Technology and Learning Environments in Higher Education
9. Adaptive and Assistive Technology for Use in Higher Education by Patricia D. Wilen, Ph.D.
Adaptive and Assistive Technology for Use in Higher Education
Patricia D. Wilen, Ph.D.
Career opportunities are increasing for people with disabilities due to advancements in computer technology. Many high-paying jobs, however, require a college education or advanced training in specific skills. A 1999 study by the University of Washington found that U.S. students with disabilities represented only 6% of the postsecondary education undergraduate student body. These disabilities include blindness and visual impairments, deafness and other hearing impairments, mobility or orthopedic impairments, speech and language impairments, health impairments, and learning disabilities. By 2004, this number had almost doubled.1
The federal government and many states have mandates that require institutions to provide the disabled reasonable access to educational opportunities. With advancements in technology, students with disabilities are increasingly able to earn a college degree. Two years after high school, 63% of students with disabilities are enrolled in postsecondary education compared to 72% of students without disabilities. Students with disabilities are more likely to enroll in 2-year courses, with 42% enrolled in 4-year courses compared to 62% of students without disabilities; 16% of students with disabilities earned a B.A. de ← 77 | 78 → gree compared to 27% of those without disabilities, while 25% of students with and without disabilities earned associate degrees or vocational certificates.2
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