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What It's Like, #9

Posted by Communications, Marketing and Creative Services on December 5, 2022 in Community Highlights

What It’s Like is a series for Dalhousie Accessibility Week, one that provides members of the Dal community with an opportunity to share their first-person perspective on living with a disability. People are welcome to share with their name or anonymously.

Submitted by Anonymous:

What do you wish people knew about your disability?

I have ADHD (attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder) and chronic but variable pain. Add hormonal issues, and sometimes my attention, short-term memory, and executive functions are shot! I wish people could understand that I'm not just unreliable or lazy, and gentle reminders are much appreciated!  I try to use strategies, but have never really had help to develop anything useful, so I keep trying new things myself. 

I really wish ALL faculty and students would understand that the microphones in classrooms are there for a reason!!  

I also wish that people understood that some of us don't hate having a lot of our activities still online. When I can be comfortable in my own environment, it makes such a difference in my productivity.  Not all of us are rushing to "get back to normal" because "normal" was only normal for those with many privileges.

What accessibility changes would have the biggest impact on your experience here at Dal?


It's egocentric when they say things like, "I have a loud voice, I don't need to use that" and ableist when they laugh and make a joke like "well if you can't hear me, you should get your ears checked!"  Do they really not realize that yes, indeed, there may be people in the room with hearing loss and it's not something to laugh at? Do they not realize that hearing aids are out of reach for many people because they're so expensive?  

But it's not just hearing-impaired people who benefit from the use of the microphone. The people in the room with auditory processing disorders, ADHD, and perhaps other disorders, also benefit from the use of the microphone to make the speaker's voice louder than other background noise. Some rooms have a ton of noise from ventilation, or there may be noisy people in the hallway or the room next door, and it can be very hard to pay attention and focus on the speaker when they don't use a microphone.  I just don't get why people make such a big deal out of such a simple tool for universal design!!  Additionally, when people wear masks, the microphones are even more essential.  Don't ask "can you hear me?" and require people to "out" themselves. Just use the microphone! Thank you!! 

I also would like to see Dalhousie continue to offer some activities online or in a hybrid approach, such as various speaker series. Sometimes I can't manage to get out of the house beyond what I have to do but would like to hear a speaker. It seems like some activities and events are moving back to in-person only, which seems unnecessary. 

Previously in this series:

You can find all entries collected here.