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Providing information, education, and training to build knowledge, develop skills, and change attitudes that will lead to increased independence, productivity, self determination, integration and inclusion (IPSII) for people with developmental disabilities and their families.

Information Technology Customer Research Study 2009

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Executive Summary

The Minnesota Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities commissioned a survey to obtain measures of information technology adoption and use among people with developmental disabilities compared to the general population in the state of Minnesota. The survey was conducted by telephone and obtained representative samples of households across the state of Minnesota.

Key findings from the research were as follows:

  • Two-thirds of Minnesota households have a computer with broadband Internet access; an additional 13% have dial-up Internet.
    • 14% of Minnesota households do not have a computer.
  • Households where there are persons with developmental disabilities appear to have equal access to computers and the Internet, as compared to the general population of Minnesotans.
  • Households where there are persons with other disabilities are less likely to own a computer and have broadband Internet access. Residents of these “other disability households” were older, on average, than all other Minnesota households, and age was negatively correlated with technology adoption.
  • Residents living in rural areas were different with respect to computer ownership and Internet access;
    • Only 34% own a computer and have broadband Internet access;
    • 27% do not own a computer at all.
  • Some households where there are persons with developmental disabilities use their information technology differently than the general population:
    • More frequent daily use of their computers
    • More likely to access to government websites
    • The technology is used more for
      • Entertainment purposes
      • Community information / involvement
      • Internet protocol communications
      • Learning / online classes
      • Lobbying / communicating with elected officials
  • Although their use of government websites is higher, households where there are persons with developmental disabilities rate some attributes of government websites lower than the general population. For example, they were less likely to agree that:

Font sizes are large enough, and web pages are designed in a way that makes them easy to read.

Search function recognizes common language, and I can find what I need using this search function.

Website forms are accessible and easy to use, the formats are familiar and they don’t ask for unnecessary information.

  • On most other attributes persons with developmental disabilities rated government websites equal to or higher than the general population rated them.
  • Compared to the general population, households where there are persons with developmental disabilities tend to use technology more for creative self expression and to enhance inclusion in community activities.

    They also expressed more interest in keeping up with the latest technologies and learning more about the ways in which technology devices can help them live better.
  • Not all households with persons with developmental disabilities are as far along or sophisticated with their use of information technologies.

There appears to be a segment within this population that benefits more from their use of information technologies, and thus there is an opportunity for technology training and information sharing within the population of people with disabilities, to raise the general level of technology use and thereby enhance the lives of more people with disabilities.


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 370 Centennial Office Building  658 Cedar Street   St. Paul, Minnesota 55155 
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The GCDD is funded under the provisions of P.L. 106-402. The federal law also provides funding to the Minnesota Disability Law Center, the state Protection and Advocacy System, and to the Institute on Community Integration, the state University Center for Excellence. The Minnesota network of programs works to increase the IPSII of people with developmental disabilities and families into community life.

This project was supported, in part by grant number 2001MNSCDD-03, from the U.S. Administration for Community Living, Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C. 20201. Grantees undertaking projects with government sponsorship are encouraged to express freely their findings and conclusions. Points of view or opinions do not, therefore, necessarily represent official ACL policy.

This website is supported by the Administration for Community Living (ACL),  U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $1,120,136.00 with 83 percent funded by ACL/HHS and $222,000.00 and 17 percent funded by non-federal-government source(s). The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by ACL/HHS, or the U.S. Government.