Physical disabilities don’t need to be a barrier to learning Computer Science. There are a number of blind programmers in the world, who use screen readers to enable them to make sense of what is on the screen. Modern technology is making it ever easier for students with visual or hearing impairments, or poor motor control to work on a computer. Teachers need to be aware of accessibility settings on tablets and in particular operating systems, together with the range of assistive technologies, such as roller ball mice, or large key keyboards.
An excellent project to raise awareness of accessibility issues is to create accessible input devices using
the MaKey MaKey or similar, to work with a game or activity that students have coded – for example large buttons for those with poor motor control, or textured keys for the visually impaired.
Here is a blog by Florian Beijers, a coder who happens to be blind, and how he works.
This is an area where CAS #include hasn’t done a great deal of work, although it is touched on in workshops on adapting the curriculum for SEN learners. If you want more advice on making work accessible to your students, or you have a case study that we should be aware of, please let us know.