EASI History

EASI: Equal Access to Software and Information homepage

The content below is taken from an article published in Information Technology and Disabilities August 2004


Sheryl Burgstahler, Ph. D.
University of Washington


I thought it would be fun to end this article with comments from individuals who have benefited in specific ways from their association with EASI. I posted a request for comments on the EASI listserv and received an immediate and enthusiastic response. I'm sorry that I don't have space to include them all. Clearly, as documented in the following sample responses, EASI has benefited its associates and their associates for many years, in many different ways, and in many different countries.

Reading the many responses to my question regarding how EASI has benefited others made me reflect on the value of EASI in my own life. With EASI folks, I found a family whose members bring different skills and experiences to the table but share a vision of a world where advanced technologies benefit everyone, not just a privileged few. We saw the potential for technology, if designed accessibly and used wisely, to truly change the lives of people with disabilities. Associating with EASI folks shaped my dissertation topic and gave me confidence and insight to literally define my own position by securing state, federal, private, and corporate funds to create the DO-IT Center at the University of Washington ( As reported by others, my associations developed through EASI influence what I have done, do now, and will continue to do in this field.

One contributor to my request for testimonials said that his favorite EASI email was from Norm about "the kiss"-the deaf student kissing the blind professor for helping her over the Internet, the moral of the story being "On the Internet, your disability is no barrier to communication and friendship." I checked this story out with Norm, but he claims it was just a hug and (maybe) a head on the shoulder (very briefly, if at all). "No more than THAT!" We'll have to leave resolving these differences for another day-maybe we could discuss the incident more fully on the EASI discussion list.

What more can I say? Since it began, the EASI network has brought together a great group of people interested in making this world a more accessible place. Its members have learned together and then trained thousands of people in assistive technology and accessible technology design through online courses, presentations, and resources; conference presentations and special interest groups; and a professional journal. Under Norm's leadership, EASI will continue to move forward in making this world a better place for all of us and in helping each of us find ways to contribute to a worthy cause. Think big!

Return to the EASI Homepage