ABLE TO INCLUDE
Ongoing developments in information and communication technology and especially the Internet, are changing all aspects of our lives, at work and home. The increasing popularity of smartphones and tablets has made the internet more portable, convenient and accessible.
However people with a learning disability are not accessing computers and smartphones and the Internet to the same extent as the general population. There are several reasons for their digital exclusion, including; poverty resulting in lack of access to computers, lack of access to the internet, lack of skills, and lack of learning and training opportunities.
Access to the internet can greatly improve their lives; it can help keep in touch with people and reduce social isolation, learn new skills, gain access to information in a more accessible and visual format than written information. This can help them live more independently and so feel more in control of their lives.
Building Bridges Training was previously a partner in a European funded research and development project called Able to Include, part of the EU CIP ICT Programme. The aim was to develop and pilot accessible technology for smart phones and tablets and similar devices, for people with a learning disability, focussing on use of social media and independent travel.
It provided an accessibility layer to make any phone or tablet accessible – so was more than another assistive technology application. The nine partners were made up of six universities and technical companies who developed the software, and three not for profit organisations who enabled the people with a learning disability they work with to pilot the technology in real situations.
Where were the partners?
They were based in Belgium, Spain and included Building Bridges Training as the UK partner (www.abletoinclude.eu).
This was an innovative, timely and relevant project which helped to achieve the rights of people with a learning disability to live independently.
The Able to Include project ran from March 2014 to February 2017. Building Bridges Training’s role was to work with 25 people with a learning disability in the Black Country to test out and report back on these technical developments using Samsung Android tablets.
Some of these participants already had connections with Building Bridges Training; others were recruited through services that support people with a learning disability in the Black Country.