the CDC guidance does not approve full face masks or goggles, they do have a suggestion for a mask for people with disabilities.
                      I appreciate you looking, and the feedback.

                      I note the page also mentions:

                      The following categories of people are exempt from the requirement to wear a mask:
                      • A child under the age of 2 years;
                      • A person with a disability who cannot wear a mask, or cannot safely wear a mask, for reasons related to the disability;
                      The clear masks are actually incredibly useful for me, when others wear them. I have a minor auditory processing disorder, so in crowds I tend to lip read (as I have difficulty parsing speech with significant background noises).

                      The issue with me and masks is that my breathing is rather compromised. Anything that adds difficulty (resistance) to breathing will cause an asthma attack, as well as distress (because I know that it will eventually trigger an asthma attack). This ends up being a vicious cycle, as distress elevates my heart rate, which increases my breathing, which makes the problem worse. The issue is not the oxygen levels - there's plenty of oxygen in the air, and the air exchange happens just fine. The issue at it's core is that my lungs are inflamed and narrow, and this limits my overall lung function. My lungs are damaged from decades of Asthma, and COVID made them worse.

                      When I get an asthma attack, my lungs constrict even more, and I have to use a rescue inhaler. Anything that affects airflow makes this worse. Anything that doesn't affect airflow has a hard time being effective.

                      That was why I asked about the face shields as an alternative. It's one of the things that businesses did, because it still stops the droplets and sneezes, protecting others. It doesn't restrict airflow, though, which is why people with difficulty breathing often use them.

                      Comment


                      • Delchi
                        Delchi commented
                        Editing a comment
                        Good hunting!

                        Although it does note that the CDC makes the exemption, so far DEFCON has not, and I think we both now fully understand why ( protecting all, not punishing some ).

                        The CDC did not approve face masks, and I think I can see why - any droplets caught on the mask will just run down and drip out into the open, unlike with a mask where they will be absorbed.

                        The problem circles back to how do we , at scale , deal with people who decide to say they have a disability when they do not , to get around the mask requirement? There is no way we can at scale examine, certify or verify every attendee. We already have reports of fake vax cards and forged paperwork saying no mask is required citing everything from fake laws/regulations to sovereign citizen freedoms.

                        Also in the end, the CDC echoed what DT said previously : "Mask adaptations and alternatives
                        CDC recognizes that wearing masks may not be possible in every situation or for some people. Those who cannot wear a mask are urged to prioritize virtual engagement when possible. "

                        I understand fully how not being there in person takes away from the experience. There were years where I could not attend and could only watch the videos - there was no virtual option back then. It's not the same. To put on for all intents and purposes two conventions at one ( one in person one virtual ) is a herculean task with a mostly volunteer staff and the organization / tech considerations taken in to account. It might just be best medically and in full consideration of your circumstances to attend virtually this year, and then with any hope join us next year for the 30th without a mask, or any inhibiting factors from the pandemic.

                        Have you discussed the situation with your medical advisors? Do they have any options that might better suit you?

                    • #28
                      Have you discussed the situation with your medical advisors? Do they have any options that might better suit you?
                      Yes. It essentially boiled down to "don't overuse your inhaler, and we suggest you stay home until you are fully vaccinated." I did.

                      My access to medical care has been severely restricted throughout the pandemic. Ontario is the most locked down location in North America (and still doesn't have indoor dining). It took literally 3.5 years to "see" my family doctor or a specialist (virtually due to lockdowns), and Canada's seems to be the only western nation that makes it effectively illegal to pay for private doctors outside the public system.

                      The mandatory 14 day quarantine for Canadian border travel literally ended today, which means that I've been effectively unable to go to the US for care since March 20 of last year. I had used the US as a workaround for horrible healthcare here. I've had to rely on telemedicine (with people who aren't my doctors), and walk-in clinics.

                      People complain about the US healthcare system (with good reason), but the Ontario system is in many ways much worse. I'd rather be on Medicaid in the US (with all it's many, many, many problems) than have "free" socialized care in Ontario. It's the big reason we're moving out of the province.

                      The doctors at the walk-in clinics mean well, but they are not Asthma specialists. Or migraine specialists. Their attitude seems to be "well, it's a chronic condition, so it's going to get worse, you're going to have to live with it, and here's some drugs.".

                      Comment


                      • Delchi
                        Delchi commented
                        Editing a comment
                        We should trade pictures of our pill collections :)

                        I get the same response or worse. I'm fighting now because I refuse to pay $300 for transportation to a doctors office to sit in a waiting room for 2 hours to be seen for 30 seconds and then sent home.

                        I'm sorry the face masks won't work out for you . I'm still looking into masks that might work, or alternatives but I don't have much left. I'll keep you posted.

                        Stay strong!

                    • #29
                      HDA UPDATE

                      - Beta copy of this year's pack is in review
                      - HDA Flags ordered!
                      - HDA Buttons pending
                      - Waiting on details for speaker ops contact
                      - Waiting on details of event locations


                      ----IMPORTANT----

                      IF you are attending DEFCON virtually, and are HDA / ADA please let me know! We have a drawing for a kinda surprise prize!

                      Comment


                      • #30
                        THIS JUST IN :

                        There is an approved option for folks who have medical issues and can not or do not wish to wear traditional masks. While this is not a solution for everyone it has worked for one person so I feel it's fair to share it here with you all. Please keep in mind that there is no one universal answer or solution, and this may not work for you, but it may work for someone else.


                        Air X microclimate
                        https://microclimate.com/products/microclimate

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