Disability History Month and Tech Talk 5: Where Accessible, Adaptive and Assistive Technologies Stand in Politics and How We Could Make Them Better?

What’s up TR Fans and welcome back for Vlog 5 of my Disability History Month coverage here on Technology Reviews! So this is my penultimate bit of coverage for this year’s History Month, with the content coming out across all my sites on Tuesday being the final, and I won’t see you then until after Christmas. However, I hope you enjoy this blog, as I look at where accessible, adaptive and assistive technologies stand in politics and with the law, and what could be done to make them, and accessibility all over the world, better.

So on November 8th this year, we celebrated the 25th birthday of the Disability Discrimination Act, which was passed into law in 1995. The Act, which was fought for by disabled people who chained themselves to buses and other bits of transport, ultimately gave people like myself civil rights like everyone else, but how much has actually changed from what it was like to be a disabled person before I was born, to what it’s like now, and can this blog, by mentioning technology and other things, send out an idea of what full equality looks like?

Accessibility According to Politics and the Law in General

So although the Disability Discrimination Act gave us the right to access goods and services, education, employment, transport and accommodation, there are still ways that people working in these sectors have been able to bypass this law. I’ve seen houses being built close to me before that have no disabled access, I’ve gone years feeling I can’t play the same games that my sibling and friends played because I was the physically disabled one (in fairness, the ICT and Gaming Industries seem to be moving forward with that now), and I also haven’t been able to go to places for a day out because of my disability.

So in this blog, I’m going to be looking at 3 points which could get us close to thinking what type of accessible world we want.

1: Photo Sensitive Modes as a Lawful Requirement for Media, Streaming and Gaming Sites

I talked about Photo Sensitive options in Blog 4 of my Disability History Month coverage, which if you haven’t seen yet you can read by clicking Disability History Month and Tech Talk 4: Accessibility Options Developers Could Use to Make Technology and Gaming Accessible for Everyone, or heading over to the Phoebs Does Technology Reviews YouTube or my Soundcloud.

As I said in that blog, I don’t have epilepsy myself, but I know and have known people who do. Some of the flashing lights used in various media content, in games and in movies could be enough to make people have seizures, therefore bringing us into the situation where some people can view this but some can’t, which could violate the access of goods when you consider digital goods. Yes, I understand film and other video content might not be able to do anything, but I think the lawful requirement should at least be there for gaming.

Museums Which Aren’t Wheelchair Accessible Should Lawfully Be Required to Offer a Virtual or Video Version

I talked about Virtual Exhibitions and talks in my second blog of Disability History Month, and mentioned how virtual exhibitions and virtual talks are two things I’d like to see staying around in a post Covid world.

I’m not saying I don’t trust the majority of places to put the procedures into place themselves, because I do, but what happens if there’s one person who is against accessibility? Having a bit of legal back up so that you can access a museum virtual could help disabled people in education and employment feel like they’re protected.

Employment Schemes for Disabled People to Help Point Out if There’s Breaches of Disability Discrimination Act in Regards to Housing

According to https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/research-briefings/cbp-7540/, 288,000 (6.5%) disabled people in the UK are unemployed, with over two thirds of disabled adults (67.6%) still living at home with their parents, according to https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/disability/bulletins/disabilityandhousinguk/2019.

Giving that the Disability Discrimination Act is meant to give disabled people access to goods, employment and accommodation, I think it would be good for there to be schemes which allow disabled people to say if accommodation, or any other buildings such as bars, night clubs etc are accessible to them, because we know what we need. But I also think it would be good for the Virtual Tour idea that museums opted for this year to also extend to housing in a Post Covid World, so we can have a half in-person and half not in-person future, and one that will help our income as well.

So overall, I think the Disability Discrimination Act has been better for disabled people in some aspects of life, but it hasn’t made life completely better. As someone who is coming from the Northern Ireland perspective, although there’s some parts of the law in Mainland GB that might be worth including e.g digital accessibility, I feel lucky as far as the train service goes, as I’ve never had a bad trip using Translink. Yes, I know it has it’s problems, but it’s more so other areas of Northern Ireland’s society I’d like to see change on regards of the Disability Discrimination Act, other than that.

Published by Phoebs Lyle (Breathe On UK)

23 year old HND Broadcast Journalism graduate and disability advocate from Northern Ireland, interested in politics, technology, and how it can become accessible to everyone, fantasy, and other stuff.

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