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Apple apps to support Global Accessibility Awareness Day

May 18th, 2017 | by Grace Chng
Apple apps to support Global Accessibility Awareness Day
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PHOTO: Apple handout

A billion people or 15 per cent of the world population suffer from some kind of disability, according to the World Bank.

On average as a group, the disabled are more likely to experience adverse socioeconomic outcomes than persons without disabilities, such as less education, poorer health outcomes, lower levels of employment, and higher poverty rates.

In Singapore, about 3 per cent of the population are disabled, according to estimates from the Ministry of Social and Family Development.

It took an American web developer Joe Devon to galvanise the world community to support creating better digital access for the disabled. In his blog post in 2011, he said: “For some people, an accessible Internet literally makes a world of difference.”

With this in mind, he proposed Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) to get everyone talking, thinking and learning about digital (web, software, mobile, etc) access/inclusion and people with different disabilities. GAAD has become a global movement and this year it falls on May 18.

Around the world, many events are taking place to create greater awareness of designing for accessibility. Visit the GAAD website to find out the activities taking place. Or you can join the Facebook page to support the movement.

To mark Global Accessibility Awareness Day on May 18th, Apple launched its Designed for Everyone campaign with short astonishing videos of seven people who are using its accessible technology in their everyday lives.

There is Carlos Vasquez, musician and PR manager for the metal band Distartica, who lost his eyesight to glaucoma as a child. Cyclit Ian MacKay who is paralyzed from the neck down, and who is set to travel 3,000 miles on the Olympic Discovery Trail by the end of this year.

Fifteen-year-old Meera Phillips is a soccer player unable to fully use her natural voice as a result of Schizencephaly, which impacts motor control and speech. Todd Stabelfeldt is quadriplegic, but also a software engineer and successful entrepreneur.

Nursing student Andrea Dalzell is a former Ms Wheelchair New York, who lives with spina bifida. Radio DJ Patrick Lafayette suffers from a vision disability. Shane Rakowski is a middle school band director, who lives with hearing loss.

Apple also provided a list of its accessibility apps collection in areas of vision, hearing, speech, learning and literacy, physical motor skills, and Accessible Home With Siri. It will also host accessibility sessions in its retail stores to introduce people to these built-in accessibility features.

Watch the inspiring videos on YouTube:

To get the accessibility apps, go to the Apple site.

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