The paper trail of life is eroding fast in 2018. Yes, I still do things with paper, not because I want to buck the system, like an old dinosaur, but because it is truly easier for me.
You see, I am a high functioning adult with cerebral palsy, and when it comes to mild to moderate hand-eye coordination problems, despite years of practice at fine motor activities, it’s still there every day. Sometimes things the general public takes for granted can be the biggest challenges for me.
I write this as I am faced with another task of filling out forms and documents that need to be sent in a particular manner, without room for flexibility. Countless times I have done this and it never seems to get better, rather, it gets more arduous and time consuming.
Before I describe, let me list the worst offenders that challenge me:
Airline reservations, telecommunications and computer companies, Federal and State government entities, big corporations, universities, banks, and credit card companies and evenAmazon with all of the distracting promotions getting in the way of a straight forward order.
If you apply for something, you are at the company’s mercy to follow their rules exactly. Seldom, if ever, will you get a real person to assist with these tasks, guiding someone with my disabilities with patience. The bigger the company, the more impersonal, and they rarely consider a disability accommodation, no matter how often you may suggest it. This could be a new frontier for the ADA for accessibility rights.
Examples of electronic challenges –
Electronic Signatures without using a real pen;
Auto fill applications – There often is not enough room for information, one letter per block, etc; or enough room if your address is a bit longer. They often don’t provide a space for a middle initial, which I need to use, as a relative shares my name, and, they are, just plain tedious to deal with.
Timing out – If you aren’t zippy fast with all of your typing, you are timed out on applications using smartphones. This is common for me.
Typos-If you make typos and try to correct, often it is not possible to correct in the allotted time or to go back. Should you forget to “Save” as you go along, it may spell disaster when you must start the entire process again. This happened to me when applying to a Southern University as I spent hours trying to get it right only to have to begin again. I later learned that the volume of mail, even electronic, is so great that no one gets a response, unless you are one of in the few who get hired.
Sequencing– If, perhaps, you fail to do tasks in the correct order, that too can cause problems.
As an aside, those pesky two factor authentication processes on a tiny phone screen are the worst for me.
So, what is the answer if you have no immediate assistance? I usually ask a kind hearted person who doesn’t have such challenges for help, or I may try to make friends with the Customer Service Manager or Human Resource Manager, stressing that their help and a little accommodation goes a long way, especially if the task is an important one.
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