Providing Access to Technology

People with disabilities meet barriers of all types. However, technology is helping to lower many of these barriers. By using computing technology for tasks such as reading and writing documents, communicating with others, and searching for information on the Internet, students and employees with disabilities are capable of handling a wider range of activities independently. Still, people with disabilities face a variety of barriers to computer use. These barriers can be grouped into three functional categories: barriers to providing computer input, interpreting output, and reading supporting documentation. Hardware and software tools (known as adaptive or assistive technologies) have been developed to provide functional alternatives to these standard operations. Specific products, and approaches to using them, are described below.

Mobility Impairments

Some wheelchairs may not fit under standard height computer tables and some computer users do not have enough use of their hands and arms to operate a standard keyboard or mouse.