Online Shopping For Consumers With Disabilities


Online shopping eliminates many of the challenges individuals with disabilities face when shopping at physical stores. For the 56.7 million people with disabilities (19% of the U.S. population) just finding reliable transportation for shopping is a big challenge. One survey found individuals with disabilities are twice as likely to lack transportation as their non-disabled peers.

Scarcity of accessible parking, lack of elevators, and high product shelves are shopping challenges that affect the 30.6 million folks who have difficulty walking, climbing stairs, or who use a wheelchair, cane, or walker. Online shopping eliminates many of these common challenges. E-commerce also makes it easier to comparison shop the best brands at the lowest prices — an important consideration for a group that averages lower incomes, higher medical expenses, and lower employment rates. Most major e-commerce companies work with advocacy groups to ensure their websites are accessible to everyone. However, not all websites are fully compliant with accessibility standards or ADA laws, so some people are left out.

Web accessibility means integrating sites with tools like screen readers or offering choices like blocking blinking page elements so that people with disabilities can surf, shop, and ship the products and services they need. People with disabilities make up an enormous and powerful economic group that represents about 10% of total online spending. But for people with disabilities to take full advantage of online shopping, they need the right tools and resources. We’re happy to say that Wikibuy works with most of these tools, and we’re currently working on 100% compatibility.

Table of Contents

Improving Screen Readability Resources for online shoppers with low vision, colorblindness, or dyslexia that help them read what’s on their computer, tablet, or smartphone screen.

Regaining Hand Control Resources that help people with hand mobility issues more effectively use a computer input device like a keyboard or mouse.

Supporting Cognitive & Physical Limitations Resources to help people with learning disabilities get easier access to e-commerce websites using memory aids and software that removes distractions.

Supporting People Who Are Hard of Hearing Resources to help people who are hard of hearing better interact with product review videos and audio ads, by providing captioning.

Enhancing Web Experience Resources to help website owners and designers stay compliant with accessibility standards.

Improving Screen Readability

Blind/low vision

Some folks with visual impairments may have difficulty navigating the many elements of a website, which makes it tough to shop or pay for products and services. Since many ecommerce sites contain an overabundance of product images and descriptions, people with visual impairments may struggle to:

Locate a page’s menus and controls.
Track the movement of the cursor.
Adjust to changes on a page, like popup windows or scrolling ads.
Follow the constant flow of information while scrolling.
Confirm correct personal or payment information in a form field.
Although people who are legally blind or have low visual acuity may have difficulty distinguishing on-screen details, resources like screen readers, magnifiers, and text-to-talk apps help bring things into focus.

Screen readers

Screen readers are a type of computer software that translates on-screen text into an audio voice or into braille for refreshable braille displays. The voice speed is adjustable, giving users more flexibility for following along. To keep users oriented, screen readers read aloud specific graphic elements like icons, images, or sections like “payment options”. The software identifies these sections as a user highlights them with their mouse or hovers over them with their cursor. The software will also read back any text the user inputs, like their name or credit card number.


Online Resources

ChromeVox — Text-to-talk Chrome extension
Talking Web — Text-to-talk Chrome extension
Firefox browser — Compatible screen reader
Best screen reader — web browser pairings
10 free screen readers
Screen reader simulation — Experience what it’s like to use a screen reader
Amazon’s screen reader optimized website.
JAWS (Windows)
VoiceOver — Screen reader and media creation tool (Mac)
NVDA — Free screen reader (Windows)
BRLTTY — Driver for braille displays (Linux)

Screen magnifiers

Screen magnifiers are software or physical devices that enlarge text, icons, and other on-screen graphics for people with low vision. Digital magnifiers let users adjust the contrast of text, sharpen edges of images, and change the colors of webpage elements. To add more flexibility, screen magnifiers also follow along with user actions, enlarging areas of the screen as they type text or move their cursor. Physical screen magnifiers fit over a computer’s monitor or smartphone screen and enlarge the image like a magnifying glass.

Screen magnifiers (Devices)
Flat screen and LCD magnifiers
Laptop screen magnifier
Top 5 best screen magnifiers for smartphones
Microsoft Comfort Optical Mouse 3000 — Mouse with magnifier function built in
Large-key keyboards — Easy to see, high-contrast keys
Screen magnifiers (Software)
ICONICO (Windows)
Magnifixer (Windows)
Virtual Magnifying Glass (Windows, Mac OS X, Linux)
Easy Reader (Windows, iOS and Android)
SuperNova Magnifier (Windows 7, 8.1 & 10)
MagniLink IMax (Mac)
ZoomText Magnifier (Windows 10, 8.1 or 7 with Service Pack 1 (or later))
ZoomText Mac (Mac)


Colorblindness affects many parts of a person’s life, from driving to shopping. Many forms of colorblindness exist, but for shoppers who have it, each one creates a major problem: confusing one color for another. Many things people without colorblindness take for granted are a challenge to those who can’t discern red from green or who lack color vision (achromatopsia) all together. Something as simple as being able to tell ripe bananas from green ones is something people with colorblindness have to consider when shopping at brick-and-mortar stores.

