The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was passed in 1990, and since then, there has been a concerted effort to increase the number of people with disabilities who are employed in government offices. While the ADA has helped to level the playing field somewhat, there are still many barriers that prevent people with disabilities from getting hired. However, thanks to advances in technology, these barriers are slowly but surely being circumvented. Here are five examples.
Voice Recognition Software
One of the biggest obstacles facing people with disabilities who want to work in government offices is the application process itself. Online applications can be difficult or even impossible for some people with disabilities to fill out. However, voice recognition software can be a game-changer.
This software allows users to control their computers using only their voice, which means that anyone—regardless of their physical ability—can quickly fill out an online application. All they need is a microphone and voice recognition software installed on their computer.
There are a number of different voice recognition software programs available, so it’s crucial to find one that works well for you. Once you’ve found the right program, simply follow the instructions to set it up and start using it.
Video Calling and Teleconferencing
Another barrier to employment for people with disabilities is the interview process. In-person interviews can be difficult or even impossible for some candidates to attend, but video calling and teleconferencing make it possible for everyone to participate regardless of their location or physical ability.
What’s more, for hearing-impaired individuals, there are also types of software that allow securely captioned phone calls. That way, all parties can understand what is being said, and no one has to miss out on any critical information.
Due to the rise of telecommuting, more and more companies are beginning to conduct interviews via video call or teleconference. If you’re a person with a disability who is looking for a job in the government, be sure to take advantage of this technology.
Text-to-speech programs can be invaluable for employees with reading disabilities. These programs convert text into speech, meaning employees with reading disabilities can easily access any document they need without asking for assistance.
Text-to-speech programs can also be used by employees who are not comfortable reading aloud in front of others, such as during a meeting. For example, an employee can use the text-to-speech function to read a document privately to themselves before the meeting and then participate in the discussion without having to worry about reading aloud.
There are a number of different text-to-speech programs available, so it’s essential to find one that works well for you. Consider if the program allows you to change the speed and pitch of the voice, which can be helpful if you have a fast or slow reading speed.
Screen Reader Programs
Screen reader programs are explicitly designed for people who are blind or have low vision. These programs allow users to access computer systems using only audio output, meaning that employees with visual impairments can easily use any office software or website they need without relying on a sighted individual for assistance.
For example, a screen reader might read aloud the text on a website or document, which would allow an employee with visual impairments to understand what is on the screen. Additionally, many screen readers also have Braille output, which can be helpful for employees who are also deafblind.
There are a number of different screen reader programs available, so it’s essential to find one that works well for you. Consider if the program is compatible with the operating system and software you use and if it has any features that would be particularly helpful for you.
Alternative Keyboard and Mouse Options
A variety of alternative keyboard and mouse options can make it possible for people with limited mobility to use a computer with ease. For example, head-tracking software tracks a user’s head movements and uses them to control the cursor on the screen, while eye-tracking devices track eye movements and use them for input.
There are also a variety of alternative input devices available that can be used in place of a traditional keyboard and mouse, such as joysticks, trackballs, and one-handed keyboards. These devices can be helpful for people with limited mobility in their hands or arms.
If you’re looking for an alternative keyboard or mouse, it’s crucial to find one that works well for you. Consider the size and shape of the device, as well as how many buttons it has. You’ll also want to make sure that the device is compatible with the operating system and software you use.
Thanks to technological advances, it is now easier than ever for government offices to hire people with disabilities. By taking advantage of these innovations, government offices can ensure that they are opening up their hiring processes to qualified candidates with disabilities—and making their workplaces more inclusive overall.