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Robert Pearson

Accessible Media

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Discussing Disability and the Need for Accessible Accommodations

Robert Pearson writes about the importance of driving forward the accessibility agenda by being active participants in global and local accessibility events.

Image: AMI-tv channel offers two specialized features, closed captioning and described video, on all of its programming

Image: AMI-tv channel offers two specialized features, closed captioning and described video, on all of its programming. 

It begins by starting the conversation. At Accessible Media Inc. (AMI), we’ve had the opportunity to support, sponsor and provide media coverage of numerous accessibility, inclusion and disability focused events across the country. Through that participation we realized that we could relay what takes place at these events, primarily significant industry conferences, back to the audience of our broadcast networks with an original series called “AMI Inside”. This program, along with a variety of other original programs, not only work towards driving a greater understanding of disability through the delivery of media that is accessible, but also provides insight for those who are unable to participate in these events firsthand.

Yet not everyone may be able to understand about accessible accommodations for persons with disabilities by simply watching a television program relevant to the topic. To truly drive the conversation, hands-on interaction is required. It’s this understanding that has inspired us to roll out a new initiative across Canada, comprising informal, but also structured discussions related to all aspects of accessibility, disability and inclusion. These are based on the concept and follow the structure of the Accessibility Camp. These are events organized at the grassroots take place in numerous cities across North America, Europe and worldwide around the year, the culmination of which is marked each year with Global Accessibility Awareness Day.

By applying this concept in urban centers, where AMI has a presence and other areas where we can collaborate with organizers or participate, we are able to lead not only an understanding of the need for accessibility in media and other spheres, but we can also provide a physical location for the discussions. That in itself is the most important aspect.   Often, individuals may have an interest in this field or they may be required to be knowledgeable about it. However, resources may be lacking, along with a forum for the discussion to take place. By putting the call out to those who may be interested in starting a conversation about the topic, we can begin to bring together a community of like-minded individuals. 

For those familiar with the Accessibility Camp concept, it operates on the idea that as these types of groups continue to grow and flourish, they will eventually spawn conferences locally and their basic intent of providing a forum for the discussion of inclusion becomes all that more salient. For those located in either Vancouver or Halifax, I invite you to join us for one of our next meetups.

You may have noticed a new trend: conversations around accessibility are not only becoming mainstream, they are expected to be part of conversations by default. As major organizations such as Google launch initiatives focused on meeting the needs of persons with disabilities, it will drive the interest of not only individuals, but also organizations who realize the business case of accessibility. We embark upon this practice of accessibility because we see the inherent good in what it can achieve and therefore to share, discuss and converse about how we achieve that will always be important.


Related Resources

Blog: Let's Go Beyond Compliance | Read Robert Pearson's Article.

Publication: Model ICT Accessibility Policy Report | Download PDF.


Related Items:

• LIA - Libri Italiani Accessibili (Italian Accessible Books)


• G3ict Expresses Heartfelt Condolences on the Demise of AMI Accessibility Officer Robert Pearson's

• Delivering accessible Electronic & Information Technology (E&IT)

• ITU Workshop on Making Media Accessible to All: Options and Economics, Geneva, Switzerland

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