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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 study primarily focuses on systematically analyzing the effectiveness of using social stories as interventions for inappropriate social behavior in individuals with ASD. OBJECTIVE: This study also reviewed the effectiveness of integration of technology when using social stories. METHODS: Several databases were systematically searched using key words. Exclusion and inclusion criteria were applied to identify appropriate peer-reviewed journal articles for inclusion. Effect size, quality of study, and Gray’s criteria were used to assess the efficacy of social stories as interventions for inappropriate behaviors in individuals with ASD. RESULTS: The…search yielded 23 peer-reviewed journal articles. The literature indicates that social stories are, in fact, effective in reducing inappropriate social behaviors among such children. A few studies had been about applied social stories with use of technology. However, some researchers have argued that social studies cannot be used alone. CONCLUSIONS: There is a need to ensure that teachers involve themselves fully in the process and include verbal prompts and computer-presented social stories employing multimedia features. According to findings of the literature, further research is needed on the effectiveness of social stories when incorporated with other verbal prompts and multimedia features.
Keywords: Behavior intervention, social intervention, social stories, autism, social skills
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Mobility devices such as walkers and wheelchairs are often associated with certain stigma. Such devices must be designed with the goal of reducing stigma to decrease the abandonment-rate. Yet there is little empirical evidence on how mobility devices are perceived. OBJECTIVE: This study set out to explore how (N = 40) non-disabled individuals perceived four common mobility devices including a traditional walker, rollator, manual wheelchair and a powered wheelchair. METHODS: A questionnaire based on semantic differential scales was designed. RESULTS: The results show that…the more elaborate devices are perceived as more aesthetical and lighter, yet more unsafe and impractical. Moreover, respondents familiar with mobility devices through family and friends gave more biased negative responses in terms of device characteristics compared to non-experienced respondents. Next, non-experienced respondents perceived the manual wheelchair to be more stigmatizing compared to experienced respondents. CONCLUSIONS: The findings evidence that different designs of products in the same category can evoke different perceptions of non-users regarding practical, aesthetical and symbolic aspects. Insight into how different design characteristics are associated with perceptions of non-users may contribute to the comprehension of assistive technology stigma and may support design decisions that minimize negative judgments and emphasize positive perceptions.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Lack of parental knowledge about augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) systems and how to incorporate them into daily life can be a barrier to AAC use. To support children who are learning an AAC system, parents must understand how to model communication during naturally occurring activities. OBJECTIVE: The objective of the study was to examine the effects of parent instruction on modeling AAC use in naturally occurring activities. METHODS: An eight-step instruction model was used to teach four parents of children who use AAC to provide partner-augmented input (PAI) using the core…vocabularies on their children’s speech-generating devices (SGDs) during core family leisure activities. Communication Sampling and Analysis (CSA) was used to compare parent and child language at pretest and post-test. RESULTS: All parents demonstrated the ability to perform all of the components of successful PAI (slow rate, model, respect and reflect, repeat, expand, stop) as determined by review of an observation checklist completed during coaching sessions. Parents significantly increased percentage of utterances modeled on their children’s SGDs between pretest and post-test measures. The percentage of unique words modeled (i.e., type-token ratios) by each parent suggests variety in models at post-test. Three of four child participants demonstrated increases in unique words used following parent instruction. CONCLUSIONS: Parent instruction can increase parent modeling and child SGD use.
Keywords: Augmentative and alternative communication, complex communication needs, family-centered practice, parent instruction, augmented input
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Older adults with dementia have been targeted toward the development of assistive technologies intended to facilitate aging in place. Researchers have documented financial and occupation strain for the caregiver and the financial limitations experienced by persons with dementia. These factors constitute a potential hindrance to the use and applicability of assistive technologies; technologies that may reduce caregiver burden, allow more time for paid work, and, in consequence, reduce occupational strain. OBJECTIVE: To unpack how financial burden, operationalized as direct (e.g., income) and indirect (e.g., caregiver education, employment status) measures of wealth and assets, affect the…perceived independence of people with dementia. METHODS: We draw on data collected through a cross-Canada survey of caregivers to develop a set of predictive models of care-recipient task independence. RESULTS: Our findings suggest that said measures of wealth can predict task independence, and more complicated or instrumental daily tasks (e.g., shopping, driving) are perceived as being those with which care recipients need most assistance. CONCLUSIONS: Considering the economical and emotional obstacles that affect both the caregiver and the care recipient, the development of assistive technologies that would be both financially realistic and assistive for this population in these instrumental daily tasks is warranted.
Abstract: INTRODUCTION: 3D Printing can be used to make prosthetic and assistive devices for the physically disabled with the advantages of being affordable and bespoke. A physically challenged test participant was selected who required assistive devices for writing and typing. The participant had a pilocytic astrocytoma in the left peduncle in 2013, which was successfully removed. However, some right arm motor function was lost decreasing writing and typing ability, and forcing adaptation of the left arm. Thus, 3D printed devices were developed to assist the right arm with writing and typing. METHOD: The study employed an Alternative…Treatment Design, in which writing and typing tests occurred every day for the first three days and then the fifth and seventh days. Two devices were made for writing and two for typing. RESULTS: The writing device that consisted of a 2-ring connected design (one finger fits into one ring and the writing utensil into the other) was 15% faster than without any aid on the right hand. Its use also showed the smallest average deviation from a template, 1.8 mm (0.07 in), offering the neatest handwriting quality for the right hand. Regarding typing, the design consisting of a ring and pointer was found to be 54% faster than using no assistive device on the right hand (when typing with right hand alone) and 30% faster than using no assistive device (when using both hands to type). DISCUSSION: The study can assist others who intend to produce assistive devices for writing and typing by not only providing ideas for bespoke designs but also the ways in which these assistive devices can be assessed.
Keywords: 3D Printing, additive manufacturing, assistive devices, performance evaluation
Abstract: BACKGROUND: People with severe speech and motor impairment (SSMI) often depend on electronic user interfaces for communication, learning and many other daily activities. However, these interfaces are often designed assuming the preference and ease of use of end users for different screen regions is the same for people with SSMI as their able bodied counterparts. This paper presents a user study to evaluate whether users can undertake pointing and selection tasks faster if screen elements are organized at their preferred positions. OBJECTIVE: To compare pointing and selection times in an eye gaze controlled interface between two…conditions – screen elements randomly organized vs screen elements organized according to preference of users in terms of specific screen locations. METHODS: We designed a word construction game using familiar 4-letter words and users were instructed to select the correct letters to construct words. We compared total times required to construct each correct word. RESULTS: Users with SSMI can statistically significantly construct words faster [F(1,195) = 31.04, p < 0.01, η 2 = 0.14] when letters were organized at their preferred screen positions than random organization. CONCLUSIONS: Users with SSMI prefer middle and right side of screen more than the left side. Pointing and selection times in a gaze controlled interface can be significantly reduced by presenting screen elements at the preferred positions.