ATIA logo: Assistive Technology Industry Association
Friends of ATIA Newsletter
April, 2012
"Taking Accessibility Mainstream"
Taking Accessibility Mainstream 
Headshot of David Dikter smiling.
David Dikter, CEO ATIA 


Recently ATIA, along with our technical engineering group (AIA), held an event in San Diego entitled "Taking Accessibility Mainstream: Making the Case for an International Society of Accessibility Professionals." There we focused on how best to meet the needs of the developer community so that technology is created accessible to persons with disabilities. The event was the logical next step in a years-long process. Since 2007, ATIA has been partnering with IT and AT industry leaders (of AIA), as well as the US Dept. of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), to help steward a movement for the accessibility of mainstream technologies. Indeed we see it as our cause; after all, for "traditional" assistive technology to work (at work, school, or in the community), all technology must incorporate accessible development practices. And what we've concluded is that none of that will happen until we elevate the role of the accessibility professional within the development sphere.


This issue of Friends of ATIA focuses on the call for a Society of Accessibility Professionals and provides some history and analysis for how we've arrived at this moment. In "What the Research is Telling Us," we provide an overview of the research efforts we have conducted to understand the frustrations of the development community and for possible solutions for addressing them. In "The Need for an Accessibility Profession," Rob Sinclair, CEO of Accessibility at Microsoft and chair of the AIA Steering Committee, explains the state of accessibility today and how a professional society can help. And in "Thoughts on a Society of Accessibility Professionals," Léonie Watson, a UK-based Web developer, writes from her perspective on the dangers of not formally professionalizing accessibility. Indeed since 2008, many, many people have been involved in this movement, representing industry and government, and it has been inspiring to feel the momentum build (see the announcement of our continued ODEP partnership below). In San Diego the conversation broadened further to include reps of higher education, publishers, accessibility consultants, and leaders of accessibility and disability organizations (see "Building Consensus in San Diego").


Making accessibility a mainstream priority is important to all of us who deal with technology and disability. It's important because as technology gets more embedded into everyone's lives, and as it gets more complex (mobile, tablets, cloud, etc.), the only way the disability community is going to keep pace is if accessibility is not just an assistive technology issue, but is of concern to the whole ecosystem. Thanks to everyone who is helping us build this movement. We look forward to continuing this journey, furthering our collaborations, and keeping everyone informed of future steps and opportunities.


--David Dikter, CEO ATIA


Learn more from David on Taking Accessibility Mainstream from his recent interview for the Assistive Technology Update podcast
The Rising Tide: Harnessing the Consumer Tech Craze for Greater AT Awareness

A Message from ATIA Board President Daniel Hubbell
Daniel Hubbell speaking.
Daniel Hubbell, ATIA Board president


As a board member for ATIA, I am frequently asked by folks outside of the industry what assistive technology is. I am always surprised to get this question, although I guess I shouldn't be. ATIA has always focused on building greater AT awareness among many stakeholders, especially providers of services to individuals with disabilities and consumers themselves. But these are essentially folks who already have a sense of the transformative power of assistive technology. Outside of our community, it's still assistive tech what?


Technology is changing rapidly with an increasing focus on mobile and consumer electronics. More people are noticing how technology can improve lives, outside of our traditional audience, and more people are asking questions about access. This is a great opportunity. We can provide answers to this new group and, in turn, encourage them to ask more questions. After all, with more questions being asked by more people, there is greater opportunity to raise awareness for access as a whole. They say a rising tide lifts all boats. ATIA has a unique opportunity to ride this tide in an effort to raise overall awareness about accessibility and assistive technology.


So how do we do it? How do we make accessibility and AT more of a mainstream rather than a niche topic? A year ago the ATIA Board of Directors established this as one of the strategic initiatives for the association, with a specific goal to bridge the relationship between the AT industry and the broader consumer electronics (CE) industry. This initiative will likely be a focus for many years, but has already led to some great discussion. At the recent Taking Accessibility Mainstream event we made progress toward creating consensus on what an emerging accessibility profession might look and sound like. This is an important piece of the puzzle. ATIA and the Board will continue to play a leadership role in the ongoing mission to raise awareness of assistive technology and accessibility by taking the conversation mainstream!  


