Accessibility Vs Accommodation

The terms accessibility and accommodation are words quite heavily used when talking about support for people with disabilities.  Both aim for the same goal of providing equal experiences to those who have a disability and who are utilizing the same resources as those without disabilities. However, the individual processes of accessibility and accommodation differ and often yield dramatically different results.  To boil both terms down to their core understanding, an accommodation is reactive, whereas accessibility is proactive.  A couple analogies that have nothing to do with access, disabilities or technology might help make this clear:

Problem Reactive Solution / Result Proactive Solution / Result
Grease fire in the household kitchen Reactive Solution: Try to locate the baking soda and smother the fire down to a manageable level by hitting it with a plume of Arm & Hammer.
Result: Fire is hopefully out and now you need to clean up the excess baking soda and call for take out.
Proactive Solution:Anticipate that a grease fire could happen and place the lid to your skillet next to the stove.
Result: In the event of a grease fire, simply remain calm and cover the skillet with its lid, smothering the fire.  Not only did you avoid a disaster, your family likes the slight charred flavor you've added to your dinner entrée!
You forgot your anniversary was yesterday Reactive Solution:Buy your wife flowers, chocolate and a card and play the whole thing aloof.
Result: The couch and chiropractor visits for the next couple of weeks, but at least you're still married.
Proactive Solution:You anticipate ahead of time or any event that you could potentially screw up in the future and use part of your work bonus to buy your wife something from Tiffany's and stash that little blue box someplace secret.
Result: You could probably miss your anniversary by a week, and your wife will be overjoyed when she sees the little blue and white box come out!

Accessibility is an ideal, so think of it as a journey rather than a destination--there's no way to plan ahead for every situation where equal access will be needed.  Accommodations are usually in response to some pressing or immediate need for equal access. Due to that immediate nature, there are constraints on time, budget and human resources, which may not yield the best possible solution, BUT it is still a solution!  Accommodations will never go away, but hopefully we all can do our part in being proactive towards identifying potential needs and address them with accessibility.


Article ID: 47629
Thu 2/1/18 3:53 PM
Thu 3/1/18 3:14 PM