Accessible Technology and Models of Disability

  • Richard E. LadnerEmail author


In this chapter, we discuss assistive technology from the view of the consumer. Consumers of assistive technology follow the social model of disability, that is, persons with disabilities are part of the diversity of life, not necessarily in need of cure or special assistance. Their identity does not revolve around being a patient or client, but focuses on their human desires to work, play, and associate with others. The social model of disability dictates an empowering approach to assistive technology research and development where consumers are given the power to configure and even create technology to suit their own needs and desires. The technology that comes from this approach is called accessible technology, rather than assistive technology, emphasizing its role in making human activities more accessible.


Assistive Technology Social Model Accessible Technology Universal Design Screen Reader 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Thanks to Anna Cavender for several helpful comments on a draft of this chapter.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Computer ScienceUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA

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