Accessibilty

Teal Pumpkin Project for Halloween Allergy Accessibility

Many kids have food allergies that make Halloween difficult since they can’t eat many candies.

There’s a project called the Teal Pumpkin Project that’s trying to address that. They’re encouraging people to make non-food treats available, and to paint one of your pumpkins teal to indicate that you have non-food treats.

They suggest several non-food options:

Ideas for Non-food Treats  

Available at dollar stores, party supply stores, or online shops, these low-cost items can be purchased and handed out to all trick-or-treaters, or made available in a separate bowl from candy if you choose to hand out both options. Nearly all of these items can be found in a Halloween theme or festive colors.

Glow sticks, bracelets, or necklaces

Pencils, pens, crayons or markers
Bubbles
Halloween erasers or pencil toppers
Mini Slinkies
Whistles, kazoos, or noisemakers
Bouncy balls
Finger puppets or novelty toys
Coins
Spider rings
Vampire fangs
Mini notepads
Playing cards
Bookmarks
Stickers
Stencils

If you want to order this kind of stuff online, one option is the Oriental Trading Company.

Inclusion and accessibility don't go without saying

People don’t know that you will meet their access needs unless you tell them you will. Many people won’t, and people with disabilities can’t read your mind to figure out your intentions.

It goes a long way towards easing stress for everyone if you talk about access explicitly, rather than assuming it goes without saying that you will do the right thing.

For instance, if your store sign says “no dogs allowed” it should also say something like “except service dogs” (don’t say guide dogs specifically, because there are a lot of reasons other than blindness that some people have service animals)

  • This sends the message that you know service dogs exist
  • And that you’re not going to kick them out of the store for having a service dog
  • This does not go without saying; people with service dogs get illegally kicked out of stores all the time

Similarly, if you ban laptops/electronics, it’s important to say “except when they are needed by students with disabilities.” (and not to demand proof of diagnosis).

If you’re organizing a retreat and there is a rule against outside food, it’s important to either make an exception for people with dietary needs, or else work with people to provide them food they can eat. And to make it explicit that you will do this, because it very much does not go without saying.

If you’re advertising an event and it’s in an accessible venue (which it should be), put that information on the fliers (and make sure it’s true). That doesn’t go without saying. Many organizations whose values suggest that they should care about accessibility routinely hold events in completely inaccessible venues. No one will know that you’re doing it the right way unless you tell them. 

There are any number of other examples.

tl;dr: Keep in mind that people with disabilities can’t read your mind, and make it explicit that you will meet access needs, especially if your statements or rules suggest that you won’t.

I kindof need the accessible seats on busses and kindof don’t need them all that badly. Sometimes I just sit in them. Sometimes I sit in them as long as there’s still another one free, but move if they’re all taken. Sometimes I move if I see someone coming onto the bus who looks as if they likely need it more than me. Sometimes I sit in a seat near the accessible seats, because it’s almost as good but there are no rules about leaving them for others.

realsocialskills said:

My situation is similar. (Although I’ve been realizing that I need the seats more than I thought I did, and that it’s ok for me to sit in them if that’s what makes riding the bus possible for me.)

I don’t have much else to say about that, but I think more needs to be said.

Any of y'all want to weigh in?

There are also cases of false assumptions being made about wheelchair users - e.g. they have full hand function, that they aren’t heavy etc. There have been a number of times my dad’s been trapped in lifts because you need to press the small lift buttons (he doesn’t have fine hand control) and the lift can’t carry him (a fully-grown, slightly overweight man) his electric wheelchair (built in the 1980s), and a button-pusher, due to weight restrictions or space in the lift car.
realsocialskills answered:
Yes, those are all also things that can cause access features to be inaccessible.
Sometimes these things are designed as though all people who need flat entrances and lifts are all either little children, accompanied by able-bodied people, or 20-something paraplegic athletes who use lightweight manual chairs.
And that’s really not the reality.

How ramps can be inaccessible

lindseyelarson:

neednothavehappenedtobetrue:

into-the-weeds:

realsocialskills:

Anonymous asked: 
I agree with you. I’d just like more information so I can understand it better and imagine it more clearly. How exactly do the people with strollers make the ramps inaccessible to wheelchair users? Do they also make the ramps inaccessible to other stroller users? Or is using a wheelchair on a ramp a lot more difficult than using a stroller on a ramp? Do the wheelchair users need a lot of space? How much? Do they need to use momentum? How can you tell if someone wants to use the ramp?



into-the-weeds said:

PEOPLE CHAIN THEIR BIKES AT THE ENDS OF RAMPS. THIS BLOCKS THE RAMPS. DO NOT DO THIS.

neednothavehappenedtobetrue said:

an incomplete list of things not to do on ramps

-sit

-leave your stacks of bags

-leave your laptop plugged in and charging (you’re lucky I didn’t fucking crush it) 

-make out standing on the ramp, forcing me to get your attention so I can make you move.

