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Personal Side Note

From: William Loughborough <love26@gorge.net>
Date: Sat, 08 Jul 2006 06:19:31 -0700
Message-ID: <44AFB0E3.5030604@gorge.net>
To: eowg <w3c-wai-eo@w3.org>

I've been spouting the notion that ageing is itself a disability and 
here's an example.

After yesterday's teleconference I went to the "urgent care" department 
of the Klickitat Valley Medical Center to find out why I have started 
noticing incidents of vertigo and during the process I was struck by how 
archaic the information handling in the medical industry is.

At no time during the episode did I have access to my medical records 
and the process required me to, from memory, recite all 8 of the 
medications I take daily. If I weren't well known there it would also 
have included dealing with patronizing attitudes (which most old people 
encounter all the time) instead of the deference/respect I received.

The same pattern of discrimination that is encountered with our client 
base emphasized (again/still!) how important it is to have the routine 
processes of society be accessible.

For example, many of us from time to time use a Web-based email client 
and these often have little evidence of their authors having been the 
least bit concerned with accessibility either for the one composing or 
retrieving email.

As we persist in trying to explain that every aspect of the Web is 
colored by the necessity of using what we call "authoring tools", that 
term holds little meaning for most people who use the Web and that in 
fact ALL INTERACTIONS WITH THE WEB ARE THROUGH SOMETHING WE ARE CALLING 
'Authoring Tools'. Simply selecting what to show next on the screen is a 
form of authoring.

We have so indiscriminately accepted even our own discriminative 
stereotyping that the very terms we use (even our carefully chosen 
politically correct ones) serve to perpetuate that there's some category 
separating us from one another and from the information that has become 
an ambient flood.

One of our jobs is to kick out those walls of separation that make us 
ignore the process of marginaliz(s)ation of "Persons With Disbility" by 
making accessibility somehow separate from some mainstream process. We 
must try to let everyone know that at this time the only way to avoid 
inevitable membership in such demeaned groups as "seniors" or "the 
handicapped" is to die out.

That ALL interaction with the Web needs to both be and produce 
accessible content is not widely understood. "They" don't really "get 
it" so what I'm proposing is more attitudinal reshaping at every level 
of interaction by those involved with the Web as "authors"/"users".

In other words the technical details' elucidation through our 
Recommendations of separational factors should be in our consciousnesses 
as we promote the notion that whatever we do in this new world of 
interactivity doesn't shut out the "us" that includes Helen Keller, 
Steven Hawking, and Franklin Roosevelt.

Love.
Received on Saturday, 8 July 2006 13:19:38 UTC

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