What is a disability? It will mean something different to everyone. It can affect a person’s capacity to communicate, interact with others, physically move, learn, and/or get around independently. However, it is sometimes recognized to inspire others, achieve “regardless” or show differences between people. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), over a billion people, about 15% of the world’s population, have some form of disability (WHO, 2018). Accessibility and inclusion play a role and broadens opportunities for people with disabilities to participate in a every aspect of their life to the fullest extent possible.
In addition to a well-designed physical space, accessibility and inclusion must also be at the forefront for products and services. Is your website accessibility compliant? Is the structure and content accessible to people with visible and invisible disabilities? The international community recognizes that if the Internet is to continue to grow and flourish; it is critically important that it be accessible to all. Over 1 billion people, or 40% of global Internet users, have bought products or goods online. Unfortunately, people with disabilities are often left out (HostingFacts.com, 2019).
Can people receive your services and/or buy products with physical/motor, visual, audio, mental, neurological and/or cognitive challenges? Is it easy to navigate and operate with assistive tools (e.g. screen reader), use clear and concise language, and offer functionality that is easy to understand and access with safety and inclusiveness? Is it efficient enough to work across platforms, browsers and devices? Organizations and businesses of all sizes that integrate web accessibility are more likely to build attraction, be innovative, robust, inclusive enterprises that will have global impact — it maximizes the capacity to connect with the world of opportunities and profit, provides equal access, and equal opportunity to all.
HOW BEST DO YOU LEARN?
Visually? Are you an auditory learner? Do you learn best in an interactive environment, hands-on, and/or experience? It is extremely important to remember that everyone learns best in different ways — not a single, one-size-fits-all solution. The focus should always be to understand the unique needs and help people learn with their different abilities and NOT the disability.
All these questions lead to the required accessibility standards and guidelines which have been established.
This includes the Accessibility Canada Act, 2019 (Bill C-81), Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA, 2005), Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 (WCAG 2.0), Universal Design for Learning 2.0 (UDL 2.0), User Agent Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 (UAAG 2.0), Authoring Tools Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 (ATAG 2.0), Section 508, and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA, 1990). This is to ensure that all services are considered for access by all people. Watch this video “What Does an Accessible Canada Mean to You” for the latest legislation in Canada — Bill C-81 — and its benefits.
Effective inclusive design reduces the need for people to ask for individual accommodation. Organizations, including government, should use the principles of inclusive design when creating policies, programs, procedures, standards, requirements and facilities.  While federal laws require workplace technology to be accessible, the benefits of inclusive design reach far beyond our legal obligation to the people with disabilities we may serve with our products and services, recruit or employ. Inclusive Design requires much greater levels of understanding and empathy and asks you to put yourself in somebody else’s shoes. It helps drive innovation and results in a better experience for everyone.
HOW WE CAN HELP YOU
- Disability Awareness Training
- Building an Accessible Culture Workshop
- Hiring People with Disabilities Workshop
- Information and Communication Assessments and Accessibility-readiness Assessments according to legislation (i.e. the Accessibility Canada Act [Bill C-81], AODA, 2005, WCAG 2.0, and UDL 2.0)
- Accessibility Conversion of Information and Communications [according to compliance standards]
- Standards, Regulations and Guidelines Workplace Training
- Standards, Regulations and Guidelines Customer Service Training
- Motivational Speaking
The simple principles… accommodate, hire, respect and design for the widest range of people will benefit EVERYONE. The results and impact(s) are immeasurably successful with satisfied customers, no costly retrofits, corporate responsibility, dedicated employees, happy users, community, and return on investment!
Our motivated goal is to be a trailblazer of spreading accessibility knowledge in a variety of dynamic ways, help maximize inclusion of people with disabilities in the workforce, change mindsets, build a supportive learning community, and ensure all training is well prepared for a lifetime of inclusion and learning from the very start. Let’s give all individuals equal opportunities to learn…with ACCESS, COMFORT, SAFETY, and JOY!
We would be happy to help. Contact us to assess and learn how we can assist you at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Disability and Health Fact Sheet. World Health Organization 2018.
- Internet Statistics and Facts for 2019. HostingFacts.com.
- Inclusive Design and the Duty to Accommodate Fact Sheet. Ontario Human Rights Commission, n.d.