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Technology and Disability communicates knowledge about the field of assistive technology devices and services, within the context of the lives of end users - persons with disabilities and their family members. While the topics are technical in nature, the articles are written for broad comprehension despite the reader's education or training.
Technology and Disability's contents cover research and development efforts, education and training programs, service and policy activities and consumer experiences.
The term Technology refers to assistive devices and services.
- The term Disability refers to both permanent and temporary functional limitations experienced by people of any age within any circumstance.
- The term and underscores the editorial commitment to seek for articles which see technology linked to disability as a means to support or compensate the person in daily functioning.
The Editor also attempts to link the themes of technology and disability through the selection of appropriate basic and applied research papers, review articles, case studies, programme descriptions, letters to the Editor and commentaries. Suggestions for thematic issues and proposed manuscripts are welcomed.
Abstract: Objectives: To determine the impact of assistive technology device (ATD) use on child and family function and whether use by young children is related to caregiver satisfaction with a device. Study design: Preliminary study of a state-based ATD Program for young children (< 4 years old). Information on device and child characteristics, service delivery, satisfaction with the device (QUEST), and child and family function (PEDI) was collected through program record review (n=21), telephone surveys (n=13) and face-to-face interviews with caregivers (n=4). Descriptive, non-parametric and qualitative procedures were used. Results: High ranked satisfaction scores were more likely…(p=0.03) for children using the device as intended than for those underutilizing the device. For 3 out of 4 children receiving a mobility device, functional mobility and amount of caregiver assistance improved. Conclusion: Application of this preliminary study’s methods will provide valuable information on the effectiveness of ATDs for young children with special needs.
Abstract: The Technology and Transition project has established a collaborative model for providing and coordinating assistive computer technology (ACT) services to students with disabilities to support the transition process. The model addresses areas mandated by federal legislation including: (a) support for the role of occupational therapy in secondary settings and in the transition process; (b) provision of assistive technology services to students with disabilities in these settings; and (c) facilitation of successful transition outcomes for students with disabilities. The Technology and Transition model has 4 interrelated components: (a) ACT service delivery including evaluation, student training in the use of devices, and…coordination of ACT with the technology used in the school; (b) the provision of ACT devices through a Lending Library, a key component of the model. Seventy-four percent of the participants borrowed equipment from the library; (c) an education component including a website providing transition related materials and resources and a summer training program in which students learn computer literacy skills; and (d) working with school personnel to facilitate coordination and collaboration between the student, family, school personnel, employers, and adult service providers. Occupational therapists have the skills and expertise vital in facilitating the successful transition of students with disabilities from secondary education to adult settings and have been instrumental in the development and implementation of the Technology and Transition model. Preliminary results indicate successful outcomes. Twenty seven students have participated in the project to date; 12 are in college and two are in job training programs with ACT in place, two withdrew from the project and the remaining students continue in secondary education with ACT from the lending library.
Keywords: assistive technology, transition programs and services, occupational therapy
Abstract: Engagement in leisure activity is a complex and subjective concept. It may be difficult for older adults who currently have physical and/or sensory disabilities to continue participation in home-based leisure choices they formerly enjoyed. Disability and social isolation may negatively impact on their pattern of leisure participation in the home. The purpose of this study was to examine the use of assistive devices to increase participation in valued home-based leisure activities by older adults who have physical and/or sensory disabilities. The study considered the need for custom made, or specifically adapted devices, to accomplish valued leisure activities by…this target population. A random sample of 25 participants was drawn from the Consumer Assessment Study (CAS) at the University at Buffalo Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Aging (RERC-Aging). Participants were seen in their homes for an interview regarding current living arrangement, work history, regard for inclusion of leisure as valued activity, past and current patterns of leisure activity engagement, and temporal use of leisure in their present daily routine. For 17 of the 25 participants, a target leisure activity was identified for intervention using assistive devices. The investigator analyzed the activity and searched for assistive devices to address the need. Assistive devices included commercially available products, devices from vendors who cater to special needs populations, custom adaptations and/or custom designed devices. Participants were supplied with devices and trained to use them. A subsequent contact at their home and/or phone interview was conducted to ascertain the participant's pattern of device use and current satisfaction with the target leisure activity. Twenty devices were supplied to 17 participants. The three custom made devices and one custom adapted device were used with maximum satisfaction by participants. Of the eight commercial devices targeted for persons with disabilities, five participants were very satisfied and three were satisfied with device use. Of the eight general commercial devices supplied, four participants were very satisfied, one was satisfied, and three were not satisfied. Considering the reported combined satisfaction with commercially available, leisure related devices being at 100% publicly accessed devices, it is questionable whether it is necessary to provide customized or custom-adapted devices for most people. In fact, given the findings of this study, it seems more practical to provide commercially available devices except in situations when another device cannot be found or when a person's needs fluctuate drastically enough to demand that a very sensitive solution be tried.