Driving to Learn in a Powered Wheelchair: The Process of Learning Joystick Use in People With Profound Cognitive Disabilities
The Driving to Learn project explored ways to help people with profound cognitive disabilities practice operating a joystick-operated powered wheelchair. The project used a grounded theory approach with constant comparative analysis and was carried out over 12 yr. The participants were 45 children and adults with profound cognitive disabilities. Reference groups included 17 typically developing infants and 64 participants with lesser degrees of cognitive disability. The data sources included video recordings, field notes, open interviews, and a rich mixture of literature. The findings that emerged yielded strategies for facilitating achievements, an 8-phase learning process, an assessment tool, and a grounded theory of deplateauing explaining the properties necessary for participants to exceed expected limitations and plateaus. Eight participants with profound cognitive disabilities reached goal-directed driving or higher. Participants were empowered by attaining increased control over tool use, improving their autonomy and quality of life.
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