Is Disability in Tech Still Buffering?
There was some scrutiny around the accessibility (or lack of) at COP26 in Glasgow last week.
The event is said to have "neglected" it's disabled attendees with the Israeli Energy Minister Karine Elharrar, a wheelchair user, not being able to even attend the event due to accessibility issues.
The topic has fuelled the discussion of what we can do better to be more inclusive as a nation and globally. But, what does that mean for disability in tech?
Organisations like Microsoft are taking provisional steps to make tech more inclusive and accessible.
Young People and Disability in Tech
15% of the world’s population has a disability. And, when it comes to diversity in tech, the industry has long been behind the rest of the world.
But, that doesn’t mean tech doesn’t have its uses for those with disabilities. It’s been found that tech is providing more and more opportunities for young people, especially those with disabilities.
Coding for Kids
For kids, getting into tech can feel exciting. The creativity that tech offers can be intriguing as well as educational.
Programs like Tech Kids Unlimited (TKU) are leading the way providing classes, workshops and - most importantly – community for the neurodiverse who are otherwise limited in certain activities.
TKU focus on growth and development as well as making tech enjoyable and interesting for younger folk. They run individual plans for learning setting coding challenges an goals to help them learn their way into tech.
Disability in Tech
There are other developments happening in the tech community helping the wider disabled community. Like Tech DisAbility, a hub for startups revolving around tech products that help disability. In 2019, Microsoft UK granted funding for a research project at Birmingham University to develop new ways for people with disabilities to code.
The university is actioning an initiative to create more access for disabled people by enabling them to have an easier time finding work in the tech sector. The project is to primarily address the disadvantage people with hearing and sight disabilities might have while coding.
Using sight, sound and touch technology, the research will potentially result in more jobs being created as well as supply for the high demand in tech jobs.
The results could also see positive knock on effects around diversity in tech – something that many would argue is overdue. Particularly in developers.
How Can I Teach My Kids To Code?
There are plenty of ways to get your young person in to code no matter their ability. Various sites like code.org or Coding For Kids UK can help you get started.
As code becomes a more inclusive activity for kids to access, whether it’s in school or at home or with friends, getting your child into code is easier than ever.
Maybe your child wants a career in code, maybe they just want to do something fun and creative. Whatever the reason, getting your child into code will be fun and inventive as well as positioning their skills for a career in tech.
Careers in Tech