Landing : Athabascau University

60 Minute ACCESS Challenge

Spend just 60 minutes experiencing a simulation of a disabling condition while you work or study at AU. Try any of the following list of tasks, provide comments on your experience by submitting an e-mail, comment on this blog or upload  a video. This event is a celebration of the abilities and rights of people with disabilities worldwide.

Pick from the following or create your own challenge:

  • Vision Sims - conduct an hour as you normally do, BUT with partial sight wearing reduced vision simulation goggles
  • Rock ‘n Roll - use a wheelchair to get around
  • Go Mouse less (use a keyboard only)
  • Switch Sides – (use your non-dominant hand for everything)
  • Surfs Up! – use the built in accessibility features on your mobile device to read the web or a document
  • Text to Speech - Use a screen reader or text to speech software on your computer (provided). Screen readers are typically used by people with severe vision loss. Text-to-speech allows selected text to be read aloud. Commonly TTS is used by someone with difficulty in attention, comprehension and/or reading speed.
  • MULTItask - Don't stop working, wear headphones, listen to a podcast, take a short multiple choice quiz about the podcast, and... we may distract you even further.

International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) happens each year on December 3 around the world.For those people willing we will share your experiences in a presentation December 3.


  • Wheel chair bound and working at A.U.

    On August 11th I fell and received a spiral fracture of my left fibula. As it turned out, I did not require surgery so was put into a cast on August 14th. I went back to work wheel chair bound on August 18th.

    Needless to say, I was able to appreciate immediately what people endure on a day to day basis.

    I work in A.U. Central upstairs. My husband drove me work for the first 2 weeks every morning as I was unable to weight bear at all on my left leg.

    We parked in the front parking lot and had to navigate through the front door to the elevator. I had difficulty going up the ramp inside the front entrance as it is quite steep and wondered how, without help people would do this on a daily basis as my husband had to push me up daily.

    I took the elevator of course to the second floor and down the hall to my office. One of my co-workers met me at the elevator and wheeled me to my office for the first couple of weeks which was a great help.

    I was able to transfer myself from my wheel chair to my office chair and used a stool we had in our area to put my leg up while working to prevent swelling.

    Our printers are quite a ways down the hall and that was a pain as I felt badly that my co-workers had to run for my printing.

    I sent an email to get a printer installed in my office to make my life and everyone else’s life a bit easier.

    It took a week but finally received a printer which was a blessing. I still had to print banner reports to the Xerox in the mail room but most other printing right at my desk. I am very independent so would transfer to my wheel chair to get my other printing when I could.

    Going to the washroom was another issue. The doors to the washrooms at AU central are very heavy and difficult to get in and out of. There are 2 doors and not a lot of space in between to maneuver.  I can appreciate the new washrooms that have no doors or at least a handicapped auto door opening feature.

    Also, many people like to use the handicapped stall in the washrooms so I found myself waiting quite often to use that stall.

    For the most part AU has made our building accessible but there are certainly areas for improvement.

    I certainly appreciate our students with disabilities. I believe being in a wheel chair is mild compared to some disabilities and I admire our students who are able to be so successful.

    - Bernice Aasen 

    Carrie Anton November 19, 2014 - 11:16am

  • Hello

    I find it interesting that mental illness is not included. One could get a sense of what it is like to hear voices by trying to do a task such as reading something out loud while two people stand on each side of you and give you different auditory commands and criticisms. Just a suggestion. I work in mental health.

    Leslie Bresser November 19, 2014 - 5:30pm

  • You're Right! Hearing loss isn't simulated either, whcih would be fiarly simple to simulate. I'm hoping we can come up with other challenge ideas, just as yo have. Thanks!

    Carrie Anton November 19, 2014 - 5:42pm

  • "Our unit does the Multi Task challenge every day.  We work in an extremely noisy environment, wear headphones, write notes and try to work on three screens at the same time in three different websites.
    Once I thought I would switch my headphones to my right ear versus my left ear and was surprised how mixed up my typing got." - LB

    Carrie Anton November 24, 2014 - 12:21pm

  • I will be taking the Rock and Roll challenge tomorrow and it struck me that just the return trip from one building to the other will present a significant trial. So the campaign is working right away, because my head space just changed dramatically.

    Mike MacLean November 24, 2014 - 5:18pm

  • Well I did my "switch sides" challenge.  And a challenge it was.

    At my desk I was able to do what work needed to be done, found myself using the mouse more, except at a lot slower pace.  Had to think out things a bit more, slow down.  I did eventually feel a strain on my neck.  Realizing that all the work is set to one hand compared to using both.

    With helping Inter-library Loans, I had to admit that I needed help taping up a package.  I did part of it (by holding the package down with my foot), but I actually had to ask for help for the rest.  Finding that without that extra arm, I'm wanting to use my body, mouth or feet instead.  Had to actually hide my arm in my shirt, cause I was constantly wanting to use it.

    Working with a disability is a challenge, and I give those people credit for what they do, with what they got.


    Carrie Anton November 27, 2014 - 1:41pm

  • I wore the macular degeneration glasses yesterday for an hour.  It went pretty well.  Although I have to admit I felt like I was starting to get a headache at the end of the hour. - SS

    Carrie Anton November 28, 2014 - 9:44am

  • Mike MacLean did the Rock 'n Roll Challenge for half a day! Here is his experience

    Carrie Anton November 28, 2014 - 9:51am

  • I wore the glasses that simulate Retentis Pigmentosa

    Basically it feels like tunnel vision and I had quite a few problems while using the glasses.

    Firstly because my field of vision was so small, finding my mouse cursor was really frustrating when I started.  I eventually learned to move it to the top left and look for it there.  The mouse was the first thing I had trouble finding, but other things were problems as well.  Looking for some information or links on a page was really difficult because I had to scan the whole page with my little spot of vision.  The same was true with items on my desk.  Finding a pen wasn’t that easy because I had to look all over with a very small view.  I think this highlighted the importance of clear and logical organization for our websites.  I’m sure that the desk of somebody with this disability is very organized and that they can just reach for their pen in the same place all the time.

    I found walking around a bit unnerving.  Having no peripheral vision isn’t bad for a minute or two, but from time to time I felt like I was about to bump into things I couldn’t see.  Open spaces were more comfortable for movement.

    This simulation really emphasized how uncluttered and logical spaces, either online or in the real world, would really help someone with this disability. 

    Colin Elliott November 28, 2014 - 10:37am

  • Colin, Your DIY & on-line participation are very appreciated. Yourself and the library staff really "notched up" this challenge by doing multiple challenges to seek an understanding of possible barriers to AU students/staff. Great job! I'd love other centers and departments to take this on with such enthusiasm and openness. .

    We had a few people in the room yesterday. By the end of the live simulations there were some "WOWS!",  "it's not about helping 'them' its about designing it first and helping 'us'! ". And "find funding to do accessibility won't happen because its our Duty to Accommodate in the eyes of Government."

    I will send the narrated presentation out before Christmas as I didn't get a chance to record it yesterday. A snapshot of anonymous feedback will be provided on Wednesdays IDPD Disability @ AU presentation.

    Thanks again.

    Keep on truckin'. You are doing good things that help everyone!


    PS Colin also did the ACCESS Challenge in a wheelchair

    Carrie Anton November 29, 2014 - 6:30am

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