Ecommerce websites can also be confusing spaces. Colorblindness presents challenges while shopping online for clothing, shoes, house furnishing, or anything else that needs color coordination. Those with achromatopsia can have problems identifying colored links to checkout pages or other product pages. Folks with colorblindness often enlist friends and family when making a choice, whether it’s choosing ripe fruit or the right Fruit of the Loom. Here are some resources to help:

Color Enhancer — Customizable color filter for webpages to improve color perception
Visolve — Software that transforms computer display colors into discriminable ones
ColorCompass — App that lets users identify the color of any element on a screen by clicking it (Mac)
Color Blind Pal — App that helps people who are colorblind see the colors around them
Enchroma — Eye glasses that help correct colorblindness
Colorblind Test — Test for colorblindness
Colorblind Simulator — Simulation for experiencing colorblindness


People with dyslexia can find it problematic matching the letters they see on a webpage with the sounds those letters make. Dyslexia is a common disability, affecting up to 20% of people, and can restrict interaction with ecommerce websites, taking away the advantages of online shopping.

Some people with dyslexia may find product descriptions, reviews, or instructions confusing, which means they can’t compare products or evaluate them properly before purchase. Websites often contain large blocks of text or text over images. Both can negatively affect the online shopping experience of a person with dyslexia. At check out, security measures like CAPTCHA tests for bots but leaves some users with dyslexia frustrated, closing their browser with products still in their shopping cart. Here are some other website design elements that limit access to people with dyslexia:

  • Decorative, unfamiliar, or serif fonts
  • Large blocks of texts with little white space
  • High brightness contrast between the text and background colors (white on black)
  • Distracting videos, audio, and web animations
  • Sequenced lists that are inconsistent or unpredictable
  • Fortunately, people with dyslexia have many options when it comes to apps, browser extensions, and software that makes accessing ecommerce websites much easier.

Continue on to read the complete article from Wikibuy here

In 3.13 Seconds Man With Autism Smashes Rubik’s Cube World Record

Max park holing a Rubiks Cube

LOS ANGELES — Max Park spent about 10 seconds studying the jumbled Rubik’s Cube in front of him at the Pride in Long Beach World Cube Association competition earlier this month.

Cracking it took less than a third of that time.

With a deep breath, steady hands and just 3.13 seconds, the 21-year-old solved the colorful mind game with 43 quintillion possible combinations, aligning each side perfectly by color.

In a video capturing the moment, capturing the moment, Park slams his hands down to stop the clock, claps and yells “Yes!” — knowing he had just broken the world record for fastest solve of a single 3x3x3 Rubik’s Cube.

A watching crowd went wild, celebrating the achievement with him.

“It was chaos, pandemonium,” said his dad, Schwan Park. “There was sort of a pent-up desire for someone to get the record for a long time.”

Max Park broke the previous record of 3.47 seconds that Yusheng Du of China set more than four years ago, according to Guinness World Records and the World Cube Association.

Schwan Park admits gaining a new record isn’t exactly novel for Max — he’s set almost 70 in his decade competing in speed cubing. But this one is different: The 3x3x3 is the original Rubik’s Cube, and the record is for a single time, instead of a specialty competition, such as solving using the fewest moves or only one hand.

“This was the actual apex of records … it’s the one that everyone covets,” Schwan Park said.

The family, who live in Cerritos, commemorated the new record with a Southern California favorite and Max Park’s go-to celebration: all-you-can-eat Korean barbecue.

Park has been featured in a Netflix documentary focused on him and other “speed cubers” who compete in the globally recognized sport, which can include blindfolded or timed solves.

Park’s dad said that when Max was a young child with autism, the family hoped he would take to Rubik’s Cubes to help with his fine motor skills. When his parents took him to his first competition more than a decade ago, Schwan Park said they hoped it would be “a giant therapy play date.”

But then Max started winning.

Read the complete article posted on the LA Times.

Chicago student who persevered with disabilities, earns entry to 18 colleges

Young woman wearing cap and gown accepting diploma

By Dana Kozlov, CBS News Chicago

We’re spotlighting a Chicago Public Schools student with autism who we first met years ago under troubling circumstances. Now, she’s ready to tackle the world.

