What do you think of when you hear the word accessibility? Does it mean a ramp, does it mean a handle, or does it mean opening the door wider? We often think about the accessibility in terms and concepts around physical disability and we often forget that a larger percent of our population has a hidden disability.
Over 6.2 million people in the UK statistically have some severity of dyslexia. That is 1 in 10, I am one of that percentage, I actually class myself as severely dyslexic. So, what do I think of when someone says accessibility to me? By making things accessible it puts me on a level playing field with my peers and colleagues, writing this blog for instance would be very difficult because my dyslexia gives me difficulties in spelling, punctuation and writing. Of course, even though I’m dyslexic I can do all the things it just takes me a lot longer and my ability to spell is not the same as other people. At my last dyslexia test I had the spelling age of an 8-year-old which is substantially lower than my chronological age. So what accessibility tools would help me when I’m using dictation some have been designed for productivity and for medical problems such as RSI and have been immensely useful in the dyslexia community to remove the frustrations and put everyone on a level playing field.
What happens when I receive a letter through the post or I’m going to send one? I’m very lucky in one sense as I have a partner who can read very well, and she can also spell very well and understands my dyslexia. I could do many things, I could scan it in and use text-to-speech. I could use a C-Pen reader to scan the text, I can use apps, or I can get Lucy to read to me. But actually, whose responsibility is it to make it accessible, is it me or is it the organisation that sent to me?
Accessibility comes in hand in hand with the Equality Act 2010, it states that organisations should make reasonable adjustments. For me putting a ramp in isn’t a reasonable adjustment but sending me a letter on a CD or calling me to read out the contents of the letter is very beneficial, and I would class as quite reasonable.
We should remember that accessibility covers a huge amount of differences, difficulties, disabilities and more. Therefore, we must think outside the box to ensure that we are supporting everybody in every community.
Technology is the way forward, we have to put people with dyslexia on a level playing field so that we can have success with dyslexia.