Is your station accessible? Some excellent checklists to find out

As I am fond of saying, “you don’t know what you don’t know”.  Thankfully when it comes to accessibility of our station buildings, documents and communications, others have done the work for us with these easy to use checklists:

  • AusCamps Association have made this fantastic resource for assessing access that includes background info on legislative requirements and suggestions for changes to improve access of marketing materials, signs and communication, emergency management,  public phones and transport, parking,  paths, buildings, doorways, stairs, ramps, floors, lighting, furniture, kitchens, bathrooms,  outdoor activities and more.  Very comprehensive and well laid out. Recommended. http://www.auscamps.asn.au/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/FullAccessibility_Checklist.pdf

 

 

 

  • The Australian Network on Disability Event Accessibility checklist signals what to look for when choosing an event venue, making invitations, marketing and communications, wayfinding, room arrangement, audio-visuals, presentations and catering: https://www.and.org.au/pages/event-checklist.html

 

 

 

If you don’t have the time, think about paying for an accessibility audit.  The Australian Human Rights Commission recommends http://www.access.asn.au

Enjoy!

 

 

MEDIA RELEASE: Radio 4EB’s Katharina Loesche wins the CBAA National Features and Documentary Series 2018 with doco about Achilles Brisbane

CBAA press release: Radio 4EB, Brisbane’s Katharina Loesche has taken home the 2018 CBAA Community Radio Award in the National Features and Documentary Seriescategory for her radio documentary ‘The Runners’ Guide’.

In ‘The Runners’ Guide’, Katharina followed a running group of vision-impaired joggers, finding solutions to get exercise in the Brisbane area.

It was produced as part of the 2018 National Features and Documentary Series, an annual showcase of work by new and emerging Australian community radio producers.

It is now available as part of the fifth instalment of the NFDS, an annual showcase of work by new and emerging Australian community radio producers.

With training and mentoring provided by the Community Media Training Organisation (http://cmto.org.au), eight producers based at community stations across the country turned their idea into a new half-hour feature for a national audience over 2018.

Discover all and previous year’s series at http://nfds.org.au.

Through these eight new features, individuals tell engaging stories about issues affecting their communities from mining to farming, mediating street drug use, exercising with impaired vision, and migration across generations. Works include:

  • The Runners’ Guide – Katharina Loesche (4EB, Brisbane)
  • Healthy Soils, Healthy Communities – Barry Green (Donnybrook Community Radio, Donnybrook)
  • Hear Our Voices – Aguer Athian (3ZZZ, Melbourne)
  • To Say I Am Home – Mahendra Chitrarasu (Radio Adelaide)
  • Hidden Carers – Meredith Gilmore (Coast FM 963, Gosford)
  • At The Coalface – Nikola Van de Wetering (4ZZZ, Brisbane)
  • The Shooting Gallery – Aoife Cooke (3CR, Melbourne)
  • Finding Voice – Mick Paddon and Humayun Reza (Eastside FM, Sydney)

Free for airplay on Australian community broadcasters, the series can be heard online at http://nfds.org.au, through iTunes and your favourite podcast app or platform.

Produced with the assistance of the Department of Communications and the Arts via the Community Broadcasting Foundationhttp://cbf.org.au

EVENT: Fostering your station’s accessibility @ #CBAAconf2018

Find out what you can do to make your station more accessible, and engage a largely untapped font of new and enthusiastic volunteers!

Sat November 10, 2018 at the 2018 Community Broadcasting Association of Australia Conference, Gold Coast Convention Centre.

This workshop, presented by Kim Stewart (4ZZZ and CMTO) and Emma Couch (CMTO), Sancha Donald from 2RPH and with special guest Alison Maclean.

Find out more at this link: https://www.cbaa.org.au/conference/2018-conference-program

Teaching yourself accessibility

If you want to create accessible documents, websites or digital newsletters for your community radio station, you might benefit from checking out these online courses.  Accessibility means making sure your content is available to as many people as possible, increasing audience, participation and social justice. Become an #A11y today!

Some free online courses:

Udacity have a 2 week free course:

Web Accessibility with Google: Developing with Empathy “In this course you’ll get hands-on experience making web applications accessible. You’ll understand when and why users need accessibility. Then you’ll dive into the “how”: making a page work properly with screen readers, and managing input focus (e.g. the highlight you see when tabbing through a form.) You’ll understand what “semantics” and “semantic markup” mean for web pages and add ARIA markup to enable navigating the interface with a range of assistive devices. Finally, you’ll learn styling techniques that help users with partial vision navigate your pages easily and reliably.” Free, 2 weeks.