--Daniel Hubbell 

The Need for an Accessibility Profession

Rob Sinclair, Chief Accessibility Officer at Microsoft, presents the perspective of the Accessibility Interoperability Alliance (AIA) Steering Committee


Photo of Rob Sinclair.
Rob Sinclair, Chief Accessibility Officer at Microsoft 

In the past five years we have seen an increasing number of new devices and technologies enter the market, and we know accessibility is not keeping pace. This is partly due to the fact that the community of accessibility practitioners is overwhelmed by the quantity of standards, public policies, new operating systems from Apple, Google and Microsoft, and the rise of mobile apps. Accessibility is an increasingly complex pursuit, and we need a better global strategy to keep pace with the industry. We believe an international society of accessibility professionals can help.

State of Accessibility Today

Although there are some signs of progress, they typically exist in isolated pockets and are not scalable across the industry.  Microsoft's integration of speech recognition in Windows Vista enabled people with no use of their hands or arms to use a PC at no additional cost. Apple's introduction of the VoiceOver screen reader into MacOS and iOS changed the blind and low-vision communities' expectations for out-of-the-box accessibility in consumer electronics. IBM led the creation and standardization of ARIA (Accessible Rich Internet Applications) which is helping improve accessibility of Web sites around the world. Microsoft's revolutionary Kinect peripheral for the Xbox and PC is changing the way many people experience entertainment. However, there are many more examples that indicate we, as a global society, are far from achieving digital inclusion. For example: 

  • Few companies understand the business case for accessibility.
  • Most university graduates are uneducated or unaware of accessibility.
  • It is difficult to identify qualified accessibility experts.
  • Most new products and content are inaccessible.
  • Accessibility practitioners are struggling to remain up-to-date.
  • There is increasing use of legislation and litigation to resolve problems.  

These issues lead us to search for the underlying causes and how they can be addressed.

Potential Root Cause  

Based on a review of the common accessibility challenges from the past twenty years, we believe these symptoms are a result of: 

  • Misunderstanding:  Many people today still do not understand accessibility, how it leads to improved usability for everyone, and why it is important to achieve social and digital inclusion.
  • Lack of Mainstream Integration:  Accessibility is not included in the curricula of most universities; it is not an integral part of the design, development and delivery of commercial products, and it is rarely considered as a strategic element of a company's business strategy.
  • Increasing Technical Complexity:  Five years ago most accessibility discussions related to Web accessibility, Windows software, and open source activities on Linux. Today there are many actively evolving operating systems, new web and application technologies, and dozens of authoring tools.
  • Insufficient Global Coordination and Collaboration:  There are a number of individuals and organizations who have created valuable resources related to accessibility.  Unfortunately, they are not widely known or were developed in a manner which prevents their use by organizations elsewhere in the world. 

The Missing Element: An International Society of Accessibility Professionals

Today, much of accessibility is driven by a community of deeply-dedicated, largely self-taught practitioners.  It is impressive to see what they have achieved during the past thirty years, but it is time for accessibility to move to the next stage. Security and privacy have rapidly evolved over the past decade into valued bodies of professional expertise in enterprise organizations. This same transition is needed to make accessibility a scalable, repeatable, internationally-recognized, professional pursuit. 

A society of professionals could invest in the following services: 

  • Create and maintain a globally-endorsed set of educational resources.
  • Train and certify international accessibility professionals. 
  • Build and nurture a global community of experts.
  • Help related efforts around the world coordinate their work.


Without an international community of trained accessibility experts it will be extremely difficult to achieve real change in accessibility. We need this expertise disseminated throughout the industry and governments around the world. Each business leader, designer, engineer, technical writer, customer support specialist, teacher, etc. needs to understand accessibility and apply it in their role. They need a way to remain current and coordinate their work with the rest of the accessibility community around the world. After looking around the world at existing models, we believe a professional society is the best way to achieve these outcomes.  


