Virtual workplaces offer persons with disabilities new opportunities in the workplace that may simultaneously accommodate their disabilities while posing challenges in terms of access to the information that they need to perform their jobs. Employers also need information about various disabilities and ways to accommodate the limitations imposed by each one. This chapter provides background and rationale for including persons with disabilities in the virtual workforce, detailed descriptions of each disability category, and common accommodations for each disability category. Resources for employers are discussed.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Auditory Processing: The ability to perceive, comprehend, and appropriately act.
Assistive Technology: Devices that compensate for loss of functioning in persons with disabilities.
Braille Printers: Printers that transform text into Braille and print documents that may be read by persons with visual impairments upon auditory stimuli.
Independent Living Skills: Basic skills such as self-care, learning and thinking that enable persons to participate in everyday activities.
Braille Displays: Series of raised dots that indicate letters of the alphabet and enable persons with visual impairments to read print and computer screens.
Physical Disabilities: A physiological disorder or condition that limits a person’s mobility, endurance, and/or ability to perform major life tasks.
Telecommunications Device for the Deaf/TeleTypewriter: A user terminal with keyboard input and printer or display output used by the hearing and speech impaired. The device contains a modem and is used over a standard analog phone line.
Electromyographic (EMG) Controlled Prostheses: Computer-controlled signals that enable prosthetic devices like arms, hands, and so forth, to move more easily to increase the mobility of the user.
Speechreaders: A screen reader is the commonly used name for voice output technology used. Screen readers are used to replace the visual display traditionally viewed on a monitor for those with visual disabilities. Hardware and software produce synthesized voice output for text displayed on the computer screen, as well as for keystrokes entered on the keyboard.
Spasticity: Inability to control gross motor functions such as arm and leg movements.
Manual Dexterity: The ability to use hands, fingers, and toes to complete fine motor tasks.
Cognitive Disabilities: A disorder or condition that affects processing of information and prevents persons from comprehending and using concepts, ideas, and information.