Technology and internet access has become an essential part of everyday living, but people with disabilities remain at risk of being left behind. Already limited by the economic challenge of disability, members of our community also face barriers to tech literacy as well as the accessibility of digital devices and the internet.
In 2021 Access Living conducted a technology pilot program to address these disparities and identify the essential measures required to bridge the digital divide for our community members.
As a result of that pilot, the Independence Living Technology Program (ILTP) was developed to empower and support people with disabilities in gaining equitable access to technology and digital resources.
The Independent Living Technology Program addresses the vital need for disabled people to have technology and internet skills to live full, independent lives. It begins with each enrolled participant identifying an independent living goal they want to achieve through the use of technology. This could be to use the internet to look for a job or work, pay bills, access digital information like medical records, or attend virtual doctor appointments: participants can work towards the goal of their choice as long as it it is related to technology and to the participant becoming more independent.
Participants can choose between learning to use a laptop or a tablet. Once they decide which they want to learn about, participants are split into two groups based on their device preference. Each group meets five times and learns the following:
|Tablet accessibility features
|Computer basics (how to turn it on/off, chargers, settings, and basic functionality)
|How to communication on a tablet (How to send text messages, make voices calls, use FaceTime)
|How to use Zoom on a laptop
|How to download apps
|Internet Basics: accessing websites, navigating browsers, searching for information
|How to use Zoom on a tablet
|How to record a Zoom meeting
|Introduction to email
|Introduction to email
After their five group learning sessions, each participant meets with the program coordinator to check in on their progress towards their independent living goal. After that, participants can schedule additional one-on-one help sessions, or come in during scheduled walk-in hours at Access Living.
At the end of the 12 week program, participants have gained valuable skills in tech literacy and the ability to use technology to become more independent.
Fill out the form below to be added to the wait list for the next session of the Independent Living Technology Program.
Access Living is a proud member of the Chicago Digital Equity Coalition.