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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: People with musculoskeletal conditions or other physical disabilities can experience decreased performance due to impaired functional capacity, and orthotics are often prescribed to treat these patients. A common barrier for orthotic provision is patient adherence, further studies are warranted to better understand the relevant causes of abandonment. OBJECTIVE: To identify patient-reported determinants of satisfaction with their orthotic device in studies that used the Quebec User Evaluation of Satisfaction with Assistive Technology 2.0 (QUEST 2.0) to determine patients’ perspective regarding the device and the service provision. METHODS: The two authors carried out the…review independently using three databases (PubMed, CINAHL, and Semantic Scholar) and various medical subject headings (MeSH). RESULTS: Nine total articles for the final systematic review. The QUEST 2.0 scores ranged from 3.7–4.53 for the device subscale, 3.7–4.71 for the service subscale, and 3.7–4.61 for the total score. The top three patient-reported items were effectiveness , comfort , and ease of use . The most common reasons for orthotic abandonment were pain, discomfort, wounds, or skin irritation. CONCLUSION: Clinicians should address the needs of the patient when it comes to orthotic interventions to decrease orthotic abandonment, improve functional outcomes, and promote patient-centered practice.
Keywords: Quebec User Evaluation with Assistive Technology 2.0, upper limb, lower limb, patient factors
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Research focusses on providing economical and effective tactile readers which incorporate relative motion between the fingertip and the reading text. OBJECTIVE: Here, a novel design and prototype of a tactile reader is proposed for blind Braille and non-Braille users based on the sequential reading of text when using a single cell reader. METHODS: The accuracy of reading words using this design was evaluated on 17 visually challenged users who know Braille. With a slight modification in the design to benefit non-braille users, the reading of words on 10 blind-folded sighted individuals and…12 late-blind visually challenged users was investigated. Differences in recognition of English letters formed by dots and lines were explored. RESULTS: The results showed no significant difference in accuracy when reading words with this prototype compared to braille reading on paper. The percentage accuracy in reading words for the 39 users was 98.62% for blind braille readers, 90% for blindfolded sighted users and 96.8% for blind non-braille users. CONCLUSION: The findings indicate that the proposed design for tactile reading can potentially benefit both groups of visually challenged users-those who know braille and those who do not.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: In this article, we will present Key-to-Voice, a software design that we developed in collaboration with people who have complex communication needs and respective research that we conducted during the collaboration. The design is the first of its kind and there has not been any similar research linked to testing the design in the Czech Republic. OBJECTIVE: Our original intention was to develop a device that could give a voice to people with severe health problems and enable them to verbalise their thoughts after medical treatment in hospital. METHODS: Participatory design was…used throughout the development and we employed participatory observation, informal interviews and simple questionnaire for the research of the possibilities of the design implementation in a hospital environment. RESULTS: Target group accepted the design we developed without any major problems and, at the same time, the design, and its possibilities of implementation and usage, was improved by participation of people who will be potentially using it. Given that our target group consists mainly of older adults with some kind of complex communication need, possibly acquired disability, we had to consider these aspects during development, as there is, for example, a problem in that older adults can have difficulty using technologies. CONCLUSION: Our design is usable in a hospital environment without any major problems. Participatory design is a very effective approach for making any design better and more usable by a target group, and for minimising bias, stigmatization and exclusion.
Keywords: Android app, augmentative and alternative communication, complex communication needs, Czech Republic, participatory design, total laryngectomy
Abstract: INTRODUCTION: Hearing impaired people are prone to preventable health problems due to communication barriers that hinder their access to healthcare services and education. ICTs become educational tools that, implemented in prevention and health promotion programs for this population, improve their access to information. OBJECTIVE: To determine the level of knowledge on social hand hygiene before and after the implementation of a virtual learning object in 14 hearing impaired students of a school in Bogotá. METHODS: A quasi-experimental, pretest-posttest study was conducted on an intervention performed using a social hand hygiene virtual learning object…(VLO). RESULTS: A significant difference was observed when comparing the pretest-posttest results, being that, in the post-application test of the VLO, the population learned the importance of hand hygiene to avoid preventable infectious diseases. CONCLUSIONS: The implementation of a VLO for social hand hygiene in the population with hearing impairment allowed the learning of the subject, which improved the daily practices of hand hygiene and reduced the risk of contracting preventable diseases, compared with the pretest.
Keywords: Education of people with hearing impairment, hygienic hand disinfection, virtual learning object, sign language
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Working family carers are an important resource for the care of older people but can experience negative pressures without support. OBJECTIVE: This study examined the perceived value of forms of support and the level of receipt of valued forms of support among Swedish working carers, with a focus on information and communication technology (ICT)-mediated support. METHODS: A convenience sample (N = 129) of working carers caring for an older (⩾ 65 years) relative completed a web-based questionnaire that addressed: caring characteristics; work-care conflict; and valued…and received forms of support. RESULTS: Overall non-ICT forms of support were the most highly valued, while receipt of valued support was low: on average only 16.9% of participants who valued ICT-mediated forms of support received such support, while the figure was only slightly higher (23.4%) for non-ICT forms of support. Higher levels of work-care conflict were associated with higher perceived value of support for 13 out of fourteen forms of support. CONCLUSIONS: The findings suggest that ICT-mediated and non-ICT forms of support should be regarded as complementary, while the low level of receipt of valued forms of support could indicate high levels of unmet need in working carers. Implications for further research and policy on working carers are considered.
Keywords: Information and communication technology, family carer support, working carers, work-care conflict, older people
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a severe neurologic disease. Affected patients suffer from a gradual loss of functional capacities. The use of assistive technology and devices (ATD) can help them sustain their autonomy and ability of social participation. OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study was to analyze the experiences with ATD and to identify issues related to the use of ATD among ALS patients and their caregivers. METHODS: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with five ALS patients, five caregiving relatives, and five professional caregivers within a group discussion. Questions related to the living and support situation,…expectations to and experiences with ATD, related problems and usage barriers. RESULTS: Three main areas that affected the experiences with ATD of ALS patients and their caregivers could be identified: usability of ATD, stigmatization due to ATD and the ATD supply process. Inadequate ATD and ATD supply negatively affected the patients’ quality of life and constituted a burden for caregivers. CONCLUSIONS: The presented study results give an important overview about the experiences of ALS patients and their caregivers with ATD. Strategies to approach identified issues could involve the implementation of a case management, patient empowerment, and an adaptation of ATD to meet user requirements.