Promoting Equal Access to Technology for Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

In recent years, the use of technology in daily life has steadily grown, but individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities have not necessarily been able to keep up with the pace due to financial and other barriers.  This has led to the establishment of the Technological Assistance Institute for Intellectual Disability and the Center for Accessible Technology, institutes that promote availability and access to technology for everyone, including individuals with disabilities. The Technological Assistance Institute for Intellectual Disability offers webinars, trainings, and online resources for the blind, deaf and hard of hearing, learning disabled, physically disabled, and speech and language impaired.  The Center for Accessible Technology promotes direct service, consultation, and advocacy.

In 2001, the University of Colorado founded the Coleman Institute for Cognitive Abilities to “catalyze and integrate advances in science, engineering, and technology to promote the quality of life and independent living of people with cognitive disabilities.” The Institute was instrumental in the funding of the nation’s first Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center for the Advancement of Cognitive Technologies, which has conducted research in skill building and coaching, employment, robotics, and interactive platform development for cognitive technologies at home, school, work and community.  The Institute is also responsible for the State of the States in Developmental Disabilities Project, which provides longitudinal data on intellectual and developmental disabilities by state.

At the October 2013 meeting of the 13th Annual Coleman Institute National Conference on Cognitive Disability and Technology, nearly 150 national (e.g., American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, the ARC, American Network of Community Options and Resources), state, and local disability organizations and numerous individuals endorsed a declaration attesting to The Rights of People with Cognitive Disabilities to Technology and Information Access.  If you or your agency wants to endorse the declaration, click here.