#245 Grit, smarts and an iPad

Frithjof Petscheleit told me to check out Glenda Watson Hyatt’s Web site, and I’m glad he did. This smart, gutsy woman will give anyone worrying about having the right stuff a kick in the patoot.

With her oxygen supply cut off at birth, Hyatt started her life with an extra mountain to climb: cerebral palsy. Fortunately, she landed in the right family, where “can’t” was not part of the vocabulary.

Though she started school in a special class, from fourth grade on she was in regular classrooms. She kept up with assignments the same way she now blogs: with her left thumb (watch the video below). As technology improved, she exchanged the electric typewriter for increasingly sophisticated electronics.

Hyatt knows firsthand that what seems totally accessible to someone without special challenges can be out of bounds for others. So for more than a decade she has been working with government agencies, transit authorities and non-profit organizations to make their Web sites more accessible. She offers a free e-book on her site, loaded with tips. She also teaches a Blog Accessibility Mastermind course.

Here’s where the iPad comes in. Hyatt bought one after trying it out in a Chicago Apple store. She walked out with a whack of money on her Visa and a bad case of buyer’s remorse.

Remorse turned to elation when she had lunch with two deaf and hard-of-hearing friends and had one more tool for communicating with them, Proloquo2Go. Later she could immediately show other friends what she was up to, thanks to the iPad and WiFi. When she won Entrepreneur of the Year’s High Tech Award, she whipped out her iPad, opened TextAloud, and gave a flawless acceptance speech.

The iPad isn’t just changing Hyatt’s life. It’s changing everyone’s by clearing away barriers to knowing creative, bright, spunky people like Glenda Watson Hyatt.

More ways to get to know Glenda Watson Hyatt:


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Glenda Watson Hyatt - January 20, 2012


Thank you for your kind words.

I love the concept of your blog: giving hope. Such a crucial yet often missing piece in life.

    admin - January 21, 2012

    I’m grateful to people like you, Glenda, who live with verve, compassion, and commitment. You are changing lives.

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