Doing science sitting down, and other thoughts about universal design

The Contemplative Mammoth

I’m writing this post one-handed. Last week, I cut my finger badly in the lab, and I’m wearing a splint to protect the tendon from further damage. This marks the second time in my academic career that I’ve had an injury that involved some form of modified work or accommodation (the first was a stress fracture that involved an 8-week stint on crutches). Both times, I was struck by a general lack of accessibility in my environment, and how hard it is to move around in a world designed for able-bodied people.

I identify as able-bodied, and I don’t want to give the impression that a few weeks of impairment means I know what it’s like to be a person with disabilities (PWD). But these experiences are, for me, a close encounter with the idea of universal design, the idea that our buildings, products, and environments should be accessible to everyone, regardless of age…

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