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Accessibility Helps People Learn, Work, and Live

Celebrate Global Accessibility Awareness Day with Benetech and Bookshare

Today, May 19, is Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD), a day that is dedicated to raising awareness about the importance of digital access and inclusion. Accessibility is at the core of what we do at Bookshare and Bookshare’s parent nonprofit, Benetech. We are excited to celebrate this important day with you.

What is Global Accessibility Awareness Day?

Global Accessibility Awareness Day is celebrated on the third Thursday of May every year. It was founded by two leaders in the technology industry, Joe Devon and Jennison Asuncion, to encourage people to learn, think, and talk about the importance of access and inclusion in digital spaces. Accessible digital spaces are essential to ensuring that people with disabilities and learning and thinking differences can have equal access to information as their peers. Here are some examples of how accessibility helps people.

Three Ways Accessibility Helps Bookshare Users Achieve Goals

Isabel Excels with Text-to-Speech Audio

Audiobooks are an essential studying tool for Isabel, a high school student with dyslexia, who has relied on text-to-speech audio to “ear read” books since second grade. Having digital textbooks that work with text-to-speech audio is essential. “As a high school student taking Advanced Placement and honors courses, having access to textbooks and reading materials has been an invaluable game-changer for me,” writes Isabel. “Because reading is also one of my favorite leisure activities, as a Bookshare user I have access to a wide selection of books that have allowed me to continue my love for reading, especially during the pandemic when getting access to books was difficult.”

Jordan uses Customizable Digital Books to Support Dyslexic Students

Jordan is a Dyslexia Specialist at Louisiana Key Academy in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The school exclusively serves dyslexic students, helping them build literacy and confidence. Jordan appreciates the ability to customize the font, size, color, and spacing of the books to enable her students to read grade-level texts. “It’s important for my students to know that they are reading the same books that other fifth graders are reading,” says Jordan. “It may be a struggle to read the books, and we may need to provide additional supports, but they can read at grade level.”

Giridhar Earns Engineering Degree Using Digital Textbooks with Image Descriptions

Giridhar, an engineer from Bangalore, unexpectedly lost his sight due to a health complication partway through his college studies. Using accessible textbooks with image descriptions that are easily navigable with a screen reader, he was able to graduate with distinction with a degree in mechanical engineering. He enjoys being self-sufficient and independent, and he can take his reading skills and tools with him on his career path. “People can succeed in whatever they want to do, especially with the help of technology,” says Giridhar. “Follow your passion and do not deviate from what your heart says. That strategy will keep you satisfied and happy for the rest of your life.”

Celebrate GAAD with Benetech and Bookshare

In addition to raising awareness about accessibility, Benetech is pleased to announce our latest Global Certified Accessible Publisher:

Simon & Schuster becomes the first Benetech Global Certified Accessible American trade publisher

Join the Global Accessibility Awareness Day celebration! Share your own story about accessibility on social media or in the comments below, and help us raise awareness about the importance of accessibility for all.

Learn more about Global Accessibility Awareness Day.

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