Students with Disabilities Speak Out

6 Dec 2016

Rutgers Sophomore Laura Etori was leading a normal life until a rare condition known as idiopathic intracranial hypertension caused her to lose her sight three and half years ago.

“My major concern was whether blindness would keep me from pursuing my education.  I had never learned Braille since I had my sight for most of my life.”

Fortunately for Laura, mobile and computer accessibility has allowed her to continue her education, but not without difficulty. This is because not all the pages she wants to view or read for her courses have been made accessible, which can be very frustrating. According to Laura these incidents make her feel more disabled because she can’t do her coursework like everyone else – forcing her to ask for help when she would prefer to do things on her own.

The difficulties faced by Laura and many other students with disabilities stem from a lack of industry standards. According to the Americans with Disabilities Act, online courses must be made accessible to students with disabilities, but it is left up to individual educational institutions to establish their own online standards. Rutgers has taken notice – establishing a committee to speak with students like Laura and research the best ways to make online courses the most accessible for all students, as well as those with disabilities.

Carlie Andrews, senior director of Rutgers’ Office of Disability Services and a member of the Universal Design Committee, says universal design doesn’t just benefit those with disabilities. As we believe at Accessible Web, accessibility is for the good of everyone! Our hope is that other universities will follow Rutgers example. If you or your institution are interested in learning more about how to make accessibility possible, contact us!

To read the original article on Laura click here.