Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) is the annual awareness day focusing on digital access and inclusion for disabled people around the world. It takes place on the third Thursday of May each year.
Everyone deserves a first-rate digital experience on the web but not everyone gets one. GAAD aims to get everyone talking, thinking and learning about digital access and inclusion to improve accessibility for everyone.
In this guest blog, Mike Brace CBE, DL, former Paralympic skier, social worker and leader of disabled charities, gives us the lowdown on how accessible tech has enabled him to work and excel throughout his life.
DO YOU GET IT
In my case, I think I do!
In this context, IT stands for Information Technology.
Throughout my working life accessing information, communicating with others, and being able to keep notes, case records, undertaking creative writing, and supervising the work of others has only been made possible by advances in accessible technology.
When working as a manager in social work my computer enabled me to write court reports and read the notes made by my staff. Navigation aids have enabled me to find my way independently to venues to make speeches and attend meetings. My iPhone helps me read emails, send texts, do my online banking, read books and look for bargains (very important!).
When applying for jobs, or a promotion, one of the biggest challenges I always had was convincing my interviewers that with the help of my assistive technology I couldn’t just do the job but do it well!
The explosion of accessible apps has allowed me to read my post, identify objects, and even name the plants in my garden. I have an app which allows me to summon help from a sighted person at any time and they can be from anywhere in the world.
Through my career I’ve worked for four local authorities, help set up, and run a national charity and my accessible tech has played a massive part in my success. It allowed me to follow the career I wanted, choose new roles when the opportunities arose, and use the skills and knowledge gained from my use of technology to do so many other things.
This year the Vision Foundation is celebrating its 100th birthday and has set the challenge of raising one million pounds to change the employment landscape for blind and partially sighted people. Despite advances in tech, there are sadly still so many barriers keeping visually impaired people out of the workplace. To find out more about the Centenary Appeal click on the following link.
To find out more about accessible technology and how you can help blind and partially sighted people in your company, check out our handy factsheets.