Living With a Learning Disability: Challenges, Helpful Advice & Improvements — from inclusionhub.com by Meredith Kreisa

Excerpts:

While it is critical to remember that symptoms, comorbidities, and coping mechanisms vary, we’ll outline some of the challenges individuals with learning disabilities may face and highlight common strategies utilized by community members to address them.

Also see:

Improving Digital Inclusion & Accessibility for Those With Learning Disabilities — from inclusionhub.com by Meredith Kreisa
This comprehensive guide outlines common learning disabilities, associated difficulties, accessibility barriers and best practices, and more.

 

The Beginner’s Guide to Web Accessibility — from deque.com

Welcome to the Beginner’s Guide to Accessibility! We’re glad you’re here. This guide is designed to teach you enough about the ins-and-outs of accessibility to get your bearings and to serve as a springboard for deeper investigation into the areas of accessibility that are most relevant to you and your needs.

If you’re completely new to accessibility, we recommend starting at the beginning and reading the sections in order. However, if you aren’t a complete beginner, are pressed for time, or simply prefer to jump around in order of personal interest, each section was written to stand alone as it’s own little module of information.

Table of Contents

  1. Digital Accessibility: What It Is and Why It Matters
  2. How People with Disabilities Use the Web (and Mobile Apps)
  3. Accessibility Compliance: Regulations and Requirements
  4. How Do You Know If You’re Accessible?

Over a billion people have a form of disability, plus lawsuits are up 12% from 2019, plus everyone benefits when sites and learning materials are accessible

 

Executive Function: What Is It, Why Does It Matter, and How Can You Support Building This Skill? — from blog.edmentum.com by Madison Michell

Excerpt:

What is executive function?
Executive function (EF) skills are the mental processes that enable us to plan, focus attention, remember instructions, and manage multiple tasks successfully. In simpler terms, executive function skills are the air traffic control system of the brain. They help us filter distraction, prioritize tasks, set and achieve goals, and control impulses.

Executive function consists of three distinct, but related, dimensions, including…

Along these lines, also see:

 

10 Best Accessibility Tools For Designers — from hongkiat.com by Hongkiat Lim

Excerpt:

Today is the world of inclusive technology – websites, apps, and tech gadgets that are made for people with different kinds of abilities and inabilities. So when you’re designing a website, you include features that make your design accessible to as many people as possible. And this is where accessibility tools come into play.

Instead of creating everything from scratch, here’s a list of cool accessibility tools for designers. From creating color combinations according to WCAG standards to adding different reading modes to your website, these tools are a must-haves for every designer. Take a look at the list to know about each tool in detail.

 

New accessibility features for students and teachers using Chromebooks — from educatorstechnology.com

Excerpt:

After the new Google Meet updates, Google introduced new features in Chromebooks, ones that will definitely enhance the overall usability and accessibility of the device. Starting with the new PIN logins’ feature for education users, students, teachers, and educators will now be able to log in to their assigned devices using a six digit pin code. This new feature will be standard on all new Chromebooks.
Students with special needs will particularly benefit from the introduction of new accessibility features. There is the novel Live Caption functionality which allows students to caption videos. There is also the Switch Access feature which allows users to control their cursor either using the built-in keyboard or through connecting an external USB or Bluetooth.

 

 

Apple’s latest accessibility features are for those with limb and vocal differences — from techcrunch.com by Devin Coldewey

Excerpt:

Apple announced a batch of accessibility features at WWDC 2021 that cover a wide variety of needs, among them a few for people who can’t touch or speak to their devices in the ordinary way. With Assistive Touch, Sound Control and other improvements, these folks have new options for interacting with an iPhone or Apple Watch.

 

Technology Made Special Education Parents Better Advocates During the Pandemic — from edsurge.com by Nadia Tamez-Robledo

Excerpt:

Those are lessons that should stay in place long after our current era of remote learning, says research analyst Lane McKittrick, who focuses on special education and families at the Center on Reinventing Public Education. She recently co-authored a report on how charter schools effectively supported students with disabilities during the pandemic and is blogging about the topic.

McKittrick’s disappointment didn’t just come from her role as a researcher. She’s also a mom to four children, three of whom are deafblind.

The schools that most successfully served their special education groups were those that prioritized communication and learning about families’ needs, McKittrick found in her own analysis.

