Frequently Asked Questions - Common Questions We're Hearing from Technology Users

Q: How can I learn which technologies can help me be productive and then communicate those needs to my employer?

A:

PEAT works to advance the employment of people with disabilities by encouraging the creation and adoption of accessible workplace technologies. Our approach is to work with employers and technology providers to help make this happen, but empowering technology users with disabilities is an equally important part of the accessibility puzzle.

There are several resources to help you find information on specific assistive technologies (AT) and job accommodations—those that can help you at an individual level. We recommend you begin by contacting the Contact the Job Accommodation Network (JAN), which provides free consulting services for individuals with disabilities and their employers. Services include one-on-one consultation about job accommodation ideas (including both assistive and accessible technologies), requesting and negotiating accommodations, and your rights under the ADA and related laws.

Q: How can I encourage my employer to care about accessible technology?

A:

People with disabilities can play an important role in encouraging their employers to make the workplace technology they buy and implement accessible to all employees and potential employees. For employers, this means:

  • Ensuring that all employees can access the technology they currently have in place, from computers, to online applications, to company-issued smartphones. If devices or applications are not accessible, their employer should provide necessary AT (e.g., screen readers) and ensure such applications operate with their current IT systems.
  • Creating websites that meet or exceed accepted accessibility standards (i.e., Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0.
  • When procuring new technology for their workplace, committing to purchasing only accessible ICT products.

You can work closely with your employer to make these things happen. Begin by directing your employer to PEAT, and encouraging him or her to read helpful resources on this website, such as Accessible Technology Action Steps: A Guide for Employers. If your company has an accessible technology initiative in place, offer to get involved as a team member and/or tester of internal technologies. And if your company needs help getting started on such an initiative, volunteer to assist in building a business case for an internal accessible workplace technology effort. Remind them that promoting accessible technology is not simply the right thing to do, but also a wise business practice that positively impacts the bottom line. You can use the resources on PEATworks.org to help!