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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: Background: Individuals lacking or having impaired vision face serious difficulties during autonomous locomotion. Sensory substitution devices can contribute to alleviate such difficulties, significantly (and measurably) reducing anxiety. Objective: The present paper evaluates a device – the Tactile Radar (TR) – that can detect obstacles at a certain distance from the user and generate meaningful and unobtrusive tactile stimuli. Methods: We evaluate the impact of its use on the degree of anxiety that autonomous locomotion usually trigger on people who are blind. Results: Decreased anxiety as well as increased sense of safety and independence was…observed on the tested subjects, through subjective (semi-structured interviews) and objective assessments (STAI inventories). Conclusions: This device seems promising. More experimentation is needed to evaluate the capacity of the TR to enhance indoor localization and body placement with respect to walls and obstacles, as well as evaluation of the device in real life situations including outdoors. Last but not least, we need to consider ways of moving from a prototyping to a real production phase – of an affordable yet reliable device that can reach as soon as possible the interested population.
Keywords: Anxiety, feeling of security and independence, visual deprivation, sensory substitution device, autonomous locomotion
Abstract: Background: Use of switches enables children with physical and multiple disabilities to mobilise, communicate, play and participate in schooling. A comprehensive and psychometrically sound assessment tool is important to ensure children receive appropriate technology and achieve the best possible outcomes. Objective: To systematically review assistive technology assessment tools which assess the switch use of children with physical and multiple disabilities. Methods: The review was conducted according to PRISMA guidelines. An electronic search of ten databases was performed in February 2013. Assessment tools were included if they met three key eligibility criteria: 1) the tool assessed the…assistive technology needs of children with physical or multiple disabilities, 2) the tool could be applied to assess children’s ability to use a switch, 3) the article was published in English in a peer reviewed journal. Results: From eight articles included, six different assessment tools were reviewed for psychometric properties and compared to recommended content from background literature. From this review, it was found there are insufficient validated and reliable assessment tools to assess the switch use of children. Conclusions: A comprehensive and sensitive tool, with adequate psychometric testing, is required to assess the switch use of children with physical and multiple disabilities.