Transcript: Sharron Rush, Executive Director, Knowbility

PEAT asked Sharron Rush, Executive Director of Knowbility: “In ten years, what ideas, initiatives, policies, or best practices will have had the biggest possible impact on accessible technology and the employment of people with disabilities?”

Rush: In ten years I think that we’ll look back on this time kind of as a time of growing understanding and evolution, because my experience is that when people anybody understands the challenges that now exist with technology for people with disabilities and the opportunity that, that eagerness to provide good working technology is what really makes a difference, so most of the people who create technology are, they really like it when their technology works well.

So as the awareness grows, as people who make technology and and market it understand the challenges that people, that people with disabilities face, I think we’re gonna see change as innovation that they understand, hey this is a big market out there and we’re leaving people out, and a good example of that to me is Apple. They were told that they weren’t going to be able to use their technology on the campuses of the California State University, that’s I don’t know something like 23 or 26 campuses, because it was not accessible, and rather than go to court and try to change the the law and say oh we have a right to sell our stuff, they put the best designers in the world, the people who work for Apple, on the challenge, and they came up with Siri, and this technology that people started adopting whether they had disabilities or not.

So I think as people understand the barriers that they’ve created, the people who make technology that those barriers will start to come down and as the population ages there are more and more people with disabilities that’s age-related, the market share increases and the way I think that, that policy drives can drive that is by helping people understand the real issues of people, real users with disabilities, and as we educate and integrate people with disabilities into the workforce, those challenges become clearer to the to the employers and to the people who supply the employers with technology.