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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: PURPOSE: To review the AT specific assessment models and instruments that have been developed for children with multiple disabilities in order to provide an overview of the strategies to be employed in interdisciplinary rehabilitation. METHOD: A systematic review was conducted utilizing the MEDLINE, CINAHL, PsycINFO, ERIC and ISI databases covering the period January 1990–September 2011. In addition, 4 conference proceedings, 35 journals and various web resources were hand searched. Papers were reviewed in three…steps by three independent investigators according to specific inclusion and exclusion criteria. RESULTS: The search resulted in the finding of 25 papers. Only one model for structuring the AT assessment process and four instruments developed to support decisions about AT solutions for children with multiple disabilities were found. The validity and reliability of the models and instruments found are not documented in the literature reviewed. CONCLUSIONS: We argue that there is a need to develop validated models and instruments to guide AT professionals in the process of AT assessment for children with multiple disabilities.
Abstract: This paper presents findings on the role of online traveller information services in regional public transport for older people and people with functional limitations. An explanatory mixed methods design was used. A quantitative questionnaire study of the target group's need of traveller information and use of online traveller information services provided the basis for a qualitative focus group study of their attitudes towards online traveller information services in public transport and their perceptions of traveller…information's role in their travel habits. The key findings suggest that the essential influence of access to traveller information through online traveller information services on the travel of older people and people with functional limitations is the reassurance that these services offer. This results in confidence that enables secure travel which in turn enables the older traveller or traveller with functional limitations to cope with possible difficulties during the journey. Thus there is a point in offering high quality traveller information to such people through online traveller information services. The point however, is not necessarily that they should undertake more journeys by public transport, but rather that when they travel they can do so confidently.
Abstract: The purpose of this study was to finalize the standardization of the Assessment of Computer Task Performance for children. Objectives were to obtain descriptive sample data for each age group from 5 to 10 years, identify factors associated with performance, and examine the inter-rater reliability, internal consistency and construct validity of the test in a sample of typically developing children (without impairments). The measure is composed of five standardized and timed keyboard tasks and five standardized…and timed mouse tasks. The test was administered to a sample of 524 children recruited from schools and summer camps. Descriptive results for each age group are presented (mean, standard deviation, etc.) and factors associated with performance were identified. Thirty children underwent a second administration by a different evaluator to examine inter-rater reliability. Factors associated with performance were age, level of education and internet use; these factors are primarily associated with keyboard tasks. Gender and hand dominance were not associated with performance. The Assessment of Computer Task Performance for children has satisfactory metric characteristics and provides a standardized method of evaluating computer performance in young children. It may be used for various clinical and research purposes related to the use of the computer.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: The Minimeter is a communication tool developed for people with severe brain injuries (almost no mobility, limited gaze control and eye blink ability, without speech, and with varying degrees of cognitive difficulties). Previously, they have not been able to communicate reliably even on a yes- or no-level. OBJECTIVE: To capture even minor movements intended for interaction and communication (starting at a yes-no level) with the environment or people around and to yield immediate…and intuitive feedback to the users to help them develop both their abilities and ambitions. METHODS: Longitudinal iterative design of the appropriate communication technology in close collaboration with the intended users in their situated everyday life. RESULTS: During more than 13 years about 30 people with severe brain injuries have achieved new communication abilities through The Minimeter. The tool and its manual, utilizing the parallel advancements in overall computer and game technology, are now freely available as specially designed software for a standard PC with a web camera or accelerometer. CONCLUSIONS: The Minimeter opens up for learning and hope and provides earlier inaccessible possibilities for users with severe cognitive and mobile limitations to express and realize their needs, wishes and sometimes even dreams.
Keywords: Communication tool, severe brain injury, Minimeter, immediate feedback, rolling ball interface
Abstract: Poor sleep is common amongst older people living in residential care facilities. Solutions based on pharmacological therapies and improved nursing care have been investigated, but to date no co-ordinated analysis of the potential of technology to improve sleep quality has been undertaken in this context. To explore this area, this study applied a four-stage user-centred design process, which included identification and prioritisation of areas of need; exploration of design requirements; and development of physical…prototypes. A relational model has been developed mapping major factors that contribute to poor sleep to specific areas of user need. Potential solutions to address difficulties with nocturnal anxiety and relaxation were identified, refined, developed and trialled with participants. Results indicate that the solutions may help improve sleep quality and provide evidence of the usefulness of the user-centred design process.