Rob Sinclair is chair of the Accessibility Interoperability Alliance (AIA) steering committee (AIA is the technical and engineering devision of ATIA). The AIA steering committee is made up of global leaders in accessibility and AT, including representatives from Adobe, Ai Squared, Texthelp, in addition to Microsoft.

Thoughts on a Society of Accessibility Professionals  


Léonie Watson writes from her perspective as director of accessibility at Nomensa (a UK-based Web design and development firm)


Photo of Leonie Watson.
Léonie Watson
There is a strong esprit de corps amongst the people who work in accessibility. It's founded on the belief that the digital world should be more inclusive, and it's tempered by the shared experiences of championing that belief.

At its heart, accessibility is a grassroots movement. Today accessibility is part of global corporations and government departments. There are agencies and consultants that provide accessibility services, and in almost every case, there is an accessibility champion at the heart of the activity. Somebody, somewhere, who believed that the digital world should be an inclusive place, and who decided to do something about it.

Accessibility champions have taken digital accessibility and evolved it into a growth industry. At a time of considerable global economic challenge, people are beginning
to recognise that maximising their digital budget makes sense. Accessibility is a core part of that strategy, and there is a growing demand for people who can deliver the
benefits accessibility brings.

When any industry reaches this point, two things tend to happen. Demand outstrips capacity, and the opportunists move in to fill the gap. This is the current state of play
with accessibility.

There is a global skills shortage. Talk to any accessibility champion, and you'll hear the same message: we need more people with the right skills and expertise.

Herein lies a problem though. It isn't easy to find the right people. Universities, colleges and schools are not turning out people with accessibility skills. There is no recognised curriculum or body of knowledge to explain how accessibility relates to procurement, project management, usability, design or development in a harmonised way.

Meanwhile, the opportunists are moving in. It's increasingly common to hear of organisations being let down by the "accessibility professionals" they brought in. People and agencies who add accessibility to their credentials because they see the rise in demand and hope to capitalise on it.

As an industry we need to respond to these challenges. As accessibility champions, we have the ability to do so.

Imagine if we could take the professionalism that exists, and define it so that other people could recognise it and aspire to it?

Imagine if we could take the knowledge that exists, and create a body of knowledge that people could learn from directly or incorporate into mainstream tuition?

Imagine if we could take the experience that exists, and develop a mentorship programme that would enable newcomers to flourish and grow in confidence?

Imagine if we could do all those things in a way that created trust, reliability and confidence in our profession?

The best way for us to achieve this is together. As accessibility champions we created a growth industry. As accessibility professionals we need to make it a sustainable industry, and as a society of accessibility professionals, we can make sure it is an industry that is reflected in every aspect of an inclusive digital world.


--Léonie Watson

ATIA and ODEP Announce Alliance Partnership to Advance Employment

On March 1st, 2012, ATIA and the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) signed an Alliance agreement. Participating in the signing ceremony were ODEP Assistant Secretary Kathy Martinez, 
ATIA Chief Executive Officer David Dikter, and ATIA Board President Daniel Hubbell.  

Through this collaborative relationship, ODEP and ATIA will disseminate effective practices and provide expertise regarding Assistive Technology (AT) and Information & Communications Technology (ICT) accessibility strategies that advance the employment of persons with disabilities.  


Photo from ATIA/ODEP alliance partnership signing.
Seated at table from left to right are David Dikter, CEO of ATIA, Kathy Martinez, ODEP assistant secretary, and Daniel Hubbell, ATIA Board president.

"ATIA has been a wonderful partner to us in the past, and I am so pleased that we are formalizing plans to continue our efforts and conduct a range of joint education and outreach activities related to accessible workplace technology," said Assistant Secretary Martinez.

ATIA and ODEP partnered on the three research projects which led to the day-long forum held in San Diego on "Taking Accessibility Mainstream." They also jointly developed the Roadmaps for Enhancing Employment of Persons with Disabilities Through Accessible Technology, and collaborated on the ATIA Leadership Forum on Accessibility series. "This strengthens what has already been a very successful partnership for many years, " noted Dikter. "We look forward to future projects with ODEP which can address some of the continuing issues and obstacles to the development and implementation of accessible technology in the workplace and other environments."  


