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Psychosocial Consequences of COVID-19 on Persons with Visual Impairments

NAYAR, Mahima
JUVVA, Srilatha
LAKSHMAN, Chitra
2021

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The ongoing pandemic situation has disrupted lives globally. These disruptions are embodied in gender, social location, ethnicity and in the body. Public health facilities, accessibility of urban infrastructure, support services for persons with disability, educational accessibility in cities prior to the pandemic have influenced the manner in which disabled people are able to adapt to the current situation. This paper presents the experiences of young people living with visual impairments who reside in an urban low-income community in India. It explores the unique challenges such as the further reduction in accessibility to health and educational facilities that they are facing and the manner in which their carefully structured everyday lives have changed. The narratives also describe the manner in which they are coping with the public health disaster in addition to preparing for the new ‘norms’ that people living with visual impairments are required to navigate as an outcome of the pandemic. The paper gives voice to their needs and requirements in this situation, and in turn, aims to inform policy responses through first person accounts. 

Using selected behaviour modification practices to enhance reinforcement of reading abilities among dyslexic learners in Kenya

OOKO, Pamela A
ALOKA , Peter J O
2021

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Background: Dyslexic learners have difficulties in accurate and fluent word recognition and poor spelling and decoding abilities.

 

Objective: The present study investigated the use of selected behaviour modification practices to enhance reinforcement of reading abilities amongst dyslexic learners in primary schools in Kenya.

 

Methods: The Solomon four research design was adopted. A sample size of 229 dyslexic learners in four selected schools was obtained using purposive sampling technique. The tools used were the Bangor Dyslexia Test and a short reading comprehension test. Internal validity of the constructs was tested using the Kaiser–Meyer–Oklin measure of sampling adequacy (KMO Index) and the Bartlett’s test of sphericity. The reliability of the questionnaires was ascertained using Cronbach’s alpha and internal consistencies of 0.673–0.807 were reported.

 

Results: The findings reported a statistical significant difference between pre-test and post-test scores of the experiment group 1, t (48) = –15.059, p < 0.01, implying that a significant effect was found in the use of behaviour modification strategies in improving learner English language reading skills. The regression model explained 54.7% (R2 = 0.547) of the variability in the level of English language reading abilities amongst primary school learners with dyslexia.

 

Conclusion: The study concludes that coaching behaviour modification practice had the highest influence on English language reading abilities as compared to prompting, shaping and modelling practices. The study recommended training of teachers on the use of behaviour modification practices to improve dyslexic learners’ reading ability.

 

Trends in prevalence of blindness and distance and near vision impairment over 30 years: an analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study

GBD 2019 Blindness and Vision Impairment Collaborators
December 2020

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To contribute to the WHO initiative, VISION 2020: The Right to Sight, an assessment of global vision impairment in 2020 and temporal change is needed. This paper aims to extensively update estimates of global vision loss burden, presenting estimates for 2020, temporal change over three decades between 1990–2020, and forecasts for 2050.

A systematic review and meta-analysis of population-based surveys of eye disease from January, 1980, to October, 2018 was carried out. Only studies with samples representative of the population and with clearly defined visual acuity testing protocols were included. Hierarchical models were fitted to estimate 2020 prevalence (with 95% uncertainty intervals [UIs]) of mild vision impairment (presenting visual acuity ≥6/18 and <6/12), moderate and severe vision impairment (<6/18 to 3/60), and blindness (<3/60 or less than 10° visual field around central fixation); and vision impairment from uncorrected presbyopia (presenting near vision <N6 or <N8 at 40 cm where best-corrected distance visual acuity is ≥6/12). We forecast estimates of vision loss up to 2050.

 

https://doi.org/10.1016/ S2214-109X(20)30425-3

The association between tactile, motor and cognitive capacities and braille reading performance: a scoping review of primary evidence to advance research on braille and aging

MARTINIELLO, Natalina
WITTICH, Walter
2020

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PURPOSE

As the prevalence of age-related visual impairment increases, a greater understanding of the physiological and cognitive capacities that are recruited during braille reading and the potential implications of age-related declines is required.

