Assistive Technology in the Workplace

Instructor: Abigail Cook
People with disabilities are often just as qualified to hold a job as anyone else, but they often need accommodations and assistive technology to ensure equal access in the workplace.

Assistive Technology and the Law

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protects individuals with disabilities from discrimination in the workplace. Employers with fifteen or more employees are required to provide qualified people with disabilities equal treatment in hiring, pay, and promotions. This law is designed not only to protect people with disabilities, but also to assist employers in their efforts to make accommodations based on their employees' needs. Sometimes, this requires the use of technology to ensure equal access to the environment and requirements of the job.

According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) assistive technology is any item used to increase or improve capabilities of disabled people. Employers are responsible for providing whatever the individual needs to fulfill the duties associated with their position as long as it does not cause undue burden. Undue burden will be discussed a little later in this lesson.

Individuals with Disabilities

The vast majority of individuals with disabilities want to enter the workplace and contribute rather than be supported by government, family, or charities. Many of them are just as qualified to fill positions as their non-disabled co-workers, but they often get overlooked. Employers may be threatened by the requirements to provide accommodations and assistive technology when necessary. However, most accommodations are simple and easy to implement. People with disabilities who apply for work can usually advocate for themselves and know exactly what type of assistance they require. It follows that the employee and employer together share the responsibility of setting the individual up to succeed.

Three of the most common disabilities that require assistive technology in the workplace include visual impairments, deafness or hearing loss, and mobility limitations. Let's look at some examples of assistive technology for these three disabilities.

Visual Impairments

  • Magnifiers come in a variety of sizes and shapes and can be a simple way to give someone access to reading material. There are also different types of software that enlarge everything on the computer screen.
  • Keyboard stickers are large print letters that go on a regular keyboard.
  • Special computer software will read text aloud, or translate speech into text if typing is not an option.

Deafness or Hearing Loss

  • Amplification devices can make some sounds, like the phone ringing, louder.
  • Closed captioning may be necessary for videos used for training or announcement purposes.
  • Light-up visual indicators for doors eliminate the need to be able to hear someone enter the room.

Mobility

Individuals with issues walking, sitting, bending, or moving in any way may benefit from a more accessible environment.

  • Adjustable chairs may help someone sit higher to see the computer screen or reach the keyboard more comfortably.
  • Wider door frames would be necessary in most buildings for individuals who use a wheelchair.
  • Any type of hand rail or non-slip mat would reduce the risk of falling for someone who has poor balance.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about Study.com
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account
Support