Mario Paulo's story: How accessible books make a difference for people with Asperger's Syndrome

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Mario Paulo from Brazil tells us how accessible books turned him into an enthusiastic reader, and opened doors for his personal and professional development.

Story title and 2 pictures: A middle-aged man holds a page with both hands and reads the content of the page. 4 teenagers sit in front of screens with headphones and watch different digital books.

I am 42 years old and have Asperger’s Syndrome. My school path was not easy. I stopped studying in the sixth grade. I also did not like to read and thought books were very boring.

When I started working at Mais Diferenças, at the age of 31, the coordinators always tried their best to get me closer to books. One day they took me to a library that was close to the Mais Diferenças head office, and I went to get my card so I could borrow books to take home. The librarian was very attentive, showed me how to find the various the books, and I became interested in one of them.

“The accessible books made me become an avid reader!”
— Mario Paulo Bovino Greggio, Brazil

When Mais Diferenças started to make books accessible, the coordinators called upon me to read and to help in the development of the easy-to-read versions. They would ask me if I could understand the meaning, which words were more difficult, and what I could do to improve understanding.

That’s when I started to enjoy reading. The accessible books helped me to become an avid reader! I read many things: books of fables, adventures, science. I also read newspapers, magazines, and comics. Reading finally helped me to go back to school, and today I have a degree in Information Technology and am thinking about going to another college.

About the audio-visual software by Mais Diferenças: Audio-visual books in multiple accessible formats

"Livros em múltiplos formatos acessíveis" is an audio-visual software that converts books into a range of accessible formats, including Brazilian sign language, in a single version. Complementing this, the NGO Mais Diferenças from Brazil offers training and organizes inclusive readings for people with and without disabilities.

“A book in multiple accessible formats benefits all people, with and without disabilities.”
— Carla Mauch, Founder and General Coordinator, Mais Diferenças

In 2022, this initiative by the Mais Diferenças received a Zero Project Award for its innovative approach, scalability, and impact to remove barriers for persons with disabilities.

A scalable model to remove barriers

Would you like to receive more information on the initiative, and contact the initiators? Find all information in the Zero Project Database along with more than 700 other innovative and scalable solutions to remove barriers for persons with disabilities.

A first version of this article was published in the Zero Project Report 2022 on Accessibility:

Download the accessible PDF here

Mais Diferenças's Official Website: maisdiferencas.org.br/projeto/programalivros-acessiveis/