Happy #GAAD!

The 3rd Thursday in May is Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD). It also coincides with my birthday so for the last four years I have spent my birthday running around organizing events to raise awareness about accessibility with colleagues, partners and the wider community.

This year will be no exception as we are running in-person events in four countries and online sessions for colleagues around the globe including a captioned live stream.

Rather than resentment at a birthday usurped, I see GAAD as my birthday present to myself.

Accessibility is a gift to my past self as a dyslexic student who wouldn’t have completed an MBA without speech recognition software.

Accessibility is a gift to my current self in that it has given me one of the coolest and most fulfilling jobs anybody could wish for.

Accessibility is a gift to my future self in that as I age and my eyesight gets worse, limbs a bit stiffer, more creaky and hearing less sharp I know that I will benefit from products that have been inclusively designed to meet the needs of everyone.

Accessibility is a gift to society because we are all situationally disabled by our surroundings or actions from time to time and many of the conveniences we benefit from today have been born out of the desire to address the challenges of impairment.

So accept this gift and take the opportunity today to learn and share about how people and technology are coming together to make the world a better place.

Happy #GAAD!

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About Neil Milliken
Head of Accessibility & Digital Inclusion and member of the Scientific Community
Neil Milliken is Global Head of Accessibility for Atos. His role is to deliver better technology for customers and employees, embedding inclusive practice into the processes of the organization, which has thousands of employees and an annual turnover of billions. Neil delivers strategy and services working with a wide range of clients helping them to develop policies, processes, and technology solutions to meet the needs of their staff and customers. He is the Atos representative on the Business Disability Forum Technology Task Force Neil is also an invited expert for the W3C Cognitive Accessibility Taskforce & member of the Atos Scientific Community & Atos Distinguished Expert . He is co-founder of AXSChat Europe’s largest twitter chat with a focus on Accessibility & Inclusion. Neil was named in the top ten of the Shaw Trust Disability Power 100 list in 2018 and was named D&I practitioner of the year in the 2019 Disability Smart Awards.

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