January 23rd’s Google Doodle featured Ed Roberts, a pioneer and activist who advocated for disability rights. According to Google, January 23rd would have been his 78th birthday. Roberts contracted polio at age 14, which resulted in him becoming a quadriplegic. He took on the role of activist after being denied his high school diploma as a result of not being able to compete in driver’s education and physical education classes.
Roberts was eventually awarded his high school diploma and became the first student with a sever disability to attend the University of California, Berkeley. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in political science. Among his many achievements include:
- Spearheading and creating the Physically Physically Disabled Students Program at the University of California, Berkeley
- Led the Berkeley Center for Independent Living
- Was appointed Directory of the California Department of Vocational Rehabilitation in 1976 by California Governor Jerry Brown
- Co-founder of the World Institute on Disability
Accessibility Services, Inc. salutes Roberts for his dedication and hard work toward improving the lives of people with disabilities. Sadly, Roberts passed away in 1995. We hope that our work to help quadriplegics achieve independence through our autonoME environmental control unit (ECU)/speech generation device (SGD) package would have been applauded by Roberts if he were alive today. It is his tireless efforts of advocating for people with disabilities that has opened the doors toward quadriplegics living fuller, more independent lives today.