GAAD Student Panel on Digital Accessibility - May 19, 2022

The third Thursday in May is Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD). In keeping with the spirit of GAAD in centering the perspectives of users and critically engaging users as co-designers of more accessible and equitable futures, our Outreach Team at PRCVI hosted a virtual panel of recent blind and low vision K-12 graduates. Participants are currently navigating post-secondary education and/or the world of work.

The focus of this panel was digital accessibility and the experiences of students in learning communities where content in digital format is increasingly the default format. There is much technical guidance on the “how” of digital access (e.g., ARC-BC’s UDLM portal). The purpose of this panel was to provide a learner-centered context for this guidance. In essence, the “why” of digital access.

Digital Accessibility for Blind and Low Vision Learners – Centering Student Perspectives [YouTube; 2hr, 3 min]

Topics discussed by the panel included:

  • When digital accessibility works – features and functions that students find most helpful in accessing digital content?
  • When digital accessibility does not work – challenges encountered by participants and strategies to respond to/address these challenges?
  • Ableism and discrimination – how are these experienced by youth as they create, consume, and share information in digital spaces?
  • Solutions – what works in terms of self-advocacy? What broader (systems-level) change are participants looking for?

About the author

Adam Wilton

I have been fortunate to learn and grow with students with visual impairments since 2007, working as a teacher of students with visual impairments (TSVI), Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist (COMS) and most recently as the Program Manager of PRCVI and ARC-BC. I completed a PhD in Special Education at the University of British Columbia in 2017 where my research focused on the administrative determinants of workloads for itinerant TSVIs.   

One of my favourite aspects of my current role is delivering outreach support to my colleagues and their students from across British Columbia. I've been fortunate to have many exciting adventures in schools and communities across the province and I hope you enjoy following along through #outreaching!

When I'm not on the road, I enjoy learning to play the violin, collecting antique books, and spending time surrounded by trees. 

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