The International Day of Persons with Disabilities, held every year on the 3rd of December, is a stark reminder of how much work still needs to be done to achieve a truly equitable and accessible society. Key aspects of a quality life – such as participating in cultural practices and employment – remains largely accommodated to the able-bodied and neurotypical. A pillar of this social inclusion and security of persons with disabilities is access to quality education and, crucially, to the necessary technology.
Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, distance learning has become a natural part of the classroom. Here, the inaccessibility of the right ICT tools and information for persons with intellectual disabilities (PwID) has worsened their learning conditions and quality of life. Technology is therefore a vital gateway for PwID to be socially included, and our journey towards a more equitable and accessible society should reflect this.
For instance, greater attention must be paid to the technological needs of PwID, especially within education. For learning to be democratised, easy-to-read language should be used at a much wider level. To equip PwID with the knowledge and skills that enable them to exercise autonomy and right to self-determination, a standardised distance learning model needs to be put in place.
At ADILE, we hope to bring and see concrete changes to the current ableist status quo. We wish to see a future where the International Day of Persons with Disabilities reminds us of how far we’ve come as a society, instead of how much further we have to go.