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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: This article presents and describes the framework and the development process of the “Signs Workshop” CD-ROM, which is a multimedia application for the promotion of early communication skills of children with developmental disabilities. Signs Workshop CD-ROM was created in the scope of Down's Comm Project, which was financed by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, and is the result of a partnership between UNICA (Communication and Arts Research Unit of the University of Aveiro) and the Portuguese Association of Trisomy 21 Carriers (APPT21/Differenças).
Keywords: Language and communication skills, augmented communication systems, total communication, multimedia production
Abstract: This paper presents a suggested methodology based on virtual reality (VR) technology that enables people with cognitive disabilities to communicate their knowledge and experiences of public transport systems. The users interacted with the VR system by verbally describing their actions to the person controlling the VR system and/or pointing with a laser pointer while seated in front of three screens on which the virtual environment (VE) was projected. A surround sound system was used to add realism. The users were video filmed as they took a virtual bus trip and were then asked to think aloud about their experience while…watching the video material. The VR methodology was evaluated on seven people with stroke. Overall, the results suggested that the VR methodology is feasible for people with cognitive disabilities. Despite some initial difficulties, the subjects managed to communicate their intentions, some by combining verbalisations and pointing with the laser pointer in a very efficient manner. They were engaged in the virtual bus trip and made comments on the experience, including comments on emotional aspects. Interestingly, the subjects' verbal descriptions of what they wanted to do revealed in parts aspects of how they reasoned when taking the bus trip.
Keywords: Virtual reality, cognitive disabilities, design, planning, public transport
Abstract: Technology has a profound effect upon the lives of students with disabilities. This mixed methods longitudinal analysis of technology supports began with exploratory factor analysis of repeatedly administered nationally represented surveys of disability support providers. This was followed by a qualitative cross case analysis of three purposefully selected postsecondary institutions and longitudinal study of one of the sites across four levels (coordinator, supervisors, support staff, and students) that underwent a 40% budget reduction. Qualitative thematic coding using grounded theoretical procedures were used with 40 interviews to confirm cross-validate and corroborate findings. This repeated sorting, coding and comparisons of themes created…categories to more readily distinguish how technology is viewed and used in postsecondary education. Results from all three phases clearly indicate that assistive technology was highly valued and supported by the participants in the study. The survey revealed that providing assistive technology was a top priority, the cross case analysis indicated that appropriate technological services and training reduced student dependency, and the longitudinal analysis across four levels revealed the coordinators priority to improve technology by updating hardware and software, training and reconfiguring staff, and collaborating with departments across campus continued to improve student success despite reduced funding and staff.
Keywords: Technology, disability, mixed methods, case study, support, longitudinal
Abstract: Transport policies often contain explicit goals for the travel quality of disabled passenger groups. Addressing the user perspective, focus group discussions with wheelchair-seated passengers (using bus transit and Special Transportation Services) were therefore held, in order to qualitatively explore perceived comfort and safety – two important quality factors. The comfort and safety constructs were shown to refer to technical (vehicle technology and systems design) as well as social aspects (trust, predictability, communication), and the construct meanings were intertwined. The emerging dualism of the constructs is important to consider, particularly since the social aspects were stressed as being travel quality prerequisites.…Methodologically, the focus group method proved useful, and the use of in-vivo impressions could serve as valuable input into quantitative research or evaluations.
Keywords: Bus, comfort, focus group, safety, special transportation services, wheelchair