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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: Shifts from professional-driven, to client-focused, to consumer-responsive, to consumer-driven service delivery have created a new and critical need for people with disabilities with the confidence and ability to make their own assistive technology decisions. On a systemic level, people with disabilities have unprecedented opportunities to influence public policy. Supports provided through several programs as part of the Pennsylvania Title I project under the Technology-Related Assistance for Individuals with Disabilities Act Amendments of 1994 are helping to create new, informed and effective leaders who can advocate for improved access to assistive devices and services for themselves and others.
Abstract: This article discusses a variety of approaches the Illinois Assistive Technology Project has used in conducting outreach activities to rural areas. These have included the use of a Mobile Unit, Request for Proposals for organizations to meet local needs, Regional Centers, Regional Outreach Coordinators to actively solicit the involvement of individuals who would otherwise be outside the reach of mainstream approaches through the use of Regional Advisory Committees. Each of these approaches has advantages and disadvantages, so more than one approach is necessary in order to effectively reach rural populations.
Keywords: Rural, Outreach, Mobile unit, Regional Centers, Assistive technology
Abstract: This article highlights the need for and impact of loan financing programs for the acquisition of assistive technology. The importance of consumer involvement in all aspects of program development and operation will be emphasized. An in-depth review of the potential that loan financing holds for persons with disabilities is provided through a discussion of the need for alternative financing strategies; an analysis of the results of the National Research of Loan Financing Strategies; and a sample of current loan financing programs for assistive technology. The authors would like to clarify that the loan programs identified were surveyed over a year…ago, therefore the figures provided may be somewhat dated. Since the completion of this article, several other states have initiated assistive technology loan programs which are not reported within. Information on these programs can be obtained by contacting the authors directly. We would also like to acknowledge the loan program staff from Nevada, Maine, South Carolina, and Connecticut for their contributions.
Keywords: Disabilities, Adaptive devices, Assistive technology, Low-interest loans, Community integration
Abstract: Often, the elderly and children with disabilities do not have adequate access to assistive technology information, devices, or services. Providing assistive technology to Iowa's elderly and children who require it has been an ongoing priority of the Iowa Program for Assistive Technology (IPAT). IPAT has created system change by including consumers and family members, local service providers and policy makers. The community-based projects described in this article address the goals of the Technology Related Assistance for Individuals with Disabilities Act of 1988 (Tech Act). These include increased awareness and acceptance of assistive technology, increased access to assistive technology services, and…involvement of consumers in decision making and provision of Assistive Technology services.
Abstract: When Congress passed the Technology-Related Assistance for Individuals with Disabilities Act in 1988, it did so with the knowledge that individuals with disabilities can use assistive technology (AT) to enhance many aspects of their lives. In fact, from the time of its initial passage to its reauthorization in 1994, the Tech Act, as the legislation has come to be known, had increased the public's awareness about AT, and led to the development of many state-wide consumer-responsive systems of assistive technology service delivery. It also had increased people's hands-on experiences with AT devices and services. Yet, there was the realization that,…despite the efforts of the state Tech Act projects, systemic barriers existed that impeded the timely access and use of AT devices and services for countless US citizens with disabilities. As a result, Congress included in the revised Tech Act a provision for all state Tech Act projects to undertake a cooperative agreement with their Protection and Advocacy (P and A) system. Essentially, the purpose of this cooperative agreement was to allow for ‘systems change’ to occur as a result of potential or actual litigation brought forth on behalf of people with disabilities by the state P and As. This article discusses one such cooperative agreement that was reached by the Texas Tech Act project, the Texas Assistive Technology Partnership, and Texas' P and A system, Advocacy, Incorporated. General discussion focuses on the Tech Act and its provisions, and specific information is provided about the cooperative agreement formulated in Texas and its early results.
Keywords: Technology-Related Assistance for Individuals with Disabilities Act, Assistive technology, Systemic change, Disability rights, Advocacy
Abstract: While no one measurement tool is sensitive or effective in measuring the outcome of assistive technology applications, there is much a single service provider can do to measure the actual results of the interventions they are recommending and delivering. Five measurement dimensions are presented along with a discussion of the varied audiences interested in outcome measurement. This review article does not offer a how-to in outcome measurement, rather presents a rage of considerations a service provider needs to consider in planning an outcome measurement program.
Keywords: Assistive technology, Outcome measurement, Person with a disability, Service provider, Measurement dimensions
Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to identify the current assessment process used by rehabilitation teams in the area of assistive technology for individuals with spinal cord injuries (SCI). Through the use of technology, many individuals with SCI have been able to reach higher levels of independent functioning than ever before possible, including independent living and employment. Many individuals with SCI have a great need for adapted equipment and assistive technology devices. This paper will suggest recommended areas of assessment for assistive technology, based on both a review of the literature and the results of current research. It is the…intent of the authors that the suggestions will be applicable generally and are not limited to individuals with spinal cord injuries.