 

METHODS

This scoping review aimed to identify and describe primary studies exploring the relationship between tactile, motor and cognitive capacities and braille reading performance, the instruments used to measure these capacities, and the extent to which age is considered within these investigations. English peer-reviewed articles exploring the relationship between these capacities and braille reading performance were included. Articles were screened by two researchers, and 91% agreement was achieved (kappa = 0.84 [0.81, 0.87], p < 0.01).

 

RESULTS

 2405 articles were considered of which 36 met the inclusion criteria. Fifteen investigated the relationship between tactile capacities and braille reading performance, 25 explored motor capacities, and 5 considered cognitive capacities. Nineteen instruments were used to measure tactile capacity, 4 for motor dexterity, and 7 for cognitive capacity. These studies focus on younger participants and on those who learned braille early in life.

 

CONCLUSIONS

  • Although this overview underscores the importance of tactile perception and bimanual reading, future research is needed to explore the unique needs of older adults who learn braille later in life.
  • The studies in this review underscore the importance of developing both haptic tactile perception and efficient hand reading patterns early in the braille learning process.
  • Practitioners should consider whether specific pre-braille readiness activities can be used to address the unique needs of older adults who may experience tactile, motor or cognitive declines.
  • Most of the studies in this review require replication before they should serve as reliable clinical guidelines; however, braille reading (like print) is a complex process that draws on multiple capacities that should be developed in unison.
  • The studies in this review focus heavily on younger participants and on those who learned braille early in life, and highlight the need for future research on braille and aging.

Estimating assistive product need in Cameroon and India: results of population‐based surveys and comparison of self‐report and clinical impairment assessment approaches

BOGGS, Dorothy
KUPER, Hannah
MACTAGGART, Islay
MURTHY, GVS
OYE, Joseph
POLACK, Sarah
November 2020

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To estimate population need and coverage for distance glasses, hearing aids and wheelchairs in India and Cameroon, and to explore the relationship between assistive product (AP) need measured through self‐report and clinical impairment assessment.

Population‐based surveys of approximately 4000 people each were conducted in Mahabubnagar district, India and Fundong district, Cameroon. Participants underwent standardised vision, hearing and musculoskeletal impairment assessment to assess need for distance glasses, hearing aids, wheelchairs. Participants with moderate or worse impairment and/or self‐reported difficulties in functioning were also asked about their self‐reported AP need.

 

https://doi.org/10.1111/tmi.13523

General orientation on sustainable livelihood for Filipinos with disabilities

LEONARD CHESHIRE DISABILITY PHILIPPINES FOUNDATION
October 2020

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This event was organised by Leonard Cheshire Disability Philippines Foundation Inc and Chambers of Massage Industry of Visually Impaired in partnership with the Department of Social Welfare and Development Sustainable Livelihood Program. The programme is outlined and followed by an Open Forum for questions and discussion.

The Liberia Evidence Lab: A new scalable model to deliver School Eye Health

EYElliance & Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI)
October 2020

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The case study highlights how school eye health programs can be successfully scaled in under-resourced and under-capacitated contexts, and ultimately supported through a sustainable financing mechanism. The case study shows how school eye health is an entry point and critical building block to comprehensive national eye health coverage. Through a pilot of the school eye health model, approximately 50,000 children received eye screenings across three counties in Liberia

A glimpse into smartphone screen reader use among blind teenagers in rural Nepal

SANKHI, Prakash
SANDNES, Frode Eika
2020

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Purpose

Access to appropriate assistive technology is a challenge worldwide and especially in low GDP-per-capita countries. Nepal is one example of a country with several coinciding challenges: some claim having a high rate of blindness in the general population, a low-GDP-per capita and some studies claim it has a low literacy rate, especially in rural areas. Without appropriate assistive technology, some disabled youth may not get full access to education.

 

Methods

To gain insight into assistive technology use in rural Nepal, five blind teenagers in a mixed secondary school with disabled and non-disabled students in rural Nepal were interviewed about their daily smartphone use.

