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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: Assistive Technology (AT) is regularly provided by health and social services to many people with a wide range of needs or disabilities, to overcome barriers and difficulties in daily life. This research aims to develop a tool that may support practitioners to meet clients' individual needs when selecting AT by using a common language and structure for the process. A tool was developed incorporating the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) model, collating information in a systematic order. Experts in the field of AT were consulted during the development of the tool and initial evaluation, and…provided positive feedback on the research aims and approach. This paper describes the development of the tool and the potential added value of using the ICF in AT selection, with links to existing models and instruments. Plans for further development and testing of the tool are outlined.
Keywords: Assistive Technology, ICF, service delivery, practitioner, framework, selection, instrument
Abstract: Today, GPS (Global Positioning System) devices are no longer an emerging technology, but are rather much like the transistor radio and the electronic calculator were in the 1970s in terms of popularity. GPS devices have been used, and are being used, for all sorts of serious and leisure applications, including in-car navigation systems. This paper examines ‘how GPS and related geo-enabled technologies are helping, or can potentially help, older people and persons with disabilities live more independently’. The paper uses a number of examples, some of which are projects funded by the European Commission that the authors have recently been…directly involved in (namely CAALYX and ASK-IT), to answer the above question from a practical implementation viewpoint. Remotely collected clinical data during times of medical emergencies and accidents can become useless without knowing the exact address of the distressed person to be able to dispatch timely and appropriate help to him/her where he/she happens to be. Moreover, the person might be unconscious or disoriented, requiring a fully autonomous system to raise the alert and relay his/her geographic location. Geo-enabled technologies and services can also contribute significantly to converting complex urban areas that are inaccessible by persons with disability to more accessible and friendly environments for older people and those with special needs. Issues such as geo-positioning problems (technology limitations), individual location privacy, and usability and user acceptance of the technology are briefly discussed, as well as some emerging trends and future directions in the field.
Abstract: During standing-up or stepping-on actions, people with lower-limb disabilities must use their arms to sustain their body weight. However, this action will not only increase the wear of the elbow articulations but will also be impossible for the elder or the child to do without other people's assistance. To solve this problem, this article proposes a gravity balance mechanism which can be applied to crutches, armchairs, and other devices to eliminate the influence of body weight. With the help of the proposed mechanism, people with lower-limb disabilities can easily do more daily activities during which they need to overcome their…own body weight, such as standing from an armchair. Hence the proposed mechanism can not only promote convenience and quality of life but also increase their self-confidence to rejoin society.
Abstract: The aim of this study was to generate new knowledge as basis for the design of kitchens and kitchen products that support ageing persons with cognitive impairments in kitchen activities within the cultural context of Swedish contemporary middle class society. Existing knowledge on the issue was collected through a review of the literature on previous research and through focus group discussions with those identified as experts in the area, including persons with cognitive impairments and their kin, occupational therapists and researchers. The analysis of the existing knowledge identified three important domains of kitchenrelated activities – 1) storing, cooking and eating…food, 2) socialising activities, 3) organising everyday life for oneself and the family – and four principles for design of a cognitive kitchen – a) Safety; b) Support for order and structure, c) Simplicity: easy to understand, easy to use and d) Guidance through recognition and intuition. Suggestions as to how the identified principles can be implemented to support persons with cognitive impairments in the identified domains of kitchen-related activities were developed and presented to stakeholders in a second round of focus groups to gather their reflections. This article presents and discusses suggestions for design of a “cognitive kitchen” developed through the study.
Abstract: This paper aims to describe the policies and procedures of the use of assistive technology (AT) to support education and social inclusion of children with disabilities in Cyprus, through the investigation of four case studies. The paper initially presents the setting of the use of technology in inclusive and special education, as very recently developed and shaped in the last five years in the Cyprus educational system. Then, each one of the four case studies of pupils, from different educational settings (primary-inclusive education, primary education-special unit, secondary-inclusive education and special school) is discussed. The case studies are presented aligned in…the following axes: demographical characteristics, educational setting, type of difficulties and characteristics of disability, procedures of referral and assessment for AT, development and implementation of AT for communication, present and future threats, ethical considerations and challenges. Findings highlighted six areas related to AT in Cyprus, that need further research and development: teacher training and support for system use; consistency of and between people involved (especially educators and therapists); ongoing assessment and follow-up procedures; multidisciplinarity of support teams in and out of school; home use of systems and devices (related to funding); technical support, development and maintenance.