Understanding assistive technology as a pre-requisite for choice and participation

Article


Steel, Emily J.. 2019. "Understanding assistive technology as a pre-requisite for choice and participation." Journal of Occupational Science. 26 (1), pp. 87-98. https://doi.org/10.1080/14427591.2018.1515648
Article Title

Understanding assistive technology as a pre-requisite for choice and participation

ERA Journal ID11021
Article CategoryArticle
Authors
AuthorSteel, Emily J.
Journal TitleJournal of Occupational Science
Journal Citation26 (1), pp. 87-98
Number of Pages12
Year2019
Place of PublicationAustralia
ISSN1442-7591
2158-1576
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1080/14427591.2018.1515648
Web Address (URL)https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/14427591.2018.1515648
Abstract

Assistive technology (AT) is an often-used intervention to enhance participation and occupational performance, but disparities in access to and outcomes from its use are common. An occupational perspective of being and becoming an AT user is missing from the discourse on the right to, and choice of, assistive technology, and policies guiding its provision. This study investigated the experiences of people operating outside of public AT programs in Australia, and their experiences of access to, choice of, and outcomes from AT. Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) of interviews with two participants with extensive and diverse experiences of AT provision demonstrates how a person becomes an AT user over time. The emergent themes discussed are becoming an AT user, self-management by AT users, and the risks and responsibilities of choice without awareness or support. The findings illustrate that being an AT user is an occupation that involves ongoing learning and problem-solving as part of self-management, and support the notion that AT is a pre-requisite for participation and choice. AT users can only make and realise choices if facilitating conditions are present. These include the existence and awareness of options, support to explore and experience new products and skills, respect for preferences, and ongoing servicing responsibilities. Policies emphasising individual consumer choice discount the iterative processes, risks and responsibilities involved in AT provision and the importance of relationships. Policymakers require an understanding of what is involved in being and becoming an AT user, and how this precedes participation and choice for people with disability.

Keywordsoccupational science; assistive technology; participation; choice; disability; self-management; policy; IPA; Qualitative research
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020420318. People with disability
449999. Other human society not elsewhere classified
320699. Medical biotechnology not elsewhere classified
Public Notes

File reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher/author.

Byline AffiliationsSchool of Health and Wellbeing
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
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