Technology and Disability Policy Highlights – May 2020

Date of Publication: 
2020 June

In May, the world celebrated the Eighth Annual Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) with virtual events. Microsoft hosted its annual Ability Summit, open to the public, and discussed a variety of disability access and inclusion topics. IBM also celebrated with the launch of an open-source Equal Access Toolkit. This toolkit was created to provide web designers with resources to create accessible websites and applications. Other tech companies, like Apple and Google, released new accessibility features. Globally, organizations such as Prakat Solutions hosted events to connect people in the disability community to resources as well as to raise awareness.

In the regulatory and legislative space, efforts have been directed towards digital access and connectivity. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) distributed over $68 million to 185 nonprofit and public eligible health care providers for telehealth services. By the end of May, eight rounds of funding had been granted to eligible providers. The FCC also published a press release updating the public on the outcomes of the Special Temporary Authority (STA) granted to wireless providers to expand broadband connectivity to underserved areas. Similarly, Missouri passed a broadband expansion bill that will bring digital access to over a million Missourians. House Bill 1768 will grant Missouri broadband providers funds to extend their coverage.

In Wireless RERC news, grant partner the Center for Leadership in Disability at Georgia State University has designed a brief survey, open to all professionals, parents/guardians, and individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, to share perspective on how wireless technology can be used to create and maintain social connections.We also continue data collection for our 2020 Survey of User Needs. If you haven't already, please take the survey.

This issue also includes news about educational access, connectivity, wearables, COVID19, accessible toys, assistive technology, gaming access, artificial intelligence, ethical design, voting access, a brain-machine interface for a prosthetic arm, and more.


The contents of this website were developed under a grant from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR grant number 90RE5025-01-00). NIDILRR is a Center within the Administration for Community Living (ACL), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The contents of this website do not necessarily represent the policy of NIDILRR, ACL, HHS, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.