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Celebrating 30 Years of Empowering People With Disabilities Through Technology

BURNABY, BRITISH COLUMBIA -- (Marketwired) -- 06/26/14 -- The Neil Squire Society was one of the first organizations to develop assistive technologies enabling people with severe disabilities to live independent lives. Today they celebrate their 30th anniversary.

The Society was founded by Bill Cameron in 1984 in honour of his relative Neil Squire, a young university student in Victoria who was involved in a car accident that left him paralyzed from the neck down and unable to speak. Bill became inspired to build communication tools and assistive devices to help Neil participate in the world around him. Bill developed a 'sip n' puff' interface for Neil that registered his breaths through a straw and translated them to morse code dots and dashes. Through this process, Neil was able to find his voice again by using first generation personal computers. Bill envisioned a time when "people who just happened to be disabled" would have access to the same quality of life as others through the use of technology. Bill's vision continues to guide the spirit of the Society and is present in all of our activities.

The Neil Squire Society has evolved, increasing accessibility for those with disabilities by providing computer tutoring and employment programs. These programs have helped minimize the digital divide among people with disabilities, as well as enrich an inclusive working environment. Through research, technologies, and empowerment, the Neil Squire Society has helped make an inaccessible society more accessible.

"The society is still firmly based on the principles that Bill pioneered in the beginning, in particular, to ensure that the work we do always involves input from the individuals that we empower. Without that critical component, we are at great risk of missing the mark. We offer programs that are designed to meet the full spectrum of needs of persons with disabilities regardless of where they are in their personal journeys. We continue to work tirelessly to ensure that technology is always working to its best advantage in helping each individual meet their full potential. We have accomplished a lot in 30 years, but there is still a lot of work to do" says Executive Director, Gary Birch.

Enjoy this video summarizing the success of the Neil Squire Society in the past 30 years.

About Neil Squire Society

Neil Squire Society is the only not-for-profit organization in Canada that for the past 30 years has used technology, knowledge and passion to empower Canadians with physical disabilities. The Society has developed innovative programs and services and some of the world's leading edge assistive technology for people with physical disabilities. More than 30,000 people with disabilities in Canada have benefited from the work of the Society. With over seventy five staff, Neil Squire Society has offices and provides services to Canadians in Vancouver, Regina, Ottawa, and Fredericton, as well as to many small communities across Canada via distance education.

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