How Are Computers and Laptops Adapted for Disabilities?

Having a disability can make daily life a struggle, but there are certain adaptations to support those with disabilities. In this article, we’re going to discuss how computers and laptops are adapted for disabilities.

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Across the UK, there are a total of 14.1 million people who are registered as disabled. This can be anything from learning difficulties, blindness, deafness, and many other types of disabilities. These disabilities can occur from medical or clinical negligence cases, or from birth, but either way can seriously impact a person’s everyday life.

Adapted technology and equipment can majorly assist people with these lifetime conditions. That said, they can often be expensive, which is where compensation for the above negligence cases can come in handy.

These technologies, for example having an adapted computer or laptop, can assist in bettering general life. To learn more about how disabled individuals are able to use laptops or computers through adaptations, keep reading…

How Do People Who Are Blind Use Computers and Laptops?

Did you know that there are a staggering 340,000 people registered either as partially sighted or blind in the UK? As expected, many of them struggle with day-to-day activities that most other people don’t think twice about, such as using a computer or laptop.

Where an individual is considered disabled due to blindness, using a laptop or computer can be an understandably difficult or impossible task to do. Thankfully, there are many adaptations that have been made for those with a blind disability, and these are known as assistive technology (AT). This means that, even where someone has no vision, they are still able to use a computer or laptop functionally. Here are some ways this is achieved:

Braille Keyboards/Display

Many visually impaired individuals rely on braille to be able to read information in everyday life, including using technology, such as a laptop and desktop computer. There are computers and laptops specifically designed for blind individuals, and such devices will contain braille keyboards/displays.

However, purchasing a laptop or computer designed for the blind can be costly and not appropriate for everyone to do. It is possible to purchase braille keyboards or braille stickers for keyboards. For those who are disabled through medical negligence, compensation may help to cover this.

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Screen Reader

A screen reader is a type of software that will read writing on a computer or laptop and transmit the information back to a blind person by either reading it aloud or producing braille.

How Do Those with a Hearing Disability Use Computers and Laptops?

Whilst those with a deaf disability may find that using a computer and laptop is far easier than those who are blind, there are still some factors that can affect it, therefore, adaptations are there to assist. These include:

Visual Notifications

Although visual notifications are only considered to be a small adaptation, for deaf individuals, this can make a significant change to their everyday lives, including general life and working life. This could be done by having the screen flashing a particular colour or showing an image, which is associated with what the notification is for.

Feeling Notifications

In a similar sense, it is possible to have a vibration instead of a visual notification.

How Do Those with Other Disabilities Use Computers and Laptops?

There is a common misconception that those who have a movement disability are completely unable to use computers or laptops. That said, this is not the case as disabilities come in many forms, although it can be something these individuals find considerably hard to do. But, with the advancement of technology and the internet, there are certain tools that can lend a helping hand.

Spelling and Grammar Checking

Spelling and grammar may not seem like an important aspect to some people, as most individuals learn to spell and write grammatically correct whilst in education. For those with a learning disability, this might not have been something they picked up well or remembered during education. For that reason, there are many spelling and grammar checking softwares available to download that can assist, such as Grammarly, available on a free version or premium.

Speech Recognition

Some disabled individuals may not be able to access computers or laptops using a keyboard, mouse, or touch screen. Where this might apply, there are tools known as speech recognition where the person can talk into a microphone, and the words will be transformed into a machine-readable format. This provides an easy option for disabled people to access the internet for answers.

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Disabilities Don’t Have to Stop Your Access to Computers and Laptops

What we can conclude from this article is that, although disabilities do impact many peoples’ lives, there are adaptations currently out there assisting in making access to technology, such as computers and laptops, far easier. This means that school, university, work, and all other computer and laptop needs, can be done without assistance from a non-disabled person.

Are you reading this article through an adaptation made to your computer or laptop? Let us know below.