Future learn 5 week free course:

Digital Accessibility: Enabling Participation in the Information Society “With a better understanding of users’ needs, technologies can be developed to be accessible & provide a more inclusive environment”

Some paid and subscription options:

Lynda.com (subscription only) has a number of accessibility courses :

  • Chad Chelius’ Creating Accessible PDFs shows you how to take an existing PDF and make it accessible: “When you make your PDFs accessible, it means adding tags, bookmarks, alt text, and other information that makes the files readable to users who are visually or mobility impaired. Using Microsoft Word and Adobe InDesign, it’s now much easier to create valid, accessible PDF files. In this course, Chad Chelius explains why accessibility is important and what features an accessible PDF should include, before showing you two workflows for creating accessible PDFs: one in Word and one in InDesign. He also covers making an existing PDF file accessible using tools in Adobe Acrobat.”
  • Joe Dolsons WordPress Accessibility: “If you build a website with WordPress, build it with accessibility in mind. Making your content, themes, navigation, and other site features accessible helps everyone including visitors who want to find your site through search engine results. This course, merging WordPress coding with accessible web design techniques, helps you make sure your website meets modern accessibility standards. You’ll learn how to use the power of WordPress to quickly build a beautiful and accessible website that can be used by people with different types of abilities. Author Joe Dolson provides a broad introduction to accessibility and then focuses on practical steps to make sure your WordPress themes, plugins, and content are accessible and usable to all.”

Australian Professional certificate in web accessibility, 6 weeks starting in Jan 2019:

For those seeking a professional certificate to add to your CV, this fee-help course is for you. By Distance Ed at the University of Adelaide in collaboration with the Centre for Inclusive Design.

“Now you can gain an internationally-recognised professional qualification in web accessibility. The Professional Certificate in Web Accessibility (PCWA). What sets it apart? The PCWA:

  • Is for everyone who wants to upskill, no matter where you are – students take the course from North America, the UK, Europe, South East Asia, Australia, and more.
  • Teaches the essential principles and techniques for achieving accessibility compliance.
  • Helps organisations meet obligations under the Disability Discrimination Act in Australia, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and more, to not only reach more people more effectively, but to lessen the litigation risk resulting from inaccessibility.
  • Assists Government departments (and agencies or contractors doing Government work) to meet mandated accessibility requirements as outlined by the Digital Transformation Agency (DTA).
  • Guides management on international best practice in accessibility, including adherence to the W3C’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 and Section 508, etc.
  • Provides students with the opportunity to discuss, share, connect and interact with other professionals facing similar challenges.
  • Enhances your skills through learning from specialist lecturers and completing graded, practical assessments and validates your new-found expertise.
  • Gives you hands-on experience of how people with various disabilities access the web.
  • Enables teams to develop websites, apps and digital communications that work for more people, including the ageing population.

GitHub list of accessibility courses:

Free, paid, university, private colleges, webinars, certificates, and meetups of A11ys.

Lots of useful accessibility training links at GitHub

EVENT: The Runners Guide listening party, Brisbane

“My feature is about Barbara and Jane, both vision impaired, who were lonely and like one of the main characters said “me and my guide dog where getting fatter and fatter”. With the help of a wonderful initiative here in Brisbane, they changed their life around – they started running.”

Please join us for the listening party of:

The Runners’ Guide

– finalist in the National Documentaries and Features Series 2018, Community Radio Awards.

Get to meet Birgit, Barbara and Jane from Achilles Brisbane, producer Katharina (Radio 4EB) and her mentor Kim (Radio 4ZZZ) who are telling a very personal story of how running changed lives, even when there’s more to overcome than your “inner couch potato”…

Drinks & nibbles provided.

Limited seats available, please register.

General Admission $5 (box office).

Where:  at 4EB, 140 Main St, Kangaroo Point, Brisbane.

4:30-6pm Sunday October 21.

