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05/05/2016

Universal accessibility in the Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) sector holds unparalleled promise and opportunity for people with disabilities never before seen in our history.
Many people are surprised to learn just how much of the world’s population is affected by a disability, and how valuable accessible design of ICT is to the global marketplace. It is also important to note that disabilities are a normal part of life. Persons with disabilities are not broken, they just might navigate the world in a different way. We all can add value when given the opportunity to tap into our unique innate abilities. Accessible ICT is an important part of that equalizing equation.

To understand the impact one has to look no further than the World Health Organization which indicates that people with disabilities are the world’s largest and fastest growing minority group. With the population of the United States aging and the likelihood of developing a disability or other mobility limitation increasing with age, the growth in the number of people with disabilities can be expected to rise dramatically. Also impacting this formula is the growing population of veterans with disabilities.

his is an exciting time, of great promise and opportunity for people of all abilities. This is a new era for global citizens, one where emerging new technologies and mobile computing devices are serving as enablers for people of all ages and all levels of education. Designing and delivering ICT to be fully accessible ensures all individuals can enjoy the benefits and advantages of technology to enrich their lives and fulfill their dreams.

An inclusive, accessible and universal design approach to technology is critical to both public and private industry wishing to anticipate future needs of this growing population. By recognizing the importance of the protection and promotion of the rights and dignity of persons with disabilities through assistive technology and accessible ICT, the world continues to strengthen policies, strategies, and programs along with an increase in awareness of the public at large of the importance of the full inclusion of individuals with disabilities, accessible ICT and assistive technology.


Experts report that the most obvious and cost effective solutions are often ignored or overlooked, a mistake that organizations and governmental bodies can no longer make when serving all citizens in equal fashion. Making technology usable for all has become imperative for unleashing the potential of all persons and is critical for any public and private institution that hopes to fully participate and remain relevant in the 21st century.
Providing accessible ICT products and services also benefits the growing population affected by age-related impairments, in addition to people with disabilities. It is unwise to ignore the sheer numbers, influence and wealth of these individuals. In the US, baby boomers control $30 trillion according to Accenture.1 There are over 78 million Baby Boomers in the United States. Baby Boomers are Americans born between the years 1946 and 1964.
Photo: A photo of my daughter, Sara Ruh. She’s a tech-savvi young woman with Down Syndrome
It is important to note that this is not a USA phenomenon. Throughout the world all populations are seeing burgeoning numbers of “elders”, defined as persons aged 65 years and older. “In many countries, including Japan, the United States, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom, those aged over 65 are at, or approaching 15% of the population. People are living longer and are generally healthier at advanced ages than were previous cohorts, thus “old age” disabilities of the 20th century will be put off to older ages during the 21st century.”2
Here are a few recent reports about this trend.


Experts report that the most obvious and cost effective solutions are often ignored or overlooked, a mistake that organizations and governmental bodies can no longer make when serving all citizens in equal fashion. Making technology usable for all has become imperative for unleashing the potential of all persons and is critical for any public and private institution that hopes to fully participate and remain relevant in the 21st century.
Providing accessible ICT products and services also benefits the growing population affected by age-related impairments, in addition to people with disabilities. It is unwise to ignore the sheer numbers, influence and wealth of these individuals. In the US, baby boomers control $30 trillion according to Accenture.1 There are over 78 million Baby Boomers in the United States. Baby Boomers are Americans born between the years 1946 and 1964.
Photo: A photo of my daughter, Sara Ruh. She’s a tech-savvi young woman with Down Syndrome
It is important to note that this is not a USA phenomenon. Throughout the world all populations are seeing burgeoning numbers of “elders”, defined as persons aged 65 years and older. “In many countries, including Japan, the United States, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom, those aged over 65 are at, or approaching 15% of the population. People are living longer and are generally healthier at advanced ages than were previous cohorts, thus “old age” disabilities of the 20th century will be put off to older ages during the 21st century.”2
Here are a few recent reports about this trend.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/debra-ruh/accessible-internet-commu_b_9818454.html