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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: The proportion of the population over the age of 65 is increasing, and this includes persons with developmental disabilities, For this population, impaired mobility is often the result of the combined effects of the aging process, chronic diseases, and developmental disability. Unfortunately, there has been virtually no research on the interaction of these factors on mobility. Neither has there been a focus on mobility related assistive devices that might increase independence and safety, and improve quality of life for older persons with developmental disabilities. This study investigated the types of ambulation problems experienced by older persons with developmental disabilities and…their use of mobility devices. The sample included 27 participants over the age of 60 with developmental disabilities living in community residences in Western New York. All but one participant used a walker and all had difficulty in walking. Participants and their caregivers were interviewed. Videotapes of participants' performance using their walkers were reviewed by an occupational therapist and a physical therapist. The assistive device most used by participants was the walker and 92.59% of participants reported satisfaction with their walker. Reasons for using a walker included skeletal problems, muscle weakness, balance problems and prevention of injuries to lower extremities. In most cases the physical therapist recommended the device, and provided training and follow-up. Caregivers in both the home and day program played important roles in ensuring correct use of the device. No accessibility problems were found in the community residences. These residences provided a social environment that fostered the use of walkers. The high level of consumer satisfaction with the walkers suggests effective service delivery for this population.
Keywords: Canes, Walkers, Assistive devices and elders
Abstract: This paper demonstrates the implementation of adaptive technology to assist a 26 year-old woman (WR) with severe developmental disabilities in her daily life activities. A multidisciplinary team of University-affiliated professionals and staff at a Center for persons with developmental disabilities worked together in evaluating WR and interfacing her with a specially adapted remote control for a TV/VCR. This paper delineates the process of identifying WR's specific needs to determine attributes of technology most conducive to her functioning.
Keywords: Assistive technology, Adaptive devices, TV/VCR adaptation, Developmental disability, Case study
Abstract: To meet the assistive device needs of individuals with developmental disabilities in Western New York State, the Center for Assistive Technology offers a program called Applied Studies. This program was described in more detail in a previous issue of Technology and Disability (Mann, 1992). Graduate students in engineering, architecture, the therapies, and rehabilitation counseling work in teams with faculty in identifying appropriate assistive devices for each individual referred to the program. When there is a need for a device but the device is not commercially available, the team designs and fabricates one copy for the client's issue. For those devices…that might serve other individuals with disabilities, the Center for Assistive Technology develops and prints Technical Reports. Each Technical Report provides a description of the functional need addressed, and directions for fabricating copies of the device. Below are descriptions of the eight Applied Studies devices: Supine Positioner Mold, VCR Tape Guide, Adapted Camera, Horseback Riding Trunk Support, Cassette Tape Guide, Labeling Jig, Portable Paraffin Wax Stand, Assessment Walker.