Tag Archives: disabilites

A new look at a daily activity

27 Aug

On my run yesterday, I had to cross a busy street.
This isn’t unusual.
But yesterday I noticed a new button at the crosswalk.
IMG_4361 It’s likely not new, but it’s the first time I noticed it.
And I noticed it, because it beeped when I pressed it.

The beep caused me to pause. If I had a visual impairment, the beep would let me know that the button had engaged and the lights above the cross walk were flashing. What happens when there is no beep?!

Suddenly I had a whole new perspective on crossing the street.

See more.

copyright 2015 Annemarie Shrouder
Speaker | Workshop Facilitator | Consultant | Author on issues of Diversity & Inclusion
www.annemarieshrouder.com (new website!)


Accessibility on the Internet

4 Aug

I’m creating a new website and will be launching shortly.

I’m really excited about it. And I’m also aware that it will be woefully inadequate for some.
Given the work I do, that’s painful for me.

If you use a keyboard, if you use a mouse, if you can see, if you can read what’s on a computer screen without making the font larger, if you can hear – then you may not know what I’m talking about. It’s new for me too.  And in fact right now as I’m typing this blog I’m looking for the option to make the font larger. It’s a small thing, but it means one less adjustment for some people who may want to read this. I can’t find the feature. If I had a visual impairment, you can bet I would know how to do it!

This is a perfect example of how bias works – we are familiar with the things that we need to be, to get through our day. And if you, like me, just pick up your laptop or mobile, type in the URL and away I go, then you, like me, likely have no idea what it means to have an accessible site. Or how important it is. Or how many people can’t read our sites because they aren’t accessible.

If you live in Ontario, the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) has guidelines for websites.
As I build mine, I’ll be working on these over time, as many require coding that I am not able to do myself.
But I can begin with making the font larger, so that it’s one less step for people who need larger font.

One less step is part of what inclusion is about: recognizing the extra steps that some people have to take to get to the same place, to have the same access, to enjoy what many of us take for granted every day – and creating ways to eliminate or at least reduce those steps.

I’ll let you know when my new website is up.
And I’ll keep you posted on the accessibility of it as well.

See more.

Copyright 2015 Annemarie Shrouder
Speaker, Facilitator and Author on issues of Diversity and Inclusion.

Hiring People with Disabilities

11 Aug

We continue to make strides in understanding the needs of, and increasing access for people with disabilities.  In Ontario, we have the Access for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA).

But what does accessibility really mean?

While it may be easy to consider aspects of physical accessibility like ramps, automatically opening doors, etc., there are other aspects that we may not consider. The AODA lists 5 areas of accessibility. They are:

  • customer service
  • employment
  • information and communications
  • transportation
  • built environment

The first four have already been made into law, to reach the vision of an accessible Ontario by 2025. The fifth is being developed.

Employment isn’t often considered as an accessibility issue. But assumptions, stereotypes and misinformation create high barriers for people with disabilities – either physical or psychological – to be able to access work.

Creating an inclusive work environment challenges us to do things differently, and to consider alternate ways of getting the job done well. It also challenges us to examine how the way we see people can create barriers for hiring, placement and promotion.

It’s nice to see that some of the Fortune 500 companies are taking this on. Read about Proctor & Gamble’s recent foray into a more inclusive workplace – which includes hiring people with disabilities for the same jobs as their able-bodied peers.

See More.

Copyright 2011 Annemarie Shrouder

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