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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: Technology in recent times has shown exciting advancements. These advancements have been implemented in healthcare settings to improve therapeutic outcomes. Within the domain of communication disorders, stuttering has witnessed the implementation of a wide variety of technological interventions. This paper provides a comprehensive review of the current status of technology-based stuttering intervention programs, their advantages and disadvantages, and a few directions for future research. AIM: This review aimed to systematically identify the technologies used in stuttering intervention and explore the effect of these interventions on dysfluencies in stuttering. METHOD: We followed the…conventional systematic review process and searched six electronic databases using relevant keywords. We included intervention studies published since 1990 on individuals diagnosed with developmental stuttering. In addition, all studies that used technological intervention such as device(s), computer programs, and mobile phone applications were included. RESULT: Fifty-nine studies were included after a thorough eligibility check. The major categories of technological rehabilitation include telehealth technology, software programs, biofeedback, virtual reality, video-self modeling, neuromodulation, and altered auditory feedback. In general, the results show a beneficial effect of technological intervention in reducing stuttering. Further, this review identifies reduction of the duration and minimal to no side effects with such intervention technologies in stuttering. Finally, the percentage of stuttered syllables (%SS) emerged as the most common outcome measure in technology-based intervention in stuttering. CONCLUSION: A wide variety of technological applications have been implemented in stuttering intervention. Regardless of type, all the studies that aimed to examine the effect of the technological intervention on stuttering reported positive outcomes. This review highlights technology-based stuttering intervention programs’ current status and their impact on stuttering dysfluencies. Further, it highlights several advantages and disadvantages of implementing technology-based interventions, and a few directions for future research.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Individuals with spinal cord injury (SCI) present thermoregulatory impairments that prejudice thermal compensation and heat dissipation during exercise practice. Thus, cooling vests (CV) seems to be a promising strategy to attenuate it. OBJECTIVE: Our aim was to evaluate the efficacy of CV in controlling the rise in body temperature and in enhancing exercise performance in individuals with SCI. METHODS: The searches were performed in PubMed, Web of Science, Scopus, PEDro, and SciELO databases. We selected randomized controlled trials, quasi-randomized trials, or cross-over trials that evaluated the efficacy of CV before or during…exercise practice in thermoregulatory responses and exercise performance of individuals with SCI. RESULTS: A total of 400 reports were identified through databases searches and another article was found through citation searching. Seven cross-over trials were included in this review after the screening processes. CONCLUSION: CV may not be effective in attenuating the rise in core temperature in persons with SCI, but it seems to be effective in controlling skin temperature and in improving thermal comfort/sensation. It is unclear whether the CV is more effective when applied before or during exercise practice. Individuals with tetraplegia may benefit more and the CV may be more effective in strenuous exercises.
Keywords: Quadriplegia, paraplegia, para-athletes, body temperature regulation
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Automated in-vehicle technologies, specifically in-vehicle information systems (IVIS) and advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), are increasingly common in today’s cars. Previous studies illustrate benefits of using IVIS and ADAS to improve safety, convenience, and comfort in healthy older drivers. However, research is sparse on the feasibility of such technologies for medically at-risk drivers, such as those with Parkinson’s disease (PD). OBJECTIVE: This study enrolled healthy volunteer drivers to examine the feasibility of the procedures and measures for evaluating the effects of IVIS and ADAS on their driving performance. METHODS: During this feasibility…study researchers compared drives completed with and without support of IVIS and ADAS, as participants drove a 2019 Toyota Camry XLE. The test vehicle was equipped with IVIS, ADAS, cameras, a telematics system, and sensors. Participants drove the road course supervised by a Driver Rehabilitation Specialist (DRS). RESULTS: Overall study procedures and vehicle equipment were feasible and provided sufficient data collection for measuring the impact of IVIS and ADAS on driving performance. Data observation by the DRS combined with data captured from cameras and telematics, facilitated comparisons to increase data reliability and validity. CONCLUSIONS: Feasibility study findings informed a randomized clinical trial, examining the use of IVIS and ADAS technologies as an intervention to support drivers with Parkinson’s disease.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: People with peripheral neuropathies suffer significant sensorimotor impairment. Prescribed treatment includes the use of orthosis. However, a common obstacle to treatment efficacy is patient adherence. Given the limited information available, gathering evidence on adherence to orthotic treatment is essential. OBJECTIVE: This study aims to identify aspects that influence adherence to orthotic treatment in patients with peripheral neuropathies. METHODS: We applied a survey including items from the assistive device evaluation section of Quest 2.0 and self-developed questions to assess the importance and satisfaction of wrist-hand orthosis users. We used the principles of the…Kano model to understand the nature of issues influencing adherence and prioritize opportunities for product improvement. RESULTS: User satisfaction with the ease of adjustment, weight, comfort, effectiveness, durability, dimensions, and appearance of orthoses influences treatment adherence. CONCLUSIONS: We found differences in estimating the importance of orthosis aspects from direct consultation and estimation from the satisfaction-adherence correlation. Satisfaction is an indirect measure of importance and an adequate predictor of adherence. The application of Kano’s model allows a more precise identification of the influence of orthosis attributes on adherence. This method describes relationships between aspects that are not discernible in linear models.
Keywords: Hand, orthosis, adherence, satisfaction, QUEST 2.0, Kano’s model
Abstract: BACKGROUND: People with severe/profound intellectual and multiple disabilities often need support for their occupational engagement. OBJECTIVE: This study assessed a smartphone-based intervention program to strengthen a functional object manipulation response (i.e., collecting and putting away objects) and possibly improve the mood of five adult participants with severe/profound intellectual disability and visual-motor impairment. METHODS: The intervention program, which relied on a smartphone linked to a motion sensor, was implemented according to a nonconcurrent multiple baseline across participants design. During the program phase, every object manipulation response (detected by the motion sensor) caused the smartphone…to provide the participants with 9 or 10 s of preferred stimulation. Failure to respond for a preset period of time caused the smartphone to present a verbal encouragement/prompt. RESULTS: Data showed that during baseline (prior to the intervention program), the participants’ mean frequency of object manipulation responses per 5-min session was always below three. During the intervention phase, the mean frequency of object manipulation responses varied between about 14.5 and 20.5 per session. Moreover, participants showed mood improvement. CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that a smartphone-based intervention program may promote functional responding and improve mood in people with severe/profound intellectual and multiple disabilities.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: A relatively high number of users is dissatisfied with their orthopaedic device. The term ‘user practice’ was introduced to emphasise the idea that users of orthopaedic devices perform activities within an environment, which are characteristic for that environment. OBJECTIVE: To investigate to what extend orthopaedic shoe engineers map the specific environments in which users live and the activities they perform within these environments during the first intake for custom made orthopaedic footwear. METHODS: Orthopaedic shoe engineers were recruited from orthopaedic service providers across The Netherlands. The intake with a new…client for orthopaedic footwear was recorded and analysed using four user environments: daily life at home, transport, work, and leisure. RESULTS: Our study showed that orthopaedic shoe engineers cover at best less than 50% of activities within the four user environments. Consequently, there is no guarantee that the resulting design of the orthopaedic footwear fits all of the activities and environments of the users. CONCLUSIONS: The principles of user practices, consisting of specific environments and activities of the user, are not yet adequately used in the field of orthopaedic shoe engineering. By not using them, too little understanding of the life of the user can result in dissatisfaction and non-usage of the orthopaedic device.