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Digital literacy today is essential for students entering to college or a work place. As there has been advancement in technology, the traditional methods of reading and writing has taken a back seat as the introduction of computers has become the mode of communication today.

Digital literacy is essentially the acquisition of the skills and abilities needed to read, write, and communicate in the 21st century using current and emerging technologies.

This is as much true or even more factual when we talk about persons with disabilities. But, unfortunately students with disabilities experience a greater challenge in acquiring the skills necessary to succeed.

This is due to the lack of awareness of the importance of digital literacy among persons with disabilities and the very many issues of accessibility that they usually come across while the digital products are in use.

More often than not, the question of ‘can persons with disabilities who are unable to read and write using traditional methods have digital literacy?’  The answer is a resounding ‘yes’. Technology can definitely break down barriers in the classroom and out in the world. Most of us would agree to say that due to the introduction of various technologies such as   the screen readers for visually impaired persons, or use of captions and sign language for a hearing impaired person has certainly made life more convenient for a person with a disability.

The introduction of smart phones has definitely marked a significant shift in the advancement in technology and has become the most preferred device to be used today as it is more economical, and less time consuming. The functions developed within the smart phone such as Siri in iOS and Alexa in android helps a disabled person to a great extent.

It would result in a great loss if these are not brought to the right use

Therefore it is essential that persons with disabilities get acquainted to the development in technology, and also bring them to speed in the different ways it can be used for their benefit.

On the other hand, it is also important to enlighten the teachers and the families of persons with disabilities to help them understand its importance and bring many more people to become digitally literate as it would help them in their day to day activities.

As a part of its work, Disability Entrepreneurship And Leadership (DEAL) Foundation works across the districts of Gadag and Bengaluru to promote sustainable livelihood opportunities for persons with disabilities.

One of the major works we involve ourselves in is to promote awareness among educational institutes, and especially within the rural areas on the importance of digital literacy and its benefits to empower persons with disabilities. We work in collaboration with other health care centres and NGOs that are working towards achieving the same objective.

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