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NTFTD Within Our Reach

Findings and Recommendations of the National Task Force on Technology and Disability

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Welcome to the National Task Force on Technology and Disability website.

The Task Force was established in 2001 to create recommendations on increasing the access to and usability of accessible technologies for people with disabilities. This blue ribbon panel of private industry, technology experts, disability advocates, education and government is funded by a grant from the CS Mott Foundation.

10 years have passed since the initial publishing of our seminal report and members of the initial panel have decided now is a good time to recap the events that followed, including the degree to which recommendations have been adopted. Thanks to funding from the CS Mott Foundation of Michigan and the contributions of numerous experts including co-chairs J. Michael Zelley and Eric J. Jolly Ph.D, the team laid out a vision of an America better utilizing technological progress to the benefit of the disabled. Whilst Assistive Technology has enjoyed greater market penetration in recent years with falling costs and new innovation, it has been noted numerously that education and training has been lacking, particularly in the context of outpatients. This is an issue we will explore further in a report recap. Whilst others have taken up the mantle to lead the way in mainstream adoption, the original report still bears relevance to a fast developing sector that requires serious collaborative efforts from development to awareness and adoption to training.

Technology has made significant inroads into improving the lives of disabled people since the NTFTD panel gathered a full ten years ago. As part of our recap we will consider the impact of these technologies and their greater uptake/market availability, including how access is changing to EyeMax and other eye-tracking communication devices, as well as the evolution of hands free crutches and other innovative technological mobility aids. One area in which this evolution is particularly pertinent is in the management of multiple sclerosis (MS) symptoms and we will apply special focus to this degenerative disease as we explore the progress of technology in meeting the needs of both inpatients and outpatients. We will also be investigating the role of government-subsidized research including the pioneering efforts of the BrainAble team, partially backed by the EU.

The Digital Revolution And Disability Breakthroughs

With the spread and near ubiquity of smart devices has come serious efforts to develop life-enhancing applications for disabled users. In our report we take time to touch on some of the most significant developments in this space (other sites have published similarly useful lists e.g. Silvercross). Technological breakthroughs in productivity have also brought a substantial boost to efforts aimed at helping businesses function at peak potential, getting the most from employees of all backgrounds and capabilities. These include computer accessibility programs and those measures contained within the NTFTD report.

First Draft Report: Within Our Reach Findings and Recommendations of the National Task Force on Technology and Disability.

We strongly believe that the accessible nation we envision is "within our reach", and encourage feedback and dialogue on our report and recommendations. Feedback can be submitted by electronic form, e-mail, mail or fax. The feedback will be summarized and posted to the website on a continuing basis.

Report "Primer" being created.

To help the reader, we are creating an overview document that will be available in both print and on the website. The "primer" will begin with our concepts and then organize the information by catagory (business, academia, policy maker, advocate, manufacturer) to guide the reader .




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