 

 

The Basic Accessibility Fundamentals Bootcamp!
Use this table of contents to jump to specific chapters of the video:

00:00 Introduction
16:24 Inclusion and Accessibility
43:11 What is Digital Accessibility
53:31 Accessibility User Persona
1:04:26 Accessibility Statistics
1:20:53 Accessibility Laws and Legal Landscape
1:44:08 Screen Reader Demo
2:03:32 Accessibility Demographics
2:33:57 Wrap Up Reflection
2:35:19 Q&A

GAAD 2021 Fundamentals Bootcamp Slides.pdf

Transcript

Recommended Accessibility Books:

 

 

You’ll Soon be Able to Use Your Apple Watch Without Touching the Screen — from wsj.com by Katie Deighton
Companies like Apple and Spotify are making it easier for people with disabilities to use their products. Accessibility advocates hope more follow suit

AssistiveTouch, a new feature coming to the Apple Watch, will let users operate the device without having to touch the screen or controls.

AssistiveTouch, a new feature coming to the Apple Watch, will let users operate the device without having to touch the screen or controls. It was designed with people who have upper-body limb differences in mind.

PHOTO: APPLE INC.

Excerpt:

Later this year, Apple Inc. will introduce features that allow users to control an iPad with their eyes, and its smartwatch with gestures like a pinch or a fist clench.

The company announced the moves this week as part of Global Accessibility Awareness Day on May 20, an event established in 2011. Other big tech players revealed initiatives and commitments of their own, from automatic podcast transcriptions by Spotify Technology S.A to the updated design of a specific virtual block in Microsoft Corp.’s “Minecraft” to make it more visible to colorblind players.

 

Global Accessibility Awareness Day is today!
Help us celebrate the tenth Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD)! The purpose of GAAD is to get everyone talking, thinking and learning about digital access and inclusion, and the more than One Billion people with disabilities/impairments.

Global Accessibility Awareness Day is is Thursday, May 20th 2021

Also see:

Global Accessibility Awareness Day is Thursday, May 20, 2021

Also see:

Professional Development for Digital Accessibility: A Needs Assessment — from qualitymatters.org

As the EdTech article, “Improving Accessibility for Students and Faculty with Disabilities,” points out, the approach to accommodations for many institutions is still reactive instead of proactive.

So what can institutions do to become more proactive in their approach to digital accessibility? A 2019 survey of Higher Education Quality Matters Coordinators conducted by Barbara Frey, D.Ed., Point Park University, and Rae Mancilla, Ed.D., the University of Pittsburgh, identified the need for more professional development on the topic. Now, in the final white paper from their three-part series on digital accessibility, Drs. Frey and Mancilla provide a summary and analysis of the survey data on digital accessibility professional development needs.

Highlights include:

    • The key training areas that course developers can focus on to help faculty
    • How administrators can address common barriers to participation in digital accessibility training
    • How faculty can contribute to a meaningful accessibility training curriculum

Also see:

 

7 good apps for learning spelling — from educatorstechnology.com

Excerpt:

We have curated for you this collection of carefully vetted apps to use with your kids, students and anyone else keen on learning and improving their spelling skills. The apps provide guided practice, interactive games, lessons, quizzes, puzzles, and several other materials to make learning spelling a fun and engaging task. We invite you to check them out and share with us if you have other suggestions to add to the list.

From DSC:
If you or someone you know is having significant issues with spelling, you/they may want to do some investigative work around:

Also, Microsoft’s Immersive Reader might come in handy.

 

 

Designing Accessible IoT Experiences — from inclusionhub.com by Be My Eyes
While not every IoT product is designed with accessibility in mind, it has the potential to enable people with disabilities to communicate with and through technologies in ways that were previously unavailable

Excerpt:

As we have seen, the proliferation of both devices and tools to make devices smarter can have major benefits for people with disabilities. However, when these users are not considered during the creation of products and apps, these technologies can end up widening the accessibility gap, rather than closing it.

The key to providing accessible experiences for as wide a range of users as possible is to include a variety of stakeholders in the design and testing phases of any device. By inviting people with disabilities–including visual, hearing, cognitive and other–into the process, designers can ensure that their needs are met up front, rather than having to backfill or find work-around solutions post-launch.

 

Part I: How do I measure accessibility maturity and compliance? — from abilitynet.org.uk by Alistair McNaught

When you ask adults to recall their most memorable and enjoyable learning experiences it nearly always comes back to relationships – a fun teacher, an inspiring lecturer, a lively community. Such human interactions neatly illustrate the difference between maturity and compliance.

A “mature relationship” sounds a lot more attractive than a “compliant” one. Yet many institutions are offering compliance to disabled learners rather than mature relationships.