What the Research is Telling Us...


about addressing obstacles to taking accessibility mainstream!


Drawing of a woman running arms outstretched holding books. Research is guiding this movement. Between 2010 and 2011, the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) partnered with ATIA and AIA (our technical engineering division) to sponsor three research projects aimed at understanding and removing the obstacles faced by hardware, software, and Web developers concerned with accessibility. The projects lead one to the next, building momentum, attracting stakeholders, and ultimately shaping our agenda for how to take accessibility mainstream. Below is a summary of what we've learned from each project.


Project #1: The Developer's Survey on Accessibility

...goes viral 


The Developer's Survey was created by AIA for distribution to a field of developers who work in accessibility. Recipients were invited to share the survey with appropriate colleagues and the result, to our surprise, was it went viral. Within just three weeks we amassed responses from an international pool of 433 respondents--techies from around the globe who were more than happy to tell us about their frustrations with and needs for creating accessible technologies and products.


And what needs did they identify?  

  • the need for better information, resources, and training;
  • for integrated accessibility training into post-secondary educational programs;
  • for better testing tools, and increased automation for checking accessibility throughout the development process;
  • for opportunities for networking, the sharing of best practices, and a sense of community; 
  • for better support for and commitment to accessibility within their organizations (a generally higher status and institutional priority for their work).

Project #2: Identifying Solutions--the Recommendations of the CODE for Accessibility Task Force

...more and more of our community gets in on the action 


Our next task was to create a body of experts who could study the survey responses, study existing solutions, and come up with recommendations. This body would also be charged with providing input to federal agencies considering policy initiatives to help drive change (particularly in support of accessible workplace technology development).  


To do so we invited nearly 100 industry leaders. Happily over 40 responded to volunteer their time with one or more subcommittees. The majority--but not all--of participants were from the private sector, and were made up of leading IT, AT, higher education, and accessibility organizations. Together they made up "The Center of Development Expertise (CODE) for Accessibility Task Force."


Task Force Recommendations 


The CODE Task Force subcommittees focused on four areas: Planning, Education, Testing, and Policy. They each made many recommendations. Overlapping interests, however, highlighted a few key solutions. These included: 

  • the creation of an education and certification program for accessibility,  
  • the creation of a Web portal/central hub for accessibility developers;  
  • and the creation of a Society of Accessibility Professionals.

The final key Task Force recommendation was particularly intriguing. A professional society for accessibility developers, it was felt, was worth exploring because its creation could help drive forward and house the other solutions.


Project #3: Case Studies--the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP)

...we're just like them only different  


To study this solution, the third research project looked in depth at the creation and implementation of an existing professional association in a parallel industry: privacy. The case studies analyzed the history and programs of the IAPP--including its certification program and Web portal/knowledge-base--and identified similarities and differences between the privacy and accessibility industries.


Indeed, the reasons behind the creation of the IAPP were similar to the current needs within accessibility (for training, networking, and harmonizing within an ever-changing technology field). And although other privacy resources existed prior to its creation, the IAPP now provides a global community for privacy professionals to network, share best practices, and learn from one another--goals we share for accessibility. Still, important differences for how to move forward came to light which now help us hone our vision. These include:   

  • the need for accessibility to begin with partnerships as a priority in order to work with the broad organizations that exist today (privacy has less focus on partnerships);  
  • the need to start with higher education in mind (privacy is just beginning to look at higher education);  
  • and the need to leverage and augment existing education opportunities (privacy entirely controls its education). 

What came next? well as before the research?


Check out "ATIA's Accessibility Journey Milestones" (which includes links to all the research), also "Building Consensus in San Diego" for an overview of our recent forum on creating a Society for Accessibility Professionals.   


Sharing Space, Sharing Vision


The PIOC and the Alternative Media Access Center of the Georgia Institute of Technology join forces 


Pass It On Center logo.


