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Technology and special needs provision in the UK: is current law satisfactory?

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Recently, the government has issued legislation on disability discrimination (the UK Disability Discrimination Act 2005) that is silent on the issue of access to technology for those adults and minors with special needs/disabilities either in the classroom or out of the classroom. At the same time, commercial legislation from Europe drives forward with new directives on the regulation of technology as part of the European Union's Lisbon Goals to make Europe more efficient through the use of Information Communications Technologies (ICTs) and to provide an increasing array of on-line services (payment of taxes, licensing, identity cards, and access to public services). With more rapid provision of public and private services on-line, there is a pressing need to ask to what extent current legislation should address access to assistive technology for those with special needs and disabilities. Furthermore, the legal obligation on government to provide ICTs as communications aids in school classrooms either as an auxiliary aid or service, or as an education and associated service for those who are disabled is unclear under current UK disability discrimination and special needs law. As far as the writer is aware, currently, no study as yet has reviewed disability and SEN legislation to determine what obligations (if any) arise on government to provide communications aids based on ICTs to children with disabilities. And yet, disability remains a central issue.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Cardiff Law School, University of Cardiff,

Publication date: 2007-09-01

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