CBS 2 Political Investigator Dana Kozlov explained how her mom’s battle with Chicago Public Schools made it possible.

For Kymera Mitchel, 18, graduating high school wasn’t just a milestone. It was a triumph.

“I feel accomplished,” Kymera said. “I feel stress-free.”

She has autism and PTSD. CBS 2 first met her seven years ago when her mother reached out after a transit driver for Chicago Public Schools left Kymera, then 11 years old, on the street without making sure an adult was home.

That’s a policy violation and it left Kymera scared and wandering the street for almost an hour.

“Her nerves were just all over the place,” said her mom Kala Mitchell back in 2016.

Kala Mitchell spoke out then and said her fight with CPS, to get her daughter the services, education, and treatment that she was legally entitled, only continued after that episode.

Kozlov: “But you didn’t give up?”

Kala: “No”

Kozlov: “Why not?”

Kala: “Because if I did, then my daughter wouldn’t be where she is today.”

It’s why Kymera’s diploma from Alcott College Prep means so much to both of them.

“I wouldn’t let anyone who doesn’t have a disability try and stop me from what I’m doing,” Kymera said.

Kymera didn’t just graduate with honors, she graduated with 18 college acceptance offers and more than $500,000 in scholarships and financial aid.

“I was like, ‘Oh my gosh,'” she said. “She has this amount of money and she has full rides to some of these schools!”

All of it was vindication for this mother and daughter.

“All of the agony, it just left me,” Kala said.

Kymera, who plans to study graphic design in college, offers this advice to students with disabilities:

“To live your hopes and dreams as much as you can,” she said. “Don’t let anyone tell you you can’t do this.”

So where is she going to college? She’s saving that big announcement for her graduation party later this week.

Apple’s New Accessibility Innovations Will Blow You Away

A man with voice recognition on his phone

Live Speech, Point and Speak and other software updates are slated to roll out later this year.
By, Abrar Al-Heeti,

Apple recently previewed a handful of new features for the iPhone, iPad and Mac designed to boost cognitive, vision, hearing and mobility accessibility, ahead of Global Accessibility Awareness Day. The features are slated to roll out later this year. This comes as Apple gears up for its Worldwide Developers Conference, which kicks off June 5.

One feature, called Live Speech, is geared toward users who are nonspeaking or who have diverse speech patterns or disabilities. Live Speech lets someone type what they want to say and then have it spoken aloud. The feature can be used for in-person conversations as well as over the phone and on FaceTime. It works on iPhone, iPad and Mac, and uses any built-in device voices like Siri. You could say, “Nice to meet you, I’m …” and introduce yourself, for example, and can also save favorite phrases such as, “Can I please get a black coffee?”

Taking that feature a step further is Personal Voice, which lets users at risk of speech loss create a voice that sounds like them and then have it speak aloud their typed-out phrases. Personal Voice uses on-device machine learning. To train the feature, a person spends about 15 minutes speaking a series of text prompts aloud on iPhone or iPad.

The iPhone’s Magnifier app is also getting a new feature called Point and Speak, which allows users with vision disabilities to point to objects with text labels and have their device read that text aloud. For example, someone could use this to identify buttons on a microwave. Point and Speak uses your phone’s camera, lidar scanner and on-device machine learning to find and recognize text as you move your finger across different objects. Point and Speak can be used alongside other Magnifier features like People Detection, Door Detection and Image Descriptions, which help blind and low-vision users navigate and identify their surroundings.

Assistive Access is designed for people with cognitive disabilities, and offers a more focused device interface to lighten cognitive load. This includes large text labels and high contrast buttons on the iPhone’s home screen and across Calls, Messages, Camera, Photos and Music. The experience can be tailored for different preferences. For instance, someone who prefers visual communication can use an emoji-only keyboard in Messages or can record a video message to send.

“These groundbreaking features were designed with feedback from members of disability communities every step of the way, to support a diverse set of users and help people connect in new ways,” Sarah Herrlinger, Apple’s senior director of Global Accessibility Policy and Initiatives, said in a statement.

Other accessibility updates coming this year include the ability to pair Made for iPhone hearing devices directly to Mac and to more easily adjust text size across Mac apps like Finder, Messages, Mail, Calendar and Notes. Voice Control is also adding phonetic suggestions, so that users who type using their voice can choose the correct word if there are others that sound similar, such as do, due and dew.

Apple is also launching SignTime in Germany, Italy, Spain and South Korea on Thursday, which lets Apple Store customers communicate with staff via sign language interpreters. The service is already available in the US, UK, Canada, France, Australia and Japan.

