AT&T and Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center for Wireless Technologies to Launch Mobile Device Training for People with Disabilities
Contribution of $50,000 from AT&T provides for consumer education on accessibility features of mobile devices.
Today, AT&T announced a $50,000 contribution to Shepherd Center to assist researchers in the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center for Wireless Technologies (Wireless RERC) in launching a series of seminars to help consumers with disabilities uncover the range of accessibility features found on their mobile devices. Seminars are scheduled for five cities – Atlanta, Ga., Austin and Dallas, Texas, Chicago, Ill., and Washington, D.C. – throughout this spring and summer.
The AT&T Corporate Accessibility Technology Office and the Wireless RERC’s education and outreach seminars will focus on helping consumers with a disability (seeing, hearing, thinking, speaking and holding) use their wireless devices more effectively. The spotlight for this training will be on educating consumers with disabilities about the powerful accessibility features already built into three popular smartphone operating systems. The events will also be an opportunity for AT&T to gather important information about experiences and problems with mobile devices and services encountered by consumers with disabilities.
This information will provide AT&T and the Wireless RERC with valuable insight on how to improve the accessibility of products and services and how accessibility is communicated from organizations who share AT&T’s long-standing passion to improve communities. Their voices tell the stories of changes catalyzed by AT&T’s investment in education and commitment to equitable access throughout AT&T’s products and services.
"Smartphones have a range of powerful, built-in accessibility features that can meet the diverse needs of consumers with disabilities,” said Mike Jones, Ph.D., vice president of research and technology at Shepherd Center, which provides medical treatment, research and rehabilitation for people with brain and spinal cord injury. “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.”
“We are honored to work with 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,” said Beth Shiroishi, president of AT&T Georgia. “At AT&T, we strive to keep all members of the communities that we service connected with their world, including those with communications difficulties and disabilities.”
These free events will target consumers with disabilities such as those:
- who use hearing aids;
- who use text and video services as a primary means of communication;
- who use screen readers and/or screen enlargement/contrast;
- with cognitive impairments;
- with impaired dexterity and mobility;
- who use Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) devices;
- families, friends and caregivers of people with disabilities;
- clinical therapists supporting people with disabilities, as well as other clinicians in assistive technology fields.
Each event will focus on the following:
- uncovering and tailoring the accessibility features found on three major mobile smartphone operating systems – iOS (Apple), Android and Windows Phone 8 – that will be of the most benefit for each category of impairment;
- showcasing different hardware platforms (tablets, phablets, smartphones, feature devices) and/or other hardware that can enhance the accessibility of the attendees’ devices;
- providing useful online accessibility resources to services, devices and mobile applications;
- answering accessibility questions, troubleshooting accessibility issues and discussing ways to improve accessibility.
For more information on the program and scheduled events visit: www.wirelessrerc.org/content/newsroom/consumer-wireless-education
About the Wireless RERC:
Funded since 2001, the Wireless RERC (Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center) is a recognized leader on issues and solutions related to the accessibility and usability of mobile wireless products and services by people with disabilities. The National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) funds the research, development and knowledge translation activities of the Wireless RERC. Shepherd Center and the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta are research partners on the Wireless RERC.
About the AT&T Corporate Accessibility Technology Office:
The Corporate Accessibility Technology Office leads AT&T’s efforts to address the needs of persons with disabilities in the design and development of products and services across the enterprise. The Corporate Accessibility Technology Office partners with each business unit to advance AT&T’s efforts to comply with accessibility laws for products, services, applications and networks affecting the business. Building on AT&T’s legacy, the Corporate Accessibility Technology Office promotes technology that is accessible by all and fosters innovations that improve the lives of our customers.
Shepherd Center, located in Atlanta, Georgia, is a private, not-for-profit hospital specializing in medical treatment, research and rehabilitation for people with spinal cord injury, brain injury, multiple sclerosis, spine and chronic pain, and other neuromuscular conditions. Founded in 1975, Shepherd Center is ranked by U.S. News & World Report among the top 10 rehabilitation hospitals in the nation. In its more than four decades, Shepherd Center has grown from a six-bed rehabilitation unit to a world-renowned, 152-bed hospital that treats more than 900 inpatients, 575 day program patients and more than 7,100 outpatients each year.