Technology Tools: Helping Individuals with Disabilities Succeed
Updated: Aug 24, 2021
Photo by Burst
Almost 20% of the United States population, which totals 48.9 million Americans, suffer from some sort of disability. Given the size of this population, it is no surprise that there are a wide variety of apps and tools that help disabled individuals use technology in their careers.
Read on to discover ways that technology is improving the lives of people with disabilities on the job hunt and as they work their way up the ladder.
The Seeing AI app helps the low vision community navigate their surroundings, including the workplace. When short text is placed in front of a phone's camera, the app speaks the text. If a low-vision individual needs to read a document, the app will direct them through capturing the printed page in order to recognize the text.
Low vision individuals need to understand more than words. Seeing AI recognizes individuals and helps identify their emotions. The app can describe surroundings by creating an audible tone that corresponds to brightness or by describing a perceived color.
Being able to participate in phone calls is an important part of many jobs. For the hard of hearing, this can be a daunting task – but not with RogerVoice. This app uses voice recognition technology to provide real-time text captioning for telephone calls. If subtitles aren't enough, users can request a sign language interpreter for a video call. Worried you won't be able to recall what happened in the call? Use the app's transcript history.
Android Accessibility Suite
Previously named TalkBack, the Android Accessibility Suite is a collection of accessibility services that enable individuals to use Android devices eyes-free or with a switch device. The Accessibility Menu in the app makes it easier to control gestures, hardware buttons, and navigation. The Select to Speak feature lets you select something on the screen or point your camera at an image to hear the text spoken out loud. The screen reader provides spoken, audible, or vibration feedback depending on your selections.
While not an app, job seekers with disabilities should be sure to look into Ability Jobs. The largest job site for individuals with disabilities, Ability Jobs is the only employment site where 100% of the posted jobs are from employers specifically seeking to hire people with disabilities.
The site also organizes online video career fairs that are accessible for job seekers with disabilities. This venue allows corporations, governments, and nonprofits to actively recruit candidates with disabilities.
Many disabled individuals need to travel in wheelchairs. Their ability to get to work and feel comfortable while there requires that they feel confident navigating from place to place. This is where WheelMap can help. The app allows users to find and rate wheelchair-accessible places.
The app includes about one million rated places, with more locations constantly being added. Not only does this allow individuals to scout out anywhere they need to travel for work, but it also allows them to provide valuable feedback when accessibility is less than ideal.
While there is an impressive number of technology offerings to help disabled individuals navigate the workplace, none of this is possible without a high-quality smartphone. If you are struggling to tap into all the resources available to you, consider upgrading your device. Look for a smartphone that you can easily use and that fits your specific needs. Newer-model smartphones provide superior cameras and blazing speeds, all accompanied by great battery life. You may also want to purchase a pop socket for easy and comfortable gripping.
While accessibility needs are still a work in progress, technology can go a long way toward helping disabled individuals excel in their careers and job search. Tap into the services that can benefit you and help launch your career into the stratosphere.
By Annabelle Harris
Find more of her work here: https://elders.center/blog/
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