Article Details

Research Database: Article Details

Citation:  Kelly, S. M. (2011). The use of assistive technology by high school students with visual impairments: A second look at the current problem. Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness, 105 (4), 235-241.
Title:  The use of assistive technology by high school students with visual impairments: A second look at the current problem
Authors:  Kelly, S. M.
Year:  2011
Journal/Publication:  Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness
Publisher:  AFB
Full text:  https://www.questia.com/library/journal/1G1-254244394/the-use-of-as...   
Peer-reviewed?  Yes
NIDILRR-funded?  Not reported
Research design:  Database mining

Structured abstract:

Background:  Although there are numerous types of assistive technology available, many students with visual impairments are not given an opportunity to use them. Individuals with visual impairment have low rates of competitive employment. The relationship between the use of assistive technology and post high school outcomes like work and post-secondary education needs to be investigated.
Purpose:  The purpose of this study was to investigate the following issues during the three periods under investigation between the years 2000-2001; 2002-2003 and 2004 and 2005. The percentage of students with visual impairments who were academically oriented, using large print or braille media who were using assistive technology. If the prevalence of the use of assistive technology change during the three periods under study. Did the trajectories of the use of assistive technology vary according to parental involvement, school placement and the likelihood of obtaining employment.
Setting:  The study involved a secondary analysis of the National Longitudinal Transition Study-2 (NLTS2). An investigation of the contextual factors that may have contributed to the use of assistive technology was also replicated with the database.
Study sample:  The study was based on data from the Wave 1 (2000-01), Wave 2 (2002-03) and Wave 3 (2004-05) of the National Longitudinal Transition Study-2 (NLTS2). The youth with visual impairments were 13 to 16 years old during Wave 1 and aged five years during the overall study period. Those who were older than 18 years old, during the second and third waves aged out of the study. The sample size of youth for the first study question were as follows: Wave 1, n = 80; Wave 2, n = 40; and Wave 3, n = 90 students with visual impairments. The youth included in the other research questions was n = 940 students with visual impairments with or without more severe disabilities.
Intervention:  The study involved data base mining. There was no intervention.
Data collection and analysis:  The binary outcome measure was the use of assistive technology and the three covariates assessed were parental involvement, school placement and the likelihood of a youth obtaining a job. Telephone interviews and mail surveys were completed by parents of students with visual impairments for all measures except school placement. This information was obtained from school personnel. Assistive technology was defined as the particular type of high technology used by youth who are blind or have low vision access to print. The parental involvement, school placement covariates asked a yes or no survey question during each Wave. The likelihood of getting paid work was assessed by asking parents to respond to a Likert-type question, using a scale of 1 he or she definitely won't to 4 he or she definitely will. The question was asked during each wave. The data were weighted using normalized weights. The analysis involved descriptive statistics to address the first question and provide an estimate of the percentage of students who were using assistive technology during each wave. To address the other questions, the researcher used multilevel modeling and generated descriptive statistics for each measure. The statistics included the use of and rate of change in the use of assistive technology as a function of parental involvement, school placement and the likelihood of paid employment. Data analysis strategies accounted for the attributes of binary outcome with the binary logistic application of multilevel modeling.
Findings:  On average, 42% of high school students with visual impairments were using assistive technology during the three waves. Parental involvement, school placement and the likelihood of paid work were statistically significant predictors of the use of assistive technology. Specifically, students with visual impairment who had parental involvement were 1.4 times more likely to use assistive technology than those who were not involved. Those students who attended residential schools were 1.8 times more likely to use assistive technology. And, those students, with parents who rated the liklihood of their child, eventually getting a job were 1.5 times more likely to use assistive technology.
Conclusions:  Less than half of academically oriented high school students who have visual impairments were using the assistive technology they needed to use. Using assistive technology may improve post school outcomes, like employment and postsecondary training, for students with visual impairments. This study better defines the problem; a gap between thos with access to assistive technology and those without it.

Disabilities served:  Blindness
Visual impairment
Populations served:  Other