We have Steve Jobs to thank

Image of Steve Jobs courtesy of AppleWhen Apple unveiled the Macintosh way back in 1984, they promoted it as “the computer for the rest of us.” Computers before then had been designed with high-tech geeks in mind, but Steve Jobs was a visionary. He understood that everyone could benefit from the technology.

Twenty-seven years later, I pick up my iPhone, rub my finger over the screen until I hear it call out the name of the person I want to phone, tap the screen twice, and voila! I’ve dialed. “But you’re blind,” onlookers say. “How can you use a touch screen?” I can, because back when Steve Jobs said that Apple’s computers were for “the rest of us” he really meant it. He understood that some of the rest of us have disabilities, and he saw to it that Apple utilized universal design when creating new products.

Last March when Steve Jobs announced the release of the iPad2, we here at Easter Seals watched the hour-long video with rapt attention. We were curious what this new device might have to offer people with autism and other disabilities, and Steve Jobs did not disappoint. His presentation that day included a two-minute clip about autism! The iPad has been successfully utilized as a piece of assistive technology in programs for children with autism, and Jobs found the use of the iPad with children with autism worthy enough to include in his appearance.

The use of assistive technology, including the iPhone and the iPad2, has proven to be a great tool to improve access to work, recreation and education for the rest of us, including people like me, who are blind. And people who read this blog, who are affected by autism.

Through his work with Apple, Steve Jobs has taught millions of people that those of us with disabilities are capable of meaningful, purposeful and enjoyable lives. We cannot thank you enough, Mr. Jobs. Rest in peace. You will be missed.


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  1. Sara Brewster Says:

    Beth — Thank you and I couldn’t agree more.

    Last evening, a few of us spent two hours talking with young people living with disabilities about what computer games they like to play — and what platforms work for them. It was all about IPads — adapted for different needs — that give them them the chance to use apps for voice activated software or play “Angry Birds” or share on Facebook.

    We loved our conversation at Easter Seals DuPage and the Fox Valley Region, and were truly amazed to see all that the IPad 2 makes possible for people living with autism and many other disabilities.

    Thank you Steve Job for anticipating the needs of young people living with disabilities and creating a platform that works in so many ways.