Assistive Devices

Assistive devices are devices that have been designed, made or adapted to assist a person to perform a particular task. There are many different types of assistive devices, such as wheeled mobility and positioning devices (which include wheelchairs, tricycles and supportive seats), prostheses, orthoses, visual devices, hearing devices and communication devices. It is important to ensure that assistive devices are used effectively. Important aspects of their provision include user education, user feedback, repair, replacement and environmental adaptations in the home and community.

Many people with disabilities benefit from the use of one or more assistive devices. Often, with the aid of these devices, people with a loss in functioning are able to enhance their abilities and can have increased opportunities to live independently and participate in their societies. This is supported by article 26 of the Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities.

The resources in this key list include practical guides, manuals, websites and studies about assistive devices for people with disabilities, practitioners, communities, and family members. It was compiled and reviewed in partnership with Motivation. We welcome your suggestions: please send comments or suggested additions to sourceassistant@hi-uk.org.

Motivation

Selected resources

Books, reports, etc

4th all Africa wheelchair congress report|Theme : advancing appropriate wheelchair services for Africa

THE PAN AFRICA WHEELCHAIR BUILDERS ASSOCIATION (PAWBA),
The Tanzanian Training Centre for Orthopaedic Technologists (TATCOT)
2007

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This report summarises the findings of the 4th All Africa Wheelchair Congress the theme of which was to assess how to advance appropriate wheelchair services across the African continent. This report explores a range of key topics including: impact of wheelchairs on quality of life; partnership for appropriate wheelchair services (from a global and African perspective); wheelchair technology training; wheelchair services and poverty reduction strategy; conventions and guidelines; and capacity building
4th All Africa Wheelchair Congress Report
Uhuru Hotel, Moshi
17-21 September 2007

A health handbook for women with disabilities

MAXWELL, Jane,
WATTS BELSER, Julia,
DAVID, Darlena
February 2007

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This book deals with practical advice on health care for women with disabilities. It has been developed in partnership with health care professionals and disabled women in over 42 countries. It covers the key issues of disability in the community; accessible health care; mental health; sexual health; family planning; and child birth. The book is written in a practical and accessible style, suitable for anyone with an interest in disability, social development and women's health issues. In particular, the book offers a valuable insight into 'real-life' personal experiences of disabled women

CBR as part of community development : a poverty reduction strategy

HARTLEY, Sally
Ed
2006

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Contents: 1. Community-based Rehabilitation Africa Network (CAN) 2. CBR as part of community development and poverty reduction 3. CBR as part of social, cultural and political developement 4. CBR and economic empowerment of persons with disabilities 5. Community-based rehabilitation as part of inclusive education and development 6. CBR as part of community health development 7. HIV and AIDS, and disability 8. International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) and CBR 9. CBR research as part of community development 10. Information sharing and community-based rehabilitation 11. The Malawi directory of disability organisations

CBR policy development and implementation

HARTLEY, Sally,
OKUNE, Joan
Eds
2009

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This book provides an overview of current community-based rehabilitation (CBR) knowledge and shows how this information has been interpreted and implemented in the African context. It has been developed from conference presentations and discussions that took place in South Africa in 2007. It is useful for people interested in general CBR information and CBR in Africa

Community-based rehabilitation : CBR guidelines|Health component

WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION (WHO)
et al
2010

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This component of the CBR Guidelines focuses on health and how to make it inclusive. It describes "the role of CBR is to work closely with the health sector to ensure that the needs of people with disabilities and their family members are addressed in the areas of health promotion, prevention, medical care, rehabilitation and assistive devices. CBR also needs to work with individuals and their families to facilitate their access to health services and to work with other sectors to ensure that all aspects of health are addressed"
It outlines key concepts and then presents the core concepts, examples and areas of suggested activities in each of the following five elements: Health promotion; Prevention; Medical care; Rehabilitation; and Assistive devices. This guideline is useful for anyone interested in health component of CBR

Disability and poverty in developing countries : a snapshot from the World Health Survey

