Technology impacts nearly every facet of our lives. We rely on technology to communicate with family, friends, and professionals, and to do our jobs. Technology can help us get to where we need to go, whether we are using GPS or requesting rides. Our homes are “smarter” than ever, and our recreation, from movies to online gaming, is technology-driven.
In short, technology processes access to our world and opportunities to thrive.
Yet, according to the Coleman Institute for Cognitive Disabilities, the “vast majority of people with cognitive disabilities have limited or no access to comprehensible information and usable communication technologies.”
At Black Hills Works, our dedicated assistive technology team helps bridge the digital divide. Thanks to the support of our community, last year they created 898 solutions, costing on average just $44 per person. While not every solution involves true technology, many do and all serve to ensure that the people we support can live, work, and play in our community.
The Coleman Institute has responded to inequities around access to technology with a statement titled, “The Rights of People with Cognitive Disabilities to Technology and Information Access.” They urge access by people with cognitive disabilities to person-centered technology, with the same level of training and privacy we all want. Ensuring access to technology and information for the 28 million people with cognitive disabilities in the United States, they argue, “will create new markets and employment opportunities; decrease dependency on public services; reduce healthcare costs; and improve the independence, productivity, and quality of life of people with cognitive disabilities.”
We agree and will continue to do our part to connect the people we support with the assistants they need to live their lives as integral members of our shared community.