The Great Big List from the 2014 CSUN International Technology & Persons with Disabilities Conference

Below is a collection of presentations, people, and news happenings around the CSUN (California State University, Northridge) Annual International Technology and Persons with Disabilities Conference. I’m a little late to the party this year and could use your help in gathering links and resources. If you see something that should be added to the list, let me know at @mactoph or New resources will be added as they come in, thank you!

Following the Conversation

You can find #CSUN14 hashtag all over the world, including Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus. You can also see #CSUN14 images, people, videos, and slide collections at Topsy, Lanyrd, and Eventifier.

You can also see the conversations happening at twazzup (Twitter login required), hashtagrify,

Conference Roundups

Conference Presentations

This is the good stuff. Presenters, please take a moment to make your slides available online and let me know at or @mactoph. I’ll make them available below.

Huge thank you to Jennifer Sutton for help in gathering presentations this year.

Attending the Conference

Events and Meetups (Formal and Otherwise)

News and Resources

Official Conference Stuff

The official conference website has all kinds of important things like a list of all the sessions and special announements. There is also a mobile version of the site at .

The DAISY Consortium has generously made the conference program and other materials available in in ePub or HTML files. The official Conference Twitter account is @CSUNCod.

Vendors, Sponsors and Exhibitors

Official directory of exhibitors and sponsors

Vendor News, Announcements and Press Releases


Feeling nostalgic for great big lists from CSUNs past? The 2013, 2012 and 2011 Big Lists are also still available.

If you know of something I have missed, or have any kind of correction please send me a note at @mactoph or and I’ll get it taken care of.

Looking for someone who can make big lists (among other things)? Christopher Phillips on LinkedIn

Unconditional Love – Hit Me With Your Best Shot

In Act 2 of a This American Life podcast titled Unconditional Love parents Dave and Karen Royko talk about life with their son Ben who has autism. Listening to their story, it is obvious that they love Ben very much. It is also obvious that love is hard. The opening dialog between Dave and Karen:

Dave Royko

People say all kinds of things to me and my wife as parents of an autistic son, and they mean well.

Karen Royko

People would sometimes say to me, in public, or in therapy waiting rooms where there’s a lot of interaction with parents and they would say, you’re a saint. And I would just think, well, Jesus Christ. What am I supposed to do, beat the [BLEEP] out of him? What else would you do? Well, we have to take a lot of antidepressants. That helps.

Dave Royko

God bless medication. People would often say, I couldn’t do what you’re doing. I know when people would say that, I mean, it’s really a compliment. But it would sometimes though, feel like, yes, you would. Unless you’re really a [BLEEP] person and not cut out to be a parent, you would be doing the same thing. The only difference is, we have to do it. It always felt like a little whiff of this crap, like God never gives you more than you can handle.

Karen Royko

You just want to kick those people in the teeth don’t you?

Dave Royko

If that sounds harsh, here’s what it’s like for us….

The rest of the story is authentic and raw as Dave and Karen share their vulnerability with the world. Listen to the entire story or read the transcript.

The Great Big List from the 2013 CSUN International Technology & Persons with Disabilities Conference

Time again for the CSUN (California State University, Northridge) Annual International Technology and Persons with Disabilities Conference. Once again, I’m dusting off Curb Cut and will be posting a whole bunch of links to try and capture the knowledge, feeling of community and spirit of an incredible gathering people talking about lots of really important stuff.

If you know of something I have missed, or have any kind of correction please send me a note at @mactoph or

Conference Reflections

Conference Presentations

This is my favorite part of the great big list. Please encourage your presenters to share their slides online, send me a link or the actual presentation and I’ll make them available below.

Media (Audio, Video, and Images)

Events and Meetups (Formal and Otherwise)

Conference Roundups

News and Resources


You can find #CSUN13 hashtag all over the place. For Twitter check out Twitter, Easy Chirp. You can visual the conversation using twazzup, hashtagrify, or HashParty.

You can also see image, video, and slide collections at Topsy, Lanyrd, and Eventifier.

Official Conference Stuff

The conference website has important things like a list of all the sessions and other official information. There is also a spiffy mobile version available.

If you prefer your formats alternative, the DAISY Consortium has generously made the conference program and other materials available in in ePub format and as a downloadable file.

There official Conference Twitter account is @CSUNCod.

Vendors, Sponsors and Exhibitors

Vendor News, Announcements and Press Releases

Attending the Conference

Last year Deque put together a list of Tips for the CSUN Conference Newbie that are still helpful or you can check out their 2013 Guide to CSUN compiled from a Twitter conversation.

Blind Bargains has created a Guide to Attending #CSUN13 on a Budget. SAS has created an accessible map to help blind participants navigate the conference. For all of your San Diego accessible travel needs @AccessSanDiego has you covered.


Waxing nostalgic? The great big lists from 2012 and 2011 are also still available.