The Pass It On Center (PIOC) believes that everyone, no matter their ability, should have a high quality of life whether at home, school, work, or in the community. As the National Center for Assistive Technology (AT) Reuse, PIOC is dedicated to fostering state and national resources for the appropriate reuse of AT for people with disabilities.

AMAC Logo: Alternative Media Access Center 

In February 2012, PIOC became a division of the Alternative Media Access Center (AMAC), which operates under the Enterprise Innovation Institute (EI2) at the Georgia Institute of Technology. In March, after PIOC moved over to its new home, AMAC and PIOC were both honored sponsors of the ATIA/AIA "Taking Accessibility Mainstream" forum at the 2012 CSUN Conference. The forum discussion around making a case for an international society of accessibility professionals opened the eyes of the disability support community, and laid the ground work for developing standards around universal accessibility. 


AMAC and PIOC share a common vision of inclusion as we merge accessibility and AT into mainstream processes, creating professional and educational pathways for people with disabilities and sharing successful models with fellow professionals in the disability industry. From AMAC's perspective, we appreciate the new insight PIOC provides. Through PIOC, AMAC is able to promote the reuse of diverse types of hardware and software for students and individuals with disabilities to truly access textbooks and other communications in a timely fashion. Technology plays a vital role in the creation and dissemination of AMAC services, and AMAC and PIOC understand the importance of the accessibility of all technology. Just as low-tech accessible design like visual and audible cues for crosswalks and accessible sidewalks help all people, technology that incorporates accessibility at the inception has positive uses for people with or without disabilities.


Learn more about us at the AMAC and Pass It On Center websites.


-Lauren Balfour, digital media specialist, AMAC

-Melissa Moynahan, marketing specialist, AMAC

-Liz Persaud, training and outreach coordinator, Pass It On Center

New from ASHA - An Online Alternative and Augmentative Communication Conference for SLPs! 


ASHA Online Conference. Partner Instruction in AAC: Strategies for Building Circles of Support. June 13-25, 2012.

Developed in cooperation with the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) Special Interest Group 12, Augmentative and Alternative Communication


Effective communication partners can make all the difference for your clients who use AAC. Explore ways to build communication support and enhance communication success through this online conference.

Thirteen recorded lectures, available on demand, address topics including:

  • How to select the right skills to teach communication partners
  • Evidence-based protocols for partner instruction
  • Working with communication partners of diverse cultural backgrounds
  • Appropriate strategies for communication partners of adults and children
  • Effective techniques for workplace colleagues of persons who use AAC

 ...and much more! Learn from the best!     

Speakers include prominent clinicians and researchers including David Beukelman, Joanne Lasker, David McNaughton, Rose Sevcik, MaryAnn Romski, Billy Ogletree, and more. During the conference you'll be able to ask them questions in live, text-based, online "chats."


Why you'll love the online conference format:

  • The lectures are recorded and available on demand. Watch them anytime anywhere! All you need is a desktop or laptop computer (sorry, mobile devices and tablets are not supported).
  • No travel! Participate from home, work, or even the coffee shop!
  • Lots of interaction with speakers. In addition to recorded lectures, a schedule of live text-based "chats" with presenters means you can get all your questions answered. Plus discussion threads linked to each lecture keep you involved in ongoing topic-focused forums.
  • Lots of CEUs are available. You'll be able to earn up to 2.6 ASHA CEUs (26 professional development hours) for this event-nearly enough to satisfy your entire CCC maintenance requirement.

Hurry! Get your special SIG discount-register now! 

Learn more at this ASHA Web page  

ISAAC 2012: The Countdown Has Begun!

Pittsburgh welcomes the world to ISAAC 2012 this summer

 ISAAC 2012 logo with Pittspburgh cityscape.


The 15th Biennial Conference of the International Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication (ISAAC) will be held at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh, PA


July 28th - August 4th, 2012


The theme of ISAAC 2012, "Highest performance communication; best life experience - WOW!" reflects ISAAC's mission: To promote the best possible communication for people with complex communication needs. The ISAAC Biennial Conference highlights the accomplishments of ISAAC Chapters, members, professionals and people who use augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) and other assistive technology throughout the world.

