Disability Initiatives

ITVS and PBS are proud to partner on a building initiative around disability awareness and we need your help.

Our goals with this project are to:

  • Position public media system as a leader in developing a culture around inclusion
  • Address barriers to and building understanding through education
  • Support conversations to encourage awareness and equality

The Disability Visibility Project® is an online community dedicated to recording, amplifying, and sharing disability media and culture. The DVP is also a community partnership with StoryCorps, a national oral history organization. Our aim is to create disabled media that is intersectional, multi-modal, and accessible.

Analysis found that while the disabled account for nearly 20% of the U.S. population, fewer than 2% of TV characters do. (Of those, 95% are played by able-bodied actors.)

"Across the 100 top-grossing movies of 2016, just 2.7% of characters (n=124) were depicted with a disability."

Q&A posts, blog posts, and News


WNET Launches Cyberchase’s First Accessible Game “Railway Hero” on PBS KIDS Games App and PBSKIDS.org

WNET announced the release of “Railway Hero,the first accessible and universally designed digital game from the PBS KIDS math series Cyberchase, created specifically to incorporate accessibility features for children with physical and cognitive impairments. Railway Hero is now available for free on the Cyberchase website at pbskids.org and on the PBS KIDS Games app.

A collaboration with Bridge Multimedia, an New York City-based accessibility company dedicated to supporting all facets of universal access, with support from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs, Railway Hero was designed using a “born accessible” approach with accessibility functions built into the game design from the ground up. In this math-based HTML5 game, players join the CyberSquad in the Solar CyberTrain on a mission to repair cyberspace’s Information SuperRailway, after pieces of its track were stolen by the villain Hacker. Using math problem-solving strategies including counting, addition and spatial reasoning, players fill in the empty tracks in the railway on an epic journey across cybersites.

To make Railway Heroaccessible to as many children as possible, WNET and Bridge Multimedia performed extensive user testing and incorporated a number of features to support learners with a variety of physical and cognitive needs. They include:

  • Customizable screen display options, including text size, color and contrast options
  • Audio control options, including adjustable music, sound effects and voiceover levels
  • Support for blind or visually impaired users, including audio description and keyboard controls
  • Support for deaf or hard of hearing users, including captioning

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