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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: Wheelchair headrests arc currently designed so they arc not easily moved once they arc adjusted to the optimal position. This is the preferred design in most cases because it would be detrimental to the user for the headrest to accidentally move from its optimal position. However, there may be times, such as when headrests arc used in conjunction with adjustable position wheeled mobility bases and seating systems, that the user would prefer to change his headrest position. When a person who uses a tilt-in-space or reclining wheelchair changes his orientation, he may prefer to change the position of his head…in relation to the rest of his body so he can continue to maintain visual attention with current activities. Evidence of research examining this phenomenon is limited. A a preliminary study, non-disabled adults were seated in a tilt-in-space seating system and positioned in three orientations. To simulate a passive activity requiring visual attention, they were asked to watch a videotape. In each position, the preferred headrest position was determined. Data regarding the preferred position of the headrest was collected and analyzed to determine the relationships between changes in body position and changes in preferred headrest angles. Findings indicate that the sample tested preferred to change their headrest angle in response to changes in orientation. The results of this study indicate that further investigation is warranted to determine if people who ordinarily use such devices would benefit from adjustable angle headrests.
Keywords: Head position, Wheelchairs, Seating and positioning
Abstract: Home based frail elders experience significant difficulty with mobility. Many turn to mobility aids such as canes and walkers to provide support. Others use wheelchairs for all or part of their mobility needs. This study followed up on a finding from an earlier report that frail elders experience a high rate of problems with their wheelchairs. In the present study we found that 31.4% of frail elders used a wheelchair, and 40% of these wheelchair users report at least one problem. Problems were grouped into these categories: ‘maintenance and repair, such as broken wheels, flat tires, (33% of problems); ‘fit…between user and the chair,’ such as uncomfortable to sit in, unable to propel self (41%); and ‘physical characteristics,’ such as too heavy, too wide of the wheelchair, (26%). There were a significantly higher percentage of elders with wheelchair problems among those who selected their own wheelchair, than among elders whose chair selection involved a health professional. Two primary reasons for not resolving the wheelchair problems in a timely manner relate to the consumer's limited financial resources and their need for more information on maintaining and repairing wheelchairs.
Keywords: Assistive devices, Mobility, Aging, Community, Home care