Assistive Technology for People with Disabilities
Volume 15, Number 1
Self-knowledge & Self-advocacy
Self-knowledge and self-advocacy are the unanimous lessons of three of the articles in this issue of TECH-NJ. LeDerick Horne’s personal story on the cover, the profile of Lauren George on page 4, and my article on the differences between receiving special education services in the Preschool - Grade 12 world and accessing “reasonable accommodations” on college campuses all reach the same conclusion: College is a definite possibility for students with disabilities; the law provides an opportunity for all applicants who meet qualification requirements to attend college.
However, to go beyond simply getting in the door — to succeed in college — students with disabilities must take the initiative to learn about themselves and to advocate for themselves. They must obtain in-depth knowledge about the nature of their disability and the kinds of strategies that support their learning, and they must learn to speak up and assert themselves so that they will be able to access the supports that will help them succeed. Readers can explore this topic in depth by checking out the informative resources that are listed on page 11.
In this issue of TECH-NJ I am also proud to highlight the work of Information Technology staff here at The College of New Jersey. Craig Blaha, Associate Director of Information Policy, Security & Web Development, and Matt Winkel, Web Designer and Usability Analyst, have begun an extraordinary initiative to make the college web site 1) accessible to people with disabilities, and 2) easy-to-navigate for all web users. Their linking together the concepts of “usability” and “accessibility” offers a logical and practical solution to the problem of hyperactive, inaccessible web page designs. A summary of the principles underlying their work is presented in the article on page 3, Web Usability Standards: Guaranteeing Access to All Users; links to their extensive web pages are provided on page 10. I hope their ideas and accomplishments will encourage other colleges and school districts to make web accessibility a priority in their technology plans.