a computer and internet future: enabling inclusion?
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a computer and internet future: enabling inclusion?

Jim Blair Senior Lecturer in Learning Disabilities, Kingston University and St George’s, University of London

Jim Blair examines internet use by people with learning disabilities and those who support them. His article provides examples of available resources and discusses difficulties in accessing material. The article’s main focus is on exploring whether a computer and internet future will enable inclusion, but it also considers whether the internet can be harmful

Computers and the internet have the ability to change lives positively and link the isolated and marginalised, including people with learning disabilities. The advancement of modern technology is opening new doors for individuals with learning disabilities (Bush 2003), but the issue of accessibility is very important. Disabled people experience problems in accessing the internet and computers for a variety of reasons depending on the nature and extent of their disability, such as fine motor skills, and sight, cognitive, physical ability and hearing difficulties. Pilling et al (2004) found that disabled people are generally interested in using the internet but can be held back by practical problems such as the lack of assistive devices, and the financial costs of computers and of being online. Website accessibility, and therefore inclusion, is about ensuring equal access for all, without regard to ability, technology or situation.

Learning Disability Practice. 9, 9, 32-37. doi: 10.7748/ldp2006.

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