Top Five Takeaways from COPAA’s 21st Annual Conference
(Part 1 of 5)
Disabilities are not the problem, there are always solutions if we work together to overcome the challenges
Keynote speaker, Haben Girma, is the first blind deaf Harvard Law School graduate. She is a disability rights advocate and spoke on communication strategies to create a winning story. She illustrated through her experiences that disabilities are not the problem, there are always solutions if we work together to find them.
Haben relayed a story about how her college lunch room was set up with different meal stations, but the menus were not printed in braille – preventing her from knowing what food was at which station. As she studied she learned about disability rights and self-advocacy, she requested the cafeteria manager to provide the menus in braille or to be emailed so she could use computer technology to read the menu. The cafeteria manager worked together with Haben to develop a solution so all the menus would be accessible and she could get the lunch she wanted.
Haben also demonstrated a number of adaptive devices which can help solve various challenges, i.e. type to braille technology and computer screen readers; it just takes a partnership between the person with disabilities and the education center to work together to make education accessible and achievable. You can follow Haben’s story @HabenGirma.