Thursday, October 3, 2013

Declaring The Rights of People with Cognitive Disabilities to Technology and Information Access

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of participating in the Thirteenth Annual Coleman Institute National Conference on Cognitive Disability and Technology. The highlight of this event was the official unveiling of a Declaration on the Rights of People with Cognitive Disabilities to Technology and Information Access. The declaration is a statement of principles: the rights of ALL people to inclusion and choice in relation to technology and information access. You can see the declaration below (click on the image to enlarge it), or you can view the declaration and read more about its formation by clicking here.

David Braddock, professor of psychiatry and executive director of the Coleman Institute on Cognitive Disabilities at the University of Colorado, said, “The formal declaration is being presented at a time when the pace of the digital age is accelerating rapidly. Access to technology and information access is essential for community and social participation, employment, education, health, and general communication. Advocates for people with cognitive disabilities may use this declaration to stimulate greater attention nationally and worldwide to the possibilities now at hand for people with cognitive disabilities through technology while promoting their rights as citizens to access to it.”

I believe this is a momentous time in the history of serving individuals with one or more cognitive disabilities. Technology is creating opportunities for community participation and enhanced quality of life in ways unthinkable just a few short years ago. But if the folks we serve can’t access this technology, those opportunities won’t add up to much. That is why this declaration is so important.

So today, I am challenging all of my blog readers to endorse this declaration. Let the world know that the community of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and the organizations and caregivers who serve them are united in the belief that all individuals have a right to access comprehensible information and usable communication technologies to promote self-determination and engage meaningfully in major aspects of life.

Go here to endorse The Declaration.

Go here to read a Linguistically Accessible Version of The Declaration, as provided by The Arc.

Go here to read Frequently Asked Questions about The Declaration.

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