-sit on ramp, when asked to stop sitting on the ramp, glare at me because I’m not in a wheelchair

-sit on ramp, loudly protest that you are not in the way because nobody is blocking the stairs,

-sit on ramp, point someone who is trying to use it toward the stairs!

-sit on ramp, when asked to stop sitting on the ramp, move 0.5 inches out of the way, still blocking 70% of the ramp.

-“no, totally you can get through.”

lindseyelarson said:

Other things that make ramps inaccessible

-Steepness. Older ramps and those for some small business often have a pitch that can only be traveled if someone is pushing you. 

-poor maintenance

-poor cleaning in the winter

-ultra narrow ramps

Honestly the list of things that make ramps inaccessible is longer than the list of things that make them accessible   

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daggerpen:

Attention fellow photosensitives!

I’d like to take a moment to tell you all about what is now easily my favorite XKit add-on, Disable Gifs.

Disable Gifs is almost everything I could have wanted from a photosensitive accessibility add-on. It will:

  • Automatically stop gifs on your dashboard. This feature isn’t quite perfect, because it will only freeze gifs that are part of a photo post (meaning that you’re out of luck if someone adds a really flashy gif anywhere in the comment section, which is why non-photosensitive folk still need to please tag for this stuff), but it will definitely help with the majority of flashy things that will pass your dashboard.
  • Allow you to play individual gifs at will. Specifically, each photo post with an animated gif will have a “Play Gif” (see image) option at the bottom of it. Simply click on this to animate all of the gifs in a post. If you want to see a specific gif in a photoset, just click on that image to view it with Tumblr’s photo viewer, and it’ll pop up and play.
  • Easily stop gifs again once played. That gif a bit too much for you? You hate seeing it out of the corner of your eye? Just hit the “Play Gif” button again and it’ll stop.

Seriously, guys. My Tumblr experience is now so much better thanks to this add-on. Its main drawbacks are that it doesn’t stop gifs within the body of text and that it might slow down your computer, but I haven’t had any performance issues with this as of yet, and I’ve still found that it’s dramatically reduced how often I get triggery gifs on my dash. A+, would highly recommend.

To welcome this add-on into your life, first get XKit if you do not have it, and then go to your XKit “Get Extensions” tab, search for “Disable Gifs”, and click “install.”

Oh, and if you’re doing this during the holiday season, to turn off the annoying flashy Christmas lights, hit “Festivus Person?” in the lower right hand corner.

I live with roommates, and they do things that wouldn’t bother other people, but bother me, because I have *problems*. For instance, they leave out bottles of cough syrup and dog food on the kitchen counter. Those things make me nauseious and anxious because of childhood trauma and IBS, and make it hard for me to be able to eat. I’d like to ask them to leave them on the sideboard. But I don’t think they’d understand and will think I’m being controlling and unreasonable.
realsocialskills answered:
I don’t know, unfortunately. But I understand the problem - when you have unusual needs, it can be really hard to communicate that they are real things and not just you being controlling.
Have any of y'all found ways of handling this?

Searching for Knowledge: Don't take the accessible seats if you don't need them

whiitiestwhiitegiirl:

realsocialskills:

A lot of places have a few designated accessible seats, for instance:

  • Movie theaters will often have some seats next to wheelchair seating areas.
  • Bathrooms often have one accessible stall and several more inaccessible stalls
  • Busses usually have designated seating near…

whiitiestwhiitegiirl said:

Argh ^This but also don’t assume that just because the person doesn’t have a wheelchair that there’s nothing wrong with them. Iv been yelled at so many times for sitting in those seats on the bus, by people that didn’t even want/need the seat, because Im young and they think that I cant possibly have anything wrong. Its just so upsetting and unnecessary for all involved. People need to start thinking more about how their actions affect those around them :)

realsocialskills said:

This. You can’t tell by looking who needs the seats. You only know whether *you* need them. Harassing people in the seats is just as much of an access barrier as sitting in them.

summersaysso asked:

Regarding the question about textbooks via audio:

