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Comunicar Journal 36: Television and its New Expressions (Vol. 18 - 2011)

People with intellectual disability and ICTs


Pedro Gutiérrez-Recacha

Almudena Martorell-Cafranga


New technologies have dramatically changed our daily lives and the way we are connected to other people. Television, cellular telephony and the Internet have opened up new opportunities in communication, leisure and training, and yet barriers prevent certain social groups from accessing these new technologies. People with intellectual disability (ID), for instance, are often «invisible» to communication and new technology researchers. An exploratory study was made of 156 adults with ID (workers and users of the Carmen Pardo-Valcarce Foundation sheltered employment programs and workshops in Madrid, Spain) to show their patterns of new technology (cell phones, Internet and television) use. The study confirms that these patterns are similar to those expected of the general public but spe cific differences were found. Some could be attributed to the direct effects of intellectual disability, but others could result from the hypothetical stigma effect on the attitude of those close to the person with intellectual disability, which might lead to discriminatory behaviors.


Disability, ICT, cellular telephony, Internet, television, reception, discrimination, psychology