Flicking through websites on your way to work, or sharing photos over dinner with friends, it’s easy to think tablets and laptops are just for fun.

But Ashley Robson, Technology Services Manager at Coca-Cola, has a different story. Ashley’s two-year-old son suffers from cerebral palsy, giving him a personal insight into how technology can change the lives of children with disabilities and their carers. 

One thing that really helps people in our situation are tablets,” Ashley said. “Theyre really helpful for people who find it hard to communicate.

His experience is also shaped by his work at Coca-Cola, which is giving laptops to Technology for the Disabled (TAD), a Sydney-based organisation that helps people with a disability and their carers.

And Ashley has a key role in the process. As Technology Services Manager, it’s his job to keep Coke staff up to date with new technology.

To stay at the cutting-edge of IT, he’s always on the lookout for new gadgetry. Whenever something new comes out, we purchase it and play with it to see if it fits what were doing in the business – its hard sometimes,he laughed.

Ashley’s team was also one of the first to implement smartphones and tablets across the entire workplace. We rolled them out nearly two years ago,Ashley explained.

Ashley also supervises the turnover of IT equipment. Every four years, the company’s stock of laptops is replaced with new models to keep Coke staff current with the latest technologies.

“But theres nothing really wrong with the old machines because theyre only four years old, and they were the latest at the time.

So Coke came up with a way to put those machines to good use. More than 70 laptops will be going to Technology for the Disabled. We offer them the laptops, and they use them to either give to families, or in parts of their business that are working with disabled people,Ashley said.

In recognition of the support Ashley and his family have received from the Cerebral Palsy Alliance, he also encouraged Coca-Cola to donate some of this years computer stock to that organisation as well.

I went to them and offered them some of the laptops,he said. Theyve given so much to us, their time and everything, so its good to be able to give them something back.