Papers have been selected for the scientific program through an international peer review process, and an exciting Exhibition Hall will showcase manufacturers of technology and AAC service providers. The conference features Pre-conference Workshops (July 28-29), Main Conference (July 30 - August 2) and Research Symposium (August 3-4).

To register for these events together or separately, go to
this ISAAC 2012 registration page and click on the link appearing below the fee schedule. Earlybird registration rates are available until April 18th.     

For more information, visit ISAAC 2012 at  or contact us directly at Also, don't miss the conversations on the ISAAC 2012 Facebook page  and Twitter #ISAAC_2012!


For more information about ISAAC, please visit the ISAAC Web site.

Features and Highlights
The Rising Tide--Daniel Hubbell
The Need for an Accessibility Profession--Rob Sinclair
Thoughts on a Society of Accessibility Professionals--Léonie Watson
ATIA and ODEP Announce Alliance Partnership
What the Research is Telling Us
Sharing Space, Sharing Vision--the PIOC and AMAC
New from ASHA--An Online AAC Conference for SLPs!
ISAAC 2012: The Countdown Has Begun!
ATIA's Accessibility Journey Milestones
Building Consensus in San Diego
ATIA Updates
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milestonesATIA's Accessibility Journey Milestones
Graphic of business people driving computers down a ribbon of highway.

2007: ATIA and the US Business Leadership Network (USBLN), with support from the US Dept. of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) and the US Dept. of Education's Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS), host a Business Dialogue on Accessible Technology and Disability Employment and publish Roadmaps For Enhancing Employment Of Persons With Disabilities Through Accessible Technology.


2007-2010: ATIA Leadership Forum on Accessibility, with support from ODEP and leading IT and AT companies. Also the ATIA Leadership Workshop on Accessibility, in conjunction with the ODEP Collaborative on Accessible Workplace Technologies.    


2010: Accessibility Interoperability Alliance (AIA) merges with ATIA to form ATIA's technical engineering division.


2010-2011: Research projects in Accessibility undertaken by AIA and ATIA with support from ODEP.


Research Project 1: Developer's Survey on Accessibility 


Research Project 2: CODE for Accessibility Task Force Recommendations 


Research Project 3: Professional Society Case Studies 


Feb. 28, 2012: Accessibility Forum--Taking Accessibility Mainstream: Making the Case for an International Society of Accessibility Professionals 


March 2012: ODEP and ATIA Strategic Partnership Announcement 

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Building_consensusBuilding Consensus in San Diego

Forum survey shows support for a professional society gaining traction


On February 28, 2012, ATIA continued its ongoing dialogue about building capacity for creating accessible technology. The forum, "Taking Accessibility Mainstream: Making the Case for an International Society of Accessibility Professionals," was held at the CSUN conference for the purpose of widening the reach of this conversation. Attendees included small and large businesses, representatives of government agencies, publishers, accessibility consultants, representatives of higher education, and members of disability and accessibility organizations. Speakers and panelists included IT and AT industry leaders, and leaders of Web accessibility initiatives (review them at this forum Web page). In total close to 90 individuals participated.


The forum opened with a review of the research conducted to date on developer needs for building-in accessibility (see "What the Research is Telling Us"). Panelists then facilitated dialogue on topics ranging from the challenges of technology's fast rate of change; the overwhelming volume of new policies, standards, and legislation; to how to increase the capacity of technology developers in this environment. In the afternoon, breakout sessions worked through these topics and ideas for next steps.


During the forum a lively discussion took place on of the pros and cons of creating a Society of Accessibility Professionals and a certification. Many argued a professional society could give the profession better focus, build a centralized resource, community, and increase awareness and implementation without duplicating current efforts. A certification, too, it was felt, could bring consistency and help keep people current with changing standards. Others argued that it would be better to try to build accessibility into existing organizations rather than create a new one, and that creating a certification for accessibility would be hard because it is too broad to define (and somewhat of an art form). Concerns were also raised about the need to keep a society from being cost- prohibitive.


