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Assistive Technology Outcomes and Benefits Case Study


As the disabled people population increase, technological advancement has kept the pace to cater for their needs. As a result, it has become easier for disabled or impaired people to access technology. This is in the context of their daily lives as well as academic acquisition.

Various stakeholders including the government, organizations, and employees have been active in facilitating or helping the disabled by either offering humanitarian assistance or implementing law to protect the disabled.

In addition, the improvement in technology has resulted in devices and equipments that can assist the disabled to access facilities and services that other people can access. More so, the Assistive technology has helped the disabled to be less dependent to others with easy accessibility to services and products using assistive devices.

For instance, people with impairments can use “curb cut in architecture, standing frames, text telephones, accessible keyboards, large print, Braille, and speech recognition software” (Orpwood, 1990, p. 73).

In addition, disabled people have commonly used wheelchairs and consequently governments have instructed that buildings should have facilities that will meet the movements, and accessibility requirements of the personal effects. However, these assistive technologies face hostility as people criticize some of them. For instance, cochlear implants for children face many controversies from public. Nevertheless, most of these assistive technologies are important to people in need.

Case study 1

Academic or behavioral issues

Emily is virtually impaired or she cannot see well under various aspects. As a student, she has suffered much because of her low vision and sometimes she has to consult her friend. This may cause an academic problem to her because she cannot match with the rest of students in class, especially when reading from far.

As a result, she requires assistive technologies that can amplify letters for her to read easily. In addition, she require some assistive technologies that will help her participate in various activities that require good visibility so that she does not result in hurting herself or hurt her friends during these activities.

Assistive technologies that will address the Emily’s academic or behavioral needs

To start with, Emily may use “software that reads text on the screen in a computer-generated voice” (Schlosser, & Wendt, 2008, p. 213). This will depend with her visibility because this will be effective if she can hardly see anything in computer screen.

In fact, people with poor vision are highly affected by the computer screen lightings that further affect their vision. In addition, the computer screens should have light reduction glasses mounted on the screen further to reduce the negative effects of spending long time in front of computer screens.

Second, Emily’s low vision may lead to use of software that enlarges screen contents. Example of the software includes “scanner, optical character recognition (OCR) software, and speech software” (Beard, Carpenter, & Johnston, 2011, p. 103).

This software must be installed in specific computers that will be assigned to people with visual impairment in computer laboratory. If Emily has a personal computer, there should be this software also. This should be a mandatory requirement for any school institution so that visually impaired students do not lag behind in typing their assignments and preparing other academic reports.

Third, Emily should be provided with books and examination papers that have large printed letters for her to read independently and easily. In addition to this, there should be good lighting in the classrooms to enhance good visibility. Books’ publishers and examination bodies should be directed at least to prepare these materials in advance to avoid inconveniences, especially during the examination periods. This can as well be substituted by Braille for seriously affected people toward blindness.

Fourth, it will also be important for Emily to have powerful and protective glasses that cannot break easily when performing various activities in school. She can as well acquire different spectacles for different occasions, such as studying, traveling, and playing. The implementation of this plan should involve accessibility to these spectacles to students at subsidized prices.

Last, the evolution of technology has helped in coming up with some laser technologies that may work on people with visual impairments. This has strengthened the earlier technologies on cornea planting to such people. The government should implement this through licensing qualified and competent health specialist in various hospitals to ensure successful treatment to the visually impaired people (Schlosser, & Wendt, 2008).

Anticipated results based upon the use of the assistive technologies

Use of this assistive technology on Emily’s visual impairment will ease reading and performing her duties without relying on others. More so, she can access similar opportunities as other student, for instance, the computers assigned to students well as sit the same examination like other.

Case study 2

Academic or behavioral issues

David’s life in school seems complicated given that he cannot read and write well. As a result, reading has become a hard nut to crack for him and consequently he has performed very low in his assessments tests. It is even complicated that he can barely identify or comprehend words. On the other hand, he can barely write and if he does so, it is only few sentences.

Assistive technologies that will address the David’s academic or behavioral needs

Assistive technologies applicable to David’s case must assist him recognize, pay attention, read and write as require by the teacher for him to pass his assessment tests. To start with, Assistive Technology for Cognition (ATC) can be helpful to David. ATC is significant in augments and cognitive processes.

In fact, they can help David to pay attention and improve his memory on earlier planned words. There has been development in ATC technologies to meet the growing needs. Examples of ATC common in many areas include the NeoroPage that can remind David on various events (Beard, Carpenter, & Johnston, 2011).

