Inclusion and the Net
Many autistic children prefer interacting with computers, rather than humans. Computers are more reliable, their reactions are more consistent
Professor Arun Mehta
Blind campaigner, Gerry Ellis, says that “it’s becoming more difficult than ever for the disabled to get access to information” as more and more of it goes online.
There are not enough programmes for the blind and deaf, many websites are too complicated for people with disabilities to navigate.
The IGF, through the Dynamic Coalition for Accessibility and Disability, is calling on companies to do more.
It also makes the good point that if they simplify their web pages, that will help all users, not just the disabled.
Another expert in the field, Professor Arun Mehta is also using computer technology to help children with autism. He’s spent a large part of his life developing software which helps those with disabilities.
His Special Kids project (SKIDS) help autistic children to improve their education by recognising pictures and naming the objects which are featured on the computer.
” Many autistic children prefer interacting with computers, rather than humans,” he says. “Computers are more reliable, their reactions are more consistent.”
It is just one of a myriad of applications which are now being developed with the emphasis on access for the millions who don’t currently have it.
Overall, the mood amongst the delegates in Sharm el-Sheikh is optimistic.
The internet is alive and well and as dynamic as ever. Ask anyone here, though, what it will look like in five years ‘ time and you’ll get as many different answers as there are participants in this forum.