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Funding to Help Launch Seminar Series, Smartphone Accessibility Features

Shepherd Center, Atlanta, announced in a recent news release that it received a $50,000 contribution from AT&T. The funds will go to support researchers of the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center for Wireless Technologies (Wireless RERC) in launching a series of webinars designed to help individuals with disabilities discover a range of accessibility features found on their mobile devices. The release notes that the seminars are slated to be held in five cities that include Atlanta, Austin and Dallas, Texas, Chicago, and Washington, DC, throughout the spring and summer.

According to the release, the AT&T Corporate Accessibility Technology Office and the Wireless RERC’s education and outreach seminars will place on emphasis on assisting individuals with a disability in using their wireless devices more effectively. The training will primarily center on educating consumers with disabilities about the accessibility features already built into three popular smartphone operating systems.

The release notes that the seminars will also provide an opportunity for AT&T to gather key information about experiences and issues with mobile devices and services encountered by consumers with disabilities. This information will help shed light on how the accessibility of products and products can be improved and how accessibility is communicated from organizations whose goal to improve communities mirrors AT&T’s own.

Mike Jones, PhD, vice president of research and technology, Shepherd Center, points out that smartphones have a variety of built-in accessibility features designed to meet the diverse needs of consumers with disabilities. “But awareness of how those features can help and how they can be activated and used continues to be an issue. AT&T’s donation will help the Wireless RERC in its mission to reach out and directly meet with consumers with disabilities to help alleviate this issue. We’re very excited to bring these events to local communities.”

Beth Shiroishi, president of AT&T, adds, “We are honored to work with the Shepherd Center to provide consumers with disabilities access to valuable training and resources and to be able to learn from the feedback of those consumers.”

Consumers who the free seminars will target include individuals who use text and video services as a primary means of communication, use screen readers and/or screen enlargement/contrast, families, friends, and caregivers of individuals with disabilities, and individuals who use hearing aids. Additional consumers that the seminars will be geared toward include individuals with cognitive impairments, impaired dexterity and mobility, those who use Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) devices, and clinical therapists supporting individuals with disabilities, as well as other clinicians in assistive technology fields.

The release reports that the seminars will center on uncovering and customizing the accessibility features found on three major mobile smartphone operating systems that will be of the most benefit for each category of impairment. Additionally, the events will showcase different hardware platforms and/or other hardware that can enhance the accessibility of the attendees’ devices and provide useful online accessibility resources to services, devices, and mobile applications. The seminars will also aim to answer accessibility questions, troubleshoot accessibility issues, and discuss ways to improve accessibility.

For more information about the events, click here

[Source(s): Wireless RERC, AT&T Corporate Accessibility Technology Office]