W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > w3c-wai-ig@w3.org > April to June 2003

RE: Respect - was Re: The two models of accessibility

From: Kathy Cercone <kcercone@optonline.net>
Date: Fri, 04 Apr 2003 08:49:50 -0500
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Cc: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Message-id: <!~!UENERkVCMDkAAQACAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAABgAAAAAAAAAly7WRBe7+0eJXSP3tAU1acKAAAAQAAAA0LXwpks3SEySWzLJId1IQwEAAAAA@optonline.net>


I find that I have to put in a word here. I am a Physical Therapist.
First I think you need to hear how we make stairs accessible to
paraplegics, or Parkinson's, or hip fractures or the blind or sensory
involved after a stroke or unable to see or hear.
I worry when I hear some of you discuss this without really knowing what
physical accessibility is for the disabled. 

We can not eliminate the stairs if that is their home. However, they can
be made accessible. They are usable by able bodied but not the disabled
until 2 things occur:

1. The environment is changed in a way that allows them to use another
device to get up and down the stairs. It can be a motorized chair seat,
a cane, a crutch, another handrail in place to ease the use of the
stairs. That is the first part. I have changed the environment with
adaptations.
It is not disrespectful to ask someone who is disabled to go upstairs.
In fact, I know many that would be upset that they were not considered
the same as anyone else. You can not make the disabled different. You
need to realize that they function in this world like anyone else- just
with adaptations. Of course, mental attitude and motivation are
important. Some people like being dependant and sick.

2. We(as a PT) have to teach them how to use these adaptations. I am not
sure everyone realizes that there are 2 sides to making something
accessible. There is a responsibility on the disabled individual's part.
I can not force my patient to do what I feel is safest and in his best
interest on the stairs- but I can teach him what should be happening. If
they want to do it the way I recommend then they will. Motivation is
vital on their part.

Thus, as web designers or developers there is a difference between what
is usable and accessible for the disabled. No matter how wonderful those
stairs are for everyone one else, they are usable to all but that
disabled individual. They become accessible once the adaptations and
training have been completed.
It is not easy for the disabled and we can not eliminate that from their
lives. That is their burden to bear. I wish that were not so but they
have to live with it. We can help, but we can not make them change to
adapt if they do not want to.

BUT, on the other hand,  we must keep in mind that the disabled need to
accept some responsibility for learning these adaptations that we put in
place for them.

 I work with a blind professor of math at a community college. She is
coordinator of the computer science program and teaches a full course
load. She uses JAWS and is so smart and capable with her adaptations in
place. 
I have told her some of the comments I hear from different discussions
and she laughs. She has also stated the same thing- it is also the
responsibility of the disabled person to learn how to use the equipment
the proper way. She wants to not even be considered blind and does
everything the able bodied do with adaptations she has developed.

Thus usable and accessible are related but not the same.
However, we need to ensure that training is occurring in the skills that
the disabled need to use their adaptive equipment.

I have continued to do some research about what research was done to
confirm the W3G guidelines and have not found anything accept anecdotal
evidence that this is what they "believe" is the right way to develop a
web site for the disabled. 

According to Akoumianakis and Stephanidis, They reported in a 1999
research study that the "Accessibility guidelines are not experimentally
validated". Which is one of my concerns too.

I posed this as a question before and got only one response on current
research. I know some groups are doing research using the guidelines but
what research has been done to ensure that these guidelines are valid
and reliable? That they really do what they say they do?

I want to do research on this for my dissertation. My expertise with the
disabled is my strength. I have seen it all. I have worked with all
diseases and disabilities for 28 years.

This is my 2 cents on this topic that I have been reading about for
several days now on this list. 

Kathy  Cercone PT


-----Original Message-----
From: w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org [mailto:w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org] On
Behalf Of phoenixl
Sent: Friday, April 04, 2003 2:20 AM
To: goliver@accease.com; Larry.G.Hull@nasa.gov; phoenixl@sonic.net
Cc: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Subject: Re: Respect - was Re: The two models of accessibility


Hi, Graham

I think that part of the reason that it might be disrespectful to ask
paraplegics to climb stairs is because of the additional burden of
effort.  I wonder if there would be a different view if the human body
had some ability such that crawling up stairs was as easy as walking
without any additional effort.

Looking at the issue of entrances, I think there is a difference between
a separate entrance behind a building which is reached via alley and
a different entrace in front.  For example, revolving doors are not
accessible
to people in wheelchairs.  However, I believe that it is acceptable for
a
second type of entrance which is more wheelchair-friendly be to provided
if it is very near the revolving doors.  Such entrances are also more
stroller-friendly.  People can choose the type of door which best fits
their needs.

What definition do you use for a web site to be easy to use?

Scott

> Scott
> It's interesting that when I read the original post about stairs I
initially 
> considered that the reason that the stairs were not accesible was that
it is 
> disrespectful to ask someone to crawl up stairs.
> 
> I didn't consider the amount of effort at all.
> 
> My understanding is that there is a considerable body of opinion in
the world 
> of 'physical accessibility' that the 'disabled entrance' into a
building that 
> may be round the back and may entail going by all the garbage bins is
simply 
> not 'accessible', however physically easy it is to get in that way.
> 
> I am beginning to find that the physical accessibility analogies tend
not to be 
> that useful when looking at web site accessibility, but I am wondering
how to 
> ensure that an 'accessibility solution' is respectful.
> 
> The answer we came up with is to ensure that a web site is easy and
satisfying 
> to use for disabled people by doing testing with disabled people and I
tend to 
> go for a 'one size fits all'.
> 
> But I would be really interested in how other people deal with this
issue, if 
> at all.
> 
> Cheers
> Graham
Received on Friday, 4 April 2003 08:50:07 GMT

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.2.0+W3C-0.50 : Tuesday, 19 July 2011 18:14:09 GMT