Enacting Accessibility Requires Claiming 3 Little Words: “I don’t know”

21 Mar

“I don’t know.”

Sometimes I have trouble saying that sentence. There are some things, I imagine, that I should know, some knowledge that people expect me to have. If I don’t have that knowledge, my imagination goes on to tell me, I must not be (doing, learning, knowledgeable, caring, teaching, smart) enough.

Enter shame and scarcity.

As someone who is part of the “we” who continue our work to make our universities more hospitable places for people of all abilities, I am routinely humbled by the people who are “doing accessibility”. They (you!) are re-creating Web sites dedicated to accessibility, learning the accessibility basics and practicing them, sharing their new knowledge with others, making mistakes, stumbling, and trying again.

Enter grace and abundance.

None of us has all the knowledge, all the skill. Together though, we have plenty. If you’re like me, you need to commit to claiming “I don’t know”, asking for help, and practicing new skills and ideas. When we commit to that, we find interesting ways to share the pie rather than fight for our piece; from this, we can work together to welcome all people and their gifts to our university communities.

Here are several opportunities to get you started in your practice of moving from points of “I don’t know” regarding creation of accessible learning and teaching documents toward graceful and abundant practices:

Try one, try all. Practice. Make a mistake. Learn. Teach someone else. Create more accessibility. And choose grace and abundance over shame and scarcity.




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