Module 8 - Assistive Technology in Work Settings (P.1 of 6)

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Module 8 – Assistive Technology in Work Settings


AT can be beneficial in a variety of settings; thus it is important to explore the application of AT in various environments including work settings. It is also important to understand that there are many similarities when identifying and selecting appropriate technology in both school as well as in work settings.

Despite rehabilitation services being available for many years and the development of legal and civil rights mandates (e.g. the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990), the unemployment rate of persons with disabilities is higher than that of the general population. Data from the U.S. Census (2000) indicates that the U.S. has a population of roughly 281 million people, of which approximately 35 million people (of employable age 21 to 64 years old)  have some form of disability. The census also reported the unemployment rate of people with disabilities was 64% compared to 22% of people without disabilities. A variety of factors influence why individuals are unable to work, one factor being a lack of knowledge about accommodations, and AT devices. Researchers have identified the provision of AT services as a significant factor in the process of obtaining, retaining, or re-gaining employment for persons with disabilities (e.g. Langton & Ramseur, 2001; Thomas, Menz, & Rosenthal, 2001). This module is intended to provide an introduction of the role of AT in employment environments for individuals with disabilities.  Encompassed in this module will also be special considerations for school to work transition and the role that the ADA plays in this process.

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