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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 ALDICT project (1998–2001) from TIDE programme (Access of Persons with Learning Disabilities to Information and Communication Technologies) had as primary goal to create and develop an e-mail programme for people with mental impairment (MI) using different graphic signs communication systems. Simplified e-mail software was developed, using graphic symbols to enable MI persons to communicate with people using different graphic sign systems or the Roman alphabet without having to perform complex tasks required by regular e-mail software. Moreover, the e-mail allows MI users to communicate with people from different countries without knowing their native language (the programme allows the automatic…translation of the words written with the roman alphabet that normally follows the sign graphic symbols as well as the change between the different graphic sign systems used). As a general conclusion we can say that the e-mail programme developed may be regarded as a good tool to teach MI students to communicate with graphic signs and to increase their communication skills and social networks. However, some improvements are still required.
Abstract: Individuals who access electronic text with Braille and synthetic speech, or who have reading disabilities are often limited in their ability to quickly skim large documents. This paper introduces the use of computer generated text summaries as an alternative method of skimming. Readers with disabilities will more rapidly determine central themes of the material, assess the relevance of a document, identify important segments to be read in detail, or decide to move on to another text. An implementation is presented in which two commercial text summarizers are added to a prototype communication system developed for deaf-blind users, however the concept…is more broadly applicable to persons who are blind, deaf, and dyslexic.
Abstract: Over the years, several studies have been performed on the subject of non-use of provided assistive technology. All of them report high rates of non-use. In this literature overview the determinants mentioned in literature that affect the degree of non-use will be discussed. They will be compared to the determinants that affect adherence with medical interventions. First, the various definitions of non-use used in literature will be compared. Next, an overview of the determinants of non-use of assistive technology will be given, categorized under personal factors, factors related to the assistive device, factors related to the user's environment and factors…related to the intervention. After comparing these factors to the factors found in literature related to adherence with medical interventions, the strategies used to reduce non-adherence with medical interventions will be “translated” into the field of assistive technology provision.
Abstract: Assistive drawing devices help Cerebral Palsy children to communicate and express themselves. This case study introduces the design of a unique assistive drawing device for a Cerebral Palsy child with upper limbs disability using the USERfit framework for user-centred design. The product design includes three parts: (1) hand-grip assistive device, (2) arm support assistive device and (3) moving drawing board. To further clarify the feasibility of applying this assistive drawing device design, a comparison experiment is performed for another Cerebral Palsy child. This study concludes that: (1) Hand grip, arm movements and body posture must be considered when designing assistive…drawing devices for Cerebral Palsy children with upper extremity disabilities to improve drawing movement. (2) In terms of drawing agility, stroke, hand (or body) posture and stability, the assistive drawing device presented here can improve drawing range and drawing movement and is superior to currently used assistive drawing devices.
Abstract: Objective: The aim of this study was to describe dependence in daily activities as assessed with a 7-level Functional Independence Measure (FIM™) and also dichotomized. Health-related quality of life was self-assessed with the Nottingham Health Profile (NHP) in this longitudinal study of elderly persons who used or did not use assistive devices after acute stroke. Study design: The FIM and the NHP assessments were made 3 months and 12 months (n = 151) after stroke by means of interviews done by two senior registered occupational therapists within the persons’ own context. Result: We found statistically significant…differences in both dependence and in health-related quality of life between persons who used assistive devices and those who did not. Conclusion: Elderly persons with stroke who were dependent on personal assistance in daily activities reported significantly lower health-related quality of life in many of the items in the NHP. Most of the persons who were dependent used assistive devices in daily activities. The dependence in itself and not the use of assistive devices was most likely the reason for the lower health-related quality of life.
Abstract: It is important to provide scientific knowledge of wheelchairs as occupant-protecting seats in motor vehicles. This study aimed at examining the situation in Special Transportation Services (STS), an important mode of transport for wheelchair users in Sweden. The perceived safety levels were assessed and examined, and extensive field experience was gained. During the study in three Swedish cities onboard STS vehicles in regular operation, the observer developed an observation and questionnaire manuscript. Qualitative as well as quantitative methods were used to interpret the semi-structured data. On the one hand, the study revealed a high or very high general level of…perceived safety. The trip as such was the most important factor for perceived high safety. On the other hand, however, the objective, expert-viewed safety level was regarded as unsatisfactory. The four-point wheelchair tie-down system was seldom used as intended, nor was the three-point safety belt. Methodologically, the participant approach succeeded in eliciting information with enhanced quality and dense structure, thus meeting the objectives of the study. Assessment and interview data revealed obvious similarities, and it was found that the interview method could be used to gather the passengers' perceptions of safety.