Read more of the article on here.

Google Displaying Accessibility Information More Prominently

Hand pointing to Google on an Ipad

With a subtle change, Google is making it more obvious to users whether businesses and other public places are accessible to people with disabilities.

The technology giant has updated Google Maps to display a wheelchair icon by default on a location’s entry if the place has a wheelchair-accessible entrance. Previously, this information was only visible to users who opted into a feature called Accessible Places.

“Now, we’re making the icon visible for everyone on Maps so you can ‘know before you go’ if there’s a step-free entrance, which is helpful whether you’re using a wheelchair, pushing a stroller or lugging a suitcase,” wrote Jerry Robinson, a user experience researcher at Google, in a posting.

With a subtle change, Google is making it more obvious to users whether businesses and other public places are accessible to people with disabilities.

The technology giant has updated Google Maps to display a wheelchair icon by default on a location’s entry if the place has a wheelchair-accessible entrance. Previously, this information was only visible to users who opted into a feature called Accessible Places.

“Now, we’re making the icon visible for everyone on Maps so you can ‘know before you go’ if there’s a step-free entrance, which is helpful whether you’re using a wheelchair, pushing a stroller or lugging a suitcase,” wrote Jerry Robinson, a user experience researcher at Google, in a posting.

Since 2020, Google Maps has offered has offered information about physical accessibility at various locations and the company said these details are now available for more than 40 million businesses around the world. Information is based on contributions from business owners and other Google users.

The wheelchair icon signifies whether a location has an accessible entrance, but additional particulars about accessibility such as wheelchair-accessible seating, parking or restrooms can be viewed by clicking on the “about” tab.

In addition to the Google Maps update, the company said that it is testing Lookout, a new feature that uses artificial intelligence to provide image descriptions to help those with vision impairment. And, Google indicated that it is expanding the availability of Live Caption, which offers real-time captioning for any type of audio, among other accessibility improvements.

Read the complete article originally posted on

The World’s First Astronaut with a Disability is Here

Great Britain's John John McFall running in race with an artificial leg

By Natalie Rodgers

As the world prepares for the next chapter of space exploration, the European Space Agency (ESA) has introduced 17 new astronauts into their program, including the world’s first astronaut with a disability. Former British Paralympian John McFall has been chosen to be the first “parastronaut” in the history of space travel. His journey to the stars will be part of a feasibility project, looking for the most efficient ways for astronauts with disabilities to be included in space travel.

“I thought, ‘Wow, this is a such a huge, interesting opportunity,’” McFall stated to the ESA. “I thought I would be a very good candidate to help ESA answer the question they were asking, ‘Can we get a person with a physical disability into space?’”

A native of Frimley, Surrey, in England, John McFall is best known for his extensive athletic career as a Paralympian. At 19 years old, McFall was involved in a serious motorcycle crash in Thailand that resulted in the amputation of his right leg above the knee. After being fitted for a prosthetic in 2003, McFall decided to take up his former passion for running and quickly worked his way into becoming a professional athlete. He was selected to represent Great Britain at the International Paralympic Committee European Championships in 2005, where he mainly competed as a 100m and 200m dasher. McFall’s athleticism earned him five bronze medals, three silver medals and five gold medals over four years, with many penning him as one of the fastest men in the world.

John McFall headshot
John McFall appointed the first astronaut recruit with a physical disability, during a ceremony to unveil the European Space Agency new class of career astronauts.(Photo by Joël SAGET / AFP) (Photo by JOEL SAGET/AFP via Getty Images)

In addition to competing in the Paralympics, McFall spent his free time studying sports, exercise and medicine at several universities throughout Wales with the intent of becoming a doctor. After retiring from his running career, McFall became a member of the Royal College of Surgeons, one of the most prestigious surgical institutions in the United Kingdom. He is currently a Trauma and Orthopedic Specialist Registrar, otherwise known as an orthopedic doctor.

In 2021, a friend and consultant of McFall texted him that the ESA was looking to hire its first intake of astronauts in 13 years. The ESA was looking for a Paralympian to join the space program and aid in research for how to accommodate the needs of people with disabilities in space travel. In tandem with his medical degree, McFall noticed that he met all of the desired qualifications and decided to apply. Just shy of two years later, McFall was inducted into the astronaut class of 2022 and at the beginning of his journey to becoming the first astronaut with a physical disability to go to space.

