Inclusion in action: Justin promotes inclusivity with technology as his voice


Today, we’re excited to introduce you to Justin, a college student with Athetoid cerebral palsy. He's the second of six individuals featured in our Inclusion in Action series announced last week, highlighting how accessible technologies enable transformative change. Justin uses accessibility capabilities in Microsoft Office 365 and his communication device to excel in his studies and pursue his passion for storytelling.

Here's his story.

Justin is determined to be a force for change in the world. Like many of his college peers, he loves technology, music videos, keeping up with news and sports, playing chess and reading great books. Justin also distinguishes himself from his peers by giving public presentations, maintaining a blog and working on a young-adult novel.

“I think it’s important for young people who have disabilities to share their hopes and dreams,” he said.

Like the central character in his novel, Justin has cerebral palsy. He uses a power chair to get around, he uses a hearing aid to help with his auditory neuropathy, and he uses devices with Office 365 software to express himself.

Justin Smith at his computer

Justin Smith is a college student that uses Office 365 tools to study and pursue his passion for storytelling.

“Technology is my way to communicate with the world. It is my freedom to get out there. It is my voice!" he said. "I can’t imagine what my world would be like without it.”

Adaptive keyboard

Justin uses an adaptive keyboard.

Justin got his first communication device when he was 3 years old. Today he uses an adaptive keyboard, joystick mouse, word prediction software and captioning to use his computer. He says assistive technologies have come a long way since he was in school, and Office 365 is making his college work easier.

Justin uses Word to draft content for blogs, assignments, stories and speeches. If he’s giving a presentation he has that content programmed into his communication device. If he’s giving a classroom or public presentation he uses PowerPoint. And he accesses his materials from home or college using OneDrive.

View of a computer screen

Justin uses Word, OneNote and OneDrive to write his young adult novel and complete his college homework. 

Because Justin also has visual tracking issues, he finds that the new Line Focus feature in Immersive Reader with Word Online is helpful when reading materials for class. He also uses OneNote to organize his research papers and class notes.

Throughout the years, Justin has developed a passion for the power of technology. He enjoys being a strong advocate for the use and development of accessible technologies.

“I get to be the idealistic young person who wants to stretch the boundaries of what’s possible. I need people in IT to design and build technology to help make it easier for me to do all the things that I dream of doing."

Visit aka.ms/InclusionInAction to discover more stories of people pushing the boundaries of productivity and inclusion with Microsoft technologies.

Comments (3)
  1. schartun says:

    Hi Justin, i really like to listen your “being human speech”, where we can find it

  2. It’s very nice of you to share your story and help me understand how you use assistive technologies. Having your real-world insights makes it easier to understand accessibility issues. Good luck with your novel, and thanks for recommending John Green. I’ve ordered “Turtles All the Way Down” as a family Christmas present!

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