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Technological tools for workers with disabilities

Businesswoman in a wheelchair in coworking office space. Colleagues in background.

The professional world has a tendency to reduce people to uniform productivity metrics. When everyone is being held to identical standards, people with disabilities are often left behind due to an inability to hit such rigid targets. A variety of technological tools and services are available to allow such employees to find success and accommodation in the workforce.

Education

Unfortunately, many introductory jobs are labor intensive, and accommodating people with disabilities isn’t always viable or reasonable for continued business. Seeking higher education and finding yourself in a specialized or administrative role can yield greater income than an “unskilled” job while also making employers more likely to consider you without the concern of your limitations.

Many grants and scholarships are available to students with disabilities, both from governing bodies as well as private organizations and individuals. Look into what grants and benefits are available in your field, your region, and for your particular disability. Advocacy groups will often assist certain underprivileged demographics, but you must first apply. Ignore the stigma associated with taking assistance; anything that you qualify for is help that you should utilize if you hope to be successful.

Commuting to college or living on campus isn’t viable for everyone, especially those with disabilities. Luckily, online courses and other remote learning options have become increasingly prevalent in recent years, particularly since the onset of the recent pandemic. Being able to take online courses frees up your schedule while allowing you to work and learn at your own pace. For people whose limitations find them drained of energy or attending frequent medical appointments, this flexibility can allow them access to education previously unattainable.

Employment

When ending your educational journey, you’ll be met with a choice between going into business for yourself or finding gainful employment with an existing company. What you do will depend on your wants and skills; someone with a solid business plan needn’t job hunt if their startup plan is viable, but applications and interviews typically trade that control with a lack of stress and risk.

Whatever field you choose, look for accommodations that mitigate the challenges of your disabilities. In office environments, screen-readers and speech-to-text technologies can help workers with sensory disabilities, while certain apparatus can help a hands-on worker lift larger loads or be more ambulatory than they are without the augmentations.

When looking for a job, a well-made resume is indispensable. Many resume templates can be found online to help you form a professional-looking C.V for free, with examples and models to work off of. A LinkedIn page can help you network with other professionals in your field, alerting you to openings you may have a good chance of filling.

Professional Development

If you’re already trained to some extent in a given field but wish to improve your skills further, an online professional development course may be a decent option for you. A project management professional, for instance, may wish to brush up on Scrum and its current applications and strategies. Staying up-to-date on new technology and market trends is not optional when striving for innovation and success.

Technological advancements have done away with archaic business practices that keep people with disabilities out of the workforce. Knowing the services available to you and which ones are best to utilize will help you shift from struggling to keep up to being ahead of the game.

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