Although society likes to think it has made itself accessible, people with disabilities know there are many, many gaps yet to fill. The modern workspace is built for able-bodied, neurotypical people. Often, everyone else is expected to make it work or fall behind, even in some of the most well-meaning spaces. This can make it seem almost impossible to get ahead if you have a disability. You might have all the skill and talent you need to succeed, but if there’s a roadblock you can’t overcome, you’re going to get stuck.
Fortunately, technology can bridge some of these gaps. The rise of remote workspaces such as Nomadworks alone is a huge boon for people with disabilities. It’s becoming more and more normal to define your own schedule, work wherever you want, and go at the pace that works for you. And that’s just the start – there are a ton of ways that technology can make the workspace more equitable for people with disabilities. Here’s a look at a few of the tools out there, and how they can help:
Right now, contract work is growing increasingly attractive for companies and workers alike. When you work in a freelance capacity, you have the ability to define your own workload and schedule. This can be an absolute lifesaver for anyone who has unpredictable energy levels. If you tend to experience brain fog or fatigue during normal work hours, but do well at night, then the freelance work style empowers you to make the most of your body’s natural cycles.
Moreover, there’s never been a better time to start freelancing. Our world is more connected than ever, making it easy to pick up contract work online. You’ll have your pick of opportunities from anywhere in the world, allowing you to build a career that works for you.
Just like workspaces, academia can be pretty hit-or-miss when it comes to accessibility. This means that people with disabilities can feel limited or discouraged when it comes to seeking new degrees and furthering their careers. This can make entering certain careers, such as becoming a teacher, a nurse or CPA, seem totally out of reach.
Fortunately, an online program can help make the process a lot easier. The ability to study from home or a remote workspace means you can be assured you’ll be able to get to your classes with ease. Also, many remote programs give you the chance to set your own schedule, so you can study whenever works best for you. Still, it makes sense to reach out to your university’s disability services to get any additional resources you’ll need to thrive.
Adaptive and Assistive Technology
Many people with disabilities are already familiar with adaptive and assistive tech, but people with a new diagnosis might be surprised to learn how much is out there. For example, people with poor vision can use screen readers to hear text printed on a page. Text-to-speech technology can help people with coordination issues, joint problems, and more write without typing. Even comparatively little things, like increasing text size in your browser, can make a big difference.
Adaptive technology is constantly improving, so even if you already have tools you use, new, potentially better tech might be out there. Reach out to your doctor or occupational therapist to get a sense for what tools might help you thrive.
Getting ahead in the workplace when you have a disability can be a challenge, but it’s not impossible. We hope this article has helped you discover some of your options and guided you toward wider horizons. You deserve a career that works for you.
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