A group of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) students from their Fluid Interfaces Group created a combination of hardware and software which allows people to use the movement of their hands in the air to interface with a computer. A wearable computer would allow a person who uses ASL to sign to a hearing person, and the computer would interpret the message into spoken English.
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Every year at Christmastime, to my great pleasure, my wife gives me a puzzle-a-day calendar. Recently, one of the puzzles substituted each word in a familiar proverb with a rhyming word. The puzzle was to guess the proverb. For example, “Many guys sound ghoulish,” becomes “Penny wise, pound foolish.” Another was “Sniff a true wit’s bare pit.” Know the proverb? I’ll tell you the answer at the end of this post.
With Rich Dixon's permission, I've copied an entry from his blog, Bouncing Back. In it, Rich applies an excuse analysis to physical accessibility of church buildings. The same analysis could be used to consider accessibility and inclusion in church communications, language used in worship and other settings, educational programming, youth group, small groups, outreach activities, work projects, and all other church related activities.
With the 20th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) on July 26, it's a good time to reflect on the positive and significant changes brought into the church and into people's lives by this legislation.
When we envision the diverse church, in our minds' eye, we see a diversity of skin colors, foods, ethnic identities, and languages. Usually, we also see we see the young and the old, male and female. But in our vision of the diverse church, we rarely see a boy who uses a wheelchair, woman who lives with mental illness, a girl with Down Syndrome, a man who is blind, or a woman who is Deaf and uses sign language. Why?
Last week I asked why we tend to limit our idea of diversity in church to ethnic diversity. Like one reader responded to the question last week, diversity of ability falls outside of most people's thinking because most people don't want people with disabilities included in their activities.
Let's keep talking about the affects of the Americans with Disabilities act on churches. How has your church been doing at including people with disabilities? What barriers still need to be overcome in building architecture, or in programming and communication, or in peoples' attitudes?
I visited a church recently. They worship in a beautiful, newly renovated facility. Every aspect of the facility meets code for accessibility: all on one level, pew cutouts, wide doorways, sloped surfaces, accessible parking spaces, accessible restrooms. Unfortunately, code doesn’t always square with the reality of living with a disability.
A number of years ago, Wired Magazine published, “The Geek Syndrome,” an article about the high incidence of people with autism and Asperger’s syndrome who live in Silicon Valley, California. Since that time, the connection between technical innovation and autism has been repeated in articles and talks shows...
If you were to ask several people who live with disabilities, “What is the biggest challenge that you face?” They would not start by describing the challenges of day to day living, nor talk about the limitations on their activities. I would guess that most people with disabilities would tell you that the biggest challenge is . . .
Three new resources: importance of educating all of our children, recognizing the vast impact of mental illness on our youth, learning more about disability and its impact.
People with disabilities face "Social deprivation" in a variety of ways due to architectural, communication, and attitudinal barriers in church and society. But as we reduce those barriers in the church, we begin to meet one of the greatest challenges that people with disabilities face. When the church does so, the church fulfills
Exciting things can happen when a large group of people sit behind computers and listen to long speeches that are guided by somewhat arcane rules of order. That’s true every year at the annual meeting of the Christian Reformed Churches, which we call Synod. This year, to me, the most exciting decision came out of the Faith Formation Committee report.
Some people might think that worshipers who stay in their cars for the service are too lazy or antisocial to get out of their cars to worship the Lord. But this unusual setting for worship may be the only way that some are able to attend worship on a regular basis.
James Soliday, a former employee of 7-Eleven who has 95 percent hearing loss, managed several stores effectively for many years, but was terminated, it seems, because a new supervisor was not willing to accommodate for his hearing loss as his supervisors had in the past.
Chris said that when his parents gave him his first voice synthesizer, he went from not speaking to talking in complete sentences in one day. I praise God for Christian leaders like Chris who can speak so articulately. He talks about disability, of course, but more importantly, he talks about what it means to be human.
People reacted in various ways to Dick Clark's continued work after his stroke six years ago. Some laugh at him. Some appreciate him. Some think he should quit. Some are creeped out by him. Some love him. Some are inspired by him. Some swear at him. These are common responses that people with disabilities have to deal with on a day to day basis.
With a severe impairment, a person is disabled by the environment and may not be able to participate because of what we build and create. The failure to proactively provide efficient, timely, reasonable accommodation is measurable disability discrimination. As James said, show me your works.
In 1985, I received a spinal cord injury. Now I can control my body only from the neck up. At the time of the injury, computers were mainly used in large offices. Few homes had them, and they were not linked together outside of an organization. Technology has greatly changed since that time, especially in what is now common, the Internet.
The most common symbol for accessibility features an image of someone in a wheelchair—lifeless, helpless, passive. Temporarily able-bodied people tend to look at people who have disabilities that way, seeing need without recognizing capability and giftedness. A new icon pushes that stereotype aside.