Technology is deeply embedded in our daily lives, but for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), the barrier to accessing technology can be disproportionately high, even as a community that could greatly benefit from its impact. To address this, Amazon and The Arc have announced a landmark program that will expand access to technology and encourage greater independence for thousands of people with IDD.
Designing devices with accessibility in mind is integrated into everything we do at Amazon, and programs like these help us learn more from our customers and their lived experiences.
As part of the program, Amazon is donating 5,000 Echo Show and Fire tablet devices to nearly 600 chapters of The Arc across the United States. These donations will enable people with IDD to leverage technology to improve daily living, enhance independence, and explore new ways of using Amazon technology.
“This collaboration is about more than donating devices—it’s about empowering people with disabilities to live life on their own terms,” said Katy Schmid, senior director of national program initiatives at The Arc of the United States. “Autonomy, entertainment, education, inclusion—these are essentials of a meaningful life, and they continue to be out of reach for many people with IDD. Together, we can help close the digital divide and help people with IDD fully participate in society in ways many of us take for granted.”
To date, we’ve heard firsthand how much people in the IDD community can benefit from Amazon technology. People like:
- Grace, a tween with Down syndrome, autism, attention-deficit disorder, hearing loss, and vision disability, who uses her Echo device to get ready in the morning, play her favorite songs, help with her academic work, and notify her parents when she needs help.
- Scott, an adult with IDD and a hearing disability, who uses his Echo device to hear the local weather, dance, and learn new things.
- Jonathan, an adult with an intellectual disability and bipolar disorder, who uses his Echo device to listen to music, set an alarm for morning wake-up, stay organized, and be more in touch with his sister.
“We’re excited to work with The Arc to support and empower people with disabilities,” said Leila Rouhi, VP of trust for devices & services at Amazon. “It is energizing to see how our devices meaningfully improve the lives of customers like Grace, Scott, and Jonathan, and we will continue working to make the world more accessible through technology for people with IDD.”
To learn more about the program, or to find your nearest chapter of The Arc, visit The Arc’s website, or learn more about Amazon’s commitment to accessibility.