Introduction to Accessible Design in Media

Misconceptions of Disability

Image: Tangled multi-color cables


This deeper thinking about disability in media leads us to Stella Young’s TED Talk, I’m Not Your Inspiration, Thank You Very Much. “I am here to tell you that we have been lied to about disability. Yeah, we've been sold the lie that disability is a Bad Thing, capital B, capital T. It's a bad thing, and to live with a disability makes you exceptional. It's not a bad thing, and it doesn't make you exceptional” (Young, 2014).

Developing an Understanding:

“And in the past few years, we've been able to propagate this lie even further via social media. You may have seen images like this one: "The only disability in life is a bad attitude." Or this one: "Your excuse is invalid." Indeed. Or this one: "Before you quit, try!" These are just a couple of examples, but there are a lot of these images out there. You know, you might have seen the one, the little girl with no hands drawing a picture with a pencil held in her mouth. You might have seen a child running on carbon fiber prosthetic legs. And these images, there are lots of them out there, they are what we call inspiration porn” (Young, 2014).

Stella Young

Image: Stella Young

Stella Young

Stella Young was an Australian writer, broadcaster, comedian and passionate disability activist who advocated for greater access for people with disabilities. She used comedy and her own experiences to challenge and shift misconceptions and stereotypes about disability. She was involved with the Youth Disability Advocacy Service, establishing the LiveAccess project, advocating for better access to live music venues in Melbourne, Australia and was the editor of the Ramp Up website, where she challenged perceptions of disability (The Sydney Morning Herald, 2014).

You Can’t Ask That

You Can’t Ask That is based on an unscripted documentary series from ABC Australia. Each episode asks a group of people with the same disability a variety of awkward, inappropriate or uncomfortable questions and gives them the opportunity to speak for themselves and share their experiences, resulting in raw and surprising insights (CBC Media Centre, 2019).

The series is produced by Pixcom opens new window, an independent television and multiplatform production company, based in Montreal. You Can’t Ask That is broadcast on the CBC opens new window and on AMI-tv opens new window.

This is the first CBC series to use Integrated Described Video (IDV) opens new window (CBC Media Centre, 2019).