I was honored to do a demonstration of my screen reading software as well as how I operate my iPhone when WeCo hosted the “Access for All” International Visitor Leader Program from the US Department of State this summer.
I was excited to learn that WeCo was going to host another group of “Access for All” project visitors on behalf of the United States Department of State and Minnesota International Center on July 29, 2015. Once again, I was asked to demonstrate the assistive technology that I use during the groups visit.
Our staff learned that many of our counterparts working on IT accessibility, and the needs of people living with disabilities, across the globe, do not have access to the level of accessible technology we enjoy in the US. One of our new friends from an African nation shared with us: “Many of our people don’t have computers, let alone screen reader software.”
That was all how it was before the ADA. You never knew if a building would be accessible. You never knew if people would say “We can’t take you here.”
As someone who works with people living with disabilities, and also lives with a disability, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to what the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act means to the people I work with, and to me personally.
The classroom of pen, paper and chalkboard is transitioning to a digital classroom. Students with disabilities are struggling as educational institutions don’t have accessibility in mind.
With the evolution of technology, new tools are becoming more and more available for higher education learning. These tools can be very beneficial in most cases, but inaccessibility is a barrier as it is with many websites and digital platforms.
Read WAI’s mobile accessibility guidelines. These guidelines will help website developers make their sites easier to access by people with all disabilities.
For many individuals who are visually impaired or blind like me, the iPhone (or similar smartphone) is a lifeline which is used for everyday tasks as well as for recreational purposes.
Rose is a Public Relations Specialist volunteer at WeCo. Rose understands the challenges of accessibility because she experiences them each day as a blind person.