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Identifying challenges and opportunities in computer-based vocational training for low-income communities of people with intellectual disabilities

Vagner Figueredo de Santana, Rodrigo Laiola Guimarães, Andrea Britto Mattos


Vocational training of people with disabilities (PwD) can potentially improve social and economic prospects, but at the same time, it can be significantly challenging due to the need for specialized training and technology. Unfortunately, in developing countries this problem is magnified because, in general, lowincome groups have limited access to appropriate content and assistive technologies. In this paper, we present initial findings from a qualitative field study of computer-mediated vocational training for low-income students with intellectual disability (ID) in Brazil’s largest urban area. The observations took place during 3 computer-based training sessions, which involved 23 students with ID. Based on data gathered from observations and semistructured interviews with 2 instructors, we describe and discuss strategies they employ to teach heterogeneous groups of students with ID. We also examine some obstacles that our participants usually face during the classes at the computer lab and present suggestions for future initiatives that could better support instructors and students with ID in the learning process.
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