Assistive Technology: Providing Independence for Individuals with Disabilities

Authors

  • Barbara E. Berry PhD RN,

    Director of Nursing, Corresponding author
    1. University of Miami, Mailman Center for Child Development, School of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics in Miami, FL.
      University of Miami, Mailman Center for Child Development, 1611 NW 12 Avenue, Room 4022, Miami, FL 33136 or e-mail bberry@med.miami.edu.
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  • Susan Ignash RN CRRN

    Registered Nurse Care Coordinator
    1. State of Florida Children's Medical Services Brain and Spinal Cord Injury Program in Miami, FL.
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University of Miami, Mailman Center for Child Development, 1611 NW 12 Avenue, Room 4022, Miami, FL 33136 or e-mail bberry@med.miami.edu.

Abstract

Despite improvements in technology and health care, the number of people with disabilities, and the complexity of needs that they and their families experience, continue to increase. In response to these needs, specialized technology has been developed that helps people with disabilities to become more independent and more involved in the activities in their homes, schools, and communities. However, many individuals with disabilities, their family members, and many rehabilitation service providers are not aware of the availability, use of, and benefits afforded by assistive technology devices. Further, many providers have not received the preservice academic preparation required to provide services and support to their clients. Preparation includes acquiring the knowledge and skills needed for evaluation of client needs, making appropriate assistive technology recommendations, and developing advocacy skills such as writing letters of necessity that justify funding for assistive technology devices. This article provides information about these issues and suggests that further information is available through continuing education courses as well as articles in the reference list and other sources cited in the accompanying tables.

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