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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 care sector for persons with disabilities considers the physical environment relevant for the quality of life of people with intellectual disabilities. However, scientific evidence is limited. OBJECTIVE: To obtain evidence regarding comforting and encouraging environments and to develop an overview of studies addressing the effect of the physical environment on people with intellectual disabilities. METHODS: A scoping review, accompanied by expert panels and case findings combining scientific evidence and knowledge from practice, was performed to investigate the interaction between challenging behaviour and the physical environment. Between January and March 2020, several…scientific databases were searched in the English, Dutch, and German language for relevant studies. Social media, care professionals, and experts in building physics were consulted. RESULTS: Studies on building-related factors as passive interventions and care- or therapy-related interventions could be distinguished. The majority of the studies report on building-related factors such as sound, acoustics, light, and colours and their influence on behaviour. Specific guidelines are lacking on how to adjust the indoor environment to an environment that is safe, comforting and encouraging for people displaying challenging behaviour. Proposed solutions are case-based. CONCLUSION: In future studies individual cases could be studied in a more in-depth manner, aligned and categorised to the building-related factors and to the expressions of challenging behaviour.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Tele-physiotherapy continues to rise, noticeably in Saudi Arabia which established a tele-physiotherapy initiative in 2018. However, data about the population’s understanding of tele-physiotherapy are scarce. OBJECTIVE: To explore Saudi population’s perception of tele-physiotherapy, and the correlation between quality of life and tele-physiotherapy preferences. METHODS: A cross-sectional online survey conducted on Riyadh residents, using a self-administered tele-physiotherapy survey and the SF-12 quality of life (QoL) index (Arabic version). RESULTS: Of 1011 participants, 85.3% were female, 50.8% were aged 26 to 50 years, almost 75% had university-level education, and 34.2% were…employed. Only 19% had heard about tele-physiotherapy, with 43.7% of them citing social media as a source. Only 2.5% had tried tele-physiotherapy. Almost half reported uncertainty about most of the tele-physiotherapy questions, and over half recognised limitations e.g., anxiety about incorrectly performing the exercises (79.7%), therapist communication (51.7%), technical problems (70.7%), and privacy violations (66.3%). However, 58.7% said they would try tele-physiotherapy. There was no significant correlation between SF-12 QoL scores and participants’ tele-physiotherapy knowledge. CONCLUSIONS: There was a significant lack of knowledge among our cohort of patients about tele-physiotherapy. Even though, the willingness to try tele-physiotherapy was generally positive. More strategies need to be implemented to educate the Saudi individuals about tele-physiotherapy.
Keywords: Saudi Arabia, SF-12, tele-physiotherapy, tele-physiotherapy, tele-physical therapy, quality of life
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Students studying in the higher education system face multiple challenges, such as meeting the minimum requirements for enrolling in a programme, securing tuition fees and adapting to new teaching and learning styles, whilst also coping with minimal support. The challenges are more profound for students with disabilities (SWDs) who must progress and emerge triumphantly as graduates, despite their unique and special needs. OBJECTIVE: By relating the personal experiences of SWDs, this article examines the different types of support they need as they commence their studies in higher education institutions, as well as throughout their journeys.…METHODS: The study adopted a qualitative multiple case study research design in which the approaches of public and private high schools in handling SWDs were compared with the experiences of SWDs at a higher education open distance e-learning institution. RESULTS: The findings revealed that the use and availability of assistive technology devices were more pronounced at the school level than at the ODeL institution. The SWDs expressed their frustrations and reported more struggles with their studies at the ODeL institution than they had experienced at school level. CONCLUSION: The SWDs in the study provided some potential improvements that could be implemented by ODeL institutions in addressing their needs and in providing support, whilst also emulating the best practices implemented at high school level.
Keywords: Students-with-disabilities (SWDs), technology assistive devices, high school support, open distance e-learning institution, special learning needs
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Today, various emerging assistive applications (apps) running on smartphones have been introduced such as Seeing AI, TapTapSee, and BeMyEyes apps. The assistive apps are designed to assist people with visual impairment in navigating unfamiliar environments, reading text, identifying objects and persons. Yet, little is known about how those with visual impairment perceive the assistive apps. OBJECTIVE: This study aims to advance knowledge of user experience with those assistive apps. METHODS: To address the knowledge gap, this study conducted phone interviews with a convenience sample of 30 individuals with visual impairment.…RESULTS: The results indicated that those with visual impairment showed a range of preferences, needs, and concerns about user interfaces and interactions with the assistive apps. DISCUSSIONS: Given their needs and concerns, this study offered a set of facilitators to promote user adoption of the assistive apps, which should be valuable guidance to user interface/interaction designers in the field.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Drivers with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) experience visual-cognitive impairment that impact on-road driving performance. OBJECTIVE: This study examines the feasibility of utilizing visual-cognitive and driving simulator assessments to indicate driving performance deficits (operational, tactical, and strategic maneuvers) in drivers with MS. METHODS: Through an evidence-informed feasibility framework, we evaluated recruitment capability and resulting sample characteristics, data collection procedures and outcome measures, participants’ acceptability and suitability of the driving simulator, the resources and ability to implement the study, and clinical and driving simulator assessment results. RESULTS: Thirty-eight persons with MS (median…age = 43 years, IQR = 19) and 21 persons without MS (median age = 41 years, IQR = 14) participated. Missing data on the driving simulator resulted from scenario complexity (13 with MS, 4 without MS) or the onset of simulator sickness (1 with MS, 1 without MS). Seven participants with MS and two participants without MS reported symptoms of simulator sickness. Participants with MS (vs without MS) made more adjustment to stimuli errors (tactical maneuvers). For participants with MS, immediate verbal/auditory recall or divided/selective attention correlated with simulated driving maneuvers. CONCLUSIONS: Study findings identified challenges (missing data, simulator sickness), but established feasibility for executing a full-scale study to predict driving simulator performance in drivers with MS.
Keywords: Assessment, cognitive dysfunction, automobile driving, feasibility studies, multiple sclerosis, high fidelity simulation training
Abstract: INTRODUCTION: Technology is in rapid and continuous evolution. The recovery of functions, motor, and cognitive activities benefits from it to define new outcome measures and new rehabilitation processes. This study evaluates the applicability of an electrical resistance modulator device for rehabilitation purposes for a person with spinal cord injury. MATERIALS AND METHODS: The study sample consisted of 10 healthy, able-bodied subjects assessed in a light wheelchair. A resistance training mode is compared using the electrical resistance modulator device and a standard strength training protocol with the aid of two weights, through an electromyographic and a kinematic…evaluation with a triaxial accelerometer. The movements investigated consist of arm abduction-adduction, arm elevation-extension and elbow flexion-extension. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION: In the flexion-extension gesture of the arm, there is a greater symmetry of muscle activation and less activation of the muscles not directly involved in the movement during the use of the electrical resistance modulator device. In the flexion-extension of the elbow and flexion-extension of the shoulder, the muscle power expressed through the electrical device is greater, while in the abduction-adduction of the shoulder, it is more significant with weights. For the joint Range of Motion, the duration of the motion cycles and their symmetry, there are no significant differences between the two experimental conditions. CONCLUSIONS: The study results confirm that training for increasing muscle strength in a person with spinal cord injury can be performed using the electrical resistance modulator device. There are no contraindications to its use nor greater risks for the subject’s health. Further studies are needed to investigate the benefits of using the electrical device in the early stages of rehabilitation of a person with spinal cord injury.