McFall will join 16 other newly recruited astronauts in the next year to complete training before he takes his first journey to space. While he has expressed his excitement to join the ESA and to make strides for the disability communities, McFall is also adamant that this endeavor is not about him:

“I am slightly conscious that I am not representative of the entire disabled population,” McFall stated in an interview with ESPN. “I have a very straightforward, static disability; there are people out there with more complex disabilities. It’s important to recognize that this is a small step in addressing a larger question of inclusivity in all realms of employment of people with disabilities. So, this is not ‘The John Show,’ this is a stepping stone to push the envelope [to] get people talking about disability more because the more people talk about it, the less stigma it has, the more opportunities in life they will have.”

Sources: ESPN, KSL TV, ESA, Wikipedia

Bobby Henline: Forging Forward

Retired U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Bobby Henline receives an award

By Brady Rhoades

Bobby Henline survived two wars and 48 surgeries and now he’s standing in front of an audience on the Huckabee TV show, telling jokes.

“Halloween is my favorite holiday because I make lots of money at the haunted house,” he says. “I made $50 laying in my neighbor’s yard. I even got a modeling job at the Halloween Super Store.”

Henline, who suffered burns on 40% of his body while fighting in Iraq, is loose, cheerful, wearing a sky-blue blazer, jeans and boots.

Photo: Retired U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Bobby Henline, second from right, receives an award at Forward Operating Base Walton, Kandahar province, Afghanistan. Henline and four other wounded warriors visited Afghanistan as a part of Operation Proper Exit. (Public domain photo from

“It took me four tours and an IED to figure out my lucky number is three… I’m a little slow…”

He’s just getting warmed up. He often warns civilians, “I hope you enjoyed that, because it’s going to get darker.”

“They have a hard time laughing at me,” he said. “They eventually come around.”

This is a story about not being afraid of the dark.

Joking As a Way of Coping

Henline, 51, married to wife Connie and a father of four, was wounded while serving with U.S. Army in the 82nd Airborne Division during the Iraq War. The Humvee he was riding in hit an IED. Four other soldiers were killed. Henline’s face and head were burned to the skull. His left hand and forearm below his elbow were damaged so badly amputation was necessary.

After being put into a medically-induced coma, he awakened after two weeks and underwent six months of treatment. Henline has since had several surgeries including dozens of skin grafts and reconstructions.

Randy Jackson with veterans Bobby Henline and Chris White pose for a picture
VAN NUYS, CA – JULY 11: Randy Jackson with veterans Bobby Henline (R) and Chris White (L) pose for a picture at City Summit: Wealth Mastery And Mindset Edition after-party at Allure Banquet & Catering on July 11, 2018 in Van Nuys, California. (Photo by Rachel Luna/Getty Images)

While hospitalized, Henline, a veteran of the Gulf War who’d re-enlisted after 9/11, goofed around and told jokes as a means of coping. It happens that he had a great aunt who had a “disformed face,” as he describes it.

“It didn’t stop her. I look to her for strength.”

His occupational therapist urged him to attend an open microphone night at a comedy club. Just to satisfy her, he did so. Backstage at his first performance, he was a nervous wreck. Then he remembered he had written a rap in ninth grade—about constipation.

“When the warning light came on at the end of two minutes to indicate that I still had one more minute to go, I did my constipated rap,” he said.

Henline made his debut on a big a stage in 2009, at the Comedy Store in Los Angeles, and became a regular at open mic nights at comedy clubs like Hollywood Improv and Laugh Factory. He appeared in the Showtime documentary Comedy Warriors: Healing Through Humor, as well as Samsara, Surviving Home, MBF: Man’s Best Friend, Shameless and Larry Charles’ Dangerous World of Comedy.

‘I Needed That Laugh Today’

He helped found the Bravo748 Military and Law Enforcement Speakers Bureau, and he’s traveled the world as a motivational speaker for the organizations. He formed a charity called Forging Forward with the goal of helping troops, first-responders and their families deal with injuries and traumas. “It’s the best revenge I can get for those four men and their families,” says Henline, referring to his four comrades who were lost in the IED explosion.

obby Henline and Ann Samson attend the UCLA Operation Mend 10 Year Anniversary
LOS ANGELES, CA – SEPTEMBER 24: Bobby Henline and Ann Samson attend the UCLA Operation Mend 10 Year Anniversary at the Home of Founder Ron Katz Sponsored by The Thalians Entertainment by The Operation Mend All Star Band with Special Guest Billy Idol on September 24, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Greg Doherty/WireImage)

He knows what survivors and families are going through; after his injuries and loss, he’d been suicidal. He’d prayed for death thousands of times.

“There have been so many times when a Soldier has come up and said, ‘I needed that laugh today,’” Henline said. “We hug and we cry—then we pretend we were chopping onions together, but I’m a big cry baby, I let it all out…. Sometimes I’m there to remind others that they can go on, and sometimes they help remind me.”

