Mashable on Sunday shared an inspiring profile of 22-year-old Jordyn Castor, an Apple engineer who has been blind since birth. Jordan currently works for Apple, improving the company’s accessibility features.
She was born 15 weeks early, weighing just under two pounds. Her grandfather could hold her in the palm of his hand, and could even slide his wedding ring along her arm and over her shoulder. Doctors said she had a slim chance of survival.
It was Castor’s first brush with limited expectations — and also the first time she shattered them.
Jordyn, a former college student at Michigan State University, connected with Apple at a Job Fair in Minneapolis, back in 2015. She attended the job fair because she knew Apple reps would be in attendance.
Jordyn shared with them the amazement she felt when she received an iPad on her 17th birthday. “Everything just worked and was accessible just right out of the box,” she said. “That was something I had never experienced before.”
Her passion made an immediate impression on the Apple representatives, and she was hired as an intern, and she focused on VoiceOver support. Apple managers were so impressed by Jordyn’s work, that at the end of her internship, she was offered a position as an engineer on Apple’s accessibility design and quality team.
Jordyn has since become a driving force at Apple in its effort to improve accessibility features in its devices and software. Her main focus at the Cupertino firm has been Apple’s new Swift Playgrounds app for the iPad, an introduction to coding app geared towards the younger set. She has been working on making the app more accessible to blind kids.
“I would constantly get Facebook messages from so many parents of blind children, saying, ‘My child wants to code so badly. Do you know of a way that they can do that?'” Castor says. “Now, when it’s released, I can say, ‘Absolutely, absolutely they can start coding.'”
Sarah Herrlinger, senior manager for global accessibility policy and initiatives at Apple, explained to Mashable how the company’s steps toward accessibility is how it works to make accessibility features standard, not specialized.
“[These features] show up on your device, regardless of if you are someone who needs them,” Herrlinger tells Mashable. “By being built-in, they are also free. Historically, for the blind and visually impaired community, there are additional things you have to buy or things that you have to do to be able to use technology.”
Apple Receives the Robert S. Bray Award
On July 4th, the American Council of the Blind recognized Apple’s continuing work in improving accessibility by giving them the Robert S. Bray Award for continued dedication to inclusion-based innovation for blind users.
Proud of our talented team dedicated to providing #accessibility for all users https://t.co/rhDF5ks094
— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) July 10, 2016
For more information about Jordyn, and Apple, and their work to make Apple products and software more accessible to the blind and low-vision community, be sure to read the entire Mashable article. It is highly recommended reading.