Scottish Learning Disability Week 2020 runs from Monday 18th to Sunday 24th May. This year, to comply with Scottish Government guidelines regarding the current Covid-19 outbreak, all of the week’s events and activities will be held online. This makes it a perfect project for the team at Recite Me to get involved with, and we are excited about helping Scottish Learning Disability Week with accessibility support through the Scottish Commission for Learning Disability (SCLD) website.
About Scottish Learning Disability Week
The theme of this year’s Scottish Learning Disability Week is ‘My Environment – My Place, My Planet’. The underlying premise is that everyone should be encouraged to think about their local environment and community, and the steps that can be taken to help all who live there thrive and prosper. From an accessibility standpoint, this means raising general awareness about learning disabilities and the need for equality when it comes to having access to online information. It also includes creating opportunities for those with learning disabilities to be able to contribute to discussions, policies, and debates on a larger scale, not just in their own local environment. In a nutshell, the Scottish Commission for People with a Learning Disability (SCLD), who are facilitating the week, is keen to create opportunities for people to come together in their personal environments, while also demonstrating that those with learning disabilities can – and should – be involved on both local and national platforms when it comes to more global topics too.
The mascot for Scottish Learning Disability Week is Uno the Unicorn. Did you know that the unicorn is the official national animal of Scotland?
Did you know…?
Ã¢â€”Â Approximately one in every hundred people worldwide had a learning disability that can make accessing information online difficult.
Ã¢â€”Â There are over 23,500 adults with learning disabilities known to local authorities in Scotland.
Ã¢â€”Â There are over 13,500 children and young people with learning disabilities known to schools in Scotland
Ã¢â€”Â These statistics only include people with learning disabilities known to authorities, and it is estimated that the total number of people who have a learning disability in Scotland is likely closer to 120,000.
How Can Recite Me Help?
Recite Me was founded on the core belief that no individual should ever be defined by their disability or miss out on online content because of it. We want the online world to be an equal playing field, where those with learning disabilities are respected and included by everyone. As such, Recite Me’s unique assistive toolbar is designed to allow users to customise website copy in whichever way works best for them, regardless of their specific accessibility needs. When equipped with Recite Me software, websites become instantly accessible, readable, and much easier to understand. From text-to-speech functions, customisable styling features, reading support aids, and a translation tool with over 100 languages, we provide all of the online accessibility support that readers need.
What This Means for Other Businesses
Once the scale of what is possible by lifting the barriers to online access becomes clear, making a website accessible to all becomes a no-brainer. Not just because it’s the right thing to do, but because it’s the smart thing to do.
Based on any given interpretation of the statistics on Scotland alone, there could be up to 120,000 people in just one small country, who are disadvantaged by not being able to read and understand online content. Regardless of which sector or industry you are part of, that’s an awful lot of people to marginalise – especially when the software needed to include them already exists. That’s up to 120,000 potential customers that businesses are missing out on. Up to 120,000 potential students without the opportunity to learn and study. Up to 120,000 people who can’t access the valuable information they need to help them with health and financial planning. A talent pool of up to 120,000 hardworking employees lacking the ability to tap into their dream job application. And this is just in Scotland alone, so when you take a moment to reflect on what the implications are on a continental or global level, the stakes are raised even further.
Progress So Far…
SCLD first began to use Recite Me back in 2018 and found that it made a significant difference amongst web users with a learning disability. Recite Me was implemented onto two relevant websites: SCLD’s main website, and ‘The Keys to life’, a website that provides information on the Scottish Government’s learning disability strategy, The Keys to life.
Early results show a significant percentage of users interacting with our accessibility toolbar and using all three of the main features – the screen reader, translation, and styling. Some statistics so far:
Ã¢â€”Â Over 1,425 individual toolbar feature clicks.
Ã¢â€”Â The top screen reader languages were English, followed by Portuguese, Dutch, and Flemish.
Ã¢â€”Â Top styling changes included
o altering link colours to red
o increasing font size to 110%
o changing the background colour to yellow
While still early days in terms of statistics, these results show that we are very much achieving our goals of supporting a full range of differing abilities online. This includes catering to varying language preferences, those who suffer from visual impairments or colour blindness, and those with learning difficulties such as dyslexia, dyspraxia, or hyperlexia.
There are still barriers to accessing the internet, and therefore online content, for some people with a learning disability. The digital world can be bewildering for many, regardless of whether you have a disability. However, it is hoped that through assistive technology like Recite Me, progress is being made to make the online world a more accessible and inviting place for people with a learning disability.
How to Get Involved
Join SCLD and the hundreds of other third and public sector organisations, corporate businesses, service providers, and charities that have already made strides towards inclusivity. Start working on making your website accessible to all by utilising assistive technology today. As well as the feel-good factor that comes with it, you’ll be tapping into a whole new network of potential and positive outcomes!
Find out more about Scottish Learning Disability Week…
Scottish Learning Disability Week is Scotland’s learning disability awareness-raising week, which takes place in May every year. Every year has a different theme that is important to the lives of people with a learning disability. Scottish Learning Disability Week 2020 takes place next week from Monday 18th – Sunday 24th May. You can find out more about how to get involved here.
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