Going from fighting in the Middle East to standup comedy seems unlikely, but this is a story about light, too.

“When you talk about the truth—that’s the best comedy,” he said, which is why he issues lines like, “They took my stomach and put it on top of my head. Now, I pick lint out of my ears.”

He looks mischievous after punchlines, like he’s playing a prank and on the verge of cracking himself up.

Forging Forward

There are four people who try to dodge his jokes at every chance, though: his kids. One of his daughters stopped following him on Instagram, where 63,000 followers do think he’s funny.

“I don’t know what you’re going to do next,” she told him.

This year, Henline will host several Forging Forward events at military bases and other sites across the country, including a Big Sky Retreat in Helena, Montana on June 1-4.

Groups of six to eight military personnel and first responders will get the chance to explore outlets via fishing, rafting, horseback riding and photography, outlets that “bring you back to who you are,” Henline said. He keeps the events small so that “Nobody gets lost.”

Forging Forward covers all costs. To donate, visit

Henline’s newest outlets are fly fishing and golfing. How do you tie a fly with one hand? Part science, part will. How do you golf? He can’t fully explain it.

Out on the links, shanking, chunking, hitting for a double bogey, just trying to break 100 (which he’s done), Henline does not take out his frustrations on himself. With his trademark sardonic smile, he lets his clubs, or the weather, have it.

“I’ve cursed more in a year and a half of golfing than I ever did in the military,” he laughs.

Increased Accessibility Takes More Than a Welcome Sign

shrm attendees seated in wheelchairs

By Kimberly Gladden-Eversley

After 32 years since the establishment of the American Disability Act (ADA), barriers still exist, proving that it will take more than a civil rights law to end inequity. Addressing systemic oppression towards the disabled community begins with the root of ableism. In other words, the end of prejudice against disabled people that stems from false debilitating beliefs. From the seen to the unseen, unconscious bias continues to rear its ugly head, becoming more visible to the disabled community.

From 2013 to 2021, there has been a 320% increase in ADA Title III federal lawsuits aimed at businesses that engage in performative activism. Increased accessibility takes more than a welcome sign; it takes an initial investment that the disabled community deserves. During the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Diversity and Inclusion conference, we spoke with disability advocates, Tricia Downing and Erik Kondo. Both are forces to be reckoned with, challenging how the world sees them and discovering innovative ways to raise awareness.

Downing, a paralympic athlete and disability inclusion champion, fearlessly addressed the elephant in the room. “I think it comes down to educating yourself to understanding that disability is not the equivalent of defect,” she said. “Disability is a human condition, it’s part of human life and probably five people who walk by us right now have a disability that we don’t know about.”

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), 26% of adults in the United States have a disability and more than 10% are invisible. Sadly, adults with visible impairments are more likely to face biased judgment, causing fear for businesses and the visibly impaired.

“So, there’s fear for the person with a disability, fear of feeling like you’re not wanted, not invited, like what are they going to do, and then there’s fear on behalf of the business as to what does this mean for us?” said Erik Kondo, founder of Red Pill Innovation, home to adaptive mobility to provide affordable ways for people with physical disabilities to experience the “joy of movement.”

“When you look at us, you all of a sudden think, ‘oh wow, that person looks expensive because I’m going to have to put in a ramp and I’m going to have to put in that elevator…’” added Downing.

Talent acquisition is used to identify talent to enhance business performance and improve the likelihood of success. In most cases, it takes skill to attract the right talent, but it takes more than skill to recognize it. Investing in talent can only happen when the value is seen—a continuous challenge that Kondo breaks down using his strawberry analogy.

“Strawberries, they’re not all symmetrical; they’re kind of a little weird looking, but it doesn’t matter; they’re all yummy because that’s what you expect,” he said. “So, imagine if people were looked at that way, it wouldn’t be so strange when someone’s not exactly typical. And that’s what we’re trying to go in for, that you don’t throw them away.”

Kondo leads by example, leaving no room for disability bias to grow. If you thought mobility was an issue, think again! He can skateboard, longboard, snowboard and scooter board with mobility devices—an earned skill since becoming a wheelchair user at the age of 19. Several witnesses of his high-level performance stepped away with renewed perspective, learning that perseverance conquers all.

“You will pay for talent if you see it, but what if you don’t think there’s talent?” said Kondo as he addressed society’s low expectations often pinned upon disabled people. Unfortunately, this misconception influences hiring efforts while creating career stagnation within a community of exceptional talent.

