People who are deaf or hard of hearing experience a higher level of unemployment and under employment. In today's world, many products have been created to support interaction between deaf and non-deaf individuals. Work in accessible technology and other computing fields is a lucrative career opportunity, potentially for everyone. Having strong computing skills is essential because of the role of computers in almost every field.
Much can be done to make a workspace more accessible to and inclusive of colleagues who are deaf or hard of hearing. Universal design can provide a framework for doing so by underpinning practices that can be applied proactively to make a welcoming and environment and to ensure that appropriate accommodations are available specific individuals.
The Neurodiversity Initiative at the College of William and Mary seeks to educate the campus about the positive aspects of embracing neurodiversity, and ultimately to be a model for other campuses. As stated on their website, "The Neurodiversity Initiative is an innovative program that is raising awareness on our campus of the vast array of brain differences and cultivating an appreciation of the many kinds of talents we can nurture at our historic institution.
According to the National Institute of Health (NIH) Brain Initiative website, neuroethics is “a field that studies the ethical, legal, and societal implications of neuroscience.” The strategic plan for the NIH BRAIN Initiative, BRAIN 2025: A Scientific Vision, emphasizes “Although brain research entails ethical issues that are common to other areas of biomedical science, i
Informal science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) learning (ISL) refers to learning outside the traditional classroom setting in places such as museums, science centers, and summer camps.
DO-IT’s Access to Informal STEM Learning (AccessISL) project has developed resources to help educators include information about universal design in curriculum related to informal STEM Learning. The document Pedagogical and Content Design Practices that Support Accessibility and Inclusion in Museology Courses shares information about the following:
Steps to making an online course accessible include
- Structuring content using headings,
- Creating alt text for images,
- Create meaningful hyperlinks,
- Created structured lists,
- Include table headers,
- Captioning and audio-describing videos,
- Uploading accessibly-formatted content, and
- Using accessibility checkers to find barriers to accessibility.
Options in Canvas, Blackboard, Moodle, and other learning management systems (LMSs) for making courses are described below.
American Alliance of Museums (AAM) is an organization representing over 35,000 museums, “from art and history museums to science centers and zoos.” AAM supports museums by providing resources and a professional network for those who want to move the field forward in terms of innovation, equity, and inclusion.
The goal of Art Beyond Sight is to “empower cultural institutions to provide accessible and inclusive environments for all of their patrons, including people with disabilities and their families.” The Art Beyond Sight website shares relevant resources—including text, images, audio, and video—for classroom teachers, museum educators, and the general public. Provided they follow user guidelines, site visitors are encouraged to utilize materials and adapt them for their own non-commercial use.
As institutions seek to leverage the benefits of diversity, application pools for faculty positions have become increasingly diverse, inclusive of faculty with disabilities who bring unique and valuable perspectives and talents to the workplace. However, the inaccessible design of the employment application process, as well as many campus facilities, software tools, services, and online resources, continue to erect barriers to some applicants and employees with disabilities, including those who are also members of other marginalized groups.