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H810 – Definition accessibility (A2.4)

September 28, 2010

As a latecomer or should I better say as a student who joined in late I found your discussion very interesting. Though I agree that we should use the right terminology to not insult anybody, do I find that difficult and I am quite worried using the wrong terms. I already corrected my blog entry where I used the word ‘slow learner’, because that was the translation given by an online dictionary. As English is not my first language it is double difficult using the political correct terms. I also found out that you don’t use students with special needs any more, which was absolutely appropriate when I applied 2003 for a special education teacher post in the US. I wonder if special education teacher is still appropriate.

Talking about Germany I sometimes have the feeling that though there are legislation’s, too nothing really happens. I just heard from someone who attended an event having accessibility as subject, that one person, a wheelchair user had problems to access the event, due to a building site and the other entrance was not accessible for the wheelchair. It took her almost an hour to finally attend the event. Which thoughtlessness from the organizer, that’s actually not excusable, but shows how careless people are and that people still move the responsibility towards the person who is having a disability, instead of taking themselves responsibility.

To answer the questions:

  • I would define accessibility as equal access in all areas of life  for disabled  and non-disabled people. I like the definition by JISC Accessibility is about removing barriers to participation and engagement‘.
  • I think everybody is responsible for accessibility.
  • Accessibility in an educational context do I understand that disabled students are supported in such a way (e.g.  ramps, elevators, content delivered in a format that they can access) that the can fully participate in the same extend a non-disabled student can.
  • In the context of online learning I think of Web accessibility which means ‘that people with disabilities can perceive, understand, navigate, and interact with the Web, and that they can contribute to the Web’ (W3C).
  • In my school context accessibility is only partly a concern, though we offer differentiate learning support in some subjects. I think one reason why accessibility is becoming a greater concern now, is that disabled people and their relatives, e.g. parents, don’t want to be longer treated as second class and want to participate fully in life to an extent non-disabled people do. And honestly why should they cut back, although this is still too often the case.
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