It’s not all doom and gloom: what the pandemic has taught us about digitally inclusive practices that support people with learning disabilities to access and use technologies.

Seale, Jane (2022). It’s not all doom and gloom: what the pandemic has taught us about digitally inclusive practices that support people with learning disabilities to access and use technologies. British Journal of Learning Disabilities (Early access).

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/bld.12497

Abstract

Background: The aim of this study was to examine whether and how people with learning disabilities were being supported to use technologies to keep connected and stay well during the pandemic.
Materials and Methods: 38 people in a range of support roles were interviewed about their experiences of trying to support people with learning disabilities to use technologies during the pandemic with a particular focus on the difficulties experienced by learning disabilities and the practices that supporters developed to try to overcome these difficulties.
Results: Findings revealed examples of digital exclusion, where people with learning disabilities were not able to use technology. The three main barriers to digital inclusion were cost, access and environment. The findings also revealed examples of digital inclusion, where those in support roles worked to overcome these barriers. These digitally inclusive support practices can be characterised as ‘possibility focused’. Possibility focused support has four key components: creativity, resilience, risk-management and shared decision-making.
Conclusion: The pandemic has shown us that it is important to support people with learning disabilities to use technologies. It is important that we learn from the experiences of those supporters who helped people with learning disabilities access and use technologies during the pandemic, so that digitally inclusive support practice is shared more widely and more people with learning disabilities are supported to be digitally included beyond the pandemic.

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About

  • Item ORO ID
  • 84502
  • Item Type
  • Journal Item
  • ISSN
  • 1468-3156
  • Project Funding Details
  • Funded Project NameProject IDFunding Body
    Keeping Connected and Staying WellNot SetThe Open University (OU)
  • Keywords
  • learning disabilities; technology; support; pandemic
  • Academic Unit or School
  • Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies (WELS)
  • Research Group
  • Education Futures
  • Copyright Holders
  • © 2022 Jane Seale
  • Depositing User
  • Jane Seale

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