Disabled in the Digital Age: Career Assistance, by Patrick Young

Handshake over a laptop

Twenty-five years ago, having a physical or cognitive disability made it extremely difficult to find gainful employment. However, today’s digital advancements have essentially leveled the playing field and made earning a living possible for millions of Americans. From having opportunities to work from home to communication devices that keep us connected, the technology exists that can help us find and enjoy a fruitful career.

Remote working 

There is no denying that the advent of the internet changed everything. Before the World Wide Web, people with disabilities had to find jobs that were made for them. This left very few options to explore, and the ones that were available were often offered at minimum wage. Now, you can use your computer to connect to a company’s network remotely. In fact, many disabled individuals find that they can function productively at a home office doing things like software development, graphic design, and telephone support.

Communication Tools

Communication is often challenging for people with visual and hearing impairments. New technology in mobile communication Young woman working on laptop and holding her cellphone.changes that. According to ETOEngineering.com, having an accessible cell phone is a crucial tool for the elderly and people with disabilities. Not only does an accessible phone enhance safety, but they are also imperative when trying to operate a business or work remotely. If you’re in the process of looking for a new position or opening your own business, having a reliable and capable device can help you achieve your goals. Your overall goal is to be as available as possible for your employer or clients.

Assistive Technology

The internet and cell phones are not the only way digital advancements have changed the employment game for people with disabilities. There are many assistive technologies that can help as well. One of these is text-to-speech. People with vision impairments can use this function in many programs — including on Google Docs — to listen to an audio playback of text inside a document. Likewise, speech-to-text allows those who can’t type efficiently to control their PC without the use of their hands. Most PCs are also designed with settings that make them more visible to people with low sight.

Those with significant mobility impairments can also use text-to-speech, but there are other tools as well. Trackballs, Morse code input, and specialized adaptive gear exist that help people with motor control use a keyboard. Eye-tracking technology is one example; this is a type of equipment that enables hands-free interaction by continually scanning a person’s eye movements to control a computer.

If you’re in need of assistive devices but they’re out of your price range, contact MonTECH today to find out how you can apply for a loan to finance the purchase of electronic, communication, and hearing and vision devices.

Tech Tips for the Job Search

Word Resume written in chalk on a chalkboardYour computer and smartphone can also help you find a job. Using apps like LinkUp, JobAware, Glassdoor, and ZipRecruiter, you can see what’s available and get alerts when new positions arise. Once you’ve identified a position, an online resume builder can help you showcase your experience to prove that your disability doesn’t stop you from being the best at what you do.

When you don’t have the skills you need to further your career, you can look for educational opportunities that bring the learning environment to you. For example, you may want to improve your business skills and earn an online business degree. Many online universities allow you to start earning start a degree at any time, so you don’t have to wait for the next semester to start. Having access to remote learning opportunities is one of the biggest perks of the internet for people with disabilities.

Whether you have visual impairments, mobility concerns, or another disability, technology today makes looking for a job, starting your own business, and functioning in the workplace possible. So grab your phone, and don’t be afraid to try something new starting now.