Easy Read and Disability
The accessible books face challenges that impede the development of this industry, prevent its progress and achieve the right of persons with disabilities to access knowledge, and these challenges focus on five aspects:
- Scientific Research: The lack of scientific research in accessible book technologies directed at different disabilities other than visual impairments.
- Skills: Poor skills in implementing accessible books, especially easy-to-read books.
- Instructions: There are no documents for the directions and instructions of accessible books in the Arab world.
- Data: There is no information center or database in the Arab world or the world for accessible or inclusive books.
- Publishing: the reluctance of Arab and international publishing houses to produce accessible books due to their weak commercial returns.
This event aims to establish a solid foundation in addressing the aforementioned challenges through capacity building, forming a network of partners, and launching and implementing initiatives. The activities of the week consist of the following:
First: Capacity Building: A short workshop program. Each workshop, of a duration not exceeding two hours, gives an overview of the workshop’s topic, and is an introduction to specialized workshop programs that the city will present later.
Second: Forming a Network of Relationships: A one-day international symposium with the participation of a group of experts and owners of initiatives in the field of accessible books.
Third: Launching Initiatives: Issuing simplified book making directives through a session with the participation of specialists.
The proposed program:
First Aspect: Simplified Reading in Sharjah City for Humanitarian Services
- Review the concept of simplified reading and its relationship to inclusive and accessible books.
- Reviewing the results of the simplified reading workshops in the city.
- View templates for simple reading documents in the city.
Second Aspect: Do we listen to people with disabilities?
The session deals with the importance of listening to persons with disabilities and the techniques that we must follow to provide accessible and simplified books in particular.
- Is the definition of facilitated books limited to persons with visual impairment?
- What is the reality of easy-to-read books? Moreover, who actually uses it? Are there clear and consistent standards for easy reading?
- Are there successful easy-reading practical experiences in the world?
- To what extent do persons with intellectual disabilities have a role in the process of simplifying reading?
- What do people with intellectual disabilities think about simplified reading, and does it really have a role?
- Do persons with disabilities buy or acquire accessible books for the purpose of education only, or for the purpose of reading and love of reading?
- When we talk about Assistive Technologies, there is a stereotype about the association of these Assistive Technologies with people with visual impairment, is this true? Alternatively, are they just unreal stereotypes?
- What are the challenges that prevent people with disabilities from accessing these technologies?
- Is there a technology that creates comprehensive books suitable for all disabilities?
Third Aspect: Commercial solutions for accessible books
The session deals with proposing alternatives and material challenges that address the problem of the large financial cost behind the production of accessible books
- What is the reality of the actual publication of accessible books for persons with disabilities?
- How likely is it that publishers will produce an easy-to-read version of their most successful books?
- Do publishing houses deal with accessible books as a form of community support or as a profit-oriented product?
- Are publishing houses really qualified to work with accessible books? Alternatively, does it need the initiatives of specialized institutions?
- What is the reason behind establishing initiatives that play the role of a publisher in publishing the accessible book and delivering it to people with disabilities? Is it inaction or, profit?
- Do these initiatives have a specific stage that ends in a certain time? Does the publisher play his role without the need for supporting initiatives?
- Is funding the only challenge in making these initiatives successful? Alternatively, are there other challenges?
- What are the mechanisms, which centers base their initiatives on and work in selecting, facilitating and distributing books?
- Is education the goal behind these initiatives or self-knowledge?
It is a program of short workshops, each workshop of a duration not exceeding two hours, to give an overview of the workshop topic.