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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: Although aging persons with cognitive disabilities may benefit from information technologies (IT), researchers have identified barriers affecting their IT use. However, most studies do not emphasize the needs and experiences reported by these users themselves. OBJECTIVE: To identify factors affecting IT use from the perspective of aging persons with cognitive disabilities. METHODS: We conducted a scoping review of peer-reviewed studies published between January 2008 and December 2018 that investigated IT use by aging persons with cognitive disabilities as reported by these individuals. Factors affecting participants’ IT use were synthesized through a thematic…analysis of relevant studies’ findings. RESULTS: Seven studies were included in our analysis. We found technology-related (accessibility, usefulness, cost), social (support, stigma and other social pressure), and personal (experience with IT, attitudes toward IT use, functional limitations, life situation) factors related to participants’ IT use. Stigma was identified as a key barrier to IT use that has been underestimated in previous quantitative research. CONCLUSIONS: Understanding the role that stigma plays in the use and adoption of technology among aging persons with cognitive disabilities is critical to developing successful strategies to promote this population’s IT use.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Sensor technology may improve the quality of life of persons with visual and/or intellectual disabilities. However, there is no general consensus on its utility and implementation. OBJECTIVE: In this exploratory study the aim was to provide an overview of sensors for persons with disabilities to address priorities and ethical concerns for future research. METHODS: Using a qualitative (Delphi) method, 17 interviews were carried out with 20 representatives in the field of visual- or visual-and-intellectual disabilities (in general: six experts in sensor technology, domotics, and eHealth, specific for persons with a visual or…visual-and-intellectual disability: three client representatives; three caregivers; four care team managers; two developmental psychologists; one physician; and one paramedic; age ranges 25–61 years). Atlas.ti software was used to code data and major themes were identified using qualitative analyses. RESULTS: The most used sensors were for surveillance and health and the most desired were for behavior. Different sensors were considered most important for future implementation by the groups of participants, such as sensors for lighting, posture, and entertainment by client experts. Furthermore, the majority of participants agreed that sensors should be easy to use and understand and ethical issues (e.g. privacy, informed consent) should be considered. CONCLUSION: The current applications of sensor technology in clinical practice and future research needs were determined by interviewing experts, caregivers, and client experts.
Keywords: Sensors, sensor technology, visual and or intellectual disability, quality of life
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Virtual reality (VR) offers an innovative method to assess the impact of neurocognitive deficits on daily activities like driving. OBJECTIVE: This study sought to evaluate the reliability of a VR driving simulator (VRDS) in assessing driving behaviors. METHODS: Participants included 91 individuals with a neurological condition (e.g., acquired brain injury, multiple sclerosis) and 59 participants with no history of neurological disorder. Internal consistency and split half reliability were examined from data for all participants for driving speed, lane positioning, and steering on a rural segment of the virtual reality driving simulator route.…Test-retest reliability was examined for data from the 22 drivers who completed the same route sections across two time periods. RESULTS: Internal consistency and split half reliability were excellent (alphas > 0.90) for speed and lane positioning on a basic rural route. Test-retest reliability was variable with adequate to good reliability of lane positioning and steering but poor reliability of speed. CONCLUSIONS: Findings suggest that VRDS is a generally reliable instrument for measuring speed, lane positioning, and steering in a virtual basic rural driving environment. Reliability of repeated testing is not consistent, likely due to practice effects, highlighting the importance of using a comparison group in VRDS studies.
Abstract: BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: In Bangladesh, 9.1% of people are disabled, but production and distribution of assistive products (AP) have not been sufficient up to now. Ensuring APs are in the market, and suggesting appropriate APs to the users, are two crucial points in Bangladesh, but there are no data about available APs and the awareness of rehabilitation professionals (RP). To improve this situation, this research was carried out to reveal the number of available APs and the awareness of RPs about APs. METHOD: Data from two important disability-oriented organizations in Bangladesh were collected, including RPs from…those organizations. RESULTS: The result revealed that 23 out of 50 kinds of APs from the assistive products list (APL) of WHO were available in Bangladesh. In terms of awareness, an average of 24 APs from the APL were known by the RPs. Only 6% of RPs knew all the 23 APs available in Bangladesh. A total of 47% of RPs got information on APs from the internet, but 92% of them didn’t know any database of APs. CONCLUSION: The study indicated that APs are insufficient, and the awareness of RPs about APs is inadequate in Bangladesh.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Evidence suggests Functional Electrical Stimulation leg cycle ergometry (FES-LCE) is beneficial for people living with chronic spinal cord injury (SCI). However, approaches to implement FES-LCE during acute rehabilitation are not established. OBJECTIVE: Describe the process of developing and implementing a FES-LCE program for SCI patients within acute rehabilitation. METHODS: Implementing an FES-LCE program required developing patient inclusion/exclusion criteria, training protocols for staff, patient, and family/caregivers, and procedures for scheduling patients with devices. RESULTS: Our FES-LCE program experienced a 263.6% increase in utilization from 2016 (354 FES-LCE sessions) to 2017…(1,404 sessions) including 390.3% increased weekend use (31 sessions to 152 sessions). From 2016 to 2018, our evening community fitness program participation significantly increased after incorporating FES-LCE as an exercise option. Implementation barriers included patient concerns (e.g., injury level, family/caregiver support), clinician considerations (e.g., staffing, scheduling), and institutional issues (e.g., internet connectivity). CONCLUSIONS: FES-LCE can be successfully implemented within inpatient rehabilitation among patients with SCI, yet hinges upon ease of access for clinicians and patients. Our program allowed SCI patients to achieve use following dosing parameters without interfering in the 3-hours of activity-based therapies potential benefits. Future research should examine short- and long-term effects of FES-LCE use on patient outcomes.
Keywords: Program development, neuromuscular electrical stimulation, inpatient rehabilitation facility
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Health is a complex concept that involves diverse dimensions, such as physical condition, psychological state, and social relationships. Several mobile applications are being used to assess these dimensions and provide recommendations for behaviour changes. However, few studies consider the particularities of the motor disability (MD) population. OBJECTIVE: To identify (1) the current mobile support for MD individuals; (2) the health dimensions that are assessed; (3) if they consider specific interventions for the motor disability population; and (4) if health dimensions are holistically rather than individually considered to provide support for MD mobile users.…METHOD: A systematic review was conducted to identify studies from the literature that could answer a pre-defined set of research questions. RESULTS: Fifteen from 111 initial studies were included in this review and they show that the mobile support presents several limitations, such as the lack of a multidimensional holist assessment and intervention process, when they intend to promote aspects of rehabilitation or prevention for the MD population. CONCLUSIONS: This study shows that mobile technology has a high potential to assist its users in managing overall dimensions that affect their health conditions. However, aspects of customization, holist reasoning and automated interventions still need to be considered.
Keywords: Motor disability, mHealth, multidimensional assessment, mobile intervention