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Learning About

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Accessibility shouldn’t be an afterthought to creating media, but it so often is. Making accessible media is not only important, but also the difference between including and alienating your audience. In this first module, we will deepen our understanding of how disabled people are represented in the media, and how the language we use around disability affects and influences societal ideas and stereotypes.

We will learn about the different laws and regulations that enforce accessibility in institutions, public spaces and media that ensure disabled people have equal rights to access. Legislation is important, but it is not the only thing that needs to be made more inclusive – systematic barriers for disabled people exist at every level of public life, from federal laws on unfair hiring practices to the need for captions on TikTok. In this module we will also learn about universal and inclusive design, which benefits everyone and opens up the ways we can interact with the world around us. We will take a look at different ways of communication, through signs, symbols and speech. Most importantly, we will set our intentions to “design like we give a damn” (Leonie Watson, 2014).

Image: A green Stop Gap ramp outside a store entrance. Credit: Anne Zbitnew

Learning Outcomes

  • Analyze the principles of accessibility, inclusive design and universal design in order to acknowledge systemic barriers in media and in the world.
  • Learn accessible ways of communication and why it’s important to understand their histories and day to day use.
  • Evaluate the principles of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in order to understand the legislative standards to date in Ontario and the United States.
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