Accessibility in the Able-Bodied World Series Day 2

Photo Description: Sarah stares into Ferdie's eyes as they enjoy a hayride in an apple form, with beautiful blue sky in the background. 

Photo Description: Sarah stares into Ferdie's eyes as they enjoy a hayride in an apple form, with beautiful blue sky in the background. 

Editor's note: This series was first published on Sassy's facebook. 

Day 2 of my week of #A11YReality:

What does accessible really mean.

It means something a disabled person can do from start to finish with no assistance from another individual. If it requires assistance, it is not yet accessible.

Many blind people (and I'm restricting this part to just the blind world because I'm not qualified to speak on other physical disabilities, but others on my timeline may be able to, and where appropriate, cognitive or developmental disabilities), we hate to say something is inaccessible because it sounds like we're complaining, or we're expecting the sighted world to fix something for us.

Yeah no.

It is my job as an advocate to see the things in this world that are still not accessible and think or work on ways to make them accessible. So yeah, I point things out that aren't accessible. It is my job. It is also my job to push for solutions, or create solutions using technology. I love that part.

If you are blind, you generally have a way of getting through point of sale processes, even though the machines in check-out lines don't talk. You can't see the screen. Therefore, no, it is not accessible. A cash transaction can be completely accessible if you have a device or app that can read the money for you. But a credit card purchase is still not accessible unless done through Apple pay or online.

I know the steps. I generally can feel where on the touchscreen to sign, I know the buttons are generally in certain corners, but it's not accessible by that complete on your own definition I gave above. If I wanted, for example, to know the total cost and approve my purchase, that's a screen I can't read. I have to ask someone that it be read to me. The receipt in print doesn't scan very well into my phone, to be read, but I could try it. Emailed receipts are much better as long as they are accessible. No, that does not mean kind of readable... it means WCAG-level accessible. WE're not just talking about advanced tech users who can cobble together a work-around and push through. We're talking low-level disabled tech users who still deserve access, and who those guidelines support too. WE cannot leave them behind based on their technological acrobatics.

People at the store where I pick up my meds, the hospital lab, stores, they know me by name. They know how to assist me because I've told them what helps me and what does not work for me. Many of them respect my wishes.

It was a pretty low-key day for accessibility stuff, for once. I had to ask for assistance to purchase a few things with my meds, get help to complete the transaction screens, and I had the chance to teach someone for whom english is not a first language that it's not a blind dog, it's a Guide Dog. Or a dog guide is the proper term. Guide Dog, or Leader Dog or Seeing Eye Dog denotes what school the dog came from. Dog guide refers to any dog trained to guide a blind person.

I spent most of my day not feeling well, asleep, or dealing with emails and phone calls back and forth to the hospital about my lab work, so it was a pretty uneventful, day, but this week promises to not be so tame. Take the quiet when it comes. I played accessible audio games, watched described shows on Netflix, and listened to a book read aloud by text to speech screen reading technology. All accessible, all advances in the last 20 years. Progress.

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Sassy Outwater is the co-owner of BlindChick Accessibility Consulting and Runs Acsexyble. BlindChick and Acsexyble are devoted to issues of accessibility and advocacy for women and gender non-conforming people with disabilities. Follow Sassy on facebook here

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