Assistive tech for colleagues with learning disabilities
A learning disability can affect how a person understands new or complex information, spoken and/or written information and how they communicate or express emotions. If you work with a colleague who has a learning disability, you may need to arrange reasonable adjustments to support them at work and help them perform at their best.
Asking your colleague what they may need is important and there is nothing better than open communication to make sure an employee’s needs are being met, but assistive technology can broaden your knowledge of learning disabilities and help your colleague learn new skills and manage the symptoms of their disability. The Assistive Technology Report by the House of Commons Work and Pensions Committee also recommends it as a cost-effective way to make your business disability friendly.
Assistive Tech Solutions
If you would like some quick and easy assistive technology solutions, here are my recommendations:
1. Profound and Multiple Learning Disabilities UK (PMLD) is a free Apple app that is an easy-to-access top tips guide. If you have never supported someone with a learning disability before it’s a great way to quickly find information you might need because it includes a lot of relevant advice to help you feel confident meeting the needs of your new colleague. It is divided into different sections with colour codes for easy reading.
2. If your colleague has a learning disability, they might also have an associated condition called autism which effects their communication abilities and how they interact with others. The Brain in Hand app is recommended by the National Autistic Society because it can help manage an autistic person’s anxiety and uncertainty in unfamiliar environments.
The app includes a diary where the person can document their best coping strategies and has a traffic light system to monitor anxiety levels. The secure website will track the usage information to help the user reflect on their day and help them set new goals for their communication skills.
3. Microsoft’s Learning Tools is a OneNote add-on originally designed to aid students with learning disabilities such as dyslexia. This can also help adults with learning disabilities as it has many features to make reading easier by highlighting, voicing text, enhanced dictation, a focus mode to help readers focus, spaced letters in an easy to read font named Fluent Calibri, and much more. You can find out how to install and use the Learning Tools in this handy guide.
4. The How Do I App – With a sticker you can place onto any surface, access to the right instructional information can be granted with just a tap of your phone. It is a great way to teach people with learning disabilities new skills as many people tend to best absorb information at the point of need when they are given clear step-by-step instructions.
What is also fantastic about the app is that the instructional videos are designed for people with learning disabilities who may need more time to absorb the information they’re being given, for example the video will automatically pause in between instructions so that the person can take their time following the steps.
Drop us a line on firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more about how assistive technology can transform your business.
Zeinab Ali – Digital Marketing and Project Assistant for How Do I?
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