Facebook event link: https://www.facebook.com/events/1695566820553722/?active_tab=about

Katharina Loesche created her very first radio documentary for the National Documentary and Features Series with the Community Media Training Organisation.  She talks about it here (link)

She is a radio producer who convenes 4EB Brisbane’s German Show and provides content for radio for SBS’s Your Language

Link to SBS site: https://www.sbs.com.au/yourlanguage/person/katharina-loesche-0

Words: How to refer to people with a disability

People with a disability are often described in the media using stereotypes. Stereotypes stigmatise groups who are depicted in this shallow manner and affect people’s lives. That’s why it’s important that we change the ways we talk about people with a disability to respect the person, and not make disability a focus of our attention. For community radio producers, we have the Code Of Practice to remind us to be careful about avoiding discrimination in our reporting:

We will not broadcast material that is likely to stereotype, incite, vilify, or perpetuate hatred against, or attempt to demean any person or group, on the basis of ethnicity, nationality, race, language, gender, sexuality, religion, age, physical or mental ability, occupation, cultural belief or political affiliation. (Code Of Practice s3.3)

Given this obligation, community radio producers need to attend to how their depiction of marginalised people might frame them as stereotypes. McRuer (2006) identified three main media frames that misrepresent the real life experiences of people with a disability: disability as tragedy, triumph over disability, and super-crip. Words are also a problem, especially as trends in the English language change so often. One of the great things about protest movements is their capacity to reclaim insulting and negative words for there own purposes.  Just as ‘queer’ has been reclaimed by the LGBTIQ+ communities, ‘crip’ is now common parlance amongst disability rights activists, declaring it is now it’s ‘hip to be crip’ and applying a disability lens to social and political issues as ‘cripping’ like the 2016 #cripthevote did during the US elections (Disability Visibility Project, 2016).

However, there are still lots of words that hurt and misrepresent, and some of them have a long pedigree in the news media.

Some research has examined what people with a disability think about the way they are depicted in the media. Johnson (1994) asked people with a disability what they thought of a range of words common used by news media to describe them. The words included “handicapped”, “disabled”, “wheelchair bound”, “victim”, “crippled”, “differently abled”, “handi-capable”, “physically challenged” and “person with a disability” (p.27). Few liked the term “handicapped” for its perceived reference to begging “cap in hand”, and that some had it imposed upon them by service agencies; but neither did they like “handi-capable”. The former was recognised as a word commonly used at that time in legislation.

“Disabled” was preferred for its lack of connotations of inability to function and that it was being embraced widely by the disability rights movement at that time, the typical way that social movements acquire nomenclature according to Johnson’s analysis (p.28). “Person with a disability” was perceived as putting the person first, although it was perceived as “awkward” to say with one respondent saying “journalists will never use it consistently due to length” (p.29). The claiming of terminology has a “liberating” function for one participant, who felt he was, “reclaiming my personhood from a society that had treated me as “less than” solely on how I walked”; Ten years later the participant was also comfortable with “disabled”…I am proud now to be  “a disabled person” …to have persevered” (p.29). Naming is a complex issue, but first and foremost it needs to be decided and claimed by the people it describes for it to be empowering.

Johnson notes that “physically challenged” gained ascendancy in the early 1990s amongst news writers, but people with a disability did not like the term, calling it “condescending” says Johnson, perpetuating the idea that disabilities are too confronting to deal with directly and need to be described by euphemisms and that the so-called challenges are actually problems that lie in the environment, not the person (p.31). A Google News search in September 2018 returned 67,000 results containing the term “physically challenged” in the title to describe a person with a disability, indicating it is still widely used by journalists.

Johnson notes that the phrase “wheelchair bound” was the subject of media activism by people with a disability in the mid-1980s, through appeals to publishers of style guides, and by directly ridiculing newspapers using it by sending them pictures of people chained to wheelchairs. But it remains persistent in the journalist lexicon, being used as recently as September 22, 2018 in the Sydney Morning Herald (O’Mallon, 2018), with 40 other occurrences globally on that day alone, according to a Google News search by the researcher. “Victim” has also been the target of activism, but remains in use in conjunction with disability in the media.

While media agencies like the Media and Arts Alliance, and the Australian Press Council make standards and codes, those paper tigers obviously aren’t affecting change if after more than 20 years, ‘wheelchair bound’ is still in use in the mainstream media. One  likely reason the Murdoch media still use sensationalist reporting of disabilities is because they sell papers to the curious, and as newspaper sales are in decline, we will see even more sensationalist ‘reporting’.

