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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: This article briefly reviews the findings of the 1982 report, provides background information on the developments in the field of assistive technology since 1982 and summarizes key issues discussed in all articles. The basic information in this paper serves as a foundation for the subsequent articles, outlining key definitions and service delivery programs. The paper concludes with a commentary on future challenges to achieving systems change in the assistive technology field.
Keywords: Assistive technology, Policy, Systems change
Abstract: This article summarizes demographic information about people with disabilities and their use of assistive technology. Issues relating to the lack of a coordinated national level data collection effort about Americans with disabilities are discussed. These issues have broad implications for assistive technology systems because the lack of data on assistive technology use hampers efforts to build policies supportive of consumer-driven assistive technology services.
Keywords: Demographics, Statistics, Prevalence, Unmet need, Assistive technology
Abstract: This article analyzes the underlying values of public policy toward people with disabilities and technology and the impact on assistive technology service delivery and financing. While the values of the independent living movement are beginning to make inroads into policy, change in practice is moving more slowly. Likewise, although assistive technology concerns have been incorporated into many pieces of legislation, the service delivery system continues to be inaccessible in many ways. Financing is still one of the major problems in accessing technology. Sources of funding are described as well as a variety of creative approaches to filling the gaps in…funding.
Keywords: Public policy, Funding, Universal design, Service access
Abstract: One of the outgrowths of the independent living philosophy is the emphasis on consumer-responsive assistive technology services. Such services emphasize active consumer involvement in all stages of service delivery with consumer satisfaction as the ultimate goal. Related to this issue is the burgeoning concern over meeting the assistive technology needs of underrepresented populations. It has become clear that many people with disabilities who are also members of ethnic/cultural minority groups are not being well served by the current system. Culturally sensitive outreach and services are critically needed among these groups to enable them to benefit from assistive technology services.
Keywords: Consumer responsive, Outreach, Underrepresented populations, Service delivery
Abstract: Another group that is underserved by the assistive technology service delivery system is older persons with disabilities. Because of the projected increase in this population in the coming years and the comcomitant demand on health care, social services and assistive technology, it is important to examine the needs and concerns of this population in depth and move towards greater acceptance of and access to assistive technology for elders.
Keywords: Aging, Home modifications, Chronic conditions
Abstract: In light of America's population demographics, the emergence of ‘new’ disabilities, and the lightening pace of technology advances, it is anticipated that demand for assistive technology devices and services will continue to increase, Unfortunately, the availability of skilled service providers is limited and an array of training opportunities at various levels are needed to increase the supply of practitioners. At the same time, credentialing systems are being developed to ensure that practitioners actually have the necessary skills to provide quality assistive technology services.
Keywords: Education, Training, Service delivery, Assistive technology
Abstract: Although assistive technology is often heralded as the means to improved quality of life for people with disabilities, there is little data to support or refute this claim. Now, with the trend in health care toward accountability and performance monitoring, the assistive technology community finds itself without the tools to prove the value of its services. Measures that include both subjective and objective assessments of quality and outcomes need to be developed with the involvement of all stakeholders in the assistive technology community.
Keywords: Outcomes, Program evaluation, Quality improvement, Accountability
Abstract: While we often focus on assistive technology service delivery, there is a business context that is equally important. Development, evaluation and marketing of appropriate assistive devices is instrumental in supporting a comprehensive service delivery system. Although there has been improvement in development, evaluation and marketing of assistive devices since 1982, many issues remain. Congress must now act to improve assistive technology supply and demand by supporting and coordinating related programs and resources at the national level. In addition, efforts to improve the United States competitiveness in the global assistive technology marketplace should be supported and facilitate collaborative relationships with other…countries.