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Whether it’s for home, work or learning, there are many ways that technology can be made more accessible and available. Some people are worried about the costs involved, but many solutions are inexpensive.

Technology and computers

There are several ways to customise your computer and make it easier to use, including adjustments to the on-screen appearance:

  • changing the size of text and on-screen colours
  • using keyboard shortcuts

There is also a range of products and solutions to help people with particular disabilities including:

  • using a specialised keyboard, mouse or joystick
  • software that will read out everything on the screen (screen readers), web page (talking browsers) and text typed into documents and emails (text readers)
  • software that allows you to control a computer through speech
  • equipment that allows you to control the computer with movements of the head or eyes

UK online centres

UK online centres are for people who have little or no access to new technologies. The centres help people to develop the skills they need to access information and send email over the internet.

www.ufi.com/ukol

Voluntary organisations and charities

Several voluntary organisations and charities give useful advice about making computers and Information Technology (IT) easier to use for people with different disabilities.

They also detail the types of ‘assistive technology’ available to buy.

Some run schemes that help people with disabilities get the most out of technology. Schemes and programmes include:

  • supplying computer equipment free or on loan
  • training people how to set up and use equipment

Some organisations offer more formal IT skills training to enhance employment prospects for people with disabilities.

Voluntary organisations and charities sometimes work in partnership with commercial organisations to provide such equipment, software and training.

Financial help: Learning

Depending on your circumstances, government schemes offer funding and support for getting hold of or adapting technology.

If you are in higher education, you may be eligible to receive Disabled Students’ Allowance.

One of the things it can help with is the purchase of equipment and software if it’s necessary to enable you to study.

www.direct.gov.uk