Covid-19 Public Health Awareness

Celebrating Global Accessibility Awareness Day

Today is Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD), and we’re excited to share why it matters and what it means to us.

Today marks another significant occasion that stands at the core of our mission here at the IMAGE Center for People with Disabilities: Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD). This day serves as a pivotal reminder of the ongoing efforts needed to ensure accessibility and inclusivity in all facets of society for people with disabilities. At the IMAGE Center, we dedicate ourselves daily to empowering individuals through advocacy, education, and support, but today, we amplify our efforts and our voices.

Why We Celebrate

Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) began to inspire conversations about the importance of digital accessibility and inclusion for people with disabilities. With the world increasingly moving online, from education to employment, ensuring that digital platforms are accessible to everyone is more crucial than ever. GAAD encourages developers, businesses, and individuals to consider the digital experiences of all users, including those with disabilities.

What Accessibility Means to Us

Accessibility is not just about eliminating physical barriers. It’s also about creating digital and social environments that welcome everyone. At the IMAGE Center, we believe that accessibility should be integrated into every aspect of life:

  • Digital Accessibility: We advocate for websites, tools, and technologies that are usable for everyone, including those with visual, auditory, motor, or cognitive disabilities. This means that websites and other digital platforms must be compatible with assistive technology, such as screen readers and closed captioning devices. If you have questions about whether your content is accessible, a great place to start is the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.
  • Physical Accessibility: Our ongoing projects aim to enhance the accessibility of public spaces and private homes to promote independence and mobility.
  • Social Inclusivity: We strive to foster an environment where people with disabilities are seen, heard, and respected as equal members of the community.

Activities and Initiatives

All of the programs of the IMAGE Center seek to make Maryland a more accessible place in which to live and work. So, in a sense, every day is GAAD for us. But, since GAAD’s main focus is on digital accessibility, we would like to specifically highlight our Maryland Accessible Telecommunications program, our Assistive Technology Program, and our Bridges Technical Assistance Center. All of these programs offer specialized technical assistance for people with disabilities who need assistive technology to make their lives accessible, individual training on assistive technology, a searchable resource library with articles and videos, and much more. We encourage you to take advantage of these services and all the programs provided by the IMAGE Center; visit our website or contact our office for more information.

How You Can Participate

There are many ways to get involved with GAAD, both virtually and in-person:

  • Educate Yourself and Others: Learn about the barriers that people with disabilities face and share this knowledge to raise awareness.
  • Audit Your Website: Use tools to check if your digital content is accessible and make necessary adjustments.
  • Support Accessibility Legislation: Advocate for policies that promote equal access and opportunities for people with disabilities.

Looking Forward

GAAD is just one day, but the principles it stands for are timeless. The IMAGE Center for People with Disabilities is committed to promoting accessibility 365 days a year. We invite you to join us in our efforts, not just today, but every day. Together, we can create a world that is accessible and inclusive for all.

For more information about our programs, how you can contribute, or to participate in upcoming events, please visit Let’s make every day an opportunity to advance accessibility.