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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 study evaluated the impact of iPads on students with disabilities in a Higher Education (HE) setting with a focus on: an assessment of their physical characteristics and functionality; their utility as communication devices; and the use of iPads to engage with university services. The participants, who had a range of disabilities, were provided with iPads for a period of three weeks, given basic training in their operation, and were instructed to use them freely. The participants completed an online survey and then took part in semi-structured interviews at the end of the loan period. The participants also undertook a…series of short information-seeking tasks that were designed to compare the performance of laptops and tablet computers. This study should be of use to education practitioners as well as acting as a pilot for future studies aimed at investigating the provision of tablet computers to students with disabilities.
Keywords: Tablet computers, usability studies, information seeking, laptop computers
Abstract: In recent years video game consoles, such as the Nintendo Wii™ and the Microsoft Kinect™, have been introduced into residential facilities. This paper presents a review of current studies documenting the benefits and detriments the Wii could have on adults aged 60 years and over in residential facilities, concentrating on the common uses of the Wii in care facilities: maintaining physical fitness, promoting mental well-being, encouraging social interaction and both physical and mental rehabilitation. Furthermore, this paper discusses the potential use of the Microsoft Kinect in care for older persons. The Wii can have a positive impact on the physical…and mental health of older adults living in care facilities, but additional work should still be conducted, including assessing the use of games outside of Wii Sports and Wii Fit and possible non-gaming application of the Wii in care for older adults. Results for the Wii display potential for use of the Kinect in care facilities but further exploration is required to assess the potential physical impact and interaction viability.
Keywords: Nintendo Wii™, Wiimote, Microsoft Kinect™, older adults, nursing homes
Abstract: Background: Complex communication needs and problems with accessibility may restrict people who use augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) to communicate on the phone. New technology is promising. People with limited skills in reading and writing can communicate on the phone by using symbols representing words or phrases. Methods: This interview study examines professionals’ views of satisfaction, participation and involvement in daily life in seven individuals with cognitive and communicative disabilities who tried text messaging with picture symbols and speech synthesis in smartphones. The users’ experiences of text-messaging are reported elsewhere. Results: The results suggest that texting…with picture symbols and speech can increase independence and participation in adults with cognitive and communicative disabilities. Results also point to the necessity of individual assessments. Important factors for user satisfaction include products which can be adapted according to the individual’s needs. Speech synthesis, user friendly lay-out and functions making devices easy to handle are necessary. Conclusions: This study is promising and informative for professionals working with communication technology. It supports enabling of texting today as well as future development of smartphone applications for persons with cognitive and communicative disabilities.
Keywords: Cognitive and communicative disabilities, augmentative and alternative communication, text messaging, participation
Abstract: We examined the usage of computers in 171 adolescents with visual impairment and 515 sighted peers. Participants reported computer ownership and hours per week using the computer for school, video games, music, movies, photographs, searching for information, communication and shopping. Adolescents with visual impairment reported higher rates of overall computer usage than sighted peers, due to higher usage for school work and searching for information. In addition, adolescents who are blind used their computers more often for communication and less often for dealing with photographs than adolescents with low vision. Furthermore, higher usage of computer was associated with higher age,…male gender, lower vision status and worse marks in school. Finally, positive associations between computer use and having a romantic partner as well as belonging to a peer-group were stronger in adolescents with visual impairment than in sighted adolescents. Conclusions for further research are discussed.
Abstract: This paper presents a serious game called VirtualMat. It is a Virtual Reality (VR) system designed to support the teaching of logical-mathematical concepts for students with intellectual disability. In this game, VR techniques were used in order to investigate its feasibility as a support tool for these students. The game was validated by special education professionals and tested by 15 students with intellectual disability from two inclusive schools. The results indicate that the game contributes to the student learning process by allowing the development of mathematical reasoning in an enjoyable and active way.
Keywords: Virtual reality, intellectual disability, serious games
Abstract: Background: As they age, older persons prefer to continue to live in their own homes. Sensors in the environment and/or bodily worn systems that monitor people might contribute to an increased sense of safety and security at home, but also raise concerns about the loss of privacy by surveillance. Little is known about how older persons, living at home independently and stating good health, perceive monitoring technology in terms of personal privacy. Objective: to identify and describe how older persons, perceive monitoring technology in terms of personal privacy. Method: A qualitative study based on five focus…group interviews was used. Concepts of “freedom” and “surveillance” were used as content areas in the data analysis. Results: The results comprised three categories of ambivalence; “independence vs. security”, “privacy vs. intrusion”, and “in the best interest of me vs. in the best interest of others”. These three categories merged into the overarching theme “maintaining a sense of self” which illustrates a desire to maintain control of one’s life as long as possible. Conclusions: Older persons generally have positive feelings and attitudes toward technology and strive to maintaining a sense of self as long as possible, by having control. They stated high value to privacy, but valued being watched over if it ensured security. To feel good and bad about monitoring technologies, rather than good or does not necessarily lead to feelings of conflict.