Recommended Reading for August 18

Warning: Offsite links are not safe spaces. Articles and comments in the links may contain ableist, sexist, and other -ist language and ideas of varying intensity. Opinions expressed in the articles may not reflect the opinions held by the compiler of the post and links are provided as topics of interest and exploration only. I attempt to provide extra warnings for material like extreme violence/rape; however, your triggers/issues may vary, so please read with care.

Wheelie cAtholic: Not Bound to my Wheelchair

That’s all well and good. But there’s a problem with the word bound when it’s used with wheelchair, i.e. wheelchair bound. It drags up images of someone duct taped to a wheelchair or melded into its cushions or metal frames. It denies the very real fact that the person using the wheelchair gets in and out of it and is not a part of it, is not a machine, that the wheelchair is a tool.

That kind of language is why, when little kids ask me questions, one of the questions is Bound to Be:

“Do you sleep in your wheelchair?”

Steve at the Art of Accessibility: Fiddling While Rome Burns: Don’t Give Up Advocating Accessibility

Whether armed with lots of money and time or not, you have your voice — never be afraid to speak up when there are opportunities to make an experience more accessible. It can be on the micro level (“that font against that background is going to be really difficult for people with sight limitations to make out”). It can be on the macro level (“all those videos on the site? we really need to add captioning”).

You may lose. You may get a pat on the head and told to go play somewhere else. Keep trying!

Jack at [personal profile] jackandahat: So you’ve found yourself a disabled person!

Congratulations! You now have your very own shiny person in desperate need of YOUR help to run their life!

So what’s your first step?

Well, obviously, your Disabled Person has no clue about their own condition. Living with something twenty four hours a day for anywhere between a month and eight decades is no match for the knowledge you picked up in that magazine you read on the bus last week.

Ian Pouncey at DevOpera: Web Accessibility for cognitive disabilities and learning difficulties

Web accessibility for people with cognitive disabilities and learning difficulties is one of the most overlooked subtopics of general web accessibility, despite it affecting the largest numbers. A large part of it is that there are so many conditions to understand in this area (far more than say visual or hearing impairments) and a lack of educational information available for learning about it.

In this article we will cover a few of the problems users with cognitive disabilities may have that can affect their ability to use the Web, as well as the things that developers can do to alleviate these problems and things they should avoid. A lot of what is covered will be well known and common sense to many, but is here for completeness.

Problem Chylde: poor people aren’t supposed to want nice things.

However, if you take what little disposable income you have and buy sushi, you are doing wrong. Poor people do not want things like smartphones (you’re poor; who are you calling on a smartphone?), televisions (you’re poor; what do you need entertainment for?), nice cars (why wouldn’t you get a modest car to get around when you’re poor), or delicious food (do you know how much ramen you could have bought for the cost of that scone?). Poor people should not take any windfalls or nest eggs or scraped together pennies and expose themselves to luxuries. After all, isn’t that just a brutal reminder of how poor they are any other time? Why not just face the fact that poor is what you are, poor is what you shall be, and poor means that you cannot have nice things?

Astrid at Astrid’s Journal: “Like A Little Child”

It seems that, for the sake of conceptualizing life with developmental disabilities for people who don’t have these disabilities, they need to assign an age group to that person’s skills or behavior, that is the age at which non-disabled children acquire this particular skill or display this behavior. People then get to generalize into such things as “mental age”. The problem is, an adult isn’t like a little child, even if that adult has a developmental disability. Adults with developmental disabilities, in many respects, display behaviors that are normal for adults. Most adults with mental retardation, at some point, become interested in sexuality, for example. This is exactly why support workers often struggle with how to handle this. If those adults had been like children, they wouldn’t have been interested in sex. The thing is, they’re adults and, like most adults, they develop sexual feelings.

In The News:

Canada: Kids Learn By Example To Meet The Unexpected. “Anyone visibly different knows about the stares — and the occasional comments — they attract when out in the community. For Phil Crowson, it’s when he rides the bus and kids spot his guide dog, Faith. “They’re always asking their parents ‘What’s the dog for?’ ” says the 61-year-old intake and referral officer at Victoria’s CNIB.”

Russia: Russia to adapt higher education facilities for the disabled – Putin. “Putin said a program is being developed in Russia for “inclusive education” so that preschoolers with handicaps may attend kindergartens with their peers on an equal level, and may then progress on to elementary school and finally to a higher educational institute.”

Africa: Disability Rights Must Be Part of Continent’s Future, Ugandan Says. “Any vision for the future of Africa must include people with disabilities, who constitute “a significant percentage of the community anywhere in Africa — almost 10 percent of the population,” Ssengooba said. “People with disabilities have a lot of potential to take part in the development processes of their countries, yet they are in most cases excluded from most of the development programs.””

And, in today’s “We should praise them for doing this even though we hate giving out cookies for providing basic services”:

This Toronto election, voters will be able to use two different accessible voting machines during the

Weekday and Weekend Advance Votes.

Videos are now available to explain each of the machines as well as the voting process. All videos are captioned and are accompanied by voiceovers, and we continue to work on improving them.

To access videos showing how to use each of the machines or hear audio descriptions, please visit Voting Equipment: Touchscreen Terminal and Voting Equipment: Voter Assistance Terminal. Please check our website for events where you will be able to try using the machines.

If you will be voting for the first time and want to find out what happens inside a voting location and how people vote, please visit
How Do I Vote?

We would like to maximize participation in the 2010 Elections, so if you find these resources helpful, please tell your friends.

So: Yay Toronto! Have a cookie!

By 18 August, 2010.    recommended reading   



2 Comments

  1. There’s an even worse expression in the German language: “an den Rollstuhl gefesselt”, which literally translates to “tied to the wheelchair”, implying that force was used to “tie up” the person.
    My mother’s support group designed a bumper sticker saying “Wenn Sie jemanden sehen, der an den Rollstuhl gefesselt ist, rufen Sie bitte die Polizei und binden Sie ihn los” (“If you see someone “tied to a wheelchair”, please untie them and call the police”).

  2. paranoid android: OMG, I have never heard/seen that phrase in the four years I’ve lived here; I was thinking that German was better in that way, with Rollstuhlfahrer!

    Is that bumper sticker still available somewhere?