Technology and the environment: Supportive resource or barrier for people with developmental disabilities?

Department of Occupational Therapy, Joint Doctoral Program in Disability Studies, University of Illinois at Chicago, Room 311, 1919 West Taylor Street, Chicago, IL 60612-7250, USA.
Nursing Clinics of North America (Impact Factor: 0.84). 07/2003; 38(2):331-49. DOI: 10.1016/S0029-6465(02)00053-1
Source: PubMed


Assistive technology and environmental interventions (AT-EI) have been shown to influence community living and participation outcomes for people with developmental disabilities, and important others in their lives. However, many unmet needs for AT-EI remain, and many barriers to accessing and using AT-EI on a daily basis across activities, settings and the life span still exist. This article presents potential applications of AT-EI with people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, benefits of AT-EI use, legislative rights ensuring access to AT-EI, funding issues and sources, barriers to AT-EI access and implications for health care professionals. The author advocates that health care professionals collaborate with consumers to advocate for their needs and rights, with them rather than for them, and serve as system interfaces to support people as they transition across systems and settings.

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    • "Accessibility and inclusion do not necessarily result in participation; however, social features, such as levels of support and use of peer mentoring, can offer bridges between access and full participation and, ergo, also represent key foci for programming and intervention research. We also know that consumers have stated that assistive technologies and environmental modifications are more likely to be used, and less likely to be abandoned, when delivery includes social support involvement and education on how to manage and use these devices and modifications in everyday life and across everyday contexts (e.g., home community, workplace) [7] [10] [11] [12] [13]. "
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    ABSTRACT: This article summarizes the proceedings of the Environmental Barriers and Supports to Health, Function and Participation Work Group that was part of the "State of the Science in Aging with Developmental Disabilities: Charting Lifespan Trajectories and Supportive Environments for Healthy Living" symposium. The aim was to provide a research and policy agenda targeting the assessment and evaluation of environmental factors influencing the health, function, and participation of people with developmental and intellectual disabilities (I/DD). Key environmental areas addressed were (1) the built environment including homes and communities; (2) assistive and information technology design and use; (3) social environment factors and interventions; and (4) environmental access and participation policies, legislation, and system change implications. The group identified gaps in knowledge and priorities for future research, including (1) multivariate analyses of attributes of the built environment; (2) large-scale intervention trials of assistive and information technology use with people with cognitive disabilities; (3) development and testing of social, peer-mentoring, and self-management interventions as applied to people with I/DD; (4) incorporation of environmental health research methodologies, such as GIS mapping into I/DD research; (5) participatory action approaches that actively include people with I/DD in the research process; and (6) rigorous examination of the impact of legislative and policy initiatives related to least restrictive community living and participation with people with I/DD. Future research and policy initiatives should focus on examining how the environment (build, technological, social, and system level) influence community living and participation of people with intellectual disabilities.
    Disability and Health Journal 07/2008; 1(3):143-9. DOI:10.1016/j.dhjo.2008.05.001 · 1.29 Impact Factor
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    • "From a clinical perspective, the perception of the patient, as revealed by the analysis of questionnaires, is that he/she does not have to rely on the caregiver for all tasks. Although further studies are needed in which a larger cohort of patients is confronted with the system and a systematic categorization of the system impact on the quality of life should take into account a range of outcomes (e.g., mood, motivation, caregiver burden, employability, satisfaction) [14][15][16], the results obtained from this pilot study are encouraging for the establishment of a solid link between the field of human machine interaction and neurorehabilitation strategy [17]. Exploration of potential impact of BCI on the users' interaction with the environment is peculiar to this work when compared to the previous studies on the usefulness of the BCIbased interfaces, i.e. [3][5][7]. "
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    ABSTRACT: In this pilot study, a system that allows disabled persons to improve or recover their mobility and communication within the surrounding environment was implemented and validated. The system is based on a software controller that offers to the user a communication interface that is matched with the individual's residual motor abilities. Fourteen patients with severe motor disabilities due to progressive neurodegenerative disorders were trained to use the system prototype under a rehabilitation program. All users utilized regular assistive control options (e.g., microswitches or head trackers) while four patients learned to operate the system by means of a non-invasive EEG-based Brain-Computer Interface, based on the subjects' voluntary modulations of EEG sensorimotor rhythms recorded on the scalp.
    Conference proceedings: ... Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. Conference 02/2007; 2007:2532-5. DOI:10.1109/IEMBS.2007.4352844
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