Print disabled — A new word for me

Print disabled? 

stewart flickr

You never know where a blog idea will pop up.  At our weekly meeting at the Berthoud Surveyor newspaper to talk about story ideas, this one appeared.

A press release or some literature was shared about a possible story.  In it, the term print disabled was used.   None of the astute people sitting around the table has ever heard of this term.    (I mused that it might be a politically correct term or euphemism for something else.)

Well, here is what my research found.

The term print disabled (No hyphen unless used as an adjective) was coined by George Kerscher, PhD.  He came up with the word sometime in 1988 or 1989 to describe a person who could not access print.

His definition was “A person who cannot effectively read print because of a visual, physical, perceptual, developmental, cognitive, or learning disability.”

Later the Higher Education Opportunity Act says “print disabled” means this:  “A student with a disability who experiences barriers to accessing instructional material in non-specialized formats, including an individual described in Title 17 of the Copyright Act.”

I like the Google Library Project Settlement definition of print disabled the best.  It says it means, “User is unable to read standard printed material due to blindness, visual disability, physical limitations, organic dysfunction or dyslexia.”

I suppose not many people with a print disability will read this, so we will not know how they feel about it.

4 responses to “Print disabled — A new word for me

  1. But is it truly a disability, or are they simply OTHER abled because they make better listeners!

  2. wordsbybob

    Interesting prospective you have fingersfly.

  3. I realize I’m very late to this discussion. The term is useful to me. I have been using an e-reader for over a year and the quality of my life has increased tremendously thanks to the higher contrast, back-lighting, and larger print for the e-reader. I work at a customer service type job in which we wait for phone calls, and can read between calls. Reading print materials is humiliating for me—I have to close one eye, squint with the other, and hold the book really close to my face. So I would say I have a form of print disability. It’s pertinent for me because my managers are making electronic media unallowable at work. They say it’s because of concern over network connection problems. I actually got choked up when they told me this, I was so upset. So I might need to pull the print disability card out in the future.

  4. Mitch Thanks for sharing and thanks too for reading my blog.