October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month. During the month, the Accessibility Working Group which focuses on digital accessibility initiatives will be sending out weekly messages to promote awareness.
Did you know:
Accessibility efforts benefit all users!
Power assisted doors are intended for individuals with mobility devices. They also benefit a person carrying a bulky item or an individual pushing a stroller.
Captioning not only helps those who are hard of hearing and Deaf to access audio information, but can reinforce verbal material and increase comprehensionfor ESL learners, non-traditional students, and visual learners.
Websites with clear, consistent and organized design will benefit individuals using screen readers. They also allow easier navigation and are more visually appealing to everyone.
There is a difference between Accessibility and Accommodation
Accessibility proactively removes barriers and provides the ability for everyone, regardless of disability, to access, use and benefit from programs, services and activities.
Accessibility represents the degree to which programs, materials, products or services are intentionally designed to be used effectively by people with disabilities. Being proactive minimizes systemic barriers often encountered by individuals with disabilities. Accessibility efforts would include intentionally providing closed captioning of videos or accessible electronic versions of materials even if there was not a specific request.
Accommodations are made when materials, interactions, or services are not accessible to a person with a disability. Accommodations are reactive and should be for adaptations that can’t be anticipated or standardized, whereas accessibility is proactive and based on what can be expected without someone needing to ask. At Appalachian, the Office of Disability Resources is responsible for determining appropriate accommodations for students, faculty and staff and visitors.
What can you do?
Everyone: Learn what accessibility means from people with disabilities and consider how you can proactively promote accessibility.
Faculty: Proactively utilize captioning on videos, create accessible materials and include an accommodation statement on your syllabus.
Faculty, staff, and students: Learn about requesting accommodations.
“Accessibility changes my experience by not only allowing me to further my education, but makes me feel equal to my sighted peers. Every person no matter race, sexual orientation, or disability should have an equal and fair chance to achieve whatever goals they may have in life.” -Maddie Nardone, Freshman, Appalachian State University