Category Archives: Adaptability

A part of my thinking towards using and assessing technology has come from the idea users must do their part adapt to its use. You know, because most technology sucks. It’s required. Admittedly, this thinking largely stems from a narcissistic pride in my own ability to adapt. But, of course, there are limits. What happens when users can’t adapt? Well, The Hardest Lessons Earned represents exactly what happens. It can have very harmful consequences.

Point taken

Today not only marks a year since I’ve posted on my blog, but much more significantly, today is the twenty-second anniversary of my accident. Happy another Bump Day!

Well, it’s been another rough year. Last Bump Day I revised my post from two years about my health condition as a result of my seating situation, but mere days following said revision, shit got even more real. Last August I unsuccessfully tried to pass a bunch of kidney stones, requiring a trip to the Emergency Room to resolve. I’ll keep all the gory details to myself, but by mid-September I had two more trips to the ER. The last one requiring an emergency surgery to remove stones from the end of the inside my penis – or urethra, if I must.

Further investigation revealed my kidney’s were full of stones (which explains a lot). I’d require a bunch of surgeries over what is soon to be a year to address them problem. Following one surgery in October, another one in November, and a big one in April of this year, with the last pieces of my recovery falling into place not forty-eight hours ago, if I may be so bold, I’m back!

I’m dealing with it

That’s right, it seems I have myself a neurogenic bladder as a result of my accident. I still have a lot to ask my urologist and understand about this diagnosis, but it’s not entirely all that surprising, especially considering I’ve been living with progressively worsening urinary symptoms for over twenty years. But things being what they are, and were over the last year especially, honestly, I’m not really any worse for wear. While I still have some more surgeries – one more for stones and another one for an unrelated cyst, by my hopes – point is, I’m dealing with it.

I’m that much more convinced my continued existence is a fucking testament to human adaptability, but again, there are limits. My stones painfully representing the latest instance of this point. No matter how in the nuts it feels this time, this is as close to my nuts as I care to get.

Point taken.

The hardest lessons earned

I struggle with verbal communication. Full stop! For those who’ve personally crossed paths with me, especially in recent years, that much is obvious. vocalizing ever since my accident has rarely been an easy thing for me to do, or for others to reliably understand. And both have been getting harder as time has progressed. But such is life: work with what you have.

But what happens when you can’t? Or, better still, when you’re no longer able to comfortably adapt? I’ve been grappling with these questions as of late, and to bluntly answer, there wasn’t a lot that could be done.

Now, it’s not my intent to be an alarmist, I’m just fine, and I’ll be better going forward. But I’ve recently come to realize that, for certain parts of my situation, I didn’t have many options for helping myself. And everything was exacerbated by the fact that my understanding of the root causes for my decreasing ability to speak was essentially non-existent. I needed help. Read “The hardest lessons earned” in its entirety

Communication is often a challenge

Last month at Accessibility Camp Toronto I had a number of encounters with people I’ve had conversations with in the past. And for reasons I’ll touch on in a bit, communication between them and I was a challenge. But with the benefit of time, and an email exchange with one of the aforementioned conference participants, finally comes this post today.

I tend to carry the weight of the world on my shoulders. Meaning I’m pretty hard on myself when it comes to assigning blame for anything not going as I intend. Or, better still, as I imagine it could. This year’s camp is case in point.

Realistically taking all the  blame probably isn’t the most productive of ways to have handled this specific instance – as was put to me by more than one person who had issues understanding me. “Context is everything.” Point taken.

I’m not that loud of a speaker. And being in loud hallways or auditoriums isn’t an ideal place for me to be heard, let alone understood. It’s just I felt at Camp this year, every encounter I had seemed like I was the reason for it feeling a little awkward – whether rightly or wrongly. Thing is, I possess the ability to change. I really should work much harder to take better advantage of it. And I am. Read “Communication is often a challenge” in its entirety

The use of technology will always require adaptation

This past Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) I was fortunate enough to catch part (as in a wee bit) of Inclusive Design 24 (#ID24). The Paciello Group held 24 one-hour webinars concerning various matters dealing with accessibility. It was really quite the productive gesture to, and I’ll quote, “celebrate efforts worldwide to ensure people with disabilities have full and equal access to the web.”

Remember — and not to suggest this was The Paciello Group’s intent when offering their statement about #ID24 — “if what one is unable to do continues to be used as a means of defining disability […] then every single individual on this planet is disabled.” That statement brilliantly sums up an intent of GAAD quite nicely, so says me. It’s all inclusive.

And one “webinar” in particular got my noodle cooking. The Billy Gregory’s talk, 10 Things I Wish I Knew When I Started in Digital Accessibility. Not that any talk I was able to tune into wasn’t great. But it was this one, however, that was personally relevant. In the sense I found myself thinking a lot about how I’d answer Billy’s proclamation. Read “The use of technology will always require adaptation” in its entirety

Automatic audio text transcriptions

In honour of Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) today I’m throwing this method out in to the ether that is the web. However, it’s not the quote/ unquote “technique” I’m offering — in the sense I really expect anyone will use it. Rather it’s my aim to try and get people thinking about the content they consume and produce on and for the web, period. And thinking a little differently about said web content.

After all, that’s the point of going through the effort of raising awareness. To think about anything in a manner which you aren’t typically conditioned to think about them. Or in other words, it’s not so much the result I’m most interested in here, it’s the reasons for and process that give us that result. It’s my hope to draw some attention towards automatic text transcriptions of audio only podcasts, specifically.

And I’m aware such a solution is still a ways off from being practical — as in reliably useable. But it’s never too early to entertain prospects. And experiment. Read “Automatic audio text transcriptions” in its entirety