Down syndrome is the single most commonly occurring chromosomal condition. To put that in perspective, one in every 691 babies born in the US alone is born with it. The condition causes cognitive delays to those diagnosed with it making it harder from them to grasp new concepts in education. Hope is not lost though as technology has proven to be transformational in that regard.
For Carlos De Saro, a man with Down syndrome, technology has not only helped him overcome the challenges of the condition, but is helping him help others with disabilities too. The 36 year old graduate of TEC de Monterrey, one of the best private universities in Mexico, has used Microsoft hardware and software to create a non-profit organization called Fighting Against Adversity near Mexico City, where he teaches those with disabilities to use software tools like Office so that they can quickly fit into jobs that require such skills.
“I started my non-profit organization with the goal to train people in technology with job skills and also establish links with industry and the government to give them better job inclusion in society… To be job-skilled in today’s workforce, the use of technology is a must.” – De Saro
After hearing of De Saro’s story and mission, Microsoft was inspired and determined to help, and thus provided Fighting Against Adversity with the solutions required to fulfill that mission. Students are now working with Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, or Paint to facilitate in their learning, tools that prove to be more effective that learning from books. The broad range of accessibility features built into Windows 8.1 has also been very helpful, particularly when paired with touchscreen devices and the touch-friendly user interface.
“Microsoft technology is the easiest to use because it’s the easiest to learn.” – De Saro
De Saro has been speaking with parents of children who have Down syndrome and with Microsoft’s involvement managed to testify before Mexico’s Congress about the ways in which technology can be “a tool for inclusion” for those with disabilities, and how those people should be guaranteed access to training on technology that will make them active, contributing members of society.
“It’s truly amazing to see how someone with what society sees has limitations has been able to inspire so many people.” – Celina Carcia Keller, Director of the Microsoft Technology Center in Mexico
Fighting Against Adversity currently accepts children with Down syndrome aged between 6 to 17 years, however De Saro does plan to expand the service to adults and those with hearing, visual, and mobility disabilities. De Saro and his volunteers have also been training with Microsoft to better understand Windows 8.1, Office 365, apps, and other technologies to facilitate in running the non-profit more efficiently and effectively.
Further reading: Accessibility, disabilities, Education, Microsoft, Office, Windows
“My life has changed without having imagined it… With the use of Microsoft software, I am changing the lives of other people with disabilities” Says De Saro.