MITRA, Sophie,
POSARAC, Aleksandra,
VICK, Brandon
April 2011

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This paper outlines the economic and poverty situation of working-age persons with disabilities and their households in 15 developing countries. Using data from the World Health Survey, the study presents estimates of disability prevalence, individual-level economic well-being, household-level economic well-being, and multidimensional poverty measure. Detailed appendices are provided to support the results of the study. This paper is useful for people interested in the social and economic conditions of people with disabilities in developing countries
Social Protection Discussion Paper No 1109

Disabled village children : a guide for community health workers, rehabilitation workers, and families

WERNER, David
1999

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This well-known manual contains a wealth of information that is crucial for therapists, professionals and community groups. It deals comprehensively with all common childhood disabilities including polio, cerebral palsy, juvenile arthritis, blindness and deafness. It provides clear, detailed information and easy-to-implement ideas for rehabilitation at the village level, the development of skills, making low-cost aids and the prevention of disabilities

Guidelines on the provision of manual wheelchairs in less resourced settings

ARMSTRONG, William
et al
2008

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These guidelines are designed to promote personal mobility and enhance the quality of life of wheelchair users. The aim is to assist Member States in developing a system of wheelchair provision that is consistent with the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Chapter topics includes: design and production, service delivery, training, and policy planning

Helping children who are blind : family and community support for children with vision problems|Ayudar a los niños ciegos : apoyo familiar y comunitario para niños con problemas de la vista

NIEMANN, Sandy,
JACOB, Namita
2000

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Children develop faster in the first five years of life than any other time, and children who are blind need extra help so they can learn how to use their other senses to explore, learn and interact with the world. The simple activities in this book can help families, health workers, and individuals to support children with vision impairment to develop their capabilities. Topics include: assessing how much a child can see; preventing blindness; helping a child move around safely; activities of daily living; preparing for childcare or school; and supporting the parents of blind children. The book is written in an easy-to-read style with illustrations and examples from southern countries

Helping children who are deaf : family and community support for children who do not hear well

NIEMANN, Sandy,
GREENSTEIN, Devorah,
DAVID, Darlena
2004

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This book was written primarily for parents and other caregivers of young children. It provides a wealth of well-illustrated practical information. The book gives a thorough overview of the different ways to communicate with hearing impaired children. It is written in an easy-to-read style with lots of illustrations and examples from Southern countries.

Joint position paper on the provision of mobility devices in less resourced settings : a step towards implementation of the convention on the rights of persons with disabilities (CRPD) related to personal mobility

WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION (WHO),
UNITED STATES AGENCY FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT (USAID)
2011

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"This joint position paper was developed in response to a meeting about personal mobility and mobility devices, held on 28-29 October 2009 at World Health Organization headquarters, Geneva, Switzerland. This paper aims to guide and support countries, especially those with limited resources, in the implementation of relevant articles of the CRPD associated with the provision of mobility devices"

PleasureABLE : sexual device manual for persons with disabilities

NAPHTALI, Kate,
MACHATTIE, Edith
2009

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"This manual was created as a practical resource for persons with disabilities and health care clinicians who work with these clients. It includes research, clinical expertise, and product information to aid with dialogue surrounding sexual and reproductive issues and disabilities. The information presented here is not prescriptive, and the specific products not recommended per se, but are meant to provide examples and illustrations of some of the potential options that can be introduced into the sexual practices of the individual or be used as an adjunct in the discussions of sexuality and disability by the health care clinician. The devices included are a sampling of what is available (in Canada) in 2009"

Promoting independence following a stroke : a guide for therapists and professionals working in primary health care

DISABILITY AND REHABILITATION, WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION (WHO),
ASSOCIAZIONE ITALIANA AMICI DI RAOUL FOLLEREAU (AIFO)
1999

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This guide contains advice on how to plan and carry out a rehabilitation programme for someone who has had a stroke. The guide is intended for doctors and nurses, therapists who are involved in training mid-level rehabilitation workers, or for people who have had a stroke, their families and members of their communities

Promoting the development of infants and young children with spina bifida and hydrocephalus : a guide for mid-level rehabilitation workers

WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION (WHO) Rehabilitation Unit
1996

