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Accessible Education: Supporting Learners with Disabilities

Submitted by Editor on 9 July 2024

By Lenient Amidu

Disability is present in every race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age, and religion. More than a billion people, or 15 percent of the world’s population, have some category of disability. Of these, an estimated 150 million children have a disability, and 80 percent of these children live in the developing world (WHO 2011).

According to statistics, about 63% of young people with disabilities in Nigeria, (mostly females with disabilities), are out of education, employment, and, training (NEET). This is not surprising as evidently, not much attention has been paid to equipping essential facilities with the resources to provide adequate support for learners with disabilities. They face unique challenges in accessing education at any level which drives home the point that inclusivity is not only necessary but undeniably pivotal for an all round development of any nation.

The right support and accommodations can help learners with disabilities be fully integrated into educational systems. Some learners may have any of the following:

1. Visual impairments

2. Hearing impairments

3. Motor impairments

4. Cognitive impairments

5. Learning disabilities including Dyslexia, ADHD, etc

6. Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

7. Chronic illnesses Conditions like diabetes, epilepsy, or chronic pain

8. Mental health conditions

Learners with disabilities have peculiar challenges and these peculiarities have to be considered as steps for integration and inclusion are provided. Libraries have stood the test of time as the grand houses of knowledge. For many, libraries have become a safe space that has as much room for people as it does for books. This could mean that learners with disabilities are likely to turn to libraries to meet some of their intellectual needs.


Over the years, libraries have markedly evolved to meet these needs to ensure equal access to information and knowledge. Some of the developments include;

1. Accessible collections such as materials in braille, audiobooks, coloring books, and e-books.

2. Libraries offer assistive technology, like text-to-speech software, magnifying devices, and adaptive keyboards.

3. Libraries curate inclusive programs and events that are accessible and engaging such as sign language storytime and sensory-friendly activities.

4. Improved physical accessibility through the provision of ramps, elevators, open and dynamic reading environment, and, accessible restrooms.

5. Libraries train staff on disability awareness, assistive technology, and communication skills to better aid learners with disabilities.

Inclusivity is not a day's job and implementation may take time to fully be in swing yet providing a better environment for learners with disabilities is paramount. Having a disability should never discourage anyone from getting into the world of books.