Assistive Media:

Expanding the world of reading

 

Assistive Media
400 Maynard Street

Ann Arbor, MI 48104



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History
Kenneth Harmon Erdody (1925-1998) was a life-long avid reader. Although never becoming blind, Kenneth's diabetic retinopathy was always a “what if” concern for his son, David, who researched the availability of accessible audio-based reading materials and discovered that less than 5% of U.S. publications were provided in an alternative audio format.

From this personal realization and with public spirit, David incorporated ‘Assistive Media’ as a self-financed, state of Michigan-based, 501(c)(3)  status ‘non-profit’ organization. With a small cadre of readers Assistive Media began by producing and distributing spoken-word recordings of otherwise inaccessible materials on audiocassette to the Washtenaw County, Michigan branch of The Library of Congress-National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. 



                                                Photos of audiocassette cases of early Assistive Media recordings





Soon after, with the advent of online digital audio formats such as RealAudio and mp3 downloads, online distribution of recordings shifted to an open, free-of-charge Assistive Media web site and, for a number of years, a community recording studio was located at the Ann Arbor Center for Independent Living for volunteer readers.

Purpose
Assistive Media recognizes that more than 95% of printed works, a major source of information, culture, and education are originally published inaccessible to those with visual and text reading barriers. Assistive Media’s mission is to heighten educational, cultural, and quality-of-living standards which leads to independence and integration into the mainstream of our society and community life.

How we do it
Assistive Media produces spoken-word recordings of current and back issue “long-form” articles from mainstream periodicals and full-length books providing an eclectic mixture of interesting and educational material. We offer our online service with no membership sign-on requirements or disability status verifications. When necessary, the copyright holder has provided Assistive Media permission to offer their works via spoken-word audio in this charitable way.

Beneficiaries
According to The World Health Organization over 280 million people are visually impaired worldwide, 39 million of them are blind. The blind population in the U.S. is roughly 10 million. Through assistive technologies such as screen readers, refreshable Braille displays, and spoken-word audio, a person who is blind can navigate the Internet efficiently and effectively. Due to its direct online outreach, Assistive Media easily reaches a substantial world-wide clientele.

Copyright © 1996—2016 Assistive Media

In 1999, A distinguished panel of judges awarded The Streamers Progressive Award, sponsored by RealNetwork, Inc. and Intel Corporation to Assistive Media as the best non-profit web site of the year.

“I want to express my admiration for the work you're doing for the visually impaired. One of the old Scottish philosophers who had a great influence on the founding fathers was Francis Hutcheson who stressed that the pursuit of happiness involves working for the happiness of others. Your efforts are certainly in that spirit.”


David McCullough,
Author and Historian

"It's a wonderful thing you're doing, this is one of the things the Net is for.


John Perry Barlow,
WIRED Magazine

“I’m a big fan of what you are doing with Assistive Media. It’s a great service that truly leverages the internet to provide a unique value to its users...”

Mark Cuban,
Internet/Technology Entrepreneur

"As a professional narrator for over 30 years, I am very impressed with Assistive Media. It is a pleasure to see such intelligent and stimulating writing available in audio format. The narration is well done and the audio quality is clear and pleasing to listen to."

Grover Gardner,
Professional Audiobook Narrator

Thank you!