Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Assistive Technology

Assistive Technology is define as:  
Any item, piece of equipment or product system whether required commercially or off  the shelf, modified or customized that is used to increase or improve functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities.

Ref: Cook, A.M., & Hussey, S.M. (2002). Assistive technologies: principals and practice. St Louis: Mosby.

My interpretation of this definition, a selection of ingenious devises or tools that serves the purpose of improving a person’s ability to carry out daily functions.  These devises can be home made, adaptive or commercially provided to fill a deficient in function.

The definition by Cook et al, covers a vast variety of devices and systems.  These can be categorized into 3 areas being:
Assistive versus rehabilitation or educational technologies: To develop skills to use assistive technology in the process of rehabilitation it is usually called upon to use educational technology e.g. cognitive retaining software). Cook et al, (2002).
Low to high technology:  This refers to the catagoring devices into whether they are expensive to use or easily made e.g. a pencil grip as opposed to a wheelchair. Cook et al, (2002).
Hard and soft:  Hard are tangible, ready to use, easy to assemble.  Soft are involved in human areas i.e. decision making, training, strategies, etc. Cook et al, (2002).

Reading Pen2.

The following information is a description on a gadget called Reading Pen2 and this is considered assistive technology.
It is a hand held pen, battery operated.  Size (L x W x H) 163 x 38 x 23mm with cover.  The cost can be expected to be around $675.00 retail.
  • Displays selected word in large font to enable easier, clearer viewing
  • Reads scanned text aloud.
  • Spells out scanned words.
  • Direct look-up of idioms/phases.
  • Recognition of a wide range of printed font types and sizes.
  • Right and left hand support.

Reading Pen2 is ideal for people with reading or learning disabilities or for people who have English as a second language.  The pen has been designed for people suffering from dyslexia or learning disabilities.  It supports with reading and ideal for those who struggle with spelling, pronunciation and comprehension.  Use of this pen encourages independent and inclusive learning, thus additional support is decreased.

Ref: Star Education Ltd: Mobility & Disability Centre. (n.d.). Reading pen2 [Brochure]. WizCom Technologies Ltd.

Since the pen has been designed for people with dyslexia, its most beneficial use would be in a classroom.  They come in two levels, being, child and adult.  Proper use of this pen would enable students to participate actively in class work, perform better in exams and give them the incentive and confidence to continue with education.  People with English as a second language will find it supportive for education and everyday use where translation or pronunciation may be difficult.

Any assistive device that enables a person, with a disability, i.e. dyslexia will have an impact on their ability to perform and succeed within any learning environment.  Some people in the past have not had the assistance or support with their struggle in learning and comprehension difficulties so have experienced occupation deprivation due to dropping out of the school system or unable to maintain employment in certain areas.  As their disability is permanent, without help, it would deprive them of many occupational opportunities.

The following links are videos of how the Reading Pen2 can be used by people with dyslexia. 
                       Ref:: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_f400NcyxtM 

This link demonstrates how the pen works.


For manufacturer's information please visit Spectronics

Linking to blogs of interests and exchange of comments

I have have listed at the front of my page 5 blogs that relate to Occupational Therapy Practice. These can also be view from the list below as well.

These blogs are from global sources, along with New Zealand and one being a fellow student within my course.

OT blog list
The following is evidence that a discussion has taken place over a point of interest within my blog.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

The Internet and online communities

"Occupational Disruption/Deprivation"
Definition:  Occupational Disruption.
"A Transient or temporary condition of being restricted from participation in necessary or meaningful occupations, such as that caused by illness and generally temporary".

Definition:  Occupational Deprivation.
"Influence of external circumstances that prevents a person from acquiring, using, or enjoying occupation over an extended period of time".

Ref: Christiansen, C.H.  & Townsend, E. A. (2010). Introduction to occupation: The art and science of living (2nd ed.). New Jersey: Pearson.

I have provided links to 3 online communities that relate to  the above topic. 
In my first fieldwork, I worked in Community Occupational Therapy.  It was here that I observed occupational disruption that people suffered through injury, chronic illness, disability and disease. Unfortunately due to the nature of some illnessess occupational deprivation was often the result.

