How Assistive Technology Has Changed Disability Employment

How has assistive technology changed disability employment? One word comes to mind: dramatically! Assistive technology has forever changed the employment possibilities for people with disabilities. Many new gadgets and applications make employment possible for people with disabilities, when it wasn’t conceivable before. Assistive technology has been a concept for many years, but is dramatically increasing its footprint recently due to cell phones and tablets that allow you to carry technology with you 24 X 7.

Take a moment to think about people with disabilities you may know or have interacted with. What’s something that comes to mind, perhaps his or her type of transportation? Consider wheelchairs and the difference they’ve made for people with physical disabilities. Individuals who could not find a way to the workplace are now equipped with wheels and have access to public and private transportation. It’s odd to think of a time before wheelchairs, but there was a time when this assistive technology didn’t exist!

How Assistive Technology Has Changed Disability Employment

The lives of those with impairments are made easier by a variety of devices and software. Let’s focus on the assistive technology that can boost the number of jobs for people with disabilities. The accessibility of the workplace for people with impairments has significantly risen because to portable technology like cell phones, computers, and tablets. People with impairments can use a wide range of applications with those gadgets.

For the hearing impaired, applications such as Dragon Dictation and ASL Dictionary, help translate English into American Sign Language. A conversation between an employee and people with disabilities is now possible, without the need for an interpreter. For the vision impaired, the gadget itself is accessible because of voice adaption technology. There is no need to “look” at the screen when the computer can read it to you! People with disabilities can also use applications such as Voice Brief, to “hear” what’s going on in the news and on their social media feeds.

What about people with disabilities that face speech issues? Many people use assistive technology to “talk” with applications such as TapToTalk where the user sees a picture and can touch it to make the tablet speak the word out loud. A bonus? This application is completely free!

Although the Internet has opened up the world to people from all walks of life, keep in mind that there may still be accessibility issues for those with impairments. Consider disability-friendly features like keyboard accessibility, transcripts for podcasts, alternative language for photos, and more if your business wants to construct a website. These suggestions can benefit not only those who are disabled but also those who are temporarily disabled or have other unique requirements.

As an HR professional, are you looking for an easy and efficient way to stay up-to-date with disability legislation? There’s an app for that! You can check out The Americans with Disabilities Act app to keep you up to date on the latest disability news.

The assistive technology ideas highlighted in this article are just the tip of the iceberg! There are many ways technology has changed disability employment and life in general for people with disabilities. These advancements have changed lives and made things possible that were never possible before. Forward thinking made dreams a reality for people with disabilities and will continue to do so as our society joins the disability employment conversation.

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Hannah Weiss

Hannah Weiss, a public relations professional from Minneapolis, Minnesota has worked in the nonprofit sector since 2011. She enjoys collaborating with others and spreading the word about organizations that are making a difference in the community by providing equality for persons with disabilities. Hannah currently manages public relations for Opportunity Services OppServ, a nonprofit that helps disabled adults find employment. Connect with Hannah.


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