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This manual explains the types, signs and causes of spina bifida and hydrocephalus describing how to assess the child’s level of development and complications. It gives suggestions on how to promote the child’s normal development, mobility, self-care and education with examples of equipment that can be made from local materials

Rehabilitation for persons with traumatic brain injuries

WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION (WHO)
et al
2004

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This manual is intended for mid-level rehabilitation workers and primary health care personnel as an educational and instructional tool to use for their work with persons who have sustained traumatic brain injury (TBI), their families and members of their communities including teachers and their potential employers. Drawings are provided to help clarify safety guides, training instructions and the steps involved in making specific adaptive devices

Report on the consensus conference on wheelchairs for developing countries

SHELTON, Sarah,
JACOBS, Norman A
Eds
2008

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This conference report assisted the development of guidelines on provision of manual wheelchairs in less-resourced settings for which training and education are key elements. It recommends the adoption of the wheelchair International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standards as a minimum. This report is useful for government and non-government policy makers, practitioners, providers and users of wheelchair services

Teach yourself the deafblind manual alphabet

SENSE

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This deafblind manual alphabet card has pictorial representations of the manual gestures from A to Z. This card is useful to teach the deafblind alphabet to a deafblind person, family members, carers, community members or professsionals. There is also a deafblind manual online video

Teaching strategies and management of deafblind children

SENSE INTERNATIONAL (INDIA)

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Everyday activities such as; walking, running, bending, sitting, writing, dressing, are not always easy for children who are deafblind. This booklet offers some strategies to parents, carers and teachers for teaching such skills to deafblind children

The provision of wheeled mobility and positioning devices

GARTON, Francesca
June 2013

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This policy paper describes Handicap International’s mandate and values in operational terms as applied to the theme of provision of wheeled mobility and positioning devices. It presents the approaches and references for Handicap International’s actions, choices and commitments. It aims to ensure coherence in terms of practices whilst taking into account different contexts. Essentially this is a guidance document for programme staff which defines the topic and outlines the target populations, methods of intervention (expected results, activities) and indicators for monitoring and evaluation. This policy aims to ensure that all projects carried out by Handicap International programmes are consistent with the methods of intervention presented
PP 09

The relationship between prosthetics and orthotics services and community based rehabilitation (CBR)

WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION (WHO),
INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY FOR PROSTHETICS AND ORTHOTICS (ISPO)
November 2003

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"This document attempts to describe the relationship between prosthetics and orthotics services and community-based rehabilitation activities. It shows how the services offered by central/specialized, provincial and district institutions and the community can work together to provide a comprehensive prosthetics and orthotics service across the country. It should be noted that no definitive model of community based rehabilitation in prosthetics and orthotics is available; each country requires to develop its own system according to its needs and the resources available"

Training in the community for people with disabilities

HELANDER, E
et al
1989

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This set of 33 manuals is a key training resource for CBR trainers and workers trying to improve the quality of life of disabled people living in developing countries. The manuals present the WHO model of CBR, comprised of a system of 'local supervisors' and a 'community rehabilitation committee'. The manuals address disabled people, school-teachers and families. They cover rehabilitation activities for all types of impairment, as well as training on cross-impairment issues such as breastfeeding, play, schooling, social integration and job placement

Wheelchair service training package : basic level (WSTP-B)

KHASNABIS, Chapal,
MINES, Kylie
2012

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The main purpose of the training package is to develop the minimum skills and knowledge required by personnel involved in wheelchair service delivery. An important aim of the training package is to get it integrated into the regular paramedical/rehabilitation training programs such as physiotherapy, occupational therapy, prosthetics and orthotics, rehabilitation nursing
The package contains necessary forms and checklists, manuals and guides including trainer’s manual and set of posters and presentations. First click "Strat.pdf" which will come with four tabs - click tab "Manuals and guides" - open the Trainer’s manual to prepare yourself to deliver the training. Then click the "Timetable and sessions" tab to open the timetable. Click the hyperlinks of each session, which lead you to the exact slides and video location. The best way to deliver the training is to proceed through the lessons in sequential order respecting the timing allotted for each session as much as possible
Note: The whole training package is available on the Website for the training institutes and wheelchair service providers. It is recommended to download the complete package (requires 3 GB space)

