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People with disabilities should learn technology too

by TONY SAMPSON

What would it be like without electronic technology?

It started with Ben Franklin discovering electricity from lightning. Pioneers like Thomas Edison with the light bulb and Alexander Graham Bell with the telephone added to the evolution.

Tony Sampson

Tony Sampson is a graduate of Leaders in Disability Policy and a former member of the Maryland Disabilities Council. He works at Home Depot.

And in 1946 the first computer was revealed. It was big, bulky and not as practical as today’s computers. Desktop computers, like the Commodore 64, Apple and Windows, helped advance computer technology.

Although, the internet was created in the 70s, it helped computer technology boom in 1994. The cellphone also became popular in the 90s.

Today the cellphone and the internet are combined to create the smart phone – a hand-held computer that allows people to make phone calls and access the internet all at the same time.

Now this is where the people in the disabled community come into play.

People with disabilities use phones and computers just like everyone else. But because all these devices are so technically advanced, there is a need to learn how to use them, especially for those who have difficulties.

The reason why is this.

Computers are everywhere, especially in many places where people with disabilities work. They may need to use a computer to check how many hours they work; check their work schedule; check their pay to see how much they made; and update their personal information online.

People with disabilities should also be taught how to use the internet and e-mail. Most agencies require it these days.

People who use cell phones or smart phones need to learn how to send texts; take photos; use apps; use proper grammar, acronyms and slang; and use good phone manners. It’s also helpful to learn how to store contact numbers in the device for family and friends.

I recommend you look for agencies who offer courses on how to use the internet for e-mail or to purchase stuff online with debit or gift cards. A good class also offers tips on how to avoid scams and rip-offs on the internet.

When I started my modern communication ways, I started using a prepaid calling card. A 600-minute card cost $10. It sure beats going to the pay phone with a bunch of quarters!

I got my first cellphone in August 2001. It was a TracFone. It ran on prepaid cards.

Back then, I was at a group home. I asked them for internet in my room. It didn’t happen right away, and I felt like I was living in the stone age. They were dragging their heels! Instead, I went to the college to use the internet. It was close to where I lived.

Today I use the computer to check Facebook and order stuff online. I have an iPhone to check the weather. I like to take pictures and check the bus schedules. I use it to check my stocks at Home Depot (I have profit sharing).

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