partnerships with other federal agencies. For example, NIDRR and the National Institute on Standards and Technology are engaged in a cloud computing project that is assessing cloud-based accessibility technology; the two agencies also have a visualization and usability group that is looking at cloud-based accessibility for inclusive voting. With the U.S. Department of Education, NIDRR is examining cloud-based online educational assessment for children with cognitive disabilities and accessibility information in a metadata framework for online educational resources.


Cloud-based accessibility technology opens a wealth of opportunities, said Lewis. This technology supports not only family communication but community communication. For example, many people move late in life, which often means breaking community ties. Technology can help people maintain ties with church groups or civic organizations even when they are not in the same community. As Lewis pointed out, people are much more likely to maintain their high school friends now than in the past because of applications of technology. Technology can also enhance community participation, as when social media help people with disabilities interact with their communities or take advantage of educational activities and resources.

Technology can help people manage personal data, such as the forms for applying for services and establishing eligibility. People can get assistance on demand when needed from trusted parties. For example, someone who sometimes gets disoriented in the community could know that they could always call for help.

A major initiative called the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace is developing ways to make online transactions safer, faster, and more private, which could have important implications for people with disabilities.3 Further opportunities for cloud computing include developing improved technology for creating accessible content and services, supporting the sharing of experience among technology consumers, and using big-data techniques on data from cloud-based services to improve services. For example, a big-data initiative could collect data in different ways that allow for the extraction of structured information and the improvement of services.

Concluding Remarks

If these opportunities are realized, Lewis concluded, everyone can have access to greatly expanded and improved services. Nevertheless, there is a


3For more information, see

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