The team attended a session online on Assistive Technology at the Global Science Collaboration Conference at the 75th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA75) on Monday, 28th of September from 11am – 3pm (BST). The importance of AT is highlighted as a hugely transformative and enabling influence for people with disability in education and employment.
This session addressed specific issues and challenges related to employment for people with disabilities and the use of assistive technologies to promote diversity, inclusivity and workplace success.
Research has demonstrated that Assistive Technology (AT) are powerful tools to improve independence, employment and community participation among people with disabilities. AT, including both high-end and low-end devices, equipment and systems, apps and other products. While AT could be useful in improving the life of people with disabilities, the WHO identified that only 10% of the population in need of AT products had access to them. Although AT provision varies across countries, the intent to support people with disabilities should be a global priority with a focus to remove barriers and provide facilitators in independent living and employment.
Globally, the employment rates of people with disabilities is significantly lower than their peers without disabilities. In addition to the socio-economic implications, social exclusion impacts negatively on self-esteem, mental health and wellbeing. People with disabilities encounter many barriers as they try to obtain and sustain meaningful and gainful employment. Promoting employment and independence through the use of AT in collaboration among stakeholders will have significant impacts on the quality of life of people with disabilities. These will help address some of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), such as Goal 1 (No Poverty); Goal 2 (Good Health and Well Being); Goal 10 (Reduced Inequalities) and Goal 17 (Partnerships).
In this session, speakers focused on SDG1, SDG2, SDG10, and SDG17. Specifically, we will draw together interdisciplinary and multi-sectoral stakeholders from research, industry, other stakeholder groups to exchange current technological, research and policy developments especially in the context of employment. Stakeholders with a vast range of expertise and experience identified the challenges of translating research and products into practice as well as discussing strategies and sharing best practices to support design and development of AT tools for use in employment context.