Factors affecting people with intellectual disabilities in learning to use computer technology

Wai Ping Cecilia Tsang, Susanna Yeung, Che Hin Chan, Christina Hui-Chan

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


Using information technology (IT) in work and leisure has become an essential part of life. However, people with intellectual disabilities (ID) may have difficulties in learning the complex skills involved in IT. The aim of this study was to explore (1) level of competency in IT, (2) requirements to learn IT and (3) factors related to IT competency for people with ID. Three-hundred-and-fifty-three adults (age 16 years or above, mean age = 28.77 years) with ID were assessed on basic IT skills using a self-developed skill-based checklist including the use of the keyboard and mouse and getting onto the Internet. A short questionnaire was sent out to the parents and caregivers to explore the various factors affecting the learning-teaching process. Results indicated that only 6.2% (22) of the participants knew how to operate the keyboard and mouse and 9.1% (32) were able to get onto the Internet; 33.1% of participants could not operate the computer system at all. Younger people with ID and with mild-grade ID have better IT skills. Three-hundred-and-twenty-seven (92.6%) caregivers reported that although they had a computer in their home or at their work place, people with ID were not given any opportunity to use it. They also reported difficulties in training people with ID to use IT due to insufficient knowledge on training techniques and a lack of software that is suitable for training. As modern society relies more and more on IT in daily activities, the poor computer competency of people with ID may lower their level of participation in leisure, functional and vocational aspects of life. Their general perception was that with sufficient training and support, people with ID could also join the world of IT.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)127-133
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Rehabilitation Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2005


  • Adult with intellectual disabilities
  • Information technology (IT)
  • Learning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation


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