Seb Coe: Lifting the cloud of limitation – accessibility to sport, education and civil life.


Sebastian Coe: closing words of the London 2012 Paralympics

So many have had something to say about disability, access and attitudes in the last couple of days that I have taken to going around with a notebook – from Radio discussions and commentary, to TV coverage.

Last night Sebastian Coe mentioned the London terrorist attack in contrast to the Paralympic games and spoke of the ‘worst of mankind and the best of mankind’ he then said that ‘we will never think of disability in the same way’ and used this phrase in relation to access and opportunity as ‘lifting the cloud of limitation’ (Coe, 2012) Then, as the context comes back to education, Stephen Hawking’s opening words and ideas are reiterated by the President of the International Paralympic Committee, to look upwards, to the stars – in effect, beyond the barriers of disability.

Earlier, a Channel 4 commentator talked about how wheelchair athletes personalised their kit, ‘making them functional to the needs they have’. This, for me, is how we should think of e-learning – as kit that is readily personalised, but also adjusted to suit the ‘functional needs’ of the learner whether this is for text size, colour background, audio support, captions and subtitles, or adapted keyboards and other devices that allow interaction with software that isn’t unnecessarily tricksy.

It was noticeable to me that Sebastian Coe was introduced thus – he understands that titles are barriers too, sometimes unnecessarily and undeservedly putting people on a platform when it is not deserved. Edward Windsor should, especially in this context, have been addressed as such – in truth, as the Queen is our Head of State only she should attend these events – or she should retire and the exclusive, unearned privilege of the monarchy and attending aristocracy be demolished.

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