All in all it was a great day of brainstorming! Everyone agreed that more people should be involved in the collaboration and conversation. Throughout the day many people used #A11YSociety to tweet their thoughts (and the tag is available to keep the discussion going).


Forum Survey Results


After the event, ATIA launched a survey to gauge opinion on how best to move forward. The survey was open to those who attended the forum as well as those who could not, and over 70 individuals responded. 


Here's where we stand:


Support for a Professional Society

  • 60% support creating a professional society;
  • 33% have no opinion yet, but want to follow the discussion;
  • 7% do not believe a society is needed.

Priorities for Action

  • 94% rate creating a knowledge base of information and resources as a vital top priority;
  • 82% rate creating new education and training as next in importance.

Join the Conversation!


If you would like to follow the discussion and learn about future activities, fill out our request for more information form to join our email list on Taking Accessibility Mainstream.

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Webinar Series News 
Graphic of people working on laptops with lines connecting them.
Research Matters Webinars

The latest offering in the popular ATIA Research Committee Webinar Series!


April 24th, 1:00-2:30 pm ET-- Designing Effective Technologies Through the Use of Personas: As Developed in AAC Research and at Microsoft Session fee: No Charge



  • Jeff Higginbotham, Ph.D. Professor, Dept. Communicative Disorders & Sciences, SUNY at Buffalo
  • Annuska Perkins, Senior Program Manager for Microsoft Accessible Technology Group


Personas are frequently developed for use in product design, especially for consumer-based products and user interfaces. A user persona consists of the goals, values and behavior of a group based on the behavior patterns of individuals. Dr. Higginbotham will address using personas of individuals with ALS for use in designing new AAC technologies and AAC interfaces. Annuska Perkins will talk about Microsoft's approach to using inclusive personas. She will address the benefits and challenges of applying personas throughout the software development lifecycle.

For more information on this webinar and to register, go to the
full abstract. Details for accessing the webinar on April 24th will be provided in the confirmation email sent upon registration.


And in case you missed them...


All of the  Research Matters Webinars are now archived and available for viewing. Plus   

be sure to check out the AT Research Primer and Research Tools at this ATIA Research Web page.

Additional Upcoming ATIA Webinars


Join respected speakers to discuss a great range of topics


April 26th--Considering Assistive Technology in the IEP with Kirk Behnke, Lead, Texas Assistive Technology Network


May 17th--Apps for the iPad - Increasing Productivity for Individuals who Experience Executive Dysfunction and Neurobehavioral Disabilities with Therese Willkomm, Director of ATinNH, University of New Hampshire


May 24th--Technology to Reduce Reading Time and Increase Comprehension* with Shelley Haven ATP, RET, Assistive Technology Consultant
*This webinar is the first in a three part series on Reading Technology, Writing Technology and Capturing/Organizing Technology. Attend one, two, or all three of the webinars.


May 31st--Matching Assistive Technology to Child with Susan A. Zapf, Occupational Therapist, Assistive Technology Professional, Children's Journey to Shine, Inc. (CJSI). 


Visit ATIA's webinars page for these and other webinars in the new 2012 schedule!   


New Archived Webinars


1. Assistive Technology and UDL in a Multi-Tiered System of Supports with David Davis, coordinator, Technology and Learning Connections, MTSS Project, University of South Florida.

2. Core Vocabulary: Why Use It? with Gail Van Tatenhove, SLP

3. Consultation, Collaboration, and Coaching: Tools for Providing Meaningful AT Support with Gayle Bowser, independent consultant, Assistive Technology Collaborations.


4. AT Making, Mounting, and Modifying in Minutes with Therese Willkomm, director of ATinNH, University of New Hampshire.


5. Cognitive Support Technologies: A new Comprehensive Resource with Marcia Scherer, PhD, MPH, FACRM, president of the Institute for Matching Person and Technology.


