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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: The SCAI instrument was designed to help clinicians estimate the economic aspects of the provision of assistive technology (AT) solutions to individual users. Use of the instrument involves three steps: 1) describing the objectives of the individual AT programme 2) establishing the sequence and the timing of all the interventions that form the programme 3) compiling a cost calculation table for each AT solution. The last distinguishes between social costs (the sum of all material and human resources mobilised by the intervention) and the financial plan (the actual disbursement of money over time by all actors involved). The social cost…is the main indicator of the economic significance of the AT solution: alternative solutions should be compared in terms of their social cost. The financial plan identifies the expenditure, i.e., the cash that should be dispensed by the funding actors during the programme lifecycle. The SCAI is not primarily intended as a decision-making tool; it ought to be looked at as an informative tool that adds to clinical assessment so as to make clinicians and users aware of the economic consequences of their decisions.
Abstract: The Quebec User Evaluation of Satisfaction with Assistive Technology (QUEST 2.0) is a 12-item outcome measure that assesses user satisfaction with two components, Device and Services. Psychometric properties have been tested with respect to test-retest stability, alternate-form equivalence, internal consistency, factorial composition and nomological validity. Examples of results obtained with the first version of the tool in outcome studies in Europe and North America support the importance and relevance of the satisfaction measure.
Abstract: The Psychosocial Impact of Assistive Devices Scales (PIADS) is a 26-item, self-report questionnaire designed to assess the effects of an assistive device on functional independence, well-being, and quality of life. The PIADS was researched and developed to fill the need for a reliable, valid, and economical measure that is generically applicable across all major categories of assistive technology. Research has established that the instrument has good internal consistency, test-retest reliability, and construct validity. It is a responsive measure and sensitive to important variables such as the user's clinical condition, device stigma, and functional features of the device. It has been…shown to accurately reflect the self-described experiences of people who use assistive devices. Preliminary investigations suggest that the PIADS has good validity for predicting device use and discontinuance, can be used reliably by caregivers to give proxy ratings of device impact, and produces valid results when translated into languages other than English. The PIADS has excellent potential for testing and building theories about the psychosocial factors associated with the use of assistive technology.
Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to describe the Assessment of Life Habits (LIFE-H), a tool designed to document the quality of social participation of individuals with disabilities. Stemming from the conceptual model of the Handicap Creation Process, the LIFE-H assesses the performance of a person in carrying out activities of daily living and social roles which refer to life habits. Measurement is based on the level of difficulty and the assistance required to perform a series of life habits (69 and 240, short and long form, respectively). The validation process of the instrument is described as well as results…of studies that have used LIFE-H to evaluate social participation.
Abstract: A new method for assessing preference based outcome measures in rehabilitation with assistive devices is reported. The method uses a standard utility instrument, the EuroQol, with complementary items on mobility and social relationships. In addition, a problem solving scale (PIRS) is introduced. Validation has been carried out in a multicenter study of mobility, hearing and communication devices. Utilities and problem solving scores covary strongly for mobility interventions but not for those dealing with communication. So far it is not explained whether the investigated communication interventions result in moderate utility gain only, or whether there is a bias in the corresponding…utility scores. Further research on this has been started. The issue of deriving utility weights for the PIRS has also been started. We recommend the described method to be used for cost-utility analyses of rehabilitation measures for disabled persons.
Abstract: The Matching Person & Technology (MPT) assessment process is a set of person-centered measures, all of which examine the self-reported perspectives of adult consumers regarding strengths/capabilities, needs/goals, preferences and psychosocial characteristics, and expected technology benefit. There are separate measures for general, assistive, educational, workplace, and healthcare technology use; in Ireland, the measures were used to assess outcomes of assistive technology (AT) provision for (a) people throughout the country participating in a new localized AT service delivery process and (b) students transitioning from secondary education. There are companion provider forms so that consumer-provider shared perspectives can be assessed and to ensure…that the matching process is a collaborative one; the Irish version assumes collaboration from the start. Each measure can be used when evaluating a person for technology use and as person-centered, ideographic, outcomes measure. The measures have been determined to have good reliability and validity.
Abstract: OTFACT is a software-based data collection system that implements several unique strategies for measuring assistive technology outcomes. The software uses adaptive questioning to focus on the particular needs of the individual. The computer also creates an efficient data collection platform that makes it practical to use a longer question set to optimise reliability. A functional outcomes theory grounds OTFACT, producing a multi-level question domain similar to the WHO and other global taxonomies. Studies of the reliability and validity of OTFACT have extended beyond the instrument itself to address scaling issues created by the dynamic implementation of questions. Among its scaling…features, OTFACT uses a 0--100 percent function scale that normalizes individual scores to a standard criterion-based range. OTFACT includes a feature for comparing the differential functional performance of individuals when they use AT.
Abstract: Individually Prioritised Problem Assessment (IPPA) is an instrument to assess the effectiveness of assistive technology provision. It is a generic instrument that can be used to assess the extent to which problems identified by an individual assistive technology user have been diminished. IPPA was developed because existing instruments in the field of Health Technology Assessment are not sufficient for assessing effectiveness of assistive technology. IPPA assesses effectiveness in relation to those activities that the individual respondent considers relevant. At the start of the service delivery process, the client is asked to identify and rate the activities that he or she…has problems with in everyday life. The same activities are rated again, a few months after receiving a new assistive technology. IPPA has been used in several studies and has proven to be a usable and valid instrument.