On the other hand, David can use a computer that can have tools to vocalize the information appearing on the screen. As a result, he can see the ‘word’ and hear the pronunciation. However, students using a different language instead of their native language may find it difficult to write or read words. Therefore, it should be investigated if this is the problem with David. If this is the case, he can be given a special attention (Behrmann, & Schaff, 2001).

Last, David requires to use a board that has picture or various items and their names written. This should be done severally to make sure that David gets the spellings and the meanings of the words.

Anticipated results based upon the use of the assistive technologies

Using these technologies, especially ATC, David will establish a reading culture and passion in writing (Bishop, 2003). In addition, he will improve his literacy level and recognition of various words because of doing much exercise on reading and writing.

Case study 3

Academic or behavioral issues

Michael’s autism problem has led to poor comprehension of what the teacher talk. More so, He cannot understand the language used. Unfortunately, his behavior is worrying given that sometimes he can throw items, hit, and bite his fellow students. At this age of 10, it may be dangerous for him and to other students.

This will instill fear of attack from Michael, whereas Michael will feel isolated or discriminated by others (Beard, Carpenter, & Johnston, 2011). This will directly affect his academic performance because of stigma and poor understanding. Therefore, Michael requires some assistive technology to help him overcome the problem.

Assistive technologies that will address the Michael’s academic or behavioral needs

People with autism require care and proper handling if they use tangible when using computers. This will help Michael develop appropriate behaviors and forget the violent behaviors. As a result, most of the assistive technologies to help Michael will be robotic and directly related to computer gadgets such as keyboard, and mouse designs (Mirenda, 2003).

To start with, the used keyboard by Michael must have lesser keys, widely spread, and if possible, they should have a different layout. Most important, these keyboards should be compact and less mobile to avoid movements when Michael behaves negatively.

Use of Dvorak and other option of ergonomic layouts on the keys should be present in the keyboards. This will make the keys to be concentrated to either right or left. As a result, Michael will be able to locate the keys easily.

Alternatively, some input devices require modifications so that Michael can see and understand them. For instance, keys in the keyboard can be bigger, and lesser as in the case of special keyboard PiTech that assist autism people in writing. In addition, the keys should be marked or embossed and have detectable colors to help Michael in locating them.

On the other hand, there should be some modifications on the mouse such as the case in Foot-operated mouse. When the case of autism is severe, there are possibilities of removing the keyboard or the mouse to replace with alternative systems, for instance, joystick, touch screens, eye trackers, and vision based input devices among other. This will help Michal to communicate without much stress because in case of eye trackers he can control the mouse with his eyes.

Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) could be effective to Michael given his impairment in communicating. They use pictures on a board in which the autisms patients can communicate or request for certain product or service. In some advanced platforms, the ACC can generate speech based on the stored words.

According to Bauer and Flagg (2010), “AAC interventions are highly individualized, taking into account specific abilities of language comprehension, social-relational characteristics, learning strengths and weaknesses, and developmental patterns for specific types of intellectual disabilities” (p. 133).

As a result, Michael will be assisted in his speech and writing activities. Apart from pictures, the ACC can use gestures, line drawings, and words or letters. The implementation of this type of Assistive technology may be complicated in some schools but there can be several programs in various schools easily accessible by autism students (Parette, Brotherson, & Huer, 2000).

Anticipated results based upon the use of the assistive technologies

It is expected that with the use of the above assistive technologies, Michael can become less violent and communicate easily with his teacher. In addition, his writing capabilities and communication can be simplified by using the modified computer systems. Most important, Michael can communicate in his writing without even uttering a work using the AAC.

Case study 4

Academic or behavioral issues

Holly’s issue emanates from the cerebral palsy, a very sensitive problem that may hinder the visions among students to pursue their academic goals. Movement and performing various hard tasks by Holly may be challenging hence; she may require assistive technologies that will minimize her movements unless it is crucial, for instance, during examination period. Holly should mostly move when seeking health facilities that cannot be medicated at home.

Poor coordination and other disorders affecting Holly’s brain may hinder her communication or writing functions. This may be similar to people suffering autism hence; she may as well be required to have similar assistance as required by autism people. However, cerebral Palsy patients are less violent than the autism patients are and require less modification on the keyboards and mice. Among other issues that Holly may be facing are problems on learning, hearing, seeing, and thinking (Lane, 2008).