6. Write On! Free Web-based Tools to Support Writing with Beth Poss, instructional specialist, Montgomery County Public Schools and Christopher R. Bugaj, MA CCC-SLP, host of the A.T. TIPScast.


Visit Education On Demand
to register for these and other topics in our library. Archives offer an easy solution to busy schedules - review the recorded Webinar at your convenience!


Webinar Subscription Program - A Great Way to Provide AT Training for Your Staff!


ATIA's webinar subscription provides access to all the live broadcasts and archived webinars in ATIA's Webinar Series and Education-On-Demand Library at a very affordable cost!  We offer multiple subscription levels so you can tailor the program to best suit your training needs. In addition, your teachers, administrators, therapists, AT Specialists, and staff can individually choose the topics that fit their interests.


ATIA's Webinars cover a broad base of topics related to assistive technology across all disability areas. Each is taught by leading practitioners in their field. Instructors share their insights on technology as well as best practices for implementation. 


For more details go to our Webinar Subscription Web page or email to be contacted to discuss the program.

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Call for Presentations:

ATIA 2013 Orlando logo.

April 23 - June 22, 2012

New Conference Strand of Workshops for 2013: Accessibility!

ATIA is holding the Call for Presentations for a period of two months, opening in late April (April 23 - June 22, 2012) to enable speakers to submit abstracts for the 2013 Orlando conference. All past speakers and attendees will receive an invitation to submit for the Call for Presentations prior to the Call For Presentations opening. Please be sure to check back at the ATIA Web site for more details in the weeks to come.


ATIA welcomes abstracts on the uses of assistive technology in a wide variety of settings - school, home, recreation, rehabilitation, university and workplace - from an equally wide group of qualified individuals including: AT professionals, educators, individuals with disabilities and family members of individuals with disabilities, OTs, PTs, RTs, researchers, SLPs, students  and others engaged in the disability services field.


For 2013, ATIA Orlando will be featuring a new strand of educational sessions focused on accessibility. We look forward to hearing from you!

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New AT Funding Guide!

Graphic of a stack of bills and a stack of coins.  

Finding ways to fund assistive technology is challenging for many and can seem overwhelming. ATIA has been working hard to ensure access to all, and we understand that must include access to funding as well as access to technology.

The ATIA special interest group--Technology for Access & Transitions--has developed a Funding Resources Guide to identify public and private AT funding sources as well as some advocacy resources. The list is not all-inclusive, but is a good place to investigate as you begin and/or expand your funding research. Check it out at this ATIA Funding Resources Web page.

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New ATIA Member Directory Available Online!

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Heads up! Now you can search the listings of ATIA's member companies or browse them all at once. Contact info, website, and areas of expertise are all listed. Visit the ATIA Member Directory Web page.  

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ATIA CEO David Dikter
to be Featured on
Assistive Technology Update
April 13th

Assistive Technology Update logo with indata and Easter Seals Cross Roads. Shows figure in a wheelchair made with a gear and forward swooping arrow.


Assistive Technology Radio streams training, podcasts questions and answers, and interviews thought leaders in the field of assistive technology around the clock. The channel's flagship program, Assistive Technology Update, includes weekly news in the field of assistive technology and will feature an interview with ATIA's CEO David Dikter during the April 13th show.


You can find it at the Assistive Technology Update Website or by searching iTunes or by listening to the live stream at 9am and 1pm (EDT) April 13th through April 19th. The show is produced by the INDATA Project at Easter Seals Crossroads in Indiana and hosted by Wade Wingler.  

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Our Next Theme is...AAC!

Headshot of Eliza AndersonContact me if you have a program, initiative, or event you would like our 15,000+ subscribers to know about. We are particularly interested in content related to augmentative and alternative communication (AAC). 

Contributions may be between 300-500 words. Send your article to byJune 1st (editing support is provided). Thanks for helping this newsletter grow! 


--Eliza Anderson, managing editor Friends of ATIA newsletter

Assistive Technology Industry Association
401 North Michigan Ave
Chicago, Illinois 60611