In 2017 Griffith University in Queensland began an advocacy journalism project Open Doors to improve the representation of people with a disability in the media by allowing journalism students to connect with people with a disability to help them gain a better understanding of the lived experience of having a disability (Valencia-Forrester, 2017). Read about that project at this link: https://projectopendoors.org/stories/

So what words are now ok?

To find out that, you need first to ask people with a disability.  If it’s in the context of an interview, ASK: how should I describe your disability?

Here are some substitutes:

Do say:

  • disability
  • people with disabilities
  • segregated school
  • seizures
  • needs
  • person with a spinal chord injury
  • person with autism
  • person with down syndrome
  • person of short stature
  • wheelchair user
  • has a learning disability
  • has a brain injury
  • blind, low vision
  • deaf, hard of hearing
  • intellectual disability
  • amputee, has limb loss
  • congenital disability
  • burn survivor
  • person living with (insert condition here)
  • post polio-syndrome, has (insert condition here)
  • service animal or dog
  • psychiatric disability
  • accessible parking
  • accessible toilet
  • ASK: how should I describe your disability?

Don’t say:

  • differently abled, challenged
  • the disabled, handicapped
  • special school
  • fits
  • special needs
  • cripple
  • autistic
  • mongoloid, retarded
  • midget, dwarf
  • confined to a wheelchair, wheelchair-bound
  • slow learner
  • brain damaged
  • visually handicapped, blind as a bat
  • deaf-mute, deaf and dumb
  • gimp, lame
  • birth defect
  • burn victim
  • suffers from polio (or any other disease)
  • Parkinson’s sufferer
  • seeing-eye dog
  • crazy, psycho, schizo
  • handicapped parking, disabled restroom
  • Rude to ask: What happened to you? because it’s none of your business

References:

Community Broadcasting Association of Australia. (2008). Community Radio Broadcasting Codes of Practice Retrieved from HERE

Disability Visibility Project. (2016). #CripTheVote: Our voices, our vote. Retrieved from https://disabilityvisibilityproject.com/2016/01/27/cripthevote-our-voices-our-vote/

Johnson, M. (1994). Sticks and stones:  The language of disability. In J. A. Nelson (Ed.), The disabled, the media, and the information age. Westport: Greenwood Press.

McRuer, R. (2006). Crip Theory: Cultural Signs of Queerness and Disability. New York: New York University Press.

Valencia-Forrester, F. (2017). About Project Open Doors. Retrieved from http://projectopendoors.org

List based on https://www.theindependencecenter.org/disability-etiquette-in-news-headlines/

 

Need accessible documents? Check out MSWord templates

In recent weeks I’ve been exploring the wonderful (and hitherto mostly unknown to me) world of accessible word documents. In MS Word, using document styles, headings and alternative descriptions (alt-tags) on images makes your document more readable for those using screenreaders, as well as more consistently formatted for everyone else. In addition, formatting for accessibility in word before creating text in websites makes the job of accessible website design simpler.  Accessibility checkers added to Word help you double-check it’s all ok.

I’ve written my entire doctoral thesis using the Vision Australia accessibility add-on for Word you can find at this link: https://www.visionaustralia.org/services/digital-access/document-accessibility-toolbar

But did you know there is an even EASIER way?   MS Word templates!  The templates demonstrate how you can have a design that is accessible and useful, as well as visually attractive.

Picture of Sampler cover:  Man with guide dog crossing roadThe Word “Accessible Template Sampler” includes:

  • Flyers
  • Agendas
  • Birthday invitations, cards and posters
  • Labels and business cards (if you want to go that extra mile with your business cards, you can get Braille ones from any of the business listed on the Braille Guide website here: http://brailleaustralia.org/finding-braille/directory/#books )

You can find a whole range of fully accessible Word templates trialed by people with a disability for use-ability here:  https://templates.office.com/en-US/Accessible-Template-Sampler-TM16402471

Word is also full of helpful advice on achieving accessible docs here: Link to accessibility advice on MSOffice site where they also have a Microsoft Disability Answer Desk if you have problems.

If you still have trouble, you might like to consider hiring Media Access Australia’s accessible document service here: https://www.mediaaccess.org.au/digitalaccessibilityservices/accessible-digital-communications/accessible-word-templates/

MSOffice also make accessible templates for Powerpoint! Find them at this link: https://templates.office.com/EN-US/accessible-template-sampler-TM16401472