[Athen] Screen readers/other software

Dina Rosenbaum dina.rosenbaum at carroll.org
Wed Apr 16 07:46:48 PDT 2008

We need more people like you working at the colleges!


> My comments:


> Risks: Things we want to avoid. Like lawsuits, OCR complaints, and the

> local consumer reporter showing up on our campus to grill us about why

> we aren’t providing equal access. I never once took the attitude that

> “I can’t” or “we can’t” when it came to adaptive technology. I didn’t

> need to wait for advocacy from a student/parent/counselor to get the

> lab up and running. I just took it upon myself to do it right to begin

> with. When I say that advocacy had nothing to do with it, I mean in a

> literal sense. I didn’t wait to be told/asked/cajoled/forced. I just

> came in and did it to begin with. There is, in my opinion, absolutely

> no excuse for saying no when it comes to adaptive technology. A few

> hundred dollars for a piece of software or hardware beats a hundred

> thousand dollars for an OCR complaint defense.


> What motivated me to do what I did when I came here? I have three

> disabled children. One has a learning disability, one has seizure

> disorder, and all three have some form of ADD/ADHD. I have a ton of

> friends who are disabled, both online friends and real life friends.

> When one of my blind friends found out I was coming to work here, he

> sat me down and explained to me his biggest issues. He worked for, at

> the time, Blazie Engineering, and I picked his brain until we were

> both bloody. It was worth every minute, because I came here knowing

> what needed to be done, despite the fact that I’d never worked in

> adaptive technology or disability services. I took one look at the sad

> state of this computer lab, and accommodations being offered, and

> rolled up my sleeves. I have never looked back.


> My background is in corporate training and management. I use many of

> those skills here to assess risk and find solutions to problems that

> may not even exist yet. For me, being ahead of the curve is a whole

> lot better than being run over by the freight train that is barreling

> down the tracks behind me.


> One distinct advantage for me is that I do not have a background that

> was cramped by budget considerations or can’t-do attitudes. I do hear

> this quite a bit when I’m at conferences and even on my own campus.

> “We don’t have that in our budget,” or “How do you find the money?” My

> answer always is that the money is there. Don’t be afraid to ask.

> Don’t be afraid to push the issue. Under no circumstances should you

> go begging, hat in hand, to a dean or vice president or CIO for money.

> Stand up, be firm, make a demand, not a request. Be ready to list the

> risks of not meeting the demand, but ONLY if you are asked. Do not

> make excuses or explanations or apologies. If you act like a

> second-class citizen, you will be treated like one.


> I realize that for some of our colleagues, this attitude is a radical

> shift from how they do business. Their campus culture has inured them

> to an attitude of subservience and meekness. I refuse to have that

> attitude; I’ve been here almost eight years and have still not bought

> into that campus culture. This doesn’t mean I don’t treat campus

> management with respect; on the contrary, I’m extremely respectful,

> but I am not meek. I state our needs clearly and with an attitude that

> they can’t say no.


> When I die, inscribed on my tombstone will be my boss’ favorite phrase

> regarding me. “I have never won an argument with this woman.” I

> consider that a compliment. I do not accept the word “no” when it

> comes to accommodating our students. None of us should.


> Susan Kelmer


> Adaptive Technology Specialist


> Coordinator, Campus Labs and Classrooms/IAL


> Technology and Educational Support Services/


> Campus Technology Support Services


> St. Louis Community College at Meramec


> 314/984-7951


> ------------------------------------------------------------------------


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Dina Rosenbaum
Carroll Center for the BLind
770 Centre St, Newton, MA 02459

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