Purchase individual online access for 1 year to this journal.
Price: EUR 105.00
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: There are a lot of assistive devices available for visually challenged people to make them self-dependent, but not many writing aids are available that could allow them to have written communication. Assistive devices also suffer from problem of low acceptance rate primarily because they are complex to use, have big cognitive load and are mostly expensive. This paper presents a low cost, portable and easy to use pen like writing aid for visually challenged people based on Morse code communication. Intelligent electronic hardware design has been carried out to make the device light weight and low cost with bill of…materials (BOM) of electronic components is only $14. To make the device respond faster, a platform independent and novel software algorithm has been developed that runs on a microcontroller. Average speed of writing with the device is 70–80 characters per minute. It is a low power device with maximum rated voltage and current requirements of 5 V and 100 mA respectively. It is an easy to use and easy to hold device because it is designed in a pen like structure with the help 3D designing software and is made with light weight thermoplastic material using 3D printing technology.
Keywords: Assistive device for blind, Morse code communication, writing aid for visually impaired, TI MSP430 microcontroller, assistive technologies
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Being able to communicate through digital channels is a prerequisite for participation in contemporary society. People with communicative and cognitive disabilities (CCDs) face challenges in this area, thus often being excluded from participating fully in society. OBJECTIVE: This qualitative study focuses on aspects of technology that facilitate or impede remote communication in people with CCDs. METHODS: Support persons for people with CCDs (N = 21) participated in five focus groups to discuss this topic. RESULTS: Data analysis yielded two themes: using standard technology…and using assistive technology . Each theme encompasses categories describing aspects and functions of technology that facilitated or impeded remote communication. The support persons felt that standard and assistive technology needed possibilities for personalization for ease and accessibility. There is a need for increased compatibility between assistive and standard technology and between platforms. Remote communication technology must be made more accessible and easier to use for both people with CCDs and those in their networks. CONCLUSIONS: The study provides an overview and illustrative examples of how technology can enhance or hinder remote communication. We offer suggestions on how technology can be developed to meet the specific needs of people with CCDs and simplify remote communication for them.
Keywords: Augmentative and alternative communication, cognitive impairment, communication, computer access, information technology and telecommunications, universal design
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Camphill Village Trust (CVT) is a National charity, supporting around 500 adults with learning disabilities in community settings. OBJECTIVE: To co-design a social media platform to enable people supported at CVT to enjoy the benefits social media can offer, in a ‘safe space’. METHODS: A survey was undertaken of potential users to determine existing technology use and what was wanted from a social media platform. This was constructed according to findings, and solo and group interviews and another survey captured usage and opinions. RESULTS: Posting and reading the posts…of others were popular, but use of other facilities (e.g. noticeboard) was limited. People valued its role as a social connector, and the closed environment was also seen as a benefit. Staff used it to aid social interactions and as a learning tool. Barriers included remembering passwords, uploading photos and lack of support, the latter due to competing time demands on staff. CONCLUSIONS: The study showed that it is possible to involve people with learning disabilities in the development of an electronic resource, and that a safe, protected platform can be utilised for both entertainment and education. Some staff were reticent, which highlighted the need for training and time allocation.
Keywords: Learning disabilities, social media, co-production
Abstract: OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of seat height, wheelchair mass and grip on mobility performance among wheelchair basketball players and to investigate whether these effects differ between classification levels. METHODS: Elite wheelchair basketball players with a low (n = 11, class 1 or 1.5) or high (n = 10, class 4 or 4.5) classification performed a field-based wheelchair mobility performance (WMP) test. Athletes performed the test six times in their own wheelchair, of which five times with different configurations, a…higher or lower seat height, with additional distally or centrally located extra mass, and with gloves. The effects of these configurations on performance times and the interaction with classification were determined. RESULTS: Total performance time on the WMP test was significantly reduced when using a 7.5% lower seat height. Additional mass (7.5%) and glove use did not lead to changes in performance time. Effects were the same for the two classification levels. CONCLUSIONS: The methodology can be used in a wheelchair fitting process to search for the optimal individual configuration to enhance mobility performance. Out of all adjustments possible, this study focused on seat height, mass and grip only. Further research can focus on these possible adjustments to optimize mobility performance in wheelchair basketball.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Robotic exoskeletons are increasingly available to inpatient rehabilitation facilities though programmatic implementation evidence is limited. OBJECTIVE: To describe therapists’ clinical practice experiences with robotic gait training (RGT) over 3 years during inpatient rehabilitation. METHODS: Therapists participated in a survey and semi-structured focus group to discuss their RGT experiences. Interviews were recorded, transcribed, and analyzed using a theoretical analysis-driven thematic approach. RESULTS: Therapists averaged 7.6 years of neurologic rehabilitation experience and 1.85 years with RGT. Eight of 10 therapists had completed ⩾ 50 RGT sessions, with frequency…of 1–5 sessions/week, including on-label (spinal cord injury, stroke) and off-label (e.g., traumatic brain injury) experiences. Three adverse events occurred over 716 RGT sessions with 186 patients. Qualitative analysis identified three major themes and corresponding subthemes: 1-Comparison with traditional gait training approaches (6 sub-themes), 2-Clinical decision-making considerations (3), and 3-On-label and off-label utilization (4). Stated RGT benefits included decreased therapists’ physical burden and increased patient motivation. Clinical concerns with RGT included tonicity, continence, and patient communication (e.g., aphasia). Off-label RGT was used to overcome barriers in traditional gait therapy and achieve early mobility. CONCLUSIONS: Therapists’ level of training and clinical knowledge furthered RGT implementation and allowed for safe utilization with on-label and off-label patients.
