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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: Talking Mats™ is a framework developed to support communication with communication vulnerable people. OBJECTIVE: The objective was twofold: to provide an overview of the objectives, target groups and settings for which Talking Mats has been used (Part 1), and an overview of empirical scientific knowledge on the use of Talking Mats (Part 2). METHODS: In this scoping review scientific and grey literature was searched in PubMed, Cinahl, Psycinfo, Google, and Google Scholar. Articles that described characteristics of Talking Mats or its use were included. For Part 2, additional selection criteria were applied to…focus on empirical scientific knowledge. RESULTS: The search yielded 73 publications in Part 1, 12 of which were included in Part 2. Talking Mats was used for functional objectives (e.g. goal setting) and to improve communication and involvement. Part 2 showed that Talking Mats had positive influences on technical communication, effectiveness of conversations, and involvement and decision making in conversations. However, the level of research evidence is limited. CONCLUSIONS: Talking Mats can be used to support conversations between professionals and communication vulnerable people. More research is needed to study the views of people who are communication vulnerable and to study the effects of Talking Mats.
Keywords: Communication, Talking Mats, augmentative and alternative communication, communication vulnerable people, scoping review, communication disability
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Sight loss adversely affects older adults’ (> 65 years) ability to complete daily activities. Digital technology can support functional performance but literature focusing on its use by older people with sight loss is limited. OBJECTIVE: To explore the meaning of digital technology, including factors influencing its adoption, from the perspectives of older adults with sight loss. METHOD: In-depth data was generated via a focus group (n = 4) and analysed using thematic analysis. In addition, a questionnaire survey (n =…30) increased breadth of knowledge regarding digital device adoption. RESULTS: Following thematic analysis, digital technology was equated with complexity. Portable, easy-to-use technology and devices enabling meaningful outcomes were favoured. Barriers to adoption included: high cost, lack of accessible information, unreliability and constantly changing products. Conversely, resource exchange and an interest in technology facilitated acceptance. Physical properties, user interface, accessibility and practical experience concurrently hindered and supported device use. Survey results indicate that most non-digital adopters were > 80 years old, and commonly cited reasons were ‘lack of interest’ and ‘too difficult to use’. CONCLUSION: Older adults with sight loss may be at particular risk of deeming digital technology to be inaccessible. Family and/or peer influence and experimenting with a device could challenge negative preconceptions.
Abstract: Providing a cheaper and comfortable solution in the rehabilitation process of stroke patients to improve their hand function is a challenging task. Employing physiotherapists to improve hand function of stroke patients once they are discharged from the hospital is a costly affair in developing and underdeveloped nations. In this research work the design, development and control of a low cost, self-actuated hand orthotic device was presented that can be used in the rehabilitation process of stroke patients in improving their hand functions. In this paper a single degree of freedom, low cost, easy to wear, easy control, auto-actuating orthosis was…designed on the basis of the abduction and adduction method. A graphical user interface (GUI) was developed for self-actuation and it would simplify the control of the device to alter the angle and speed of the carpometacarpal joint during the therapy of stroke and surgery sufferers by the physiotherapists at hospitals. The same can be employed by users post hospital treatment at their residences without the need to hire physiotherapists. The experiments conducted in the lab and tests with patients at the rehabilitation center demonstrate the success of the system. Given its excellent comfortableness, easy-of-use, light-weight and affordable cost, this device can be used to address the rehabilitation issues of the patients with hand paralysis, particularly in developing countries post hospital treatment.
Keywords: Stroke, hand orthotic device, self-actuation, rehabilitation, paralysis
Abstract: BACKGROUND: To avoid falls in older adults, current solution is compensation using mobility aids. OBJECTIVE: Evaluating satisfaction of older adults with follow-up from their general practitioner and physiotherapist regarding their mobility aid. METHODS: A telephone survey was carried using a satisfaction questionnaire in 86 patients aged 87 + /- 6 years discharged from rehabilitation department of Hôpital Charles Foix, France. RESULTS: Participants were satisfied with the follow-up from their general practitioner (78%) and their physiotherapist (93%) regarding their mobility aid. They judged the professionals competent,…respectively 52% and 62%. Less than 50% of participants reported receiving advice and encouragement from the professionals regarding their mobility aid. The physiotherapist was preferred to the general practitioner regarding follow-up for the mobility aid. Follow-up of the professionals did not influence any change in mobility aid, which the patients determined themselves in two-thirds of cases. CONCLUSIONS: Participants were satisfied with the follow-up by the general practitioner and physiotherapist regarding mobility aids, nevertheless, their follow-up demands of professionals, were superficial as they did not truly use them as resources. General Practitioners, physiotherapists and relatives’ help have to communicate with each other to properly influence changes of mobility aid in elderly people at home.
Keywords: Mobility, aid physiotherapist, general practitioner, older subject
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Children with Cornelia de Lange syndrome and severe developmental delays may present gait difficulties, and/or be unable of independent locomotion. OBJECTIVES: To introduce six children with Cornelia de Lange syndrome to a microswitch-based program for supporting locomotion fluency. To examine the awareness of microswitch responding. To evaluate its effects on participants’ positive participation. To carry out a social validation assessment with 108 external raters. METHOD: Study I exposed 6 participants with Cornelia de Lange syndrome to a microswitch-based program aimed at supporting locomotion fluency, the awareness of microswitch responding, and improving positive…participation. Study II recruited 3 groups of raters (i.e., physiotherapists, practitioners, and psychologists) in a social validation assessment. RESULTS: Data emphasized an increased performance and awareness of microswitch responding for all the participants involved. Social raters positively scored the use of the technology. CONCLUSION: The microswitch-based program was effective for supporting locomotion fluency of children with Cornelia de Lange syndrome. External experts favorably assessed the implementation of the technology for daily use.
Keywords: Cornelia de Lange syndrome, locomotion, microswitches, quality of life, social validation