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Interested in disability history? Check out what happened Today in AT History!


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Arts & Entertainment

  • August 17 - The Japanese government removes support and subsidies for Naked Sign Language News produced by Paradise Television after the government changed funding guidelines for programming aimed at the disabled to exclude pornography.[1]
  • September 17 - The Amazing Race 10 debuts in the U.S. with the first ever amputee competitor, Sarah Reinertsen, and her team mate, Peter Harsch.[2]


  • March 15 - The New Zealand Education Minister Steve Maharey and Disability Issues Minister Ruth Dyson announce that New Zealand is set to become one of the first countries in the world to introduce sign language into the school curriculum.[3]

Government & Advocacy

  • July 6 - Secretary of Health and Human Services JudyAnn Bigby, M.D., appoints Charles Carr as Commissioner for the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission (MRC).[4]
  • September 27 - President George W. Bush signs into law the Food and Drug Administration Amendments Act of 2007, reauthorizing and expanding the Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA), Medical Device User Fee and Modernization Act (MDUFMA), Best Pharmaceuticals for Children Act (BPCA) and the Pediatric Research Equity Act (PREA).[5]

Health & Science

  • February 5 - Scientists identify a molecular cause for one type of deafness. "Mutations in a protein called espin can cause floppiness in tiny bundles of protein filaments within the hair cells, impairing the passage of vibrations and resulting in deafness." [6]


  • February 28 - Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson - Welsh wheelchair athlete and TV presenter announces her retirement from wheelchair racing. [7]
  • June 20 - Vancouver, British Columbia Mayor Sam Sullivan became the first quadriplegic to throw the opening pitch in a professional baseball game when he used a purpose-built catapult, at the Vancouver Canadians minor league home opener.[9]
  • July 15 - Casey Tibbs, a track and field athlete and double-amputee, and Jessica Long, a Paralympic swimmer and double-amputee, win the ESPY Awards for Best Male and Female Athlete with a Disability.[10]
  • December 17 - Ossur CEO, Jon Sigurdsson, sends a letter to President of IAAF to show support for Oscar Pistorius, a runner and double-amputee looking to compete in the Olympics.[11]
  • December 21 - Dr. Jeffrey Lewis joined the 2011 U.S. Deaflympics Winter Team in the capacity of Team Director.[12]


  • February 16 - US researchers are given the go-ahead for human trials for the Argus II 'bionic eye' system. The system connected an eye-glass mounted camera to electrodes in the eye. "'What we are trying to do is take real-time images from a camera and convert them into tiny electrical pulses that would jump-start the otherwise blind eye and allow patients to see,' said Professor Mark Humayun, from the University of Southern California." [13]
  • June 19 - Voice Extensible Markup Language (VoiceXML) 2.1 becomes an official W3C recommendation.[14]
  • August 1 - Otolaryngologists develop a new, implantable hearing aid called the Bone Anchored Hearing Aid (BAHA). A transmitter worn behind the hear vibrates sending sound received by a deaf ear through the skull and over to the good ear. [15]
  • October 9 - Bili Inc. introduces the Footime Page/Score Turner, a device that allows individuals to turn digital music scores and pages with their feet.[16]
  • October 22 - Bili Inc. introduces Footime™ Foot Mouse With Programmable Pedal, a mouse that can be operated by foot using two inputs.[17]


  • February 15 - Dr. Robert Adler, inventor of the first practical wireless television remote control. The device, marketed as the "Zenith Space Command," used ultrasonics to transmit channel up/down and power on/off signals and was a precursor to the other types of environmental control units used today. [18] [19]
  • May 29 - Dave Balon - Canadian Hockey Player. Balon played for the New York Rangers and the Montreal Canadiens winning two Stanley Cups with the Canadiens. He had multiple sclerosis for 30 years of his life.[20]


  1. "Naked TV news stripped of subsidy, carries on." Reuters. Accessed on March 10, 2008.
  2. Ossur hf. "Team Ossur's Sarah Reinertsen and prosthetist Peter Harsch take on the world!." Press Release. July 28, 2006. Accessed March 9, 2008.
  3. Rowan, Juliet. "Schools to put sign language on curriculum." The New Zealand Herald. APN Holdings NZ Limited. March 15, 2007. Accessed on March 10, 2008.
  4. "SECRETARY BIGBY APPOINTS CHARLES CARR AS COMMISSIONER FOR THE MASSACHUSETTS REHABILITATION COMMISSION." Health and Human Services. Commonwealth of Massachusettes. Press Release. July 6, 2007. Accessed on May 12, 2008.
  5. "Law Strengthens FDA." U.S. Food and Drug Administration. September 27, 2007. Accessed on June 3, 2008.
  6. Helping the Deaf Hear. Science Daily. August 1, 2007. Accessed on February 1, 2008.
  9. "Mayor Sullivan throws the opening pitch at Canadians baseball game." Mayor Sullivan Official Site. June 21, 2007. Accessed on May 22, 2008.
  10. "The 2007 Winners." ESPN Internet Ventures. 2007. Accessed on March 9, 2008.
  11. Ossur hf. "Ossur CEO sends letter to President of IAAF." Press Release. December 17, 2007. Accessed on March 9, 2008.
  12. "Lewis Selected as Team Leader of US Team to 2011 Winter Deaflympics." USA Deaf Sports Federation. December 21, 2007. Accessed on April 1, 2008.
  13. Fildes, Jonathan. Trials for 'bionic' eye implants. BBC News. February 16, 2007. Accessed on February 1, 2008.
  14. "Voice Extensible Markup Language (VoiceXML) 2.1." World Wide Web Consortium. June 19, 2007. Accessed on April 28, 2008.
  15. Scientists Identify Molecular Cause For One Form Of Deafness. Science Daily. February 5, 2007. Accessed on February 1, 2008.
  16. "Bili Inc. Introduces New Footime™ Page/Score Turner." Harmony Central. October 9, 2007. Accessed on March 9, 2008.
  17. "Bili Inc. Introduces Footime™ Foot Mouse With Programmable Pedal." Harmony Central. Press Release. October 22, 2007. Accessed on March 9, 2008.
  18. Adler Remote Control System. U.S. Patent #2,923,918. Accessed March 7, 2008.
  19. The Great Idea Finder - Remote Control Accessed March 7, 2008.
  20. "Dave Balon, 68, Rangers Wing, Is Dead." New York Times. May 31, 2007. Accessed on May 12, 2008.