[laptop-accessibility] Advocacy for Elevated Disability Inclusion:Next Steps?
chand at connect.com.fj
Fri Nov 28 13:23:24 EST 2008
Very well said, People With Disabilities certainly end up paying more for
access. For example, a blind person needs to purchase a screen-reader plus a
PC. Which is fairly expensive. Now that OLPC is doing wonderful work in
developing countries, I too, strongly feel that Disability issues be
recognised now, rather when its too late...
All have a good day, looking forward to some valuable discussion!
----- Original Message -----
From: "Andrea Shettle" <ashettle at patriot.net>
To: <accessibility at lists.laptop.org>
Sent: Saturday, November 29, 2008 2:07 AM
Subject: [laptop-accessibility] Advocacy for Elevated Disability
> Given the recent discussions on this list criticizing OLPC for not
> putting higher priority on the needs of children with disabilities FROM
> THE BEGINNING, I'd like to make a few comments and ask some questions,
> either for the list at wide or for any individual who is in the
> strongest position to answer:
> 1. If OLPC's excuse for not putting disability access at higher
> priority from an earlier stage is, "the customers haven't asked for it
> yet" then I think that is a weak excuse. Any time one discusses
> disability inclusion, one must be sensitive to the fact that people
> with disabilities are already so profoundly marginalized and excluded
> that they very rarely have chances to really make themselves heard in
> society EVEN IN societies like the US where we have laws that help
> empower us (like the Americans with Disabilities Act ... or the
> equivalent Disability Discrimination Act for people in the UK etc).
> The NEED can be there and can be very extreme and still simply not be
> heard at the highest levels because the people with decision making
> power don't even SEE or HEAR people with disabilities, must less seek
> out their input. And the people with disabilities are denied the
> opportunities they need to MAKE high-level personnel listen to them.
> If we wait for the country governments buying the computers to *ask*
> for disability access before this becomes a priority, then this is
> putting disabled children in the very unfair position of waiting for a
> very long time before their needs are put on an equal footing with
> everyone else. I think OLPC should be taking more responsibility for
> considering the needs not only of those who can speak for themselves in
> an articulate and coordinated fashion (and thus be heard by the
> high-level decision makers in developing countries who actually pay for
> the XOs) but also the needs of those who are too isolated from each
> other to be able to put forth a unified, strong voice at this time.
> 2. Those of us who are making complaints like this one are currently
> preaching to the choir: we wouldn't be on this list if we didn't
> already support the idea of accessibility features for ALL children
> using the XO laptops. What we really need is for people with key
> decision making power within OLPC (I don't necessarily mean Negroponte
> himself, but people who at least are in a position to shape and
> implement the stated vision and mission of OLPC).
> Is there anyone meeting this description already in this list? If not,
> then all this complaining among ourselves about the low priority OLPC
> has put on disability access will accomplish little. Indeed, the work
> that some members are trying to do to figure out how to make the XO
> more accessible, design new software, etc., will itself accomplish
> little if the OLPC as a whole does not put high enough priority on
> actually USING the innovations created by our more skilled, hard
> working participants (not me, alas, because I barely even *understand*
> some of the more technical discussions on this list!).
> All the above leads to this point:
> 3. Perhaps rather than simply complaining among ourselves, or working
> in isolation from the overarching OLPC project on accessibility
> concerns, we should discuss how we can work together to ADVOCATE within
> OLPC to put higher priority on accessibility concerns.
> If there is anyone on this list who has been in some way in close
> contact with decision-making personnel within OLPC, or who simply have
> more knowledge how things work from the inside, then your input would
> be greatly welcomed.
> If we on this list who share an interest in influencing OLPC's
> disability inclusion policy can pull together and work out a strategy,
> then I would be happy to post a Call To Action at my blog
> (http://wecando.wordpress.com) for whatever small help that would
> provide in bringing attention to the cause. (My blog is targeted at
> people with disabilities in developing countries and their allies
> around the world, including international development professionals.)
> If there is enough interest in coordinating some kind of advocacy
> campaign targeted at OLPC, then we could consider creating a spin-off
> mailing list devoted to that purpose, in order to allow this list to
> retain its focus on the more technical aspects of accessibility.
> Andrea Shettle, MSW
> ashettle at patriot.net
> accessibility mailing list
> accessibility at lists.laptop.org
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