He recently wrote a wonderful article in honor of NDEAM; you can see the full text here.
As Michael writes, “necessity is the mother of invention. Experiencing constraints are part in parcel with having a disability. However, the drive to figure out how to mitigate certain constraints is a powerful impetus for innovation.”
He points out that the typewriter and email both came about to facilitate communication for persons who experienced disabilities.
The typewriter was invented when a couple (one sighted, one blind) struggled to send each other love letters. They ended up creating one of the first functioning typewriters. As Michael quotes in his article, “By treating blindness as a design challenge, they developed a revolutionary method for producing print by touch.”
Decades later in the 1980’s, deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals were having trouble communicating via telephone. As Michael quotes in his article, it was a hearing-impaired man, Vint Cerf, who “spearheaded the creation of the first commercial email service, allowing him to communicate with family members and colleagues without straining to hear.”
As Michael says, “As we celebrate National Disability Employment Awareness Month, seek out those opportunities to engage with people who may be differently abled. Besides being the right thing to do, you never know who may bring about the next innovation that you just can’t live without.”
Again, make sure to check out the full text of Michael’s article here. Thanks for sharing, Michael!