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RE: Disability statistics

From: Denise Wood <Denise.Wood@unisa.edu.au>
Date: Sun, 4 Nov 2001 03:17:28 +1030
Message-ID: <E1962E8F1DF0D411878300A0C9ACB0F90246387A@exstaff4.magill.unisa.edu.au>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org

There is no question that we need better data about the usage of computers and
the Internet by people with disabilities. However, any study of this kind is
problematic because of the number of people who choose not to identify
themselves as "disabled". 
Within the University that I work, there is provision for students to record on
their enrolment form whether they have a disability. Students with disabilities
are also encouraged to register with our disability counselling service to
ensure they have access to a range of supports (including adaptive hardware and
software) that may be required by them to complete their studies. However many
students elect not to disclose this information. That is their right and we
respect their position on this. 


Dr Denise L Wood
Lecturer: Professional Development (online teaching and learning)
University of South Australia
CE Campus, North Terrace, Adelaide SA 5000
Ph:    (61 8) 8302 2172 / (61 8) 8302 4472 (Tuesdays & Thursdays)
Fax:  (61 8) 8302 2363 / (61 8) 8302 4390
Mob: (0413 648 260)

Email:	Denise.Wood@unisa.edu.au
WWW:	http://www.unisanet.unisa.edu.au/staff/homepage.asp?Name=Denise.Wood

-----Original Message-----
From: Joe Clark [mailto:joeclark@joeclark.org]
Sent: Saturday, 3 November 2001 11:04 PM
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Subject: Disability statistics

I was reading the remarks about making a business case for 
accessibility, which I believe flatly cannot be done. It's purely an 
issue of ethics or legal compliance. (It isn't "moral" because it 
does not appeal to God.)

Esteemed listmembers may not aware of the only two credible sources 
on numbers of disabled people with computers and/or online that I 
could find after months of looking. (I did find an opinion poll, too.)

A report by the National Telecommunications and Information 
Administration, an arm of the U.S. Department of Commerce, states 
that 20.9% of people with disabilities in the U.S. regularly use 
computers (compared with 51% of nondisabled people).

Figures for Internet use are similar-- 21.6% of disabled people are 
online compared to 42.1% of nondisabled people.



Using a more restrictive definition of disability, a University of 
Southern California study holds that 23.9% of people with 
disabilities have computers in the home (versus 51.7% of nondisabled 
people), while 11.1% of disabled people and 46.5% of nondisabled 
people use the Internet "at home" or "elsewhere."



(Authors of both those studies are aware of no credible statistics 
anywhere else.)

Harris poll: <http://www.harrisinteractive.com/harris_poll/index.asp?PID=93>

Anyway, the moral of this story is that we desperately need much 
better data, particularly concerning specific target groups. The 
World Wide Web Consortium (sic) has quite enough money to commission 
studies of existing statistical data and run its own opinion polls. 
Perhaps someone could take up that banner.
   Joe Clark | joeclark@joeclark.org | <http://joeclark.org/access/>
   Accessibility articles, resources, and critiques ||
       "I do not pretend to understand the mind of Joe Clark"
       -- Larry Goldberg
Received on Saturday, 3 November 2001 11:47:35 UTC

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