For Immediate Release - May 01, 2010

AG Coakley Honored for Advocacy for Blind Community

BOSTON - This afternoon, Attorney General Martha Coakley will receive Perkins School for the Blind's Presidential Award in recognition of her office's work to promote accessibility, particularly in technology, for children and adults with sight impairments. The Watertown school will present the award to AG Coakley during its annual "Early Connections Conference" for parents of children who are blind or deafblind.

"Every time I visit Perkins School, I am inspired by the children and young adults who work so hard and achieve great things," said Attorney General Coakley. "It has been an honor to work on behalf of these wonderful young people to ensure that they have access to the technologies that bring new opportunities, whether it's in the classroom, the workplace or elsewhere, and I am delighted to be accepting this award."

Perkins School for the Blind President Steven Rothstein has had great respect for AG Coakley for many years. He says, "Attorney General Martha Coakley knows instinctively what our students demonstrate every day: every person has unique and valuable abilities. Her tireless work and leadership to make technology and tools of social and public interaction accessible to all people has literally changed lives for individuals across the Commonwealth and nationally. The commitment and energy of Coakley and her impressive staff is quite remarkable"

Recognizing the integral role that technology plays in day-to-day living, AG Coakley's Office has worked to ensure that children and adults with impaired vision have equal access to various technologies. The office's work has had an impact not only in Massachusetts, but nationwide. In particular:

* In June 2007, the AG's Office and the National Federation for the Blind (NFB) reached a settlement with Cardtronics, Inc., the nation's largest ATM operator, that provided significantly improved access for visually impaired consumers to the company's machines. As a result of the agreement, Cardtronics increased the number of machines equipped with voice guidance technology to its fleet of over 23,000 ATMs nationwide and on more than 1,200 ATMs in Massachusetts, benefitting over 35,000 blind persons in Massachusetts.

* In September 2008, again working collaboratively with the NFB, the AG Coakley's office reached an agreement with California-based Apple, Inc., that provides visually impaired consumers and students full and equal access to Apple's iTunes® and iTunes U®. Apple agreed to make both iTunes and iTunes U are accessible to consumers and students using assistive technology called screen access software. This agreement ensured that students with impaired sight, including those at Perkins, have access to the same educational materials available to other students through iTunes U.

The Presidential Award will be presented to Attorney General Coakley at 2:00 today by Steven Rothstein, President of the Perkins School for the Blind, as part of the annual "Early Connections Conference." Approximately 200 parents of blind and blind-deaf children will be in attendance at the conference, which will be held in the Hilton Building on the Perkins School campus, located at 175 North Beacon Street in Watertown. Founded in 1829, Perkins is the nation's oldest school for the blind and impacts the lives of more than 114, 000 people around the world.

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