Assistive technologies that will address the Holly’s academic or behavioral needs

Various selected assistive technologies will be fundamental to Holly for her to access her high school education through the online and physical campus. Just like in Autism, Holly may require AAC system, especially when attending the physical campus for her to communicate through speech.

This is facilitated by speech generating devices that can make speeches on behalf of the speaker based on the stored information. The advancement in AAC has led to shift from the earlier usage of sign languages to speech production (Beard, Carpenter, & Johnston, 2011).

On the other hand, special input devices can be used on online studying if Holly cannot use the keyboard and mouse effectively. This may lead to use of pointers, joysticks, and adapted mice to facilitate online studying. However, this will depend with her ability use computer.

As a result, the education institute that Holly attends should offer computer-training services to the students including the impaired students such as Holly. In addition, they should be given equal opportunities to learn and to practice with readily available teacher (Arthanat, Bauer, Lenker, Nochajski, & Wu, 2007).

Prosthesis may be equally important to Holly in case some body parts are missing or not functioning well. This is enhanced using mechanical devices put in the muscles and nervous systems to help the patient to facilitate movement after impairment. Alternatively, they can be used to supplement partially active body parts.

This will include use of artificial eyes, and hearing aids among others. This technology should be used in full system for it to function properly and effective. Sometimes, if used partially or incomplete, it cannot deliver the required results. Holly require a system, that will enable her to feel comfortable when in Physical campus as well as when at home learning online (Wessels, Dijcks, Soede, Gelderblom, & Witte, 2003).

Most important, a wheelchair will be very significant to Holly for movements from and to physical campus. A wheelchair may be designed to meet the requirements of the disabled person resulting from cerebral palsy. The wheel chair should be operational by the occupant with ease. On the other hand, the school should have buildings and other facilities that can be accessible using the wheel chairs.

Anticipated results based upon the use of the assistive technologies

Once these Assistive technologies are used, Holly will access the required information online easily as well as completing her assignments. In addition, use of wheelchair will facilitate movements back and forth home and campus. As a result, Holy can study both online and in campus and her future will not be shattered if all the facilities are given to her.

References

Arthanat, S., Bauer, S., Lenker, J., Nochajski, S., & Wu, Y. (2007). Conceptualization and measurement of assistive technology usability. Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology, 2(4), 235-248.

Bauer, S., & Flagg, J. (2010). Technology Transfer and Technology Transfer Intermediaries. Outcomes and Benefits, 6(1), 129-150.

Beard, L.A., Carpenter, L.B., & Johnston, L.B. (2011). Assistive technology: Access for all students (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc

Behrmann, M., & Schaff, J. (2001). Assisting educators with assistive technology: Enabling children to achieve independence in living and learning. Children and Families, 42 (3), 24–8.

Bishop, J. (2003). The Internet for educating individuals with social impairments. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 19 (4), 546–556. doi:10.1046/j.0266- 4909.2003.00057

Lane, J. P. (2008). Delivering on the ‘D’ in R&D: Recommendations for Increasing Transfer Outcomes from Development Projects, Assistive Technology Outcomes and Benefits. Assistive Technology Industry Association (ATIA) and Special Education Assistive Technology (SEAT) Center. Web.

Mirenda, P. (2003). Toward Functional Augmentative and Alternative Communication for Students With Autism: Manual Signs, Graphic Symbols, and Voice Output Communication Aids. Language, Speech, & Hearing Services in Schools, 34 (3), 203–216. doi:10.1044/0161-1461(2003/017).

Orpwood, R.D. (1990). Design methodology for aids for the disabled. J Med Eng Technol, 14 (1), 2–10. doi:10.3109/03091909009028756

Parette, H. P., Brotherson, M. J., & Huer, M. B. (2000). Giving families a voice in augmentative and alternative communication decision-making. Education and Training in Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities, 35, 177–190.

Schlosser, R. W., & Wendt, O. (2008). Effects of augmentative and alternative communication intervention on speech production in children with autism: a systematic review. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 17 (3), 212–230. doi:10.1044/1058-0360(2008/021)

Wessels, R., Dijcks, B., Soede, M., Gelderblom, G., & Witte, L. D. (2003). Non-use of provided assistive technology devices, a literature overview. Technology and Disability, 15(4), 231-238.

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IvyPanda. 2019. "Assistive Technology Outcomes and Benefits." August 20, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/assistive-technology-case-study/.

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IvyPanda. (2019) 'Assistive Technology Outcomes and Benefits'. 20 August.

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