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Special Education Director's Blog

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Embracing Accessibility

I have spent all week trying to get a family member, with a broken knee, from Point A to Point B . . . and then sometimes to Points X, Y, and Z!  What I realize is that I had no appreciation for the simple act of walking!
I also have a new appreciation for accessibility.  I have worked in Special Education all of my life, and I still have been known to wonder why there are so many disabled parking spaces at the mall that take up the whole first row.  To redeem myself, I have also been known to confront someone who parks in one of these spaces without a tag!  (Just so you know . . . sometimes that went better than others!  I only had to fear for my safety once when the car full of teenage boys started following me and shouting.  I could not hear what they were saying, but I can only assume it was to thank me for showing them the error of their ways!)
This week I realized that ramps really DO make a difference and the slope and texture are just as critical.  It is not enough to go through the gesture of making a ramp. You need to take the extra step to make sure it is actually functional! 
Now I know you are way ahead of me . . . you realize that I am actually referencing more than ramps.   Take the analogy to a broader scope.  What if the disability is not one of ambulation, but cognition?  Accommodations and supports must be more than in name only.  The “slope” has to be carefully designed to align with the desired outcome. 
Sitting on the “user” side of accommodations feels very different than standing on the “implementer” side!  Whew, it makes me want to “listen” more and “tell” less!  Just sayin' . . . 
7145 West Tidwell Road | Houston, Texas 77092-2096 | 713.462.7708