Thursday, July 15, 2010

People First

All to often we forget to include people differently abled from ourselves. The few times when our society remembers, it generally focuses on the disability and not the person. Many people would instinctually say the blind man, rather than the man who is blind. We need to change this way of thinking, and put people first! People should come first in language and action.

Starting around 12 years of age, I became a Special Olympics volunteer. I credit this early exposure to people with varying abilities to my ability to honor everyone. I highly suggest that people volunteer with Special Olympics, or at least attend an event.

When I was 15, I met a gentleman who had lost his right hand. I was the only person in the group who thought to shake with my left hand. That simple action really impressed the man by honoring his humanity, it also forever impacted me by reminding me that simply actions do make a difference.

I strongly encourage people to at least think about what life is like for others. During my gerontology training, I learned how to evaluate buildings for their accessibility. Simple things, like flooring choice can have a major impact on people. I am a strong supporter of universal design; we should try to design things with a wide group of humanity in mind. I do not want to be singled out for my disability, nor should others be. I wish electronic manufacturers would have taken red-green color defective people into account when they designed LED charging indicators.

I admit that I am not completely aware of how various things can effect peoples lives. Admittedly, this blog is not fully accessible. The Web Accessibility Evaluation Tool (WAVE) is a great resource to check if your site/blog is accessible. I've changed everything I can on this one and the rest is up to Blogger to change.


Please share any information you have on how to empower all people!
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