How many really pursue or develop affordable Assistive Technology (AT)?
I have been volunteering, networking, cold calling, and doing everything possible in my life to try to get AT at the forefront of developers minds and on their “to do” lists. I have been pushy, but, I advocate strongly, for a group of fantastic people who need AT to live or improve quality of life.
The irony is that when I have collaborated or spoken with developers about creating AT, I always thought we were speaking the same language. I have always been met with a warm welcome, a look of understanding, a cogent conversation and would leave feeling as though all was wonderful and all our AT issues would be top priority…When I would follow up weeks or months later, little or no progress was made. I would be frustrated and the developer would have lost interest and would have moved on to a new project. So, I went from elation to dejection fast….We were far from speaking the same language…and far from AT.
Then fascinatingly enough, in the last few months,I met the first technophile like myself ,who said, “Many do not understand what accessibility, and Assistive Technology is, and how important it is to the world.” Oh my, really? Yes, really!
It changed the way I think about things now. I also need to change my approach. He was right! I realized that unless you are in healthcare, a careprovider, or in a family disability situation, many may not really know how to approach and create AT.
Honestly,at first,I was stunned by this comment. In my entire professional and disability advocate life, it never occurred to me that people may not develop, because they do not have an interest,understanding,background or passion.
I am glad that I had the fateful meeting and conversation with my technophile friend, as the next series of articles on eBe will focus on the various areas of disabilities and why it is important to gain an understanding of AT and to develop devices, electronics, and especially mobile technology for independence and quality of life.
Best regards, Mike Bolo