The most prevalent disabilities include visual, hearing, motor, mobility, reading and cognitive impairments. The elderly, non-native language speakers, those with low literacy skills and people with learning challenges also benefit from barrier-free technology.
Today, nearly 70 years after IBM opened its first training center for employees with disabilities, the company continues to serve as a catalyst for accessibility. Throughout the world, governments, universities and other institutions working for the public good look to IBM’s expertise and thought leadership to help them break down the barriers to universal accessibility by extending their services to the greatest number of people possible.
Improving support for people with disabilities in Mexico
When the Mexican government launched its National Program for the Wellbeing and Inclusion in Development of People with Disabilities, IBM jumped to help. The pro bono project created 34 state-of-the-art, interconnected Adaptive Technology Centers (ATCs) within Mexico’s existing social services network. The centers offer training, employment aid and therapy to people with disabilities. Here, a hearing-impaired boy at an ATC in Oaxaca works with a therapist using IBM technology. During the first four years of the project, the ATCs served 75,000 people through 300,000 therapy sessions.
Assisting the elderly and disabled in Japan
IBM partnered with the local government of Tottori in 2010 to help it improve citizen access to critical government online services. They implemented an innovative collaboration solution which offers greater access and ease of use to people with visually-related disabilities and to elderly people who have visual impairments.
Driving accessibility standards in China
Home to more than 60 million people living with some form of disability, China is a critical emerging area for accessibility. IBM is working with key Chinese government agencies to help develop formal accessibility standards, and recently co-sponsored an event that helped train thousands of blind Chinese citizens to use computers.