In the United Kingdom, there is over 1.1 million people who suffer from disability or impairments, who are often determined to not let their disability stop them from succeeding their highest potential in education, but to achieve this requires digital technology, which was barely accessible a decade ago, but nowadays universities have the responsibility to serve these students with all the necessary learning materials in order to level the playing field and with a study from the higher education academy announcing that among disabled students in the UK the common issue of a lack of resources was a contributing factor to affecting the happiness of disabled students, moreover office for disability issues stated that a total of 19.2% of working age disabled people do not hold any sort of education qualification, and are three times less likely to ever get one compared to a non disabled person, showing just how vital digital technology is to creating an equal environment for everyone to learn in
One example of where digital technology has played a huge impact for students with disabilities is audio books on tablets or computers that can read out loud textbooks for the visually impaired meaning the students get the same treatment and education as the rest of the students. Another beneficial factor of digital technology for those with disabilities is education is now everywhere, you can transport it wherever you desire thanks to a tablets such as Ipads, meaning inconvenient factors that are not practical for disabled students such as staircases no longer mean the miss out on learning as they can do it downstairs on an Ipad, with the possibility to even Facetime the teacher to ask them a question or participate in the classroom. Moreover they are no longer required to go to libraries and lump around heavy textbooks as there is applications that can take care of that.
One man with a disability who achieved more than anyone could have predicted is the recent Professor Stephen Hawking’s who suffered from ALS, meaning he was left with almost no ability to move or speak on his own, but thanks to digital technology he used a speech-generating machine in which computer software translate what he types on the keyboard through minimal physical movements of two of his fingers or his cheek which gets translated into a robotic voice for those to hear his great intellectual thoughts, teaching thousands of students in lecture halls and becoming ironically a recognisable voice for science and demonstrating how vital digital technology is in allowing everyone to have an equal opportunity to share their thoughts and intelligence.
It is obvious to see that digital technology advances are creating a very optimistic future for students with disabilities, and universities have become more accessible than ever before, showing the impact and how far education has come with technology alongside it, however there is still a distance to go, companies must lower costs for these technologies with commercial alternatives and create a giant market for educational applications that can be received by students with all types of disabilities.