Global Accessibility Awareness Day

The logo for Global Accessibilty Awareness Day: A blue keyboard encirciling the acronym G.A.A.D

Thursday, 21st May 2020

"UCD is a University for All, where all students are welcome and belong. We are proud that almost one third of our undergraduate students represent a diversity of backgrounds, including disabilities, low-income, mature, ethnic minorities, lone parents, refugees, and asylum seekers.

By adopting a University for All approach, UCD offers a unique and innovative response to the HEA’s strategy of mainstreaming inclusion. This approach challenges the perception of a “traditional” student and instead, we promote a whole-institution that provides “an inclusive educational experience that defines international best practice and prepares our graduates to thrive in present and future societies” (Rising to the Future, UCD Strategy 2020-2024, p.5).

University for All impacts on every aspect of our campus, including teaching and learning, student supports, and built and technology environments. It means that access and inclusion is everyone’s business, and we should take account of the needs of all students.   

Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) is an important event as it spotlights the need for accessible technology. The Toolkit for Inclusive Practice in Higher Education: From Vision to Practice, (Kelly & Padden, 2018), is a self-assessment resource for use in a range of areas, including technology.  It offers an opportunity to identify good practice and develop a plan to address opportunities for action. Access to the digital world is essential for everyone, and is integral to full participation in life in the twenty-first century".

Picture of Dr Anna Kelly, Director of UCD Access and Lifelong Learning

Dr Anna Kelly, Director, UCD Access & Lifelong Learning

Why is Global Accessibility Awareness Important?

"My name is Tina Lowe, and I am the campus accessibility officer in UCD. May 21st marks what is known as Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD). GAAD began in 2012 and is an awareness day focusing on digital accessibility for everyone.  

These alternative new ways include describing video material and photos on written text, closed captioning (such as audio description, describing images, and creating subtitles) which enables people with visual impairments as well as for people who are hard of hearing to access this material. Additionally this helps people with specific learning disabilities such as dyslexia, dyspraxia, ADHD to access written material in the same way as their fellow non disabled colleagues do. Digital accessibility promotes the principles of universal access and design to support all users.  

We would love you to join us on Thursday May 21st to celebrate this global event. It is particularly relevant this year, due to the pandemic, known as Covid-19 as this has required so many people to work from home using digital devices, reinforcing our need to make digital information universally accessible for us all. As a blind person, I really appreciate digital information especially if it’s made accessible, as it enables me to fully participate in the workplace". 

Picture of Tina Lowe, UCD's Campus Accessibility Officer, alongside her guide dog, Forest

Tina Lowe, Campus Accessibility Officer

Learn More about accessibility