Survey Shows Internet Usage of People with Disabilities

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A first-ever national survey of members of the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD), the largest cross-disability membership organization in the United States, gives an inside look at members' technology usage. The survey was conducted to learn about the demographics of AAPD members, to understand how the members felt about the organization's offerings, and to gauge how they use available computer technology.

"It is our mission to ensure economic self-sufficiency and political empowerment for the more than 50 million Americans with disabilities," said Andrew J. Imparato, AAPD President and CEO. "To accomplish that mission we have to understand who these Americans are, what they need, and how they live their lives. This survey supports the notion that this is a substantial consumer group with significant economic and political influence."

Today more than ever before, AAPD members living with disabilities are looking to technology that will streamline and simplify their work/life balance. The AAPD survey indicated that 81 percent of respondents own a computer, while 82 percent also have access to the Internet. 79 percent of respondents said they use e-mail regularly.

With the available income that this market has and the increased use of Internet among this group, it is important to recognize the significance of e-commerce, online shopping and online marketing to the members of AAPD.

When asked what assistive technology they are using, 45 percent of those surveyed said they are using physical computer accessories to assist them in their daily lives. Specific software mentioned included: drag and speak software reader-dictator software and magnification software.

Public Opinion Research Inc. worked with AAPD to design a sample of members. From a membership file of 23,217 names, 400 interviews were conducted by phone from August to October 2005.

This article originally appeared in the June 2006 issue of HME Business.

HME Business Podcast