As Downing and Kondo continue to surpass limiting beliefs, members of the disability community need equal opportunities to show their capabilities. Internships and active recruiting through the disability services department are promising ways to open doors. “I was in a specific program that allowed me to get that access and in the door to where somebody said, ‘I vouch for this person, she’s capable of doing this job.’” said Downing. “If it’s a visual disability, if the visibility that we think is a liability…are we still looking at those students and saying, ‘these are still people, they still have…goals. They’ve still…striven, strive, strove to get an education.’”

Both Downing and Kondo say that in addition to rising above stigmas by providing a helping hand, it also takes individual effort to banish unconscious bias, starting with us. “So, part of trying to solve the unconscious bias in other people is looking at yourself,” said Kondo. “The insight of knowing why you do it…will help you understand why other people do it. The things that cause you to change are likely things that will cause other people to change, too.”

Joining the fight for inclusion to create a world that is more accessible for everyone now. Institutionalized and interpersonal ableism weakens our ability to grow as a society because there is power in unity. To unite, let’s start with building connections. You can connect with Tricia Downing on LinkedIn or her personal account at, and Eric Kondo can be reached on LinkedIn and at

Don’t Forget Disability in DEI

Author John Register

By John Register

Disability plays a significant role in the overall diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) conversation. Despite this, it is often the last group considered in the conversation, with many organizations failing to fully understand the unique challenges and contributions that people with disabilities bring to the workplace.

One reason why disability is often overlooked in the DEI conversation is that it is not always visible. Many disabilities are not immediately apparent, which can lead to misunderstandings and assumptions about a person’s capabilities. Additionally, there is often a lack of awareness and understanding of the various types of disabilities and the ways in which they can impact a person’s life and work.

However, people with disabilities bring many benefits to the equity in the DEI conversation. They offer unique perspectives and experiences that can lead to more inclusive and innovative solutions. They also challenge the traditional notions of productivity and ability, reminding us that everyone has something to contribute. Inclusive hiring policies and accommodations, such as flexible work arrangements, can also lead to increased productivity and job satisfaction for all employees.

As a paralympic athlete and inspirational keynote speaker, I know firsthand how people with disabilities can add credibility to the conversation about disability in the workforce. As an above-the-knee amputee, I faced many challenges, including in the workforce. But I am facing these challenges head-on by using my story and experiences to inspire others and advocate for greater inclusion and accessibility in the workplace.

There are several ways to increase awareness of how people with disabilities are a value-add to the DEI workforce. One way is to actively seek out and include people with disabilities in the hiring process. This can include recruiting from organizations that focus on disability employment, such as the National Disability Institute, the National Organization on Disability, the American Association for People with Disabilities and the Amputee Coalition. Additionally, companies can also provide training for their employees on the subject of disability and its impact on the workforce.

Another way to increase awareness is to provide accommodations and support for employees with disabilities. This can include providing assistive technology, flexible work arrangements and accessibility training. Companies can also promote disability-inclusive initiatives, such as mentorship programs or employee resource groups.

In conclusion, disability plays a crucial role in the overall DEI conversation. Despite this, it is often the last group considered in the conversation, with many organizations failing to fully understand the unique challenges and contributions that people with disabilities bring to the workplace. However, people with disabilities bring many benefits to the equity in the DEI conversation, and it’s essential to increase awareness of how people with disabilities add value to the DEI workforce by actively seeking out and including people with disabilities in the hiring process, providing accommodations, support and promoting disability-inclusive initiatives.

Autistic 11-year-old girl beats IQ scores of Albert Einstein, Stephen Hawking

adhara sanchez in classroom wearing baseball cap in front of chalkboard with math equations

An autistic 11-year-old girl has completed her masters and will soon be receiving the degree. The prodigy belongs to Mexico City and has an impressive IQ of 162 — higher than the 160 of the greatest ever physicist of this generation, Stephen Hawking.

The genius child, Adhara Pérez Sánchez, has an IQ that beats Albert Einstein — whose IQ is estimated to be around 160.

Adhara finished her High School education at the very young age of seven. Mirror UK reports that the genius girl will soon be awarded a masters and is currently working with the Mexican Space Agency. She is helping the space agency promote space exploration among the younger generations.

Her disciplines for the masters are also nothing short of impressive. She did a degree in systems and industrial engineering with a specialization in mathematics from the Technological University of Mexico. These technical credentials at a very young make her stand out from everyone else her age.

Despite the impressive IQ and equally impressive credentials, Adhara faced bullying because of a speech disability.

When she was three years old, Adhara was diagnosed with a developmental disability after her speech significantly regressed. Her mother, Nayeli Sánchez, told Marie Claire Mexico that Adhara had to switch schools three times and her old classroom staff and classmates remained apathetic to her achievements.

