Assistive technology: separating fact from fiction
There has been a proliferation of assistive technology (AT) for persons with disabilities in recent years. While these technologies have a potentially great enabling impact on the lives of persons with disabilities, not all AT devices which users may come across are genuine.
“Empowering persons with disabilities to make critical decisions about their lives and technology must be based upon the capacity to gain access to valid information. For this, AT services need to help users spot fake news and stories,” says David Banes, Director of David Banes Access and Inclusion Services.
When confronted with a story about a new AT device, he advisers users to:
1. Be Critical: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Ask why the story is written – is it trying to over-sell or divert traffic to another website?
2. Check the Source: Understand who the publisher is – is it a professional, a company or someone’s blog? If they share stories repeatedly about one product or manufacturer, you may question that trend.
3. See Who Else Is Reporting the Story: Keep in mind that simply because a story has many shares, it does not mean the story is necessarily genuine.
4. Look at the background: A credible story will consist of independent information including facts, quotes from experts, survey data and official statistics. Are there real-life instances of persons that use the technology and can review it?
5. Does It “Sound Right”: Trust your common sense and intuition. If an item in your newsfeed or tweets sounds unbelievable, it probably is.