Follow @mactoph for updates to the list in the coming weeks and months.

Disability Models and Web Accessibility

Outstanding overview of the models of disability and accessibility from Martyn Cooper.

The social model… is important in accessibility considerations because it recognises the importance of the context of the users and supports the view of accessibility as a relationship property; in the case of web accessibility the relationship being between the diversity of users and the web resource or application.

Read Models of Disability and their Relation to Accessibility

The Great Big List from the 2012 CSUN International Technology & Persons with Disabilities Conference

Here’s the thing- 2012 California State University, Northridge (CSUN) Center on Disabilities Annual International Technology and Persons with Disabilities Conference is a really big deal. It is a gathering of people and ideas unlike any other in the world.

As a follow up to the 2011 Great Big List, below is a collection of people, ideas, presentation and other resources from the 2012 conference. If you see anything I’ve missed or that should be corrected please send me a note at @mactoph or Thanks!

Round Ups

Conference Presentations


Blog and News Coverage

Video Interviews


Getting Ready and Attending the Confernece

Vendors, Sponsors and Exhibitors

Following the Conversation

Official Conference Stuff

Vendor News, Announcements and Press Releases

Side Conversations

Other Resources

Not Attending?

Besides following the conversation online, Jeffrey Stark has offered to answer your questions from the conference or you might consider following the lead of this “Wish we could be at CSUN” commiseration event” in Canberra Australia.

Thank you!

Thank you to the following people for sending me tips and resources, please remind me if I forgot you: Jared Smith, @blindbargains, Mika O Pyyhkala, Jennison Ascunsion, Jon Hassell.

The Benefits of Captions

Many accessibility efforts to make information more accessible to users with disabilities provide benefits to all users. Calling out these benefits can lead to a decision for accessibility in spite of the benefits provided to users with disabilities. Captions are a great example,here are a few lists outlining some of those:

Even if you are a callous jerk who doesn’t care about the 3.5% of the general population who are deaf or hard of hearing, there are other benefits commonly cited in the above lists:

  • Increased usability for everyone.
  • Education and literacy benefits.
  • Increased search engine traffic.
  • Search captioned video to find specific video segments.
  • Access to audio information in a noisy environment.
  • Helpful in learning a second language.

Those all make a lot of sense, but I wanted to find some specific examples and research to back up those assertions. Here is what I found:

Increased Usability for Everyone

I don’t have hearing loss, but I always turn on captions when they are available and apparently I’m not along. In 2006, Ofcom (the regularity authority for the UK communications industries) published a report with the following blurb on the number of people who use subtitles:

In the UK adult population as a whole, over 7.5 million people (18%) are estimated to have used subtitling at least once, of whom over 6 million people would have no hearing impairment. 39% of those with a hearing impairment say that they have used it, equating to just over 1.4 million people. Amongst case study respondents with a hearing impairment, 49% said that they used it to watch all, most or some programmes, a figure that rose to 76% for those with a severe or profound hearing loss. (Section 2.20)

Muffled audio, thick accents or whatever– captions make audio easier to understand.

See Also: The hearing majority of captioning viewers from Joe Clark and WETA’s Captions Increase & Sustain Their Video Viewership from Peter Crosby at DotSUB.

Education and Literacy Benefits

I also try to turn captions on for my kids:

Increased search engine traffic

While these benefits may occasionally be overstated as not all captioned video is indexed by all search engines, there are definite SEO benefits from captioned video for at least some services/search engines. If nothing else, posting the video transcript with the video will ensure that your video content can be indexed by search engines.

We can only hope that as search engines take advantage of captions to deliver more relevant video content to users I hope it doesn’t lead to a rash of captioned videos of video spammers yelling about cheap online pharmaceuticals and work from home opportunities.

Search Captioned Video to Find Specific Video Segments

This video from Hulu demonstrates this idea very well (ironically, it’s uncaptioned):

You can try it out for yourself by doing to the Hulu Captions Search page.

On a completely unrelated sidenote, there is a great story of how the husband of a Deaf woman had a brother with a friend who was a programmer at Hulu helped to get captions rolling at Hulu.

You can also see this functionality at the DO-IT Video collection., CaptionBox is a jQuery plugin that allows you do add some of this functionality to videos on your site.

Access to the audio information in a noisy environment.

I wish I could find some more validation of this oft-cited statistic that the number one use of captions is actually gyms, bars, language learning, etc… I don’t doubt that captions are useful in noisy environments, but after emailing a number of people who have cited one use or another as the top use of captioning I’ve yet to find any hard data on this. If you know of any research that validates this, I would love to hear about it.

