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FCC Reports on Barriers to Technologies for Individuals with Cognitive Disabilities

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FCC Reports on Barriers to Technologies for Individuals with Cognitive Disabilities

October 10, 2016

On October 6, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler delivered remarks to the Coleman Institute Conference on Cognitive Disabilities and Technology (co-sponsored by ANCOR), announcing the release of a white paper titled, "Individuals with Cognitive Disabilities:Barriers to and Solutions for Accessible Information and Communication Technologies." The report was developed by the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau within the FCC. In his comments, Wheeler stressed the importance of new communications technology being developed with accessibility for people with cognitive disabilities "baked in" in the design phase. He further stressed that existing technology must be made more accessible by this population. In addition to speaking of the importance of accessibility for people with cognitive disabilities, Wheeler also noted that employment opportunities for people with disabilities is critical for the future. 

The white paper is comprehensive, setting forth current demographic data of the population of Americans with cognitive disabilities, and then providing an overview of the landscape for technologies including transportation, employment, education, social tools, and telecommunications. It goes on to outline the Coleman Institute Declaration on the Rights of People with Cognitive Disabilities to Technology and Information Access, and support the goals contained therein. The paper concludes with recommendations on how to improve access to technology for people with cognitive disabilities, including best practices to promote effective access to and usability of information and usable communication technologies products and services. 
Also last week, the FCC submitted its third biennial report to Congress, as required by the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010 (CVAA). The purpose of the CVAA is to help ensure that individuals with disabilities are able to fully utilize emerging communications services and equipment and better access video programming.



The 2016 CVAA Biennial Report presents information and assessments related to the accessibility of telecommunications and advanced communications services and equipment. The 2016 CVAA Biennial Report is available here