Anna

Meet Stephanie Enyart and the National Association of Law Students with Disabilities [Clippings]

This month's issue of Student Lawyer, the ABA Student Division's magazine, profiles Stephanie Enyart in the article "Tackling Law School as a Blind Student." She's a 3L at UCLA and founding president of the National Association of Law Students with Disabilities. One of the group's goals is to develop a set of best practices to provide reasonable accommodations for law students with disabilities. We here at Ms. JD are all about best practices and improving the profession, so I wish them the best. If you have suggestions or interest, please visit nalswd.org.

One of my classmates is blind (hi, T!) and she operates so smoothly around the school that I've surely never given her situation as much thought as I should. We sing in a choir together ("Habeas Chorus" -- insert lame groan here), so I've learned that leaving the classroom door ajar helps her locate us by voice when we haven't scheduled a particular room in advance. That's something that other student orgs which gather informally should probably also learn to do. We've also learned that the considerate thing to do is leave space at the seminar table near the door, so that she doesn't have to navigate around our bodies and bookbags. With these small accommodations, she arrives to take notes on her Braille machine much faster (and dare I say, better) than I could ever type on my laptop.

Every student's story is different, so I appreciated the perspective of Stephanie's story. It's worth reading.

2 Comments

jessie

The software Stephanie uses to navigate the internet reads site information aloud to her. Hyperlinks are read according to the title you give them, as opposed to the url or the word that is linked. So to accommodate disabled readers, please always give your title a thorough description, i.e. "link to New York Times article by Lisa Belkin entitled "Opt-Out Revolution" detailing trends among womrking mothers who chose to leave the workplace in favor or raising children" as opposed to "NYT article."

Anna

Thanks, that's a really good tip!
There is a different tag used to title a link in IE versus Firefox. IE uses "title" and Firefox uses "name." I'm assuming based on your comment, Jessie, that the "title" tag is what matters for visually impaired browsers. That's good, because most WYSIWYG editors only edit the "title" field. While I browse (and blog) in Firefox, I gave up on tagging the "name" of links a while back, because it takes so much longer (you have to code each link by hand). I guess this underscores how difficult competing, incompatible web standards can make it to provide accessibility. (As we already knew from trying to design Ms. JD to function correctly in both IE and Firefox!)

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