  • If I can slow a book’s reading speed down, that often helps me.
  • Also, I often pause the player, and repeat key phrases to myself a couple of times.
  • What I think would be more effective for me, though, would be to pause the player, and doodle a little picture of whatever the key concept is before continuing. I’m a visual thinker.
  • In that vein, it can help me a lot if I can find a DVD in the school library, or a YouTube or Khan Academy video on the topic. It gives me sort of a base, and then when I return to the textbook it’s sort of easier to take in. 
— 

More on focusing on audio versions of text - besides taking notes (even unintelligible notes - just writing something from the audio down enforces it), audacity is also great for audio adjustments and is free. For hard texts, sometimes I close my eyes to better focus, while easy ones I can sometimes get while doing other activities. If a part seems important, go back and re-listen. I always end up with sections that I have heard 5 times and some I only hear once.

With the accessible seats thing, is it okay to sit in one if you’re with someone who needs one? For example, if you’re going to the cinema with a family member who is in a wheelchair, but you don’t personally need one, is it okay to sit in the accessible seat row with them?
realsocialskills said:
Yes, that’s usually ok. (And important!). Being disabled shouldn’t mean that someone can’t ever sit with their friends.
I feel like there are exceptions, but I can’t think of any offhand. Any of y'all have examples?

saturdaycartoon:

body positive zone: Don’t take the accessible seats if you don’t need them

realsocialskills:

A lot of places have a few designated accessible seats, for instance:

  • Movie theaters will often have some seats next to wheelchair seating areas.
  • Bathrooms often have one accessible stall and several more inaccessible stalls
  • Busses usually have designated seating near…

saturdaycartoon said:

SERIOUSLY

I saw a fully able bodied woman pull out of the only accessible parking spot at Starbucks today in her big ass SUV. I almost lost my shit. If you ever think you’re that important, turn your self around, go back home and think about your life. 

realsocialskills said:

It’s not a good idea to lose your shit on someone because they look like they’re using access features they don’t need.

Not everyone who needs accessible parking looks disabled in any way that’s ever shown in the media.

And disabled folks who’re perceived as faking it are subjected to a lot of violence.

Don’t be part of the problem.

iammyfather:

Uppity Negress: Some examples of social violence against disabled folks

sappy-nirvana:

frogsandrosbifs:

realsocialskills:

I wrote a post a while back about writing characters with disabilities. I said that in real life, disabled folks experience social violence regularly. In order to write realistic disabled characters, it’s important to write in…

iammyfather said:

Scaring people.  Some people think that if they see a blind person they can walk up and grab their arm and be “helpful”.  Think about it for a second. you’re in a crowd and a complete stranger comes up from behind, grabs you, and says “I’m here to help.” how would you feel.  I If you really want to help, Introduce yourself and ASK.  a simple “May i help you?” isn’t that hard.  If the person answers yes, THEN place your elbow  ahead of the unused hand and say “just reach forward and take my elbow.” Easy, non invasive, and helpful.  If the person says NO, do NOT insist.  Also if some one is deaf, DO NOT SHOUT.  It don’t help and it is embarrassing.

Getting real about physical accessibility

Something I’ve noticed:

There are a lot of ramps, seating areas, lifts, and other such things that aren’t available to wheelchair users because they are constantly full of people pushing children in strollers.

Sometimes, this is because people are astonishingly inconsiderate, but often it’s the result of terrible design.

People assume that accessibility features are only useful for chair users. Then they design them to only have enough capacity for the (small) number of chair users they expect to be there. Then, everyone with a stroller uses them, and the building remains almost as inaccessible to wheelchair users as it was before.

When you are creating an accessibility feature, do not fall into this trap! Design it to have the capacity for all of the things it will be used for.

Some concrete examples:

  • If your building has multiple high-traffic entrances, it needs to have multiple ramps
  • Elevators need to have enough capacity to accommodate the number of kids in strollers, chair users, and people with luggage who will come through on a regular basis.
  • Family restrooms should be accessible. So should some of the stalls in the regular men’s/women’s/unisex bathrooms.

Just, generally speaking, keep in mind that in order to make an access feature usable, there has to either be enough to go around, or enforcement preventing unauthorized use. Unless you want to chase mothers and infants away from your ramp, make it big enough to accommodate traffic from both wheelchair users and strollers.

Make Tumblr conversations more accessible for screenreader users

This is a post about how Tumblr conversations are inaccessible, and what people can do to fix that. I’ve included an example that isn’t accessible, and a fixed version that is. 

A lot of conversations happen in chains of reblogs on Tumblr. These conversations tend to be largely inaccessible to folks who use screen readers. For instance:

Example person 3
Example person 2
Example person 1

Hi! I like cats!

