Article Details

Research Database: Article Details

Citation:  Stumbo, N. J., Martin, J. K., & Hedrick, B. N. (2009). Assistive technology: Impact on education, employment, and independence of individuals with physical disabilities. Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, 30 (2), 99-110.
Title:  Assistive technology: Impact on education, employment, and independence of individuals with physical disabilities
Authors:  Stumbo, N. J., Martin, J. K., & Hedrick, B. N.
Year:  2009
Journal/Publication:  Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation
Publisher:  IOS Press
DOI:  https://doi.org/10.3233/JVR-2009-0456
Full text:  https://content.iospress.com/articles/journal-of-vocational-rehabil...    |   PDF   
Peer-reviewed?  No
NIDILRR-funded?  No
Research design:  Literature review

Structured abstract:

Background:  Appropriately selected and utilized assistive technology (AT) is imperative for individuals to approach an even par with their non-disabled peers. For AT to be selected and utilized optimally, a number of conditions must be right. For example, the assistive technology must be affordable, reliable, maintainable, and of sufficient design quality that the AT device will enable the intended assistance.
Purpose:  The purpose of this manuscript is to discuss how assistive technology impacts individuals with disabilities in relation to their education, employment, and ability to live independently. This paper specifically addresses a number of key questions: How important is assistive technology (AT) to the success of individuals with disabilities in education, employment, and achieving independence? If AT is important, in what ways is it important? What essential need(s) are met by the use of AT in education, employment, and independence? What remain as unresolved issues and questions regarding the use of AT by individuals with disabilities as they pursue postsecondary education, meaningful careers, and living independently?
Study sample:  This study focuses on individuals with severe physical disabilities who utilize or potentially utilize assistive technology.
Data collection and analysis:  The study is a literature and research synthesis starting with an examination of the growing prevalence of physical disability in America as well as both traditional and newer definitions of independence. The article then moves to a discussion of assistive technology. The impact of AT on the education, employment, and independence of individuals with physical disabilities will then be explored. The last section highlights some of the unresolved issues surrounding assistive technology for persons with physical disabilities.
Findings:  The purpose of this manuscript was to explore the relationships between assistive technology and individuals with disabilities in relation to their education, employment, and ability to live independently. It is clear in all three areas that appropriately chosen and implemented assistive technology is imperative for individuals to approach an even par with their non-disabled peers. The challenge to society is recognizing that AT is of primary significance in affording Americans with disabilities the highest degree of independence possible, in attaining higher education degrees, successful careers, and fruitful lives. This includes individuals with the most severe physical disabilities, despite the fact that this might mean more intensive services and workplace supports.
Conclusions:  This review notes that AT is a foundational support that produces multiple and life-altering benefits. While we know much about the impact of AT on the lives of individuals with disabilities, many unanswered issues and questions remain.

Disabilities served:  Arthritis
Blindness
Cerebral palsy
Chronic pain
Mobility impairment
Multiple sclerosis
Muscular dystrophy
Orthopedic impairments
Spinal cord injury (SCI)
Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
Visual impairment
Severe physical disability
Populations served:  Gender: Female and Male
Race: American Indian or Alaska Native
Race: Asian
Race: Black / African American
Race: White / Caucasian
Race: Native Hawaiian / other Pacific Islander
Ethnicity: Hispanic or Latino
Interventions:  Assistive technology
Outcomes:  Employment acquisition
Return to work
Other