As a person with a disability, I am intimately familiar with the constant need to overcome barriers in almost every aspect of life. For good or ill, it generates creativity, tenacity, and ingenuity—all very useful traits for developers. Today, I am very excited to introduce you to a few developers with disabilities who have an abundance of those traits.
The ReadME Project has published the first video in our new Coding Accessibility series. In the video, you’ll meet Becky Tyler—a smart, funny, and incredibly tenacious young woman with quadriplegic cerebral palsy who interacts with her computer exclusively by using her eyes. Inspired by a simple desire to play Minecraft, Becky’s story followed a familiar path: She saw a problem, found the answer in open source software and collaboration, and was inspired to become a developer.
You can find the video in The ReadME Project’s featured article, “From gaming with your eyes to coding with AI: New frontiers for accessibility,” which explores what’s possible when people with disabilities leverage the power of GitHub, the open source community, and even generative AI.
In the story, we meet developers like Anna Kirkpatrick, who used frequency analysis on source code to create custom on-screen keyboard layouts to make coding with eye tracking software easier and more efficient. And developers like Anton Mirgorodchenko, a Ukrainian refugee who created an open source project that outlines his use of ChatGPT alongside GitHub Copilot for abbreviation expansion and text prediction to design software architectures and write code.
We also have a special episode of The ReadME Podcast, where our hosts get the chance to talk with Becky and her mentors to hear more about how developers with disabilities are making the world a better, more accessible place for us all.
With this launch, I invite you to join Team Accessibility, and share these stories with your friends, family, and followers.