Taking the Wheel: Carla’s Accessibility Journey – #GAAD2019
By Carla Smith
I have been around blind and visually impaired people since I was seven years old when I started at the Governor Morehead School for the Blind. When I first heard about totally blind people using a computer, I thought “No way!” When I heard about totally blind people using a smartphone, again, I said “No way.” I was surprised on both accounts. I have had friends ask me to look at their computer to tell them if something was on the screen because they suspected something was there that Jaws was not reading. I thought, “Oh well, JAWS just doesn’t read it.” At that time, I didn’t think anything about it and considered it no big deal.
After retiring from a job with the state that lasted thirty-eight years, I realized that I didn’t want to sit at home. I had friends that worked at LCI who encouraged me to join the company. I was also interested in the different parts of accessibility that had to do with physical disabilities and the real world, even though I didn’t know much about them before. When I was given the opportunity to join the LCI Tech Services team, it was a no-brainer.
When I started, I began reading training material about accessibility, both physical and web-based. This helped me realize how important it is that we strive to make everything accessible regardless of a person’s disability. If one person cannot access a building or a website because of their disability, it’s wrong and a form of discrimination. Many people are not aware that there are things we can do to make parts of other people’s lives more accessible, some of them being surprisingly simple. Global Accessibility Awareness Day is a chance for people to learn about them.