About Blog & Author

The Clear Helper Blog tracks a project to discover and to develop best practices of web accessibility for people with intellectual / cognitive disabilities. Information about the project, including associated research, can be found on the Clear Helper website.

Involvement by People with Disabilities

People with intellectual / cognitive disabilities are included as advisers and testers in the author’s experiments with best practices of cognitive web accessibility. Interviews are being conducted to determine subjects for possible tutorials about how to use the web. People are being asked what causes them the most trouble when using the web in general, a specific web site, or a site feature. (See the W3C‘s “Involving Users in Web Projects for Better, Easier Accessibility“.)

About The Author

The author of this blog is John Rochford, Director of the INDEX Program of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center at the The University of Massachusetts Medical School. Through its DisabilityInfo.org web site, INDEX provides thousands of resources (doctors, dentists, programs, etc.) serving people with disabilities living in Massachusetts. Among other activities, John teaches in the medical school’s graduate program, “Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental & Related Disabilities (LEND)”. See John’s faculty profile.

John has worked with children and adults with intellectual disabilities and/or autism since the 1980s. As a consultant, John has provided behavior-modification services, and specializes in skills acquisition. John has a Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis from Northeastern University, and is a Licensed Applied Behavior Analyst.

John has led teams of developers to build accessible websites, online courses, and learning-management systems since the mid-1990s for nonprofit and public-sector organizations throughout the United States.

John is a co-founder and a co-organizer of the Boston Accessibility Group, which hosts annual conferences about web accessibility for developers, media specialists, designers, usability professionals, and accessibility experts. See a11y-bos.org.

John’s passion is web accessibility for people with cognitive disabilities. With partners IBM, UMass Boston, and Worcester Polytechnic Institute, John conducts related research, such as artificial-intelligence based automatic text simplification.

John is an Invited Expert of the World Wide Web Consortium‘s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines Working GroupCognitive and Learning Disabilities Accessibility Task Force and Low Vision Task Force.


INDEX provides, to the public for free, information about programs and services for people with disabilities living in Massachusetts. See www.DisabilityInfo.org. INDEX also provides development and hosting of accessible web-applications, online-courses, and learning-management systems; and other technical services, to nonprofit and public-sector organizations. See www.neindex.org.

About The Shriver Center

INDEX is a program of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center, a University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD) and an Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center (IDDRC). Since 1969, The Shriver Center has conducted research, training and service related to people with intellectual disabilities. It is located in Worcester, and in Charlestown, Massachusetts.

About The Medical School

The Shriver Center is part of The University of Massachusetts Medical School, a pioneer in education, research, and health-care delivery. The main campus of the medical school is located in Worcester, Massachusetts.


  • The opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author, not necessarily the author’s employer.
  • No endorsement of any product and/or service discussed in this blog is intended or implied.

One Response to “About Blog & Author”

  1. Resources for Making Websites Useable by People with Cognitive Disabilities Says:

    […] Note: Information about me and my work. […]

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