Most of us would say that our lives have been made immeasurably easier by the influx of technology that now infiltrates them. But spare a thought for a second for those who don’t just thank technology for its convenience, but rather for its ability to give them their lives back. Those with disabilities have often not had choices when it came to activities they could or couldn’t partake in, often leaving them feeling isolated and alone. Now, however, it’s becoming increasingly easy to get involved with everything from basic hanging out, right through to tasks that might have seemed impossible just decades before – and it’s all thanks to technological advances. Take Skype as a classic example. Until fairly recently, if you wanted to chat with friends and family abroad, you had to rely on sketchy connections across the world which cost a fortune and almost never painted a clear picture of what was actually being said. Before that, of course, it was letters and things which actually meant you never really got to speak to distant loved ones at all. With video chat, FaceTime, Facebook and all these other social networks and types of tech, there are now tons of ways people can speak to friends even close by, without having to make the effort (or is some cases, without having to struggle) to get to see them in person.
Leisure activities are far simpler now, with the introduction of things like e-cigarettes. Despite their ban across many indoor areas, they do theoretically make it easier for disabled people as they don’t have continually buy new cigarettes, if they smoke.
The Internet also makes it easier for disabled people to immerse themselves in the world of work. Take away the physicality of performing tasks, and everyone’s on an equal playing field – with their brains. Of course, there are some criticism of our society itself which still need to be addressed. Although theoretically, yes, the Internet means everyone can get on board, there are still concerns that the ingrained attitudes towards disabled people as being somehow less capable have a long way to go and need to change. The World Wide Web is a brilliant innovation, but as this article says, it’s ironic that it may be further perpetuating division, as great as it is.
One thing is glaringly clear. We should continue to empower disabled people with each and every invention, but moreover, we should be encouraging them to empower themselves.