I also like cats! 

I prefer dogs.

Example ends here.

A screen reader would read this example this way: Example person 3 Example Person 2 Example person 1 Hi! I like cats! I also like cats! I prefer dogs.

This doesn’t make it clear who is talking. You can tell that multiple people are involved, but not who says what.

There is a simple solution to this: label when the speaker changes.

For instance:

Example person 3

Example person 2
Example person 1

Hi! I like cats!

Example person 2 said:

I also like cats! 

Example person 3 said:

I prefer dogs.

Example over. A screen reader would read this as:

Example person 3 example person 2 example person 1

Hi! I like cats!

Example person 2 said: I also like cats!

Example person 3 said: I prefer dogs!

This is much easier to follow. If you can do it this way, it would be a good thing to do. (For the same reason that it’s good to describe images).

Disability Parking Space Abuse

livingwithdisability:

Blue Badge Blues reblogged from http://www.latentexistence.me.uk/

Blue Badge Blues

I’d like to show you some tweets. I’ve provided a screenshot as they have now been deleted.

Tweets boasting about stealing disabled parking bays

The text of these tweets reads

“The dirty looks you get for parking in a disabled bay :D :D ”

“Like there’s not 1000 empty disabled bats and only 1 normal space the other end of the car park “

After a few people noticed these tweets and tweeted their objections (Six replies) she then tweeted

“The spam I just got in my feed about parking in a disabled bay is too jokes :D :D :D :D ”

“These people are protective over their bays loool”

The tweets were then deleted an hour later.

This isn’t a rare occurrence. An awful lot of people think that they should have the right to park in parking bays reserved for disabled people. People like George OsborneNigel Farage and Worcester police. Often people think it’s OK to park in a disabled parking bay late at night as though disabled people aren’t allowed out at night, or they think it’s OK because they’re “only going to be a minute” or because “they’ll move if anyone needs it”. Some people just don’t care, and in fact feel so entitled to park where they like that they issue death threats.

It’s not OK though. Those bays exist for very good reasons. They are for people who struggle to walk and need to park close to the shop because otherwise they may be in pain as a result of walking, or maybe they can’t get that far at all. They are for people with chronic illnesses who will be exhausted after that short walk. They are for people who use wheelchairs and need the marked space around the bay to open their doors enough to get the wheelchair out. They are for people whose joints don’t bend much and who can’t contort themselves to fit through a door that only opens as far as the next car in a standard space. And don’t think that someone in a wheelchair will have no problem with going further – plenty of people cannot self-propel in a wheelchair any further than they can walk because of pain or being prone to dislocations or fractures.

Disabled people need those reserved parking spaces to help them overcome the barriers between them and a normal, equal life. You may be able to walk from the other end of the car park, even if it’s a bit far, a bit tiring, and maybe your legs hurt because you’re not used to exercise. For people who qualify for a blue badge, walking from the other end of the car park is a distant dream. If the choice is between park at the other end or not go into the shop, they probably can’t go into the shop.

“I’ll only be a minute”

This is probably the most common excuse. It’s not an excuse though. Don’t do it. In that “minute” which will probably actually be five or ten minutes, a disabled person may have arrived, been unable to park, had no idea how long you would be and then turned around and gone home. They might not have been able to stop and wait because of traffic. They may well not have the energy or be in too much pain to return very quickly.  Or maybe they parked in a standard space much further away, then hurt themselves by trying to walk that much further.

“I’ll move if someone needs it”

This seems like a reasonable excuse, especially if waiting in the car. Again, it’s not an excuse for a number of reasons. First of all, the person that needs the space might not see you waiting in the car to ask. If the driver is not with the car then the disabled person won’t know that they would move it, and they probably can’t park to go and find the driver to ask them. Sometimes they could send a bystander to ask them, but that has variable results.

There’s also the strong possibility of getting verbally or physically attacked just for asking someone to move. This happens, and it happens a lot. How is someone to know whether you will turn out to be nasty or nice?

“There’s loads of spaces”

This excuse tends to happen most at night and it’s possibly the least-bad. It is often true that there are lots of spaces at supermarkets. But take a look at how far those spaces are from the door. The distance from shop to space might be twenty metres for the closes one, but it could be a hundred metres or more for the farthest space. Unfortunately the people who use this excuse tend to park in the closest space to the shop and at my local Tesco it’s not uncommon for the first ten spaces to be filled with cars with no blue badge on display if I go there at 10pm. (Which I do a lot because my illness messes up my sleeping pattern.) The person using this excuse also has no idea how many people might need to park before they return. If lots turn up, they’ll be parking much further away.

