Poster Designed for Disability Awareness
When Lance Hidy, Northern Essex Community College’s accessible media specialist, first learned that most individuals with disabilities either do not enroll in college or if they do, do not ask for assistance, he knew others should know too.
So, Hidy, a renowned graphic designer, did what he does best – designed a poster that would educate, at the very least, the greater NECC community. The poster features famous politicians, actors, musicians, and artists born with various disabilities. Now, 17, two x three-foot posters hang in various locations across the Haverhill and Lawrence campuses.
“This is part of a campaign to reduce the stigma associated with the word ‘disability’ and to recognize that disability is in fact part of diversity,” says Hidy, who collaborated with the staffs of the Learning Accommodations Center and the Center for Instructional Technology, before embarking on the design.
The poster includes, to name a few, Apple, Inc. co-founder, Steve Jobs, who was dyslexic; Lady Gaga, who has fibromyalgia; artist Frida Kahlo, who lived with physical pain and mobility issues; actress Selena Gomez, who has depression; and photographer Ansel Adams who had ADHD.
The intent of the poster, says Hidy, is to reduce the “stigma” that a disability would ever prevent you from pursuing an education, or employment. The poster includes the thumbnail photos of 18 celebrities and the disability they live with. Also listed on the poster are statistics that only 20 percent of college students with diagnosed disabilities register for accommodations and that the other 80 percent register for classes without disclosing their disability, and without receiving the assistance they are legally entitled to.
“We wanted to raise awareness,” says Hidy. “We want to encourage more students with disabilities to register for accommodations. We also want to raise awareness among faculty and staff, who don’t have disabilities, to think about students with disabilities in other ways, and to design courses to be more accessible.”
Hidy is one of the leaders of the Accessible Media Team at NECC, who believe that designing courses to be more user-friendly and accessible is an under-recognized way to improve student success, and to increase the percentage of students who complete their degrees. Creating an accessible digital learning environment is also consistent with the college’s mission to promote diversity and inclusion—serving the broadest possible range of students, regardless of their abilities.
For additional information contact Hidy at firstname.lastname@example.org