The Florida Disability Access and Awareness Foundation (FDAAF), a not-for-profit corporation formed in 2012, strives to create “disability empowerment through inclusion.” The FDAAF accomplishes their mission through a variety of technology and media products and services, which promote the education and charitable goals of disability inclusion.
The media and technology products and services created by FDAAF incorporate real-world elements of the disability experience: ADA compliance, social campaigns, disability rights, education, and empowerment programs. Ralph Strzalkowski, President of FDAAF, born in Poland with cerebral palsy, has used a wheelchair his entire life. His native country had few resources to support individuals with disabilities. He came to America seeking a better life and eventually became a lawyer.
“I love this country because laws like the Americans with Disabilities Act has given me opportunities I never would have had before, and empowered me to lead an active, independent life”, says Strzalkowski. Though life in America is much more improved than Poland, he admits there is much room for improvement in this country.
The FDAAF was developed to help dispel the way in which individuals with disabilities are perceived in the community. One of the projects undertaken by the FDAAF is a choice-based video game called, “Changed”, in which the main character, Jesse White, becomes immobilized after an accident. In the game, players learn to navigate many obstacles and interact with other game characters, like Jesse’s military friend Curtis Devine and his sister, Jessica White. How the main character’s personality is developed is dependent upon the choices made within the game. The company is currently working on the production of a demo for the video game.
In addition to the production, marketing, and research the FDAAF applies towards media projects, they have also developed a project called, “Wheelchaired For A Day.” The project, launched in 2015, allowed participants to experience what it’s like to navigate the world in a wheelchair. Like the video game, “Changed”, the project “Wheelchaired For A Day” helps the general public to understand some of the challenges of living with a disability.
Image credit: Photo by Youcef Chenguitti on Unsplash