Wheelchair service training package : intermediate level (WSTP-I)

KHASNABIS, Chapal,
MINES, Kylie
Eds
2013

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This wheelchair service training package is the second part of the WHO wheelchair service training package series and addresses the needs of people who have severe difficulties in walking and moving around and also having poor postural control. Special attention was given on the provision of appropriate wheelchairs for children who have poor postural control and are unable to sit upright independently. It is designed to support the training of personnel or volunteers to provide an appropriate manual wheelchair and cushion for children and adults who need additional postural support to sit upright
Note: A Trainers manual, Reference manual for participants, Participant’s workbook and Posters are available from the link above
Note: A DVD is available upon request which contains all the necessary forms and checklists; manuals and guides including the trainer’s manual; and sets of posters and presentations

Where there is no doctor : a village care handbook|Donde no hay doctor

WERNER, David,
THUMAN, Carol,
MAXWELL, Jane
May 2007

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This book was written specifically for village health workers in situations where there is no doctor. It provides a holistic view of the determinants of health in villages, using simple language with many illustrations. It maintains its original pagination, adding new information throughout and extra information in coloured pages e.g. new information is on blue pages.
One chapter focuses on health and sicknesses of children, containing information on how to use growth charts and understanding malnutrition and other health issues. Other chapters include: home cures, sicknesses that are often confused, healing without medicines, the right and wrong use of modern medicines, antibiotics and how to use them, common sicknesses, first aid, nutrition, prevention, and serious illnesses that need special medical attention. It is available in more than 80 languages

World report on disability

WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION,
WORLD BANK
2011

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This report "reviews evidence about the situation of people with disabilities around the world. Following chapters on understanding disability and measuring disability, the report contains topic-specific chapters on health; rehabilitation; assistance and support; enabling environments; education; and employment. Within each chapter, there is a discussion of the barriers confronted, and case studies showing how countries have succeeded in addressing these by promoting good practice. In its final chapter, the report offers nine concrete recommendations for policy and practice which if put in place could lead to real improvements in the lives of people with disability"

Journal articles

Walking aid compliance in children with spastic diplegia

RAJA, Kavitha
2005

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[Author's abstract] : A three month prospective self report study of 50 children using different types of walkers or elbow crutches was done to determine compliance with use of the prescribed device. Data were collected by means of log entries made by the child's care givers throughout the day. The data collected consisted of number of times and the distance the child walked each time. Overall mean compliance was 49.1%. Children using the reciprocal walker showed the greatest compliance while those using walkers with gutter attachments and elbow crutches showed the least. Compliance was greatest for distances of 50-100m while it was the least for distances over 150m

Websites

Assistive devices/technology

WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION (WHO )

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This section of the WHO website on disabilities and rehabilitation highlights assistive devices and technology. The related information, links and documents promote access to assistive devices and technologies at an affordable cost and facilitate training for people with disabilities and professionals and staff working in rehabilitation services. This wesbite is useful to anyone interested in assistive devices and technology for people with disabilities

How do people who are deafblind communicate?

SENSE
2008

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This resource outlines various means of communication with deaf-blind individuals. It also outlines the challenges facing people with hearing and vision impairments, and the various assistive technolgy available

Motivation : freedom through mobility

MOTIVATION

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This website has information about the work of Motivation; an organisation that works to address issues relating to the social, economic and physical situation of disabled people in low income countries, with the ultimate aim to improve quality of life, alleviate poverty and empower disabled people to take part in society. Motivation works in four areas: products and services; capacity; rights; and economic empowerment

Scenari-aid

MEREDITH, Grant

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Scenari-Aid is a free website containing over 100 digitally recorded real-life scenarios for people to work through in their own time and style. Each functional scenario is comprised of a number of steps in which the user can pause at any time and choose to respond in a time and manner that best fits their situation, style and needs. This website is useful to users for the following reasons: fluency and speech therapy for people, stroke recovery, literacy skills for people from non-English speaking backgrounds, addressing social anxiety issues and the empowering the long term unemployed