This is a guest blog post submitted by Patrick Young at AbleUSA.info. We get students from all walks of life who are looking to start their careers in the tax industry. We thought this post would be fitting for those with disabilities who are currently looking for a job, or looking for technology that can help them in their current positions.
Technology can be extremely useful for individuals with disabilities who are working on the job or looking for employment. Amazing assistive technologies are advancing rapidly and becoming more affordable and readily available. So, let’s take a look at some of the tools people with disabilities can use to advance their careers.
On the Job Hunt
When looking for a job, dig up leads through your personal network, classified advertisements, disability advocacy groups, and job placement services. The internet can be your best resource. More and more remote work is available these days. In fact, according to Forbes, research indicates that at least half of the American workforce will be working from home by 2027. A global study by IWG also found that 70 percent of professionals telecommute at least one day a week, and 53 percent work remotely at least half the time.
Working remotely allows people with disabilities to work in a familiar, accessible environment at home, where they may already have access to assistive technologies. By using freelance job boards, remote staffing agencies, and online platforms, you can find remote work of almost every kind imaginable, including accounting, administrative, customer service, marketing, web development, and much more. Most of these job boards have simple interfaces or apps that make applying for work an absolute breeze.
When creating your resume, searching for jobs, and applying for work online, Microsoft has a number of built-in accessibility tools that make things easier for those with dyslexia, autism, or cognitive differences. For example, Tell Me allows a user to access commands in Office 365 applications without having to remember their name or location. Meanwhile, Focus Assist blocks alerts and notifications to reduce distractions. They also have available tools to assist those individuals with vision or hearing impairments.
Although you are not required by law to reveal disabilities during an interview, you may decide to do so. By being upfront about your disabilities, discussing how you can complete required tasks, and talking about any accommodations you may need, the interviewer may see you as more confident in your abilities and qualified to get the job done. Feel free to discuss how you’ve overcome challenges in the workplace in the past and how the right equipment and technology can assist you in the job.
All employees need the right tools to effectively do their jobs. Employers can provide things like raised desks for employees who use wheelchairs, job training for employees with intellectual disabilities, and various technologies for those with different types of disabilities.
Employees with disabilities can use apps and other assistive technologies to work more productively and efficiently. These types of assistive technologies can help whether you are working in an office or at home remotely. Some solutions that may assist those with disabilities at work include text-to-speech software, an ergonomic keyboard, a mouse with larger projecting buttons, and headphones to drown out background noise. For those with some vision loss, magnification programs may be helpful. However, for those with severe visual impairments, a computer screen reader such as Non-Visual Desktop Access that can read the content of computer screens to users is imperative. For those with hearing impairments, programs like Ava, which can be used on mobile devices, can provide live transcriptions of conversations.
For those who have limited use of their hands, HeadMouse Nano allows a user to control their computer mouse with head movements and Eyegaze Edge is a communication system that enables people to control devices using just their eyes.
One piece of tech that’s essential whether you currently have a job or are looking for one is a dependable smartphone so that you’re able to respond to customers or potential employers promptly no matter where you’re located. Look for a high-performing model that has all the features and functions you need. Some data providers offer sign-up deals where you can trade in your old smartphone and purchase a new model at a reduced price.
When job hunting, interviewing, and working, people with disabilities can level the playing field by using the latest technology. Every step of the way in your career, technology can help you get ahead and achieve all your work-related goals.