Almost Five-Hundred Phones Help Ohio State School for the Blind and Others

By Harold Salters, Director of Federal Regulatory Affairs, T-Mobile USA, Inc.

For many years, I have worked closely in my professional life to help accelerate the development and use of technology designed for the vision impaired community. So, what I’m about to share is not just work I’ve been doing for T-Mobile, but also something I’m personally proud to have been involved with and very excited about.

July 26, 2012, marks the twenty-second anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), arguably the most important civil rights law enacted for Americans with disabilities.

For Americans with disabilities, technology often plays a crucial role in their day-to-day lives – from gaining independence from caregivers and others, to communicating with friends, loved ones and the world around them.

T-Mobile recently found itself in a unique position to provide technology that will enhance the independence and employability of people with vision impairments. Today, we are donating almost 500 T-Mobile myTouch 3G Slide smartphones to the Ohio State School for the Blind (OSSB), and other institutions around the country.

In talking with OSSB’s Superintendent, Cynthia M. Johnson, she said “one of the Ohio State School for the Blind’s overall goals is to integrate technology, such as smartphone applications, throughout the curricula…” Indeed, Dan Kelley, OSSB’s Adaptive Technology Instructor said, “Through the use of smartphone apps and technology, our students at the Ohio State School for the Blind will have the ability to be better informed, educated and productive members of their community.”

Working together with another Ohio-based organization, Apps4Android, the smartphones donated by T-Mobile will be retrofitted with special software before they make their final journey to the OSSB and other institutions and get in students’ hands.

We couldn’t be more excited at T-Mobile to be working on this donation in partnership with OSSB and Ideal Group’s Apps4Android subsidiary, and making a contribution to help those with vision impairments and disabilities connect more easily with the world around them. But we think this donation is much more important – it will also help students at OSSB and elsewhere as they prepare to enter the job market after school. The Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy says that technology, and access to technology, is “paramount to helping people with disabilities succeed on the job.”

Getting access to smartphones in the classroom is just the beginning, but a part of the process that we are proud to be helping out with today.