How can programming be made more accessible to people with disabilities?

Date Updated

There are many strategies that can be used to make programming more accessible to students with various types of disabilities. For example:

  • Clear instructions and useful examples can benefit all students.
  • Speech input software can be used by students who cannot use a standard keyboard. There are also open source code dictation programs such as VoiceCode. Using speech input may require using custom dictionaries and being careful about syntax. The video Using Python to Code by Voice explains strategies that can be used.
  • A macro-writing program can be used to create shortcuts to make typing easier, particularly those with mobility impairments.
  • Some IDEs (integrated development environments) have features that may be helpful for students with disabilities:
    • word or syntax auto-completion anticipates what the user is typing,
    • syntax highlighting color codes what is typed,
    • highlighting of variable names ensures the variable names are spelled consistently, and
    • inline spell-check may be useful to some students.