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Frontiers in Multicultural Marketing: The Disabilities Market - page 11 / 17





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dyslexic (Dyslexia Adult Link, 2006).  One product, for example, is a “reading pen” that reads a selected word out loud.

Software that provides the user with a multisensory experience is very helpful for those with learning disabilities.  Kurzweil 3000 was developed by Kurzweil Educational Systems to help students with learning disabilities such as dyslexia. The software displays scanned text on the computer.  The words are read aloud and the reader can adjust the reading speed.  As the words are read aloud, they are also highlighted to help the reader focus on each word.  A demonstration of the system is available at:  http://www.sightandsound.co.uk/pages/Kurzweil_3000.htm    Technology of this type can also be modified to help learning disabled individuals perform various reading tasks in the workplace.  Click N’ Read Phonics (http://www.clicknkids.com/Index.asp) is a tutoring program that is sold online and teaches kindergarten to 3rd grade phonics.  It is especially useful for children with learning disabilities.

Marketing to Individuals with Mobility Impairments

Mobility impairment is a term which covers a wide range of disabilities.   Mobility impairment could be congenital, caused by an accidents, or may be due to such illnesses as cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, polio, strokes, diabetes, and muscular dystrophy.  Spinal cord injuries that may result from automobile accidents and diving accidents can also cause mobility impairment.  According to the National Center for Health Statistics (2006), 14.9 million adults (7.0% of the adult population) find it difficult or impossible to walk a quarter of a mile.  More than 19 million adults have trouble climbing a flight of stairs (Centers for Disease Control, 2001).  The market for AT in this area is huge.  Getting in and out of a car is difficult for many people, not only those in wheelchairs.  A number of automobile manufacturers are offering inexpensive attachments making it easier for those with disabilities to get in and out of a car. One company markets a portable ramp that can be used to enter and exit automobiles or homes and offices with steps.

Many mobility impaired people use their voice to control a computer.  There are, however, some exciting developments using implants in the brain.  Pollack (2006) describes an experiment in which a paralyzed person with a sensor implanted in his brain was able to use his thoughts to control a computer. He was able to play Pong, move a cursor, open e-mail, and even draw a circle on the screen.  This device also gave him control over a television set and a prosthetic hand.

Consider something as simple as a basic wheelchair. There are approximately 100 to 150 million people in need of wheelchairs worldwide (Wheelchair Foundation, 2005). Because of landmines and unexploded ordinance, the number is expected to grow by about 29,000 people per year.  Most people in developing countries cannot afford the cost of a wheelchair; an inexpensive wheelchair would be very popular worldwide.   In the United States, about 1.6 million people are permanent users of wheelchairs (either manual or motorized) or scooters.  About 1.5 million people use manual wheelchairs; about 2.9% of senior citizens (older than 65) use wheelchairs (Kaye, Kang, and LaPlante, 2002).  The airlines accommodate those in wheelchairs and approximately 1.2% of their passengers use wheelchairs, not an insubstantial

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