The University of Southampton

Technology to support accessibility

Published: 19 November 2007

An ECS academic presented new insights into the experiences of students with disabilities at a conference held in Colorado this month.

Mrs E A Draffan, of the ECS Learning Societies Lab, gave a keynote presentation entitled 'Assistive Technology in Higher Education' – UK Style at the 10th Annual Accessing Higher Ground:Accessible Media, Web and Technology Conference on 8 November.

In her address, Mrs Draffan pointed out how technologically able many disabled students have become in the UK, as a result of which those facilitating learning have had to become more flexible in their approach to these technologies. She cited examples from her recent experience on the LexDis project, which explores the e-learning experiences of disabled learners within one institution - the University of Southampton.

She also looked at the legal, financial and study-skill support mechanisms available to graduate and postgraduate students with disabilities in the UK and discussed some of the developments in assistive technologies used by students, faculty and student services.

Mrs Draffan trained as a Speech and Language Therapist and worked in the field of communication difficulties before specialising in Dyslexia and Assistive Technology. She has since worked with disabled students in Further and Higher Education, set up an Assistive Technology Centre and worked with TechDis (a Joint Information Systems Committee funded initiative) on several projects.

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