The WCA Accessibility Framework
We saw in the previous section how simple tasks are not really simple at all.
Once you break a task down into its component parts, you see how complex it really is.
The WCA Accessibility Framework helps you to break down a task into its components and identify where issues may lie and what the solutions might be.
You can use the framework for a specific individual or as a general exercise.
This in-depth analysis is particularly useful if you have a pupil facing an access issue, or struggling to be included in a class task, and you haven’t yet identified a solution.
The framework allows you to see the different elements of a task and you can identify where someone might face a challenge or be excluded from doing that task. Once you can pinpoint the area of difficulty that a pupil faces, you will be better able to devise actions to support them. By doing this you will enable the pupil to demonstrate their full potential, and improve their life chances.
Simple but not so simple
The framework is not intended to be used for every student in every situation. It is a very useful exercise but it can be time-consuming. This is why we chose the four tasks above as examples. Following a verbal instruction, moving around, writing and reading are probably the most common things you will ask a child to do during a normal school day. So we thought our examples here might save you time when you come to do it for your pupils.
The framework can also be used to give you a bank of scenarios and solutions to help inform a real situation, as we have done here. Doing this when you have quiet periods will also save you time later on when the situation arises. Imagine situations such as how someone in a wheelchair might join in a PE lesson, or how a non-verbal student might join in a class debate, then complete the framework. Just doing the exercise a few times will help you begin to think in a new way when looking at tasks.
Remember, everyone is different, so any pre-prepared models will have to be adjusted to meet individual needs. Doing the exercise in advance just gives you a starting point to work from.
It should also be remembered that this is a framework to support a way of looking at a solution and considering solutions. In filling out the framework, you should be using your knowledge of the school, the student, plus information or advice from colleagues or specialists about any conditions they may have been diagnosed with.
The information collected within the framework provides evidence that you can use to support your teaching methods and choices. The framework can be updated as you discover new methods and actions that work or do not work. It can also act as a record of action taken.