Left Out of Studies

by Donna J. Jodhan

This is becoming more and more of a challenge for those of us who have a vested interest in ensuring that the demands and voices of the disabled are taken into consideration when studies are carried out. Within the last few months, several persons from the disabled community have been complaining more and more about this particular problem and now I would like to give my humble opinion.

When it comes to seeking and understanding the needs, demands, and opinions of the disabled community, many researchers often fall woefully short. We see it on a daily basis with regard to studies that pertain to such things as: Customer services, online services, banking services, and municipal services. I recently attended a meeting where a company wanted to share its research on a study that it had carried out with regard to its customer services. It was dying to tell us about its findings; what it needed to do in order to improve its customer services, and which type of consumers it had included in its studies. I listened patiently for about an hour and was quite impressed by what I had heard and when it came time for questions my hand was one of the first to go up.

When I asked the question as to whether or not the study included blind and vision impaired participants or even disabled participants, there was a very long pause followed by the following very sheepish response: "No. We neglected to include blind and disabled participants." This response was followed by a longer minute of silence which Finally broke by gently saying that in order to make any study balanced and worthy, the voices of blind and disabled consumers must be sought and taken into consideration.

Blind and disabled persons have voices that need to be heard and counted. Their opinions are just as important as everyone else and companies will find that with a rapidly aging population, these voices will be growing louder, increasing in number, and they are not going to go away. It's time for the voices of blind and disabled consumers to be heard and counted.

I'm Donna J. Jodhan your friendly accessibility advocate wishing you a terrific day and encouraging you to go out there and tell the world that yes indeed! Blind persons can certainly enjoy things by using their sense of touch. If you'd like to learn more about me, then you can visit some of my blog spots at:
Donna Jodhan! Advocating accessibility for all: http://www.donnajodhan.blogspot.com
Weekly Saturday postings on issues of accessibility: http://www.sterlingcreations.ca/blog/blog.html
blogs on various issues and answers to consumers concerns: http://www.sterlingcreations.com/businessdesk.htm

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