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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: According to recent research, mobility service dogs (MSD) improve grasping ability, autonomy in ADL, manual wheelchair propulsion, walking, transfers, psychosocial aspects, reintegration into normal life, and satisfaction with important occupations, and decrease pain in manual wheelchair users' shoulders/wrists. However, it remains a challenge for rehabilitation professionals to recommend MSD for different profiles of neurological disorders. OBJECTIVE: Formulate guidelines to support the decision-making process of rehabilitation professionals recommending MSD. METHODS: Focus groups with MSD experts (7 therapists, 4 trainers, 3 managers, 5 users) responded to four research questions. They had to formulate and…prioritize criteria to inform the recommendation of MSD for three clinical cases: A-tetraplegia with powered wheelchair, B-paraplegia with manual wheelchair, and C-ambulatory (incomplete SCI or neurodegenerative disease). RESULTS: For the decision-making process of recommending MSD, six main variables were identified: scientific evidence cited (they are different among clinical cases), added value of MSD compared to other assistive devices (dissimilar among clinical cases), prioritization of personal (7), environmental (8) and canine (6) characteristics, and possible negative consequences in MSD user's life (stigmatization, resilience, care burden, authority or obedience). CONCLUSIONS: The results provide the basis for the development of clinical practice guidelines for occupational therapists and physiotherapists recommending MSD to individuals presenting various profiles of neurological disorders.
Abstract: This study concerns the difficulty in accessing computers faced by people with Dyskinetic Cerebral Palsy (DCP). Thus diminishing their opportunities to communicate or learn. This population usually needs an alternative input human-computer interface (HCI). The paper presents an alternative multimodal HCI that incorporates a head-mounted interface and superficial electromyography sensors (sEMG). The aim of the study is to assess the usability and the suitability of these two HCI devices. Six non-disabled subjects and ten subjects with DCP participated in the iterative process in which each test follows an improvement of an input. The results indicated that for both systems, the…improvements in the usability are remarkable when there were previous training programmes with both interfaces. These tests allowed the identification of the main difficulties associated with disability: poor control of the voluntary muscle contraction, which affects the EMG signal, and abnormal postures, which affect the head-mounted interface control. Regarding the EMG signal, the characterisation of the involuntary patterns of muscle contractions may prevent false positives. In the case of the inertial interface, a relative mode control (based on the velocity of the movement instead of posture) may be a solution to increasing the usability and task performance.
Keywords: Cerebral palsy, dyskinesia, usability, augmentative and alternative communication, human-machine interaction, assistive technology, user-adaptation, sEMG, inertial sensors, motor disorders
Abstract: This paper provides an overview of video-based instruction for teaching assorted skills to individuals with disabilities. Video-based instruction is an umbrella term that refers to instructional techniques that present learners with video footage designed to teach a skill. A comprehensive description of the distinctive subcategories of video-based instruction (i.e., video modeling-other, video self-modeling, video feedback, point-of-view video modeling, video prompting) is included. Additionally, this manuscript provides practitioners with an illustrative sample of existing video-based instruction literature, a concept map of video-based instruction nomenclature, as well as guidelines and pragmatic information related to planning and deploying video-based instruction for learners with…disabilities in clinical and/or school settings. Key extractions from the video-based instruction literature base are synthesized and analyzed in respect to limitations, and implications for future research are discussed.
Keywords: Video-based instruction, video modeling, video self-modeling, video prompting, video feedback, point-of-view video modeling, students with disabilities, special education, technology
Abstract: BACKGROUND: In 2013 alone, ∼ 5000 new cases of Upper limb (UL) loss in India were reported. This segment has been poorly understood, with limited or no access to quality prosthetic rehabilitative care. Furthermore, very few studies have been carried out to capture their needs and concerns. OBJECTIVE: To understand demographics and needs of UL prosthesis users belonging to low- and middle-income settings in India. Additionally, this study focuses at gaining insights on patient satisfaction levels, patterns of wear, challenges faced, patient priorities, and affordability. METHODS: The questionnaire-based survey data (n = 60)…were acquired through telephone for 53 patients and direct interview for 7 patients and the replies were subjected to statistical analysis. RESULTS: The study reveals that currently available prosthetic arms are not enabling the users to achieve desired functional and satisfaction levels. For a prosthetic UL to be affordable in this context, a price less than Indian Rupee (INR) 20,000 with an instalment mode of payment is preferred. CONCLUSIONS: Major design priorities of the patients are functionality, comfort, and durability. Further, providing a subsidy, minimising delays in limb provision and fitting could maximise long-term prosthetic use and enable a much greater rate of acceptance.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: The benefit of assistive technology (AT) use has been well documented by disability researchers. However, the relationship by areas of functioning has been underexplored. OBJECTIVE: Examine the relationship among AT, demographic characteristics (e.g. race, gender, marital status, educational attainment, and employment status), health coverage, and difficulty levels in areas of functioning in persons with physical conditions. METHODS: Data were analyzed from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) dataset collected in the U.S. in 2013. Descriptive statistics, ordered logit models and seemingly unrelated estimates were performed. RESULTS: Among persons with…a physical condition who used AT and persons who did not use AT, a statistical difference was observed for factors such as race (p < 0.001), marital status (p < 0.001), employment status (p < 0.001), and health coverage (p < 0.001). Significant difficulties for persons with physical conditions, regardless of AT use, were observed in areas of functioning such as lifting, walking, standing, bending, reaching overhead, and grasping with fingers. However, a comparison of AT use vs. no AT use, revealed a substantial positive impact, indicated by parameter estimates, for areas of functioning related to mobility and ambulation such as walking up 10 steps (p = 0.023), walking 3 blocks (p = 0.002), walking 1 mile (p = 0.005), and standing 20 minutes (p = 0.002). CONCLUSIONS: Differences between persons with a physical condition who used AT and persons who did not use AT were observed based on race, marital status, employment status, and health coverage. The benefits of AT use for mobility and ambulation were evident in this study. Future policies and research should continually encourage the use of AT to assist with difficulties in various areas of functioning.
Keywords: Assistive technology, physical conditions, areas of functioning