Last month, I joined the founding members of the International Association of Accessibility Professionals (IAAP) in a meeting where we discussed the next steps to create an association and transform accessibility into a globally recognized and respected profession. In March, we will take one of our biggest steps by formally launching the Association. So far, accessibility has developed at a grassroots level, hindered by an inconsistent approach to training as well as the absence of certifications and an established career path for engineers to follow from higher education into the workplace.
Microsoft recently awarded RallyPoint/6 a grant to equip its Veteran and Military Family Outreach and Resource Center with the latest accessible technology, including the Surface. These tablets will be loaded with Windows 8, including its speech recognition technology that will allow users to command devices with their voices. With the Surface, veterans with mobility issues will be able to search for jobs, housing and services and navigate the mountains of paperwork they often confront. When the Resource Center opens at the end of December, it also will feature an accessible computer platform designed for veterans who are in wheelchairs or who have other disabilities.
We often think of Microsoft’s Kinect as a cool part of video games, but researchers created a new prototype that uses Kinect to translate sign language into spoken and written words and spoken words into sign.
Every year when school rolls around, I make a list. I don’t make the typical list of school supplies and socks. I make a list the adaptations that need to be in place so my son can complete his school work. Adapting a mainstream school experience for a child who does not talk or write is a big task, but at its core it is simply helping my son live his life.