Posted in Discussion Questions

Accessibility – Coby English Discussion Post

Disability studies is an area of studies that intersects with pretty much everything, whether we realize it or not. It comes as no surprise that it would cross with rhetoric and professional communication. Understanding this intersection, how to operate within it, and make our writing more accessible will make us better professional writers.

This introduction provides statistics of the number of disabled individuals in the world, in order to really show how important the issue of accessibility is. The reading then touched on all the various definitions of disability, but I will return to that later with my discussion questions.

Lisa Meloncon, the author of this introduction, gives us a brief history of how disability studies and technical communication have interacted in the past. The purpose of this brief history is to show that it it isn’t very much. Lisa writes that technical communicators work hard to “solve communication problems,” and that the issues are compounded when you look through dual lens of accessibility and disability.

One of the reasons this is so difficult is because the definition of disability is not clear (told you I would be back). Meloncon provides various definitions of “disabled,” from medical and scientific backgrounds, as well as the definition used in disability studies.

My questions are:

  • How does the rhetoric of the definition of “disability” offer insight or hinder in our ability create accessible writing/communication?
  • Does the fact that their are multiple definitions for “disability” make it easier or harder for us to work in accessible communication? How?
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