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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: The service delivery process of dynamic arm support (DAS) is complex. Obtaining an optimal match between user and DAS depends on a variety of interrelated factors, different professionals are involved, and the market of available solutions is evolving. OBJECTIVE: To determine how the service delivery process of DAS could be optimized. METHODS: Interviews with DAS users that retrospectively focused on the experienced service delivery process, which was compared to the ‘general Dutch prescription guideline. Results were presented in a focus group session to seven DAS consultants, and subsequently verified by a member-check.…RESULTS: Sixteen people who considered the Gowing (a DAS new on the market) as a solution and seven DAS consultants participated. Aspects that can be optimized in the current service delivery process included an improved cooperation between clients, professionals and consultants, increased knowledge of DAS in professionals, an embedded user evaluation, and timely delivery. CONCLUSIONS: It is recommended that the service delivery process is optimized by developing a DAS specific prescription framework. The issues identified in this study should be addressed in this framework. For this additional knowledge on how to optimally match persons and DAS is needed.
Keywords: Assistive technology, dynamic arm supports, service delivery process
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Play is essential for children’s development. Children with severe physical disabilities often experience problems engaging in play. In rehabilitation and special education for children with physical disabilities play-like activities and play for play’s sake are important. OBJECTIVE: The current study aimed at examining the possibilities of using the IROMEC robot in rehabilitation and special education for children with severe physical disabilities. METHODS: A mixed methods approach, using individual interviews, two rounds of focus group interviews, a questionnaire and a final session to reach consensus, was used to examine the match between the…goals in therapy and special education and the IROMEC robot. RESULTS: The existing play scenarios of IROMEC have the potential to support play for children with severe physical disabilities, especially in the domains of movement functions, learning and applying knowledge, communication/interpersonal interactions and relationships, and play. CONCLUSIONS: The current study helped to build a body of evidence to the possibilities of the IROMEC robot. The results of this study can be used to further develop meaningful robotic play interventions for children with severe physical disabilities.
Keywords: Robot, play, children, physical disabilities, special education, rehabilitation
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Provision of Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) interventions have been acknowledged to be highly variable in England and elsewhere. OBJECTIVE: The aim of the project described in this paper was to provide data to inform service planning and delivery of services delivering AAC including communication aids. METHODS: A survey was developed by an expert group and administered by telephone interview to service managers of primary and secondary services providing AAC interventions at a local level in England and data were included from two hundred and twenty respondents. RESULTS: Services…included had mean caseload sizes of 0.09% of the catchment population for AAC provision, with a mean of 0.017% of the catchment population for high tech communication aids. Significantly higher levels of caseload and spend were reported for services working with children and young people as compared to those working with adults. Mean levels of unmet need for AAC equating to approximately one in every eight individuals on services’ caseloads were reported. CONCLUSIONS: Although these data should be treated with caution, they suggest a significant level of variation of provision of AAC by local services.
Keywords: Incidence, prevalence, caseload, service delivery, communication aids, AAC
Abstract: INTRODUCTION: Modern healthcare, including nursing home care, goes together with the use of technologies to support treatment, the provision of care and daily activities. The challenges concerning the implementation of such technologies are numerous. One of these emerging technologies are location technologies (RTLS or Real-Time Location Systems). that can be utilized in the nursing home for monitoring the use and location of assets. METHODOLOGY: This paper describes a participatory design study of RTLS based on context mapping, conducted in two nursing home organizations. Rather than investigating the technological possibilities, this study investigates the needs and wishes…from the perspective of the care professional. RESULTS: The study identified semantic themes that relate to the practicalities of lost and misplaced items in the nursing home, as well as latent themes that cover the wishes regarding technology in the nursing homes. The organizational culture and building typology may play a role in losing items. CONCLUSION: The participants in this study indicated that RTLS can provide a solution to some of the challenges that they encounter in the workplace. However, the implementation of new technologies should be done with care and should be integrated into existing ICT systems in order to minimize additional training and posing a burden on the workload.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: As the older adult population in the U.S. continues to grow, it has become a priority to ensure the health, safety, and well-being of these individuals while maintaining their dignity and autonomy. OBJECTIVE: Memory loss and physical impairments have been identified as factors that restrict older adults from living independently. The objectives were (1) to develop a hybrid space within the participants’ living environments using an Augmented Reality object location and information system based on visual and spatial organization and (2) to assess the users’ perceptions of using such technology. METHOD: Three…older adults who had a physical impairment and also suffered mild memory loss participated in the study. These three individuals were provided with the mobile system, and their subjective responses were documented through interviews and a questionnaire. RESULTS: The results of the study suggest that participants found the system very useful and easy to use. CONCLUSIONS: The results of the study suggest that the older adults who took part in the study were very open to the idea of using such an AR object location and information system based on visual and spatial organization hosted on electronic mobile devices to enhance their living environments.
Keywords: Augmented reality, mobile systems, older adults, independent living