WE ALL ARE PEOPLE-WITH-ACCESS-NEEDS
Having access-needs rightfully is becoming appreciated as the crosscultural,
universal lifelong type of diversity of "doing it differently."
Medical and technological advances as well as civil rights legislation
have been instrumental in increasing class-members’ omnipresence.
Many more children with access-needs have been able to grow up to
be adults with productive social and professional lives. Due to global
aging, climate change and natural disasters, accidents and illness,
and crime, war and terrorism, "special-education-children" no longer
are alone in having recognized access-needs. As a result of the
of thousands of veterans with newly acquired and often multiple
lifelong access issues. Thanks to the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill, effective
college campuses potentially are welcoming many more U.S.
veterans-with-access-needs, joining their civilian counterparts in faceto-
face and virtual classrooms. In recent years, considerable progress
has been made in improving class member inclusion and equity.
Nevertheless, it is suggested that one influential lurking variable of
interest continues to impede such progress: the array of uniformly
disparaging access-need [self]-descriptors which have cemented
literally disabling perceptions into society’s collective consciousness.
Words have consequences. The presenter, a lifelong class member,
proposes a call to action to the diverse communities of fellow people
with access-needs, institutional advocates, and the media to embrace
the power of positive language and to positively reframe and reclaim
the vocabulary of [people with] access issues that reflects and
reaffirms the truth of the universality of having access-needs. Change
the language, change the perception.