Access to Audio Information in a Noisy Environment

I’ve often heard the face that the most common use of captions is when they are turned on for televisions in a restaurant or gym. I looked pretty hard and can’t find any hard data to verify that assertion, but I know that I appreciate caption being turned on when I eat out. Unfortunately it’s been awhile since I’ve been to a gym so I can’t speak to that. Also, those children I mentioned earlier who I turn on captions for the educational benefits? There are four of them and they can be noisy- captions are a godsend when my wife and I are watching a show with the kiddos in the room.

Helpful in Learning a Second Language

Here are a few academic articles on this topic with fancy words, complicated charts, the works:

That’s It

What did I miss?

Explanation of Autism from a Blogger with Autism

You may feel like you know it when you see it, but do you know exactly what autism is? Lisa Daxer writes in her post titled How to Diagnose Autism, “autism really is a complicated subject”. You should take her word for it, Lisa has Asperger’s syndrome. In the post shed does an incredible of outlining some differences “between autistics and neurotypicals” in three categories:

  • learning and cognition
  • sensory processing
  • language/communication.

In the end she acknowledges that:

… Unfortunately, it’s just not possible. Autism is a complicated diagnosis to make and a complicated subject to study. The more traits you have, the more likely you’re autistic.

In general, a diagnosis of autism is made when someone determines that you have a lot of autistic traits, and that these traits mean you need help with something, and that a diagnosis would help. But defining autism–the essential cognitive style–is a project I think we’ll take decades to finish.

If you’re not already following Reports from a Resident Alien, take a moment to do so now, here are just a few of my favorite posts that have helped me to better understand what it means to have a disability:

Read How to Diagnose Autism

A Credo of Support

Must watch video for anyone who knows anyone with a disability:

Read by People with Disabilities

Read by a Narrator

Full Text

Throughout history, people with physical and mental disabilities have been abandoned at birth, banished from society, used as court jesters, drowned and burned during The Inquisition, gassed in Nazi Germany, and still continue to be segregated, institutionalized, tortured in the name of behavior management, abused, raped, euthanized, and murdered.

Now, for the first time, people with disabilities are taking their rightful place as fully contributing citizens.

The danger is that we will respond with remediation and benevolence rather than equity and respect. And so, we offer you:

A Credo for Support

Do not see my disability as the problem.
Recognize that my disability is an attribute.

Do not see my disability as a deficit.
It is you who see me as deviant and helpless.

Do not try to fix me because I am not broken.
Support me. I can make my contribution to the community in my own way.

Do not see me as your client.
I am your fellow citizen.
See me as your neighbour.
Remember, none of us can be self-sufficient.

Do not try to modify my behavior.
Be still & listen. What you define as inappropriate may be my attempt tocommunicate with you in the only way I can.

Do not try to change me, you have no right.
Help me learn what I want to know.

Do not hide your uncertainty behind “professional” distance.
Be a person who listens and does not take my struggle away from me by trying to make it all better. Do not use theories and strategies on me.
Be with me.
And when we struggle with each other, let that give use to self-reflection.

Do not try to control me. I have a right to my power as a person.
What you call non-compliance or manipulation may actually be the only way I can exert some control over my life.

Do not teach me to be obedient, submissive and polite.
I need to feel entitled to say No if I am to protect myself.

Do not be charitable towards me.
The last thing the world needs is another Jerry Lewis.

Do not try to be my friend. I deserve more than that.
Get to know me, we may become friends.

Do not help me, even if it does make you feel good.

Ask me if I need your help.
Let me show you how you can assist me.

Do not admire me.
A desire to live a full life does not warrant adoration.
Respect me, for respect presumes equality.

Do not tell, correct, and lead.
Listen, support, and follow.

Do not work on me.
Work with me!


In Memory of Tracy Latimore
Written by Norman Kunc and Emma Van der Klift
Copyright 1995 Norman Kunc & Emma Van der Klift


Copies available through

2011 AHEAD Conference and Changing Attitudes

I’m attending the Association of Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD) Conference in Seattle this week. Many of the sessions are typical fare for a disability conference, but I’ve found a strand of conversations pushing the conversation beyond where many disability advocates in attendance are comfortable. I love it.

The conference brings together professionals from disability service offices that provide support to students with disabilities in colleges and universities.

Here are some of the questions that were asked:

  • How do disability simulations used for disability awareness reinforce existing power structures and negative stereotypes?
  • How do disability service offices act as the gatekeeper rather than door opener?
  • Why is so much time spent evaluating and diagnosing disability that could be spent on creating more accessible environments for everyone?
  • How is the disability rights movement similar and different from movements of other oppressed groups?

There was a great discussion on the power of language where the power of words was affirmed, but Alberto Guzman put the language discussion into perspective when he said, “If the goal is to be politically correct, then we should just forget about it”.

There is tremendous value in examining our own ideas and perceptions. There was a palpable energy felt as as ideas and attitudes were challenged and changed. I will leave this conference with a renewed sense of purpose and direction in the work that I do.

The presentations from the AHEAD conference can be found on the AHEAD Conference website.