Monthly Archives: May 2014

Adaptive Bowling Equipment: More Than You May Think


This week MDRC  staff are delving into the world of adaptive sports in big ways. Several of our staff are competing in events such as Boccia, Track and Field, and Bowling as part of the Michigan Victory Games. This Sunday, out entire staff will be engaging in bowling and other fun activities like laser tag and corn hole games at FUN*A*RAMA, a day to support the work with MDRC on Sunday, May 18th from 1:00pm to 4:00pm at Spare Time Entertainment Center near Frandor in Lansing.

Man using a bowling ball pusher to push ball down the lane As my bowling skills have been called into play this week I became curious about whether any assistive technology for bowling has been developed beyond the traditional metal ramp. Surprisingly, there’s more out there than you might think! For example, did you know that bowling ball pushers are available to push rather than roll the ball down the lane? Bowling balls with different grips are also available.

Assistive technology can make sports inclusive and fun for everyone.  To get in on the bowling fun join us this Sunday at FUN*A*RAMA



Explaining Accessibility


By MATP Staff Member M. Catherine McAdamCathy McAdam wearing a green t-shirt "Feisty and Non-Compliant"

No, this is not a technical article, maybe more of a rant.  As a person who is Blind I was immediately captured by the power of the web. Imagine shopping, banking or going to the library without worrying about transportation.   Wait, a library, to do research, and have immediate access to information? Amazing!

Maybe the word “access”, linked with accessibility is part of the problem.  It’s not as simple as the promise of accessing, getting something.  I think it’s a struggle in part because what we “see” on the web is only possible with a lot of coding and development by folks who make the process look simple and magical.

The easiest example of how this works, or doesn’t work is when someone uses their copier to create a scanned PDF file, a picture that they send to all of us to announce an exciting event.  In many cases this is truly just a picture – a picture of words, not text that as with any other photo I cannot “see”.  And, because it is a picture, people who are blind, have low vision and/or learning differences or mobility issues can’t manipulate this kind of file. This is a very small example of the complexity of accessible information, just one, I hope communicates why it’s so frustrating.

So even more complex is what is seen, “and equally heard” from a web page.  Unlabeled graphics, repeated links that say “read this” or “click here” and unlabeled buttons or forms cause all kinds of issues in using a web site successfully.  Again the underlying, unseen coding is the issue so most people just don’t understand why I have a problem.

The scary thing is that even for many IT folks and web developers the words access and accessibility seem interchangeable.

If I’ve caught your attention and you want to learn more start here:

  • A PDF checker (you don’t have to be an IT professional to use this!) PDF Accessibility Checker (PAC) 1.3, English (ZIP, 583 KB)
  • The University of Washington gives us Accessible University 2.0, fictional pages to teach web accessibility
  • A well-thought-out playlist of accessibility-related videos

What is your biggest frustration in explaining accessibility?

This entry was posted in Accessible Formats, Blind/Low Vision, Cognitive, Universal Design, Web Accessibility and tagged Access, Learning Disability, Print Disability on by .