More About the Author
Alan Brightman is the Senior Policy Director for Special Communities at Yahoo! where he is responsible for ensuring that Yahoo! is as responsive as possible to the unique needs of children and adults with disabilities as well as families with serious illness.??Brightman received a Ph.D. in Education from Harvard University and an Honorary Ph.D. in Science from The University of Massachusetts. His professional accomplishments reflect a career devoted not only to increasing the quality of life for children and young adults with various special needs but also to developing large-scale business opportunities to serve the needs of these segments.
Brightman was the founder of Apple Computer's Worldwide Disability Solutions Group and served as its only Director throughout its 13-year existence. In this capacity he managed a multi-million dollar annual budget and was responsible for ensuring that all Apple products and programs were accessible to disabled children and adults. He worked closely with Apple's hardware and software engineering teams as well as with diverse teams in marketing, sales, industrial design, and public relations. In addition, he co-authored Independence Day: Designing Computer Solutions for Individuals With Disability and produced a variety of videos designed to illustrate the role of technology in increasing options and opportunities for all children and adults. The work of Brightman's group at Apple, the first of its kind in the industry, has been widely recognized, emulated, and honored around the globe. After Apple,
Brightman served as a Co-Founder of the Teenage Division at AT&T Labs, a position he held for 4 years. In this capacity he was responsible for introducing AT&T to the teenage customer segment and for advising AT&T's vertical markets on the development of new products, programs, and services for teens and young adults. His work was influential in AT&T Wireless' decision to actively pursue the teen consumer, a significant segment that the company had largely ignored.
Before joining AT&T labs, Brightman spent 18 months as Executive Producer of a new musical called PULSE: The Rhythm of Life, based on a website that he and his group at Apple created for seriously ill children and young adults. PULSE premiered at the Montgomery Theater (San Jose) in early May, 1998, to packed houses and rave reviews. Brightman also produced the Original Cast Recording CD of PULSE and is featured in a PBS program about the making of this unique show.
Throughout his career, one of Brightman's principal aims has been to use mass media and mainstream technologies to substantially enhance the quality of life for underserved, often ignored, children and adults. He has published a number of books aimed at fostering fuller understanding and inclusion of stereotyped members of society. He also produced an award-winning television series for PBS as well as a one-person photographic exhibition designed to increase acceptance of disabled individuals. This exhibition toured the United States for 3 years. Brightman has traveled extensively throughout the world delivering invited addresses and providing consultation to organizations interested in applying personal computer technology to the challenges of disability and chronic illness. He was also a member of Microsoft's Accessibility Advisory Committee and was also invited to serve on the Board of Directors of the Starbright Foundation, an international organization chaired by Steven Spielberg that works to create new futures for seriously ill children. He was Executive Producer for Starbright of a series of programs--entitled Videos With Attitude--that go behind the scenes of childhood illness to illuminate the true, tough, and occasionally humorous experiences of sickness and disability.
Brightman's most recent book is DisabilityLand, a collection of anecdotes, editorials, quotes, and questions rooted in his many experiences in the field of disability. In 2009, DisabilityLand was awarded the Benjamin Franklin Award by the Independent Publishers Association. Brightman received a Lifetime Achievement Award from Boston University to honor his innovative accomplishments on behalf of children and young adults.