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International Day of Persons with Disabilities

Originally posted on PhD Balance social media platforms on 12/03/2020.

the image has a black background with a light blue square in the middle that says "International Day of Persons with Disabilities, Dec 3 2020, Accessibility is not optional". Around the light blue box are the following cartoon images: audio reader, headphones, head silhouette, walker, wheelchair, hands, closed caption logo, service dog, brail page, and a walking stick

December 3rd 2020 is International Day of Persons with Disabilities. Today, we want to educate and inform you on accessibility for visible and invisible disabilities.

So, let's talk about basic accessibility.

It is evident now more than ever that academia is lacking in accessibility options as everyone transitions to working from home, learning virtually, and performing under the stressors of a pandemic. Although it should never have taken a pandemic to realize this, we hope academia adopts these accessibility options for persons with disabilities as we move forward.

  1. Professors: record your lectures! This umbrellas all visible and invisible disabilities by allowing students to learn in their own environment, at their own pace, and using their own learning tools to learn the most out of their education.

  2. For physical disabilities, wheelchair ramps, elevators, and lifts are most common. We are also seeing the ease of professors transitioning to posting lectures, creating online exams, and interacting via a virtual format which should be standard for students who cannot participate in in-person learning.

  3. Making lectures which are less about pictures and videos include all info that is needed so that screen readers can capture all info for those who are blind or visually impaired.

  4. Where images are used, always include alternative text to describe the image!

  5. The use of closed captions in academia was virtually non-existent for anyone whose disability limited their hearing or neural-processing of speaking. There are now more apps and features to include closed captions on your (recorded OR live) lectures and videos in frequently used programs like PowerPoint and Google Meets.

Accessibility is not optional.


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