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- Featuring John Williams -

Wake Up America

By Karina Levinson


A broken bone caused by whatever type of accident could cause a person to be temporarily disabled. This type of experience gives only a miniscule glimpse of a day in the life of people who are challenged with long-time disabilities.

 John Williams

The American marketplace is slowly gaining an understanding that as products and services are provided the disabled, the nation's economy improves. Studies in 2003 produced statistics proving that travelers with disabilities whose mobility challenges were met, spent twice what they normally would spend on their former vacations and/or business trips. No one knows this better than John Williams who coined the phrase, "Assistive Technology." An acclaimed and award-winning writer and activist, Mr. Williams has reached hundreds of thousands of people with his Assistive Technology columns and his book Assistive Technologies - Expanding a Universe of Opportunities for People with Disabilities. This book, as well as his two Internet columns (www.nod.org and www.at508.com plus his monthly column for United Spinal Association's Orbit Magazine, describe the various products and services that can create a more productive lifestyle for this community of worth.


For over 27 years this award-winning leader has led the charge for change. He is adamant that our Federal Government enforce the disability laws already in place. As one of the founders of http://www.at508.com, this warrior has ignited the spirit of other advocates throughout the country by writing a weekly column on government progress or lack thereof as well as updates on new products that provide the most benefits to the user. He has interviewed and educated U.S. Presidents, Governors, Senators, Congresspersons and other celebrities. John Williams speaks for those who have no voice sending a message that is loud and clear.

Travel has been one industry that continues to explore new ways to remove heretofore-major challenges for the disabled. "Cruise lines and rental companies recognize the need to provide Assistive Technology products and services," says Mr. Williams.

Furthermore he states, "Educating the public that being disabled is not the sum total of that person's experience.  The impetus behind their goals is to succeed.  They want to work, create, and most of all be accepted.  This special population's mission is to have people look beyond their "disabilities" and value their "abilities" instead." 


The Access Travel Center Web site, at www.accesstravelcenter.com, serves worldwide as a reference point for travelers with disabilities. ATC's founder, Louis Novak, strongly assists this cause by showcasing rental companies and marketing companies that support travel needs for the disabled.  Mr. Novak believes, as does John Williams, that reasonable accommodation can be made available and applauds the companies that put up the capital investment that allows for this and other disabled needs to be addressed and acted upon.


Work-wise, there is a huge need to encourage employers to offer more jobs for the disabled.  Mr. Williams has experienced some employers turned off from the federal rules and guidelines that provide for certain accommodations for disabled workers.  His vision and expectation is for employers to realize that the determination, drive and talent being brought to the table more than warrants the cost.  It stands to reason that the spending for equipment or the assistive technology needed in the workplace can only create future US financial productivity, build community recognition and most of all, provide more economic stability to all involved.


Greater insight on this subject for employers, schools and industries in general as regards this growing population's needs could easily be brought to light by more media.  John Williams feels that our government also has a duty to keep its promises to the disabled.  There is a piece of the "Apple Pie" for everyone who wants a taste of their right to freedom, employment and ease of movement.  All people everywhere want to be seen as good, outstanding, talented and important.  Understanding, compassion and opportunity is what has made this country so incredible throughout our short history.  What will the vision be for the disabled in our future?  Possibilities abound.


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