There is revolution all around us. Time Magazine has named The Protestor as its Person of the Year. As we watch the Middle East churn with regime change, we cannot deny the role social media and smart phones have played to galvanize and organize a population recently introduced to technology.
Meanwhile, there is another revolution going on here in America and all over the world. It’s quieter, more gradual, and non-violent, but it is a movement nonetheless that demands better access to many of the daily tech tools often taken for granted.
Welcome to the Adaptive Technology Movement. Persons with disabilities, much like groups in the Middle East, have had limited access to technology, not because of lack of IT infrastructure, but because of the various hardware and software accessibility limitations presented by standard computers.
We meet a lot of people in our line of work who see orbiTouch and think, Wow, that’s a really neat device, but the ramifications extend infinitely beyond the product’s novelty appeal. The end game is the democratization of information and the ability to be your own person. The empowerment that comes with not having to rely on anyone else, such as a spouse or a caregiver, to communicate.
The importance of technology and accessibility is one of inclusivity. When we have more people with online access, we have more people participating in global conversation. Benefits go both ways. Persons with special needs are able to make connections, improving their quality of life and meanwhile sharing experiences and knowledge, enlightening others and enriching communities both online and off.
When individuals can learn, think, and engage for themselves, the sky is the limit. If you want to work out of your home or in an office, you can. If you want to connect with people in different parts of the world, you can. Technology has a way of eliminating stigmas, and it is the ultimate mechanism to focus on ability.
Everything in the human body is on a spectrum, and a part of living with a disability is determining which tools are right for you. OrbiTouch is of course an alternative, but so is voice recognition software, tablets such as iPad, and eye-gaze technology. These alternatives can be used either separately or in combination to form a tool set for success.
The global dialogue among persons with disabilities is one that is growing and ongoing. If you are here in the local Orlando area and you want to participate in the technology and accessibility conversation, join us at 6:25 PM at Urban ReThink! on January 12 for Tech Thursday. OrbiTouch will be there to give a live demo and co-present on issues facing the adaptive technology industry. Hope to see you there!