Wireless Technology Use and Disability: Results from a National Survey

Date of Publication: 
2014 June

Access to and use of wireless consumer technology (e.g., mobile devices like cellphones and tablets, software and services) has become critical to social and economic participation. This is especially true for people with disabilities. This article presents data from the Survey of User Needs (SUN) conducted by the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center for Wireless Technologies (Wireless RERC) from September 2012 through April 2013. The SUN focuses on wireless use among people with disabilities to identify patterns of use and the needs of this population. Key questions related to comparative trends among people with disabilities and the general population are addressed, including wireless adoption rates, preferred platforms (cellphone, smartphone, tablet), wireline (landline) use, and wireless use by disability type. Data show that as a group, people with disabilities own and use wireless technology at rates similar to the general population, but substantial variation exists in ownership of different types of wireless devices between disability types.


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