Supporting staff with Assistive Technology

Assistive Technology (AT) can refer to any kind of device, software or system that helps people with disabilities perform tasks with greater confidence, accuracy and independence.

In the workplace, AT embraces solutions that give assistance to employees with a range of physical or cognitive challenges - whether it’s dyslexia, visual/auditory impairments or difficulties using a computer keyboard and mouse.

Investing in AT can be a very smart decision for corporate companies and public sector bodies alike by:

  • creating the opportunity for employees to achieve their potential, be more productive and become more engaged.
  • broadening the recruitment pool to embrace a wider, more diverse range of talent. For example, people with dyslexia are no more or less likely to have a lower IQ than someone without the condition. For many people with dyslexia, they can have the added advantage of making them great problem solver and creative thinkers.
  • minimising the legal, reputation, and efficiency risks of not making job roles available to people with certain disabilities.
  • sharing the benefit of an adjustment considered for one employee with a specific requirement with a larger number of employees with a wide range of needs.

There are lots of AT solutions out there, from no-frills screen readers to powerful multi-function productivity suites. But which is the right one for your own organisation? And what’s the best way to implement it for maximum returns on any size of AT budget?

Here’s a handy checklist to help you choose - whether you’re just hunting for some software to make everyday tasks easier for staff, or defining and implementing a complete AT strategy.

This short guide offers an illustration of what best practice might look like in your own organisation. Equally, you may well want to fine-tune our recommendations to accommodate your own particular circumstances.

You won’t find detailed technical information on specific technologies or implementation methods here. This checklist is intended purely to outline some the questions that can be applied in any industry and any technology. 

Thanks to Business Disability Forum Member Texthelp for co-authoring this guidance.

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