[Athen] Screen readers/other software
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
> Athen mailing list
> Athen at athenpro.org
Carroll Center for the BLind
770 Centre St, Newton, MA 02459
More information about the athen-list