The lenses we use are:

  1. Main driver – Where is energy being expended and what is measured as success?
  2. Responsibility – Who are the actors. Do they have sufficient authority?
  3. Model of disability – Is the perception “users with issues” or “systems and content with barriers”?
  4. Focus of effort – Is accessibility a “task and finish” project or a long-term quality improvement?
  5. Skills and expertise – What is the focus of training? Who gets it? Is it considered important?
  6. Digital accessibility in policies – Digital accessibility is a vital equality issue. Is it visible in policies?
  7. Culture – Is the focus on minimising risk? Or maximising user experience? Does accessibility straitjacket online learning? Or encourage innovation and experimentation?
  8. User’s digital experience – How consistent is the user experience? How well designed?

Part II: Accessibility maturity in education — from abilitynet.org.uk by Alistair McNaught

Excerpt:

In this article we explore the “Drivers” lens. What is driving your change? The need to be compliant and tick off the boxes? Or a desire to be digitally inclusive, ensuring every student can be as confident, independent and productive as possible?

Part III: Broaden accessibility responsibility beyond learning teams — from abilitynet.org.uk by Alistair McNaught

Excerpt:

At the upper levels of maturity, the confidence and competence of a wide body of staff will mean the organisation moves beyond micromanagement of accessibility. Accessibility may be mandatory but a wide range of templates will be available. Even better, many staff will have enough understanding to create their own accessible content and courses without needing a template. At this level, the following lines of evidence will be available:

  • A senior sponsor will be responsible for digital accessibility across the organisation.
  • Any cross-organisation steering group will be hosted by senior staff, meeting regularly and evidencing positive outcomes.
  • Digital accessibility will be a standing item in self-assessment reviews or quality assurance processes, and appropriate training will be in place to make this meaningful (see the later lens in the final blog coming soon in the series, on skills and expertise!).
  • Students will be actively involved in accessibility developments.

Part IV: Coming soon.


Learn about the Accessibility Maturity Model for Higher and Further Education that AbilityNet and McNaught Consultancy have developed based on Alistair McNaught’s existing model. See here and here.

Some example snapshots:

A virtuous circle of digital accessibility -- positively impacts teaching and learningLenses for self-reflection -- 1 Lenses for self-reflection - 2 Lenses for self reflection - 3

 

Reimagining the Future of Accessible Education with AI (Part I) — from blogs.microsoft.com by Heather Dowdy

Reimagining the Future of Accessible Education with AI (Part 2) — from blogs.microsoft.com by Heather Dowdy
[During Feb 2021], the Microsoft AI for Accessibility program [called] for project proposals that advance AI-powered innovations in education that will empower people with disabilities. Through a two-part series, we are highlighting projects we are supporting.

And an excerpt from Brad Smith’s (4/28/21) posting:

That’s why today we’re announcing the next phase of our accessibility journey, a new technology-led five-year commitment to create and open doors to bigger opportunities for people with disabilities. This new initiative will bring together every corner of Microsoft’s business with a focus on three priorities: Spurring the development of more accessible technology across our industry and the economy; using this technology to create opportunities for more people with disabilities to enter the workforce; and building a workplace that is more inclusive for people with disabilities.

 

Doubling down on accessibility: Microsoft’s next steps to expand accessibility in technology, the workforce and workplace — from Brad Smith, President of Microsoft

Excerpt:

Accessibility by design
Today, we are announcing a variety of new “accessible by design” features and advances in Microsoft 365, enabling more than 200 million people to build, edit and share documents. Using artificial intelligence (AI) and other advanced technologies, we aim to make more content accessible and as simple and automatic as spell check is today. For example:

  • A new background accessibility checker will provide a prompt to fix accessibility issues in content across the core Office apps and Outlook will nudge users to correct accessibility issues.
  • AI in Microsoft Word will detect and convert to heading styles crucial for blind and low-vision readers.
  • A new Excel navigation pane designed for screen readers will help people easily discover and navigate objects in a spreadsheet.
  • We’re expanding Immersive Reader, used by 35 million people every month, to help with the comprehension of PowerPoint slides and notes.
  • In Teams, high-contrast mode can be used to access shared content using PowerPoint Live  which will reduce eye strain and accommodate light sensitivity with Dark Mode in Word.
  • New LinkedIn features that include auto-captioning for LinkedIn Live broadcasts, captions for enterprise content and dark mode later this year.

More than 1 billion people around the world live with a disability, and at some point, most of us likely will face some type of temporary, situational or permanent disability. The practical impacts are huge. 

Addendum on 5/6/21:

 
© 2021 | Daniel Christian