“The teachers were not very empathetic, they told me that I wish she would finish an assignment – she began to exclude herself, she did not want to play with her classmates, she felt strange, different.”

“She could be at school for a while but then she couldn’t, she fell asleep, she didn’t want to do things anymore,” she said and continued, “She was very depressed, people did not have empathy, they made fun of her.”

The 11-year-old is studying hard to be an astronaut and hopes to colonise Mars.

“I want to go to space and colonise Mars,” she said. “If you don’t like where you are, imagine where you want to be. I see myself at NASA, so it’s worth a try.”

What’s more, last year the University of Arizona even offered the future space explorer a scholarship to study astrophysics. However, due to visa complications, she had to defer.

Read the complete article and more news from WIO News here.

How to Better Recruit Candidates with Disabilities

group of workers one in wheelchair

By Natalie Rodgers

Hiring workers with disabilities can bring tremendous benefits to your company, including expanding your talent pool. Hiring people with disabilities can also bring diverse experiences to the workplace, decrease turnover rates, improve company morale and even help you qualify for financial incentives. But even for employers who are actively looking to hire individuals with disabilities, reaching this particular audience can be a complex process.

If you’re looking to bring on talent with disabilities, you’ll want to ensure that your recruitment strategy and outreach initiatives are up to the task. Here are some tips for recruiting workers experiencing disabilities:

Work with Your Local Service Providers

People with disabilities want to find employment just as much, if not more than you want to hire them. Therefore, many people with disabilities work with organizations that will help them throughout every step of the job search process. Several government-funded organizations across the United States are designed to help people with disabilities connect with companies that can provide work for them. If you’re looking to hire people with disabilities, one of the best ways to do this is to become familiar with these groups:

  • American Job Centers:

Sponsored by the Department of Labor and with over 2,400 locations, American Job Centers (AJC) provide free help to job seekers. Individuals with disabilities looking for work often use them. By visiting their website, you can find your local AJC branch and work with them directly to connect with qualified candidates that can fulfill your job openings. Many AJCs also offer recruiting events, workshops on resume writing, interviewing skills and job search activities.

  • Vocational Rehabilitation Agencies:

Federally funded vocational rehabilitation agencies work with individuals with disabilities focusing on their employment needs. Employers can submit their job postings to their local agency, which will be shared with their vast network.

  • The Workforce Recruitment Program for College Students with Disabilities:

Also known as WRP, this free resource connects postsecondary students with disabilities with private businesses and federal agencies nationwide looking to hire qualified candidates in various fields. Through, private employers interested in gaining access to these individuals can post permanent and temporary positions.

  • Employment Networks:

Employment Networks (ENs) are organizations that work to provide employment and services to individuals with disabilities through the Social Security Administration. Recruiters can contact their local ENs and work with them directly to employ candidates with disabilities.

Submit to Specialized Job Boards

If you’ve done any kind of hiring in the past, then you’ve probably used a job board. Instead of using a generic job board, seek out the online boards people with disabilities utilize. While many of these job boards do require a fee per posting or resume search, there are a few that offer their services at no charge. Some of the most popular job boards for job-seekers with disabilities are:

  • AbilityJOBS
  • The AAPD Career Center
  • org
  • OurAbility Connect
  • The Viscardi Center’s Disability Employment Service

Attend Career Fairs

Through the above organizations and nonprofits working to reduce the unemployment rates of individuals with disabilities, there are several disability-focused career fairs that you can attend to begin your recruiting process. Your presence at these conferences will not only allow you to meet your potential employees face-to-face (or screen-to-screen for virtual conferences) but show communities with disabilities that your company sees value in their skills and experiences. These conferences also offer classes and workshops on making your business space more accessible for those with different experiences.

Don’t Forget about Veterans

Instead of utilizing disability-focused resources during the job hunt, many service-disabled veterans may exclusively use veteran resources to look for work. Make sure to engage with veteran-focused conferences and organizations throughout your hiring process to expand your hiring pool further.

Sources: EARN, Department of Labor,, CareerOneStop


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Upcoming Events

  1. City Career Fairs Schedule for 2023
    June 28, 2023 - December 26, 2023
  2. Small Business Expo 2023 Business Networking & Educational Events Schedule
    August 18, 2023 - April 18, 2024
  3. 2023 M-Enabling Summit
    October 10, 2023 - October 12, 2023
  4. 2023 Global ERG Network Conference
    October 11, 2023 - October 13, 2023
  5. 2023 Global ERG Network Conference
    October 11, 2023 - October 13, 2023