One item we’ll be looking at: how can digital technologies help children with disabilities with their education? Last week Blair Levin and Erik Garr, two leaders of our National Broadband Plan effort, drew attention to the opportunities of shifting to e-readers from paper textbooks. E-textbooks that can be personalized can bring enormous opportunities for children with disabilities – for example, children with hearing challenges, or autism. Our initiative will work with all stakeholders to explore seizing these opportunities.
For people with autism, on-line technologies have allowed the development of an independent autistic community and culture. One reason is that the challenges associated with interpreting non-verbal and social cues are less significant online. Having the opportunity to connect online with peers also allows people who have autism “to have an understanding that you are not alone in this world.”