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 smart phones and tablets has made the internet more portable, convenient and accessible.
However people with a learning disability are not accessing computers and smart phones 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 is a partner in a European funded research and development project called Able to Include part of the EU CIP ICT Programme. The aim is 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 will provide an accessibility layer to make any phone or tablet accessible – so is more than another assistive technology application. The nine partners are made up of six universities and technical companies who will develop the software and three non for profit organisations who will enable the people with a learning disability they work with to pilot the technology in real situations.
"Equal Access to Technology and The Internet"
Where are the partners?
These are based in Belgium, Spain and Building Bridges Training as the UK partner (www.abletoinclude.eu).
This is an innovative, timely and relevant project which helps to achieve the rights of people with a learning disability to live independently.
The Able to Include project runs from March 2014 to February 2017. Building Bridges Training’s role is 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 people will already have connections with Building Bridges Training; others are recruited through services that support people with a learning disability in the Black Country.