Reading, Writing, Arithmetic and Accessibility

I want to start off by saying that I am very behind in my blogging efforts!  Summer had me running around trying to do 10 things at once and not doing any of them the way they should be done.  I thrive on routine, yet summer vacation tends to have me throwing routine and order out of the window!  Last week however, I began a whole new journey and routine in life, I sent my Kindergartener off to her first year of school!  I found myself with time to breathe and get things organized again, though it is very sad for me to see the end of her preschool years and the time we had together.  I put so much of my life on hold to be home with her full time, and to me there is no better calling I have had than that of Mommy.

I of course will still be Mommy, but in a different way.  Now, I have to work with her through her teachers and school.  This is made easy by the presence of most schools on the internet, or is it?  Just before school started, I visited the website of my daughter’s school.  I found it a very frustrating experience, so much of the information is obtained by hovering your mouse over an area and it will expand to give you links you need.  I tried everything, and was unable to get past certain areas without the use of a mouse, or the ability to hover over text with one.  I then went to the district website to get some information.  This site is mostly accessible, yet the menus for breakfast and lunch are in an inaccessible Adobe Acrobat file, or PDF.  So, I can’t find out what they are serving for lunch and I can’t get a lot of the information offered to students and parents via the school websites.  I am again at a disadvantage, though the info is right at my fingertips, I just can’t get it.

This is just one reason for school sites to be made accessible!  As a parent with a disability, I deserve to have the same info as all of the other parents.  If I were a disabled student, I would also miss out on information available to my peers.  My first step toward helping at least my daughter’s school site to be more accessible will be to meet with them and try to get them to register for Knowbility’s AIR Austin program, where they will have a team dedicated to making their site accessible and compliant with section 508.  I need to get that meeting quickly however, because the deadline for them to register is September 15.  If you or your child is in school, check out their site and see if it is accessible, we’d love to help our public schools out through AIR!

I am finding school to be a bit daunting, getting up with the birds and trying to get a 5 year-old dressed, fed and there before the tardy bell.  It will be helpful however, in giving me more time to post more often about issues relating to accessibility.  I have a long list of topics that I am looking forward to addressing and getting input from readers.  So stay tuned!!

Help us improve Accessibility!

For the last couple of months, I have been collaborating with Jason Hester, a new intern on our Knowbility staff.  We have come up with a survey that we hope will give us some user’s experiences and perspectives with regard to accessibility.  As our efforts to attain universal accessibility expand, we must continue to develop our User Experience models to fit the needs of persons with various disabilities and backgrounds.  Our ability to meet these goals is dependent on your valuable feedback.  If you have time please feel free to take our brief online accessibility survey so that we may better serve the
needs of individuals like you.  I took the survey myself and it is accessible and user friendly for me using jaws, but if you find otherwise, we would love to hear about that as well.  You can find the survey at: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=jQHdxJXRWZBi3_2btSYwEpGA_3d_3d Thanks in advance for your time and feedback!