An emerging digital divide for people with an intellectual disability must be addressed, according to Inclusion Ireland. The call came as Inclusion Ireland held their annual conference on the Right to Connect, examining the role of technology in connecting people with an intellectual disability during the COVID-19 crisis and beyond.

The conference, which takes place on International Day of People with Disabilities 2020, will hear how people with intellectual disabilities are using technology in their lives since Covid 19 and calls for greater supports to be made available to people to bridge the technology gap that often exists.

Speaking ahead of the conference Enda Egan, CEO of Inclusion Ireland, said: “We’ve all had to adapt to the ‘new normal’ with Covid-19, and technology is playing a role in our lives like never before. This is especially true for those with an intellectual disability.

“According to research we carried out this year, in partnership with the Technical University of Dublin, people with an intellectual disability felt isolated and lonely during lockdown – but we found that those with access to technological supports, whether through education or day services, enjoyed participating online and used the tools to maintain friendships and keep up with family.

“However, many people reported not having access to these technological tools, and tools like Zoom weren’t suitable and accessible for all. Some were able to access at home, some had to go to local offices or services. The common theme was the need for supports to be put in place to enable everyone to be included.
“We’re delighted to be able to host today’s conference to hear from people with an intellectual disability about what tools and supports they use to bridge this digital divide.”

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