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For some with disabilities, employment comes with technology help

Many of the stories that our blog has covered have been about individuals who are no longer able to work because of an accident, injury or illness. Other stories have been about people who were born with disabilities and have never been able to work. Of course, this is one side of the disability story -- the one where someone's medical condition is so pervasive that it prevents him or her from being able to hold down a steady job. For these people, disability benefits make sense.

There are some people with disabilities, however, who are able to work or would be able to work with the help of technological aids. For some people, it could be a piece of communicative technology, like an adaptive keyboard or something that can verbalize the written word. For others it is something that helps an individual overcome the physical barriers that his or her disability would otherwise prevent him or her from working.

Some employers, however, are reluctant to work with people with disabilities, thinking they will need to provide complex and costly disability accommodations. While federal law does require employers to make reasonable accommodations for their employees with disabilities, many accommodations are relatively easy (and inexpensive) to make. If all that is required is a new app for an employee's existing device, an accommodation makes sense.

It is wonderful when people with disabilities are able to find work and put their talents to use. Unfortunately, there are some people whose conditions are so severe that their only source of income can be disability benefits.

Source: FCW, "IT and disability: A symbiotic pair," Reid Davenport, July 2, 2014

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