Functional and psychosocial impact of computer-based assistive technology for adults with disabilities
Lenker, James Allen
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This study explored differences in impact of computer-based assistive technology device (ATD) usage that may be attributed to type of disability, the length of time since acquisition of the device, and six potential covariates. Sixty-two participants were surveyed, representing three disability groups (physical, vision, and learning) and three temporal strata (1, 2, and 3 years since ATD acquisition). Data were collected via in-person interviews that incorporated three tools: the Psychosocial Impact of Assistive Devices Scale; Quebec User Evaluation of Satisfaction with Assistive Technology; and a structured survey. The analyses revealed that the seven functional and psychosocial outcome variables were not statistically different across disability groups or temporal strata. ATD usage for word processing tasks was statistically associated with trial usage opportunity (p = 0.035) and frequency of personal assistance with activities of daily living (p = 0.048). ATD usage for using web-based tasks was statistically associated with trial usage opportunity (p = 0.022). The descriptive summaries of outcome variables provide benchmarks for future studies of computer-based ATD users. Future ATD outcomes research is needed in five areas: (a) specification of treatment intensity and duration; (b) identification of a standard set of predictor variables; (c) development of device-specific outcome measures; (d) improved research methods and analyses; and (e) studies featuring repeated-measures.