Accessibility and mental health

The second in our series of talks from AbilityNet was from Adam Tweed, Service Development Manager, on accessibility and mental health. Adam spoke both from his professional and personal experience, and from his in-depth knowledge of technology. The session was fascinating and very useful. Some highlights for me included…

Helping to understand the complexity of the issues

Adam talked about training, as a runner, as a way of understanding what physical physical pain you can push through and what you can’t – and the idea that the same holds for mental stresses and strains. Some you can push through and some you can’t – and they will be different for different people. He also talked about the idea that there is an increase of perfectionism in younger generations, be that self-improvement, down to social pressure, or outward facing (expecting more of others).

Do’s and don’ts

The accessibility posters produced by GOV.UK are a great set of resources, and people have been adding their own. Adam showed the posters on designing for users with anxiety which would be a really useful checklist for a number of our services

Technology tips

There were lots of great recommendations of apps and tools. The ones that stood out for me were:

  • Word can now check for clarity, conciseness and inclusiveness (for example, unnecessarily gendered language)
  • Presenter Coach which comes free with PowerPoint online and allows you to rehearse your presentation to an AI audience could be useful both to improve your own clarity and to give students a non-threatening way to rehearse
  • Text-to-speech tools are great for proofreading (this is a revelation to me) and also for getting an unemotional reading of emails that have been sent to you
  • Forest app rewards you with your own virtual woodland for spending time away from your phone

Finally, as a back-to-paper fan, I love the idea of Google’s printable phone.

What next?

This was another great session with AbilityNet, the two remaining sessions are:

We’ll be releasing some ‘Top Tips’ videos for each strand after the event. We’ll also try to make recordings of the sessions available.

If you would like to talk to the Digital Education Office team about Digital Accessibility, Blackboard Ally or just have related questions do feel free to contact us via:

Email: digital-education@bristol.ac.uk
Tel: +44 (0)117 42 83055 / internal: 83055

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