by Sarah Boland, Assistive Technology Facilitator, Saint John of God Community Services
This was the third year that ENTELIS+ partners Saint John of Gods Liffey Services celebrated Global Accessibility Awareness Day to support everyone to find out about digital accessibility and digital inclusion for people with disabilities. In 2020 during the first COVID lockdown, some adults with intellectual disabilities who had moved their day programme to the Online Engage Programme made a short video explaining the importance of digital accessibility and inclusion. They wanted to share how they were using technology to stay connected during the lockdown. The video highlighted the different mobile devices that the participants used to join the Online Engage Programme in many different environments, from the garden on a sunny day to an iPad propped up by books in front of the TV. Everyone really should their innovative skills when using the new video conferencing and sometimes new devices. There were exceptional lifelong digital skills gained by the men and women who use the services and the support staff. Everyone was becoming more aware that digital skills were essential to stay connected while staying safe at home. However, the individuals supported also identified the need to have more accessible apps and devices that everyone can use. They also recognised the support that parents, family members, teachers and support staff have given to get them online. There were flashback photos from the previous project that supported digital skills also highlighted in the video.
In 2021 Saint John of God joined FreedomTech – Action on Accessible and Assistive Technology for a special CHAT (Community Hub for Accessible Technology) Event. We heard from individuals who use accessible and assistive technology and its impact on their lives. You can watch the video from CHAT here https://freedomtech.ie/chat-community-hub-for-accessible-technology/chat-how-accessible-technology-helps-me/