Reading Response – Disability Rights

Even though we read a lot of different pieces for today, I’m going to focus on this article from USA Today about pressing for equal access to technology for students with disabilities.  As someone who has a friend who is deaf and blind, I found this article extremely interesting and relevant to both myself and to my friend.  A problem that I have noticed, even with just reading or doing some of the work for this class, is that a lot of technology is inaccessible to students with a disability.  We have a few computers here that I have seen that have the software to read texts to visually impaired students but I admit, I don’t know much about it.  

 

I really liked how this news piece even talked about the legislature getting involved but because the lines are so blurred between the definition of accessible technology, not much has really been done in the way of providing for students with disabilities.

 

The accessibility issues don’t just happen with deaf or blind students either; my mom used to work with a student in a high school who had cerebral palsy and she had to be provided with a special computer that would type out her speech because she lacked the motor skills to type.  None of the computers in the school were accessible to her except for the one the district had to provide for her to be able to complete basic tasks.  And even then, she had to have an aide who wrote down notes for her.

 

This article from NBC here talks about how in 2010, Obama signed a technology access for the disabled bill into law.  The law requires that communications industries include functions to increase their products’ usability for people who are hearing or visually impaired.  Some of the requirements would include buttons on a remote for easier closed captioning access and making the technology used for phone calls via the internet accessible to people with hearing aids.

 

As someone who has a family history of vision problems and eventual blindness as well as someone who has a friend who is deaf and blind, this is kind of a huge deal for me.  Even though the lines are a bit fine between what is accessible and what isn’t, it’s good to know that, essentially, we are working on technology access for everyone.

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2 thoughts on “Reading Response – Disability Rights

  1. I like that you note that accessibility isn’t just about assisting the deaf and the blind. I think it gets pigeon holed like that because it’s easier to just focus on a few issues rather than trying to blow up the field. It’s a form of “armchair activism” if you will. But there are whole populations that get left out if we restrict the discussion in that way. Personally, and you mention this as well, I believe that the discussion needs to move away from “how can we solve this problem for this group” to something more along the lines of “how can we make this better for everybody.” Accessibility tools don’t just have to address people with disabilities. It can address everyone at the same time. What aids someone with a disability has just as much potential to assists someone who does not as well. I think if we shift that paradigm some, we can really see some innovative change.

    • Kevin took a lot of the words out of my mouth. I think it is great that more people are recognizing that some adjustments for the use of technology need to be made in order to better suit people with disabilities, but more disabilities need to be considered.

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