Then there’s the unthinking shops that leave stuff in the disabled parking bays.

Or even put more permanent things in those bays.

This video explains why people need disabled parking bays.

I’ll leave you with some thoughts from @FunnyGrrrl

I recommend that all Blue Badge holders follow this example and tweet the owner of the car park using the hashtag #GiveUsSomeSpace whenever they are unable to park in the disabled parking bay.

 brokenallbroken answered: If you’re in the US, it’s possible the building violates Americans with Disabilities Act. Check ada.gov for the complaint procedure.

Yes, it is probably illegal for the building to be inaccessible.

And making a complaint would be a good thing to do, but it probably won’t solve the problem. There isn’t a lot available to enforce the ADA, and there are a lot of higher-priority violations than a movie theater.

And even if the theater was effectively forced to comply with the ADA, it would take time.

So I think it’s still worth talking about what someone working for an inaccessible business ought to do if they aren’t in a position to solve the problem.

My workplace (a theatre) is really inaccessible to people with physical disabilities. I’ve pointed it out to the manager, who isn’t interested in fixing the problems. When people with physical disabilities come into the building, the best thing I know how to do is let them know ahead of time what parts of the building they won’t be able to access (bathrooms, all but the last rows of the auditorium, etc.) It doesn’t feel like enough. Could you talk about some other useful ways to help?

I think there’s probably not much you have the power to do as far as fixing it. Depending on where you’re situated, you might be able to tell the owner, or report it to a local organization that deals with accessibility issues. But, it’s very likely that you won’t be able to fix things that way.

Assuming that you won’t be able to fix it, here are some things you can do:

  • When people call and ask about accessibility issues, be honest
  • And specific. Listen to the questions people ask, and answer them honestly.
  • Sometimes you won’t know the answers. When you don’t know, say that you don’t know.
  • If it’s something you can check, offer to check.
  • If people are angry, don’t try to defuse their anger. Don’t tell them it’s not your fault. It’s not their job to make your feel better about the state of accessibility. They have a right to be angry,
  • Maybe ask if they want to talk to the manager? They *might* be more interested in the problem if customers complain.
  • Find out if there’s an accessible theater nearby. If people call and ask if your theater is accessible in a way yours isn’t, tell them “Unfortunately not, but <other place> is.”
  • Familiarize yourself with access issues other than wheelchair access, too. Does your workplace offer captions? Descriptive audio? Sensory-friendly screenings? For which films?
  • If not, which theaters do?

Anyone else want to weigh in? People with access needs, what would you want someone to do in this situation? People who’ve been in this situation, did you figure out anything good to do?

making text more readable

Having aspergers and and ADD has made communicating with people very difficult, especially in relationships. I’ve found that writing helps but reading is hard because I get lost in blocks of words and unable to focus. Are there things that can be done to help with communication and reading replies etc?
Sometimes it helps to paste the text into a document and then use either white space or color coding to help you keep track.
Here’s how I do color coding:
  • I paste the text I want to read into Word
  • I turn all the text blue
  • As I read the text, I turn it black again
  • That enables me to keep track of which parts I have and haven’t read

Formatting the text can also help. This is how I do it with emails:

  • I hit the reply button so that I can edit the text
  • Then I put in paragraph breaks where I think there are conceptual breaks
  • This means I can move around on the page more easily when I want to re-read a particular part

More on restricted diets

More on restricted diets

Do not take food issues personally.

If someone can’t eat something, it’s not personal:

  • It isn’t a rejection of your hospitality
  • It isn’t an insult to your cooking skills
  • It isn’t a comment on your health, your lifestyle, or your diet

It’s also not any of your business:

  • Don’t expect an intimate conversation about the reasons behind the food restriction
  • Don’t make a big deal about it
  • Do not comment about weight loss
  • Do not offer unsolicited medical advice
  • Do not offer unsolicited health advice
  • Or unsolicited religious commentary
  • Or your views on vegetarianism

And especially, don’t do dangerous things:

  • Don’t try to trick people into eating things
  • Even if you think their food issue is a ridiculous phobia and that tricking them would cure it
  • Seriously, seriously, don’t do that
  • It won’t help, and this kind of thing can and does kill people
  • And, in any case, irrational people also have the right to say no

You do not need to agree that the person is correct about what to eat in order to interact with them respectfully. You just have to arrange for it to be possible for them to be in spaces you’re in, and for it to be predictable whether there will be anything for them to eat there.