Following each link I have given a brief description of the community and considered material presented online.

The purpose of this site is to provide easy access to all information on claim and legislation concerning injury and accident.  It provides eligibility for claims for individuals, businesses and providers.  Although there is a huge amount of information available on this website, it is not very interactive.  There is no public forum but people can place feedback via email.   With no public forum, most feed back with be concerning obtaining more information on claims or issues that have arrived due to placing a claim.

ACC is a huge administration within New Zealand.  It supports individuals financial with assistance to get back into work or support them financially while recovering from injury or accident.  New Zealand business annually contribute financial levies to the corporation.  People would comment on  this online community when there is extra information required, problems when making a claim or reporting fraud.  So basically feedback occurs to clarify or obtain more information about customer questions.  This information is reciprocal but private.

ACC supports individuals and employers with framework of getting people back into work after injury through accident.  It supports the individual financially and also through rehabilitation.  It provides employers with schemes to reinstate employees back to work e.g. the Stay at Work programme, which enables workers to rehabilitate while at  work and also assists with work and housing modifications.

2)Arthritis New Zealand
Arthritis New Zealand is a site intended to provide the general public of New Sealant with information on arthritis.  It covers the disease/condition in great detail from prognosis, diagnosis to manifestations.  It raises awareness and advocates for sufferers and provides free, accessible information to everyone.
It is moderately interactive.  It offers expert advice and a facilities for questions and answers.  There is a blog attached to it and people have the opportunity to write their experiences about the disease.

People mainly contribute by way of personal stories through the blog and there seems to be a sense of support and wanting to share their experiences of pain and success with living with arthritis.  Comments are available.

I chose this site because during my fieldwork placement in Community OT, there were many clients  who were experiencing occupational disruption due to their condition.  Many were unable to participate in meaningful activity  due to pain suffered.  As Occupational Therapists we were able to put in place equipment to help them adapt and assist their physical functioning to participate again in meaningful activities that they have performed in the past.  An example being a lady unable to stand unaided for any length of time due to pain.  She was unable to prepare meals for her husband.  We provided her with a perching stool and this enabled her to stand at her kitchen bench again.

"Poverty Frontiers.org is a knowledge sharing resource on poverty reduction, asset-based approaches to development, and poverty-related issues" (Poverty Frontiers.org, n.d.) This is a moderately interactive site.  Contributions are made mostly by specialist and academics in their field of poverty.  They contribute by way of research and articles.  There is also online discussions with the relevant date posted.

People choose to contribute to this communities because of their concern of global poverty, which affects health and well being, development of countries and this is part of occupational deprivation.  These people are seeking solutions and answers global poverty.  The information appears to be shared one way but there is a section for questions and comments and this is done via email.

I chose this site as it reflected the area of service within my fieldwork, being a lower socio-ecomomic location.  I observed people existing in a level of poverty due to external factors, lack of money, lack of education, sometimes cultural factors e.g. language barriers and also internal factors being prolonged illness.  These factors have a immediate affect on the ability to earn money, hence their living standard.  This is also an example how occupational disruption and deprivation can often be seen as similar or overlapping.

Potential ethical issues that may arise in the above communities:
Generally, it is very difficult to monitor information that is published on the internet.  However I would suggest that ACC and Arthristis NZ would vet throughly what information is on their site.  ACC is a government website and Arthristis NZ is backed by the department of health.
Where there are public forums bad language is removed, but other than that it is difficult to control what people post.
On the above sites wording has been carefully used, so information is not offensive or upsetting to all that read it.

Benefits and limitations of these communities:
The benefits of Acc and Arthritis NZ is that they are local to the New Zealand population and within New Zealand there is access to physically locate an office for the Hamilton region.  Having the opportunity for some people to go and talk to staff, face to face, is a huge benefit as not all people have a computer or are literate.  Another benefit for these two sites is that the information is representative to the New Zealand sample population.
The only limitation  that I can consider is there is a possibility for communication to be local to New Zealand only.

Poverty Frontiers is global with the benefit of global academic import into the site.  The limitation is the level of poverty that they discuss is very different to the poverty that we experience in NZ.