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

you sound angry and a bit unaccepting of a few facts.  Not all can wear the
same shoe although you seem to indicate that you understand this, you
belittle those who do not have it your way according to your message and
this is the same thing I have seen from others who live in fields of service
to the "disabled".  You pick a bright smart capable person and say, See?
That is how the world works.  The fact is that most of us are downright
average if I can use that word when it comes to living life and We cope.
Why would I want to spend hundreds perhaps thousands of dollars to adapt to
the world if I was capable of doing it if some simple helps which help many
more than I can be provided to deal with the issue.  I am not slighting you
in any way here but just letting you know that there is a whole world out
there that is not being taken into account here.

AS far as Research is concerned, I will give you some right here and this is
a refrain I hear time and time again even though it is anecdotal, it does
prove the point of the guidelines.  Several years ago, I tried to shop on
some of the new web sites that were coming up at the time with little to no
success.  I was already shopping on the internet but I was using telnet or
email to do it or looking over the catalogs online or downloading them in a
readable form if they were available and reading and placing my orders
either through email or by phone fax or mail.  Now, Most of my shopping from
buying groceries to electronics to mucic is done on the internet.  I have
purchased clothing as well and that is difficult at the best of times under
the best of circumstances for me.  I do my banking exclusively on the
internet from bill paying to reading my statement, tracking my transactions
and writing personal checks.  The only thing I cannot do is get cash from
the internet.  Yes, I am an experienced internet user, I have the latest and
greatest equipment available, but without the implementation of the
guidelines and standards that we in this community hav developped in order
to assist those who would other wise be locked out, I would not be doing
these things and if we wait for clinical trials and research to first get it
rong and then get it right, we'll be well through this century and possibly
not in need of what we have today.  For research, ask microsoft or ibm or
freedom scientific or gw micro and many others just what they think about
the guidelines and while you are at it, look at the list of contributors to
all three sets of guidelines and you will find and indeed the section 508
standards group as well, that disabled individuals are prominently featured.
Can there be improvement?  Yes,  I would love to find ways to cut down on
the time it takes me to do these things.  I can shop in a store much more
quickly with assistance than I can on the internet except when I know
exactly what I want from the grocery store.  If I cruise the web isles
though, it can take several hours which compaired to a non disabled
individual who knows how to use the tools is really slow.  I do love the
freeing nature of the exercise though and just hope they are telling me the
right things when I read the labels <grin>

On the topic of respect, While it is fine to tell a person to do something
or ask them to do something, the difficulty for them of the task under the
circumstances should be taken into account when deciding how to respect that
individual so, to ask someone to read from a print document for instance
that you hand them right then and there might not be a good thang.

Yes, education and development on all sides needs to take place and all
alternative approaches must be considered in order to come to equitable
solutions which provide optimal access for all.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Kathy Cercone" <>
To: <>
Cc: <>
Sent: Friday, April 04, 2003 8:49 AM
Subject: RE: Respect - was Re: The two models of accessibility

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
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
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: [] On
Behalf Of phoenixl
Sent: Friday, April 04, 2003 2:20 AM
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
to people in wheelchairs.  However, I believe that it is acceptable for
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
> It's interesting that when I read the original post about stairs I
> 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
> 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
> 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 10:18:46 UTC