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Public webinars study accessibility differences

Nicholas Parson
Northwest Asia Weekly

The pandemic has widened the difference in the accessibility of persons with disabilities. To correct inequality, public relations company DH held an online webinar event on June 3, which examined ways to improve accessibility and inclusiveness for people of all abilities.

The free webinar is hosted by four speakers, Eva Larrauri de Leon, John McClure, Sara Cravens and Tammi Olson, all of whom are associated with the University of Washington (UW) Center for Rehabilitation and Continuing Education (CCER). The focus of the webinar is how to create more accessible spaces for people with disabilities and encourage people to adopt behaviors and language to support people with disabilities.

“Everyone may have different needs, and in order to be inclusive, we must consciously put it into practice. It benefits all types of learners,” said Larrauri de Leon, assistant director of the CCER project.

She added that the focus of accessibility is to ensure that people of all abilities can access products or events. She said there are two main types of accessibility: communication and physical. She explained that by creating barrier-free communication and physical spaces, adding subtitles to presentations and adding ramps or elevators to buildings, people of all abilities will have a more enjoyable and attractive experience.

According to an assessment conducted by the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation and the Washington State Rehabilitation Commission, 908,818 people with disabilities live in Washington State, accounting for approximately 13% of the total population. Of the total number of people with disabilities in Washington, approximately 4.6% are Asians.

The evaluation also found that among the disabled in Washington, the most common disability is inconvenience, which can hinder or prevent someone from walking. The next most common disability found in the report was cognitive difficulties, independent living difficulties, hearing difficulties, vision difficulties and self-care difficulties.

Larrauri de Leon said: “Without us, we have nothing!” is a call to action for people with disabilities, encouraging them to control the narrative and control their voice on the subject. She said that by involving people with disabilities in conversations about accessibility, the public can build a more accessible world.

Linda Celemon-Karp, the temporary assistant director and continuing education expert of the Northwest ADA Center, said that the center provides accessible information, training, and guidance for people in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington. She said there are many ways to change you. The behavior of the disabled better accommodates and respects the disabled.

Celemon-Karp said that people should eliminate certain insensitive terms from everyday language and adopt new terms, such as “men with mental disabilities”, “women with short stature,” or “men using wheelchairs.” She said they will also “abolish the whole concept of normality, soundness and normality, which means that the disabled are not normal.”

“So the first thing is not to make assumptions. Don’t assume that someone does not seem to be disabled when they are actually disabled,” she said. “And when you see a person with an obvious disability, you realize that we don’t want to make assumptions about what they can and cannot do.”

She said that the life of a disabled person is not miserable, so when talking with a disabled person, you should maintain the same tone and behavior as when you talk to other people. Celemon-Karp said that if disability is not mentioned in the conversation, then there is no need to mention it.

“Doing uncomfortable things is part of establishing a connection with a disabled person, and you may not have established this connection before,” she said. “Because it may be uncomfortable at first, you will get used to it.”

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