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Accessible Textbooks – How Disability Support Services are supporting Students with Disabilities

With the exact numbers being unknown and unavailable, an estimated 93 to 150 million children under the age of 18 years old worldwide have disabilities (WHO, 2011). Additionally, children with disabilities face larger challenges in terms of accessing quality and inclusive education. But there’s light at the end of the tunnel. 

UNICEF has been working since 2014 to address this challenge.  Accessible digital textbooks for all is an initiative part of the global agenda of UNICEF on Inclusive Education. Article 24 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) states that persons with disabilities should have the right “to inclusive education, at all levels, without discrimination and on the basis of equality of opportunity. Contracting states must ensure that children with disabilities are provided with reasonable accommodation of their needs” (United Nations, 2006). 

Inculcating this initiative in our business, we at 247 Accessible Documents have always strived to make education inclusive. Our highly specialized team works closely with Universities and Disability Service Support team and ensures that all digital learning materials are rendered accessible and comply to ADA & Section 508 and conform to WCAG.

Call for Accessibility 

Students with disabilities deserve equal access to educational resources. Universities are legally required to provide accommodations for students with disabilities, and it is important for them to understand what constitutes a disability in order to better accommodate for their needs. 

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal law that protects people from discrimination based on disability. It requires universities and colleges meet accessibility laws standards in order to  ensure equal access for disabled students.  

In a world where information is addictive and accessible, it’s important to make sure that everyone has the same opportunity to access such information. 

The internet has become a crucial part of our lives and is changing the way we access information. The accessibility of academic texts for students with disabilities, especially those in STEM fields, could be greatly improved by using e-textbooks as opposed to traditional textbooks.

Accessible textbooks are advantageous because they allow for more flexible usage in digital environments like tablets and smartphones. 

Accessible Textbooks 

We see that students with disabilities are not getting the same quality of education as their peers. These students are often overlooked and not given the support they need to succeed in academia. Accessible textbooks can give these students a fighting chance at completing their education.  Currently, textbooks in colleges and universities are not accessible for students with disabilities. This provides a huge disadvantage to students  because they do not have access to the information that others do.  

Textbooks should be more accessible for students with disabilities by adding captions, audio recordings, and braille versions of the content. The need for textbooks to be more accessible is especially true in higher education systems where they are required as part of a course curriculum. 

The need for accessibility of textbooks is slowly rising and surely becoming more important for students, and universities are beginning to take note. More schools are planning to provide accessible textbooks to accommodate for the needs of students with disability. This has been a slow process because it involves scanning in texts, re-writing content, and reformatting images. However, this effort is worth it because it will help create an equal learning environment for all students who want to learn about any topic or subject matter from an academic perspective. 

DSS – Disability Support Service 

Many universities offer Disability Support Services for students with disabilities. They are committed to inclusion and creating a learning environment which is accessible and inclusive for all students, even students with disabilities. There are a number services that these universities offer to help students with disabilities make the most of their education. These include: 

  • Determining accommodation so that the student can learn in a way that suits them best. 
  • Providing support for students with disabilities. 
  • Offering academic and personal growth skill building workshops. 
  • Facilitating equal access to facilities of the University. 
  • Promoting universal and inclusive design in all facets of the University life. 

The availability and types of disability accommodations that universities offer vary from institution to institution, but this is not always the case as these facilities are also dependent on what type of disability is presented. 

Why Us? 

Our E-text team works closely with the Disability Support Service team at universities and assists you to ensure that all the educational documents, textbooks and learning materials are accessible and deliver: 

  • Accessible PDFs 
  • Accessible Word 
  • Accessible PowerPoint 
  • Accessible Excel 

In addition, we also write the Image Description, work STEM content and support MathML. 

Write to and get in touch with our experts for further assistance. 

By Moiz Yamani

Futuristic and an enthusiast!