Keywords: Stroke, spinal cord injury, bionic exoskeleton, qualitative research
Abstract: BACKGROUND: People with intellectual disability and motor impairment have reduced opportunities to participate in recreational and communication activities. OBJECTIVE: This study reports on the evaluation of a new tablet-based program to help seven participants with mild/moderate or moderate intellectual disability, motor impairment, and limited communication skills to access leisure events and video calls independently. METHODOLOGY: The program relied on the use of a tablet fitted with the WhatsApp Messenger and MacroDroid applications. The leisure and communication options (i.e., music, films, and video calls) were presented in sequences of three. The participant could choose…the first, second or third element of the sequence by touching/covering the tablet’s proximity sensor once, twice or three times. The program was evaluated according to a non-concurrent multiple baseline design across participants. RESULTS: During the baseline (i.e., when the program was not in use), the participants failed to access leisure events or video calls independently. During the post-intervention (i.e., with the program), their mean percentages of session time spent with the two types of engagement were within the 80–90 range. CONCLUSION: We conclude that the new tablet-based program can be a fairly efficient and beneficial tool to enable people with intellectual disability and motor impairments to access leisure events and video calls independently.
Keywords: Communication, recreation, electronic aids to daily living, neuromuscular impairment, intellectual disability
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Post-operative cognitive dysfunction is a common complication after heart surgery that affects up to 60% of all open-heart surgery patients. Despite its prevalence, limited attention has been given to different methods to retrain cognition in open-heart surgery patients. OBJECTIVE: To examine whether 3-dimensional multiple object tracking (3D MOT) can be used to detect changes in cognitive function in open-heart surgery patients. METHODS: In total, 16 open-heart surgery patients (age: 59.43 ± 12.99 years) from a Midwestern Canadian hospital were recruited. The patients completed a cognitive assessment, including 3D MOT and…other standardized neurocognitive tests at 3 time points: 1 to 2 days pre-surgery, at discharge or 1-week post-surgery (whichever came first), and at 12-weeks post-surgery. RESULTS: No significant differences were detected between baseline and 1-week/discharge measurements on all measures. Patients improved significantly from 1-week/discharge to 12-weeks in 3D MOT scores. A similar yet non-significant (p = 0.07) trend was found on some neurocognitive tests (i.e., Montreal Cognitive Assessment). CONCLUSION: No significant decline from pre- to 1-week/discharge post-surgery was found on all measures. 3D MOT detected post-surgical cognitive changes in open-heart surgery patients. Future research is warranted to explore the potential of 3D MOT in retraining cognition after heart surgery.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: The Family Impact of Assistive Technology Scale for Augmentative and Alternative Communication (FIATS-AAC) is an emerging parent-reported outcome measure designed to detect the functional impact of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) interventions on family systems. OBJECTIVE: The present contribution reports on the adaptation of the FIATS-AAC into the Italian language. METHOD: The original FIATS-AAC was first translated in Italian by following a standard linguistic validation protocol that employed a translation-back-translation technique. To assess its preliminary measurement properties empirically, the initial Italian FIATS-AAC was then administered by either phone or face-to-face encounters…to 30 parents or primary caregivers of children with AAC needs who were aged four to 18 years. Parents completed the scale twice with a one-week interval. During the first administration, parents also completed the standardized Impact on Family Scale as a comparative measure to assess convergent validity. RESULTS: Overall, the interpretation of results from internal consistency, test-retest reliability, and convergent validity suggest that the Italian FIATS-AAC is a promising tool to assess child and family functioning in areas that may be impacted by the introduction of AAC interventions. CONCLUSIONS: Recommendations for further study include confirmation of its responsiveness to detect meaningful functional change following the introduction of AAC interventions and the utility of a shortened version.