In El Cerrito, California a group of parents, teachers and developers of assistive technology joined forces in 1983 and created the Disabled Children’s Computer Group (DCCG) with the goal of using computer technology to help those with disabilities to more easily speak, write, read, learn, and become a participant in the larger world around them.
Steve and Jackie Brand spearheaded the efforts to develop ways that computers could be used to assist adults and children with disabilities. They were inspired by the needs of their own daughter, Shoshana, who they felt could benefit enormously with the assisted technologies that computers had the potential to offer. Steve Brand took a sabbatical off from his job at Berkeley High School, and with his friend Steve Gensler they developed a large, flat keyboard for use by someone with fine motor skill deficits.
With their initial success the Brands decided to share what they learned about assisted technology with others in similar circumstances. Their first community wide meeting was held in Berkeley and attended by over 100 interested parents, teachers, computer experts, and adults with disabilities. In 1985 the DCCG was granted non-profit status, and was soon being contacted from people across the country. Apple computer company was an early sponsor, and they developed the original Apple IIe which could say text out-loud when an Echo Speech Synthesizer was hooked up to it and appropriate software from UCLA was developed.