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Internet Accessibility for Students with Disabilities

Instructor: Lauren Scott

Lauren has a Master's degree in special education and has taught for more than 10 years.

This lesson outlines the obstacles students with disabilities face when navigating the Internet. It describes some of the accommodations and accessibility features that help students overcome those barriers.

Internet Resources

The Internet gives students and teachers unparalleled access to learning materials and content. Web-based texts, visuals, and audio resources bring subjects to life for learners of all ages. Unfortunately, many students with disabilities struggle to access these resources. Physical and cognitive disabilities often hinder independent web navigation, but external and built-in supports help remove these barriers.

Students with physical and cognitive disabilities need accommodations and supports when accessing the Internet.
Symbols representing various disabilities

Web Access & the Law

Internet access has emerged as a disability rights issue in recent years. Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act specifically addresses technological accessibility. Web developers must provide alternatives and accommodations to make their content available to people with disabilities whenever possible. While many developers comply with these requirements, legal loopholes prevent uniform enforcement of accommodation standards.

Accommodating Cognitive & Learning Disabilities

Learning disabilities impact a wide range of skills, from text decoding to comprehension and visual processing. Students with dyslexia struggle to decode text independently, making web-based texts difficult to read. Text-to-speech applications remove this barrier by reading the text aloud. More advanced tools allow the user to control the reading rate and voice, giving the user more control over his or her experience.

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