More still needs to be done to facilitate the disabled community during the ongoing pandemic, president of the Barbados Council for the Disabled Kerryann Ifill has suggested.
She acknowledged that while Government had made an effort to cater to disabled persons there were still some areas that needed to be addressed. She said this was especially critical during the ongoing pandemic.
Ifill told Barbados TODAY: “In terms of accessing information as is always the case with persons with disabilities the flow of information for our use is necessary. There has been some inclusion but not in every way and not for all things.
“There has been a use for sign language, especially for Government presentations but there are other things, church services for example that you don’t see a lot of accessible media for persons who are hearing impaired, close captioning and those kinds of things have not been readily utilized. There has been some progress but it has not been as across the board as we need it to be.”
She pointed out that the Government had also included disabled students in its recent decision to commence online teaching.
However, she explained that the necessary software in some cases was not available.
The president said there was a difference between an electronic document and an accessible electronic document.
“Provisions are being made and steps are being taken to include children with disabilities. The school term addresses them as well, but of course, while they need to have technology available to them it’s more than just having a tablet or a computer at home in some instances,” Ifill noted.
“There’s also software that children did not have available to them so there needs to be provision in terms of that. Making sure that the students get their online material in formats that are accessible.”
Ifill called for businesses and persons operating in the private sector to also include the disabled community in their operations.
She was also critical of media houses whom she said had not catered for disabled audiences.
“Not just Government, but all persons who disseminate information need to consider disabled persons. Not one of the newspapers currently offers full access in an accessible format, whether paid or unpaid. I can read more about what Boris Johnson said on Sunday than I can about what Prime Minister Mia Mottley said,” Ifill contended.