Global accessibility is an urgent issue: help us address it

20th April 2021 by Ellie Thompson

It’s estimated that 1 billion people need assistive technology to lead full and enabled lives. And yet, only 1 in 10 people globally have access to the assistive technology they need.

We’d argue that both of those statistics underestimate the prevalence of, and need for, assistive technology. Because assistive technology benefits all of us, in ways we may not even be aware. It encompasses everything from closed captioning, to spelling and grammar checkers, to reading glasses, to ergonomic furniture.

Assistive technology removes barriers for so many of us. And yet globally we are lacking in terms of understanding, and creating access to, the technology that enables us to live our lives.

The World Health Organisation is working to address this, creating a Global Report on Assistive Technology (GReAT), to collect data from around the world on how assistive technology is used; and where it is notably missing.

Our own CEO Atif Choudhury is advising on the project, and highlighted just how urgent this work is:

“rATA is working to highlight the gains we all make when assistive technology is available to those who need it most.

Thinking on the year we’ve all faced, rarely has the urgency of addressing global accessibility had more meaning. In fighting to address poverty and powerlessness, we need human participation. Technological advancements build this participation. It can foster partnerships with voices we’ve never heard from. This truly matters. Human health and safety matters.”

And we can be a part of the process.

The UK Rapid Assistive Technology Assessment (rATA) gives us the opportunity to access the need, and unmet need, for assistive technology in the UK.

You can share your valuable insight and lived experience to help transform our global understanding of assistive technology. All you need to do is register your interest and answer a few quick questions. Then, an interviewer will contact you to complete the questionnaire with you by your preferred method of contact. The process can take as little as 10 minutes!

Contributing to the study opens the door for a more inclusive future, where everyone can access the assistive technology they deserve.

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