The increasing number of disabled people reaching university is a major step forward for inclusion and social mobility. More disabled people rightly see university as an option for them and the growing culture of disability inclusion within the UK has encouraged more students to disclose their impairments. Yet when disabled students get to university, they still face a persistent gap in experience and outcomes compared to their non-disabled peers. This gap in experience and outcome is evidenced in student satisfaction surveys, overall grades, course completion rates, and post-graduation destinations.
As co-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Assistive Technology, I have seen first-hand the power of technology to level the playing field and give disabled students the tools they need to achieve their ambitions. From software that reads out text for visually impaired students to note-taking software used by those with dyslexia, there are a number of tools which are already a part of many students’ success stories. That is why it is so important to ensure that all disabled students can have access to the software they need, and the powerful hardware required to run it.