Government must raise awareness of mainstream accessibility technology for disabled people says AbilityNet

Following today’s publication of a Work and Pensions Committee report on assistive technology (AT), leading digital incluRobin Christopherson, Head of Digital Inclusion, AbilityNetsion charity AbilityNet is calling on the Government to raise awareness among employers and disabled people of the availability of mainstream accessibility technology.

The charity supports the recommendations in the report, calling on the Government to further the promotion of mainstream, cost-effective AT and AT support, including the signposting of free resources including Microsoft's accessibility helpdesk, AbilityNet's My Computer My Way website or the Disabled Living Foundation's Living Made Easy website.

Robin Christopherson, Head of Digital Inclusion at AbilityNet explained that "ten or fifteen years ago AT was the domain of the specialist provider. With the advent of mobile computing, the vast majority of mainstream technologies can enable disabled people to work in full-time roles and embrace the benefits of modern life.”

Commenting further, he explained, “There is a widespread lack of knowledge and understanding of what mainstream technology can actually do for disabled people. Users themselves do not know what their existing system is capable of, which adjustments would be relevant, or which menu to use to make that adjustment.

"If Government can do more to raise awareness of accessibility options in partnership with organisations like AbilityNet and the major technology companies, everyone will benefit. Disabled people will become more confident in using technology and, this in turn will improve independence and employability, it’s a win-win.”

Earlier this year AbilityNet was invited to give written and oral evidence into the Committee's Assistive Technology Inquiry which led to the AT report. AbilityNet told Parliament that web accessibility, in particular making online job opportunities accessible, is also essential if the Government wants to hit its target of one million more people with disabilities in employment in the next decade.

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