[Athen] Alternate and Assistive

John Elmer JElmer at vcccd.edu
Tue Jul 28 11:11:17 PDT 2015

I am not sure I agree with your premise. Is that based on feedback to that effect from students?

To me, it embraces the model that a disability means something is wrong/bad, that there is something to be ashamed of. It is a stigma.

Not the way I see it.

The terms are "industry" standards. To arbitrarily rename them can also create confusion. Example: Someone decided that our department name should have no reference to disability. We were renamed the Educational Assistance Center. People now thing we are the campus "help desk". Further, if someone is looking for services for students with disabilities in a directory or on a campus map, it's not there.

My 2 cents.


From: athen-list [mailto:athen-list-bounces at mailman13.u.washington.edu] On Behalf Of Cyrus Hamilton
Sent: Tuesday, July 28, 2015 11:01 AM
To: ATHEN List
Subject: [Athen] Alternate and Assistive

Good Afternoon:
I am researching alternate phrases for, "assistive technology", and "alternate formats", and thought this would be an excellent forum for the discussion. There's a lot of meaning in words, and I feel that "assistive" and "alternate" are words that can have the unintended consequence of further stigmatizing individuals. I understand that technically, all technology is assistive, but I think there has to be a better way to identify technologies like VoiceDream, Kurzweil 3000, and Dragon Naturally Speaking. Am I over thinking this, or do others share my concern? Thanks!


Cyrus Hamilton
Cornell University
Student Disability Services

Tel. 607 254-4545
Fax 607 255-1562

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