 

Results

The results show that all the participants used screen readers on donated smartphones. None of the participants had received formal training in using smartphone screen readers and therefore lacked knowledge about basic and essential operational aspects of the devices as well as misguided expectations about the technology.

 

Conclusions

One implication of the findings is that smartphone accessibility features training material needs to be made easily available to schools and all disabled youth worldwide, as smartphones are increasingly becoming available in low-income remote regions with low literacy rates. The built-in accessibility features of smartphones promise disabled youth a non-stigmatizing platform for social participation and access to the information society.

Inclusion, access, and accessibility of educational resources in higher education institutions: exploring the Ethiopian context

BEYENE, Wondwossen Mulualem
MEKONNEN, Abraham Tulu
GIANNOUMIS, George Anthony
2020

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The right of persons with disabilities for equal access to education and educational resources is enshrined by international and country-specific anti-discrimination laws. Taking the Ethiopian context as an example, this paper sought to identify barriers of access to educational resources and explored ways for removing them. Seventeen students with visual impairments studying at Hawassa University were selected for semi-structured interviews. Moreover, five individuals working at the disability centre and the university library were interviewed. The results of the interviews were analysed thematically using the International Classification of Functioning, Disabilities and Health (ICF) as a framework. Access and accessibility problems that emanate from the learners’ diverse background, lack of educational resources in alternative formats, lack of institutional tools (policy, procedure, guidelines, etc.) to bridge the gap between law and practice, and the digital divide were among the problems identified and discussed. At the end, the paper showed how libraries, revitalised as learning and information commons, could help to ensure the accessibility of educational resources and help learners with disabilities to acquire skills that may help them in their studies and their future undertakings.

Impact of lived experiences of people with disabilities in the built environment in South Africa

McKINNEY, Victor
AMOSUN, Seyi L.
August 2020

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Background: In spite of legislations and policies to ensure an inclusive society in South Africa for the accommodation of people with disabilities, there are reports that they still struggle to move freely within society.

 

Objectives: As part of a larger qualitative exploratory study on the preparation of undergraduate civil engineering students in a local university to contribute to the development of an inclusive society, this article seeks to understand the impact of the lived experiences of people with disabilities in their interaction with the built environment.

 

Method: Four persons with disabilities, considered to be knowledgeable about South African legislations relating to disability, were purposely selected to each share one specific experience whilst interacting with the built environment. The transcribed texts of the interviews were analysed by using the phenomenological–hermeneutic method.

 

Results: The participants exhibited strong desires to participate in society. However, the sense of loss of control and independence as they encountered challenges in the built environment changed the euphoria to disempowerment, rejection, anger and despondency. In spite of their experiences, participants expressed a commitment towards overcoming the challenges encountered in the broader interest of people with disabilities.

 

Conclusion: A deeper understanding of the impact of the experiences of people with disabilities when they participate within the built environment in South Africa revealed a broad spectrum of negative emotions, which may impact the quality of life and well-being of the participants.

 

 

African Journal of Disability, Vol 9, 2020

COVID-19, Amplifying Voices: Our Lives, Our Say: Learning from COVID-19 through the experiences of blind and partially sighted persons across the world

ZAYED, Yana
et al
August 2020

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The World Blind Union (WBU) conducted a study to examine the extent to which COVID-19 pandemic has exposed some deep structural inequalities in society. Data gathered from the study is evidencing that persons with disabilities, older persons, and persons from lower socioeconomic status backgrounds are among those hardest hit by the pandemic. While this report puts a spotlight on the voices of blind and partially sighted persons, many of the experiences shared strongly resonate with numerous other studies that are also highlighting how marginalised groups have been affected by this crisis. Through this report, WBU hopes to raise awareness on the specifics of what those challenges have meant in reality for its constituents, as well as shed light on what have been effective resilience strategies for them. The study was made possible with the support of CBM Global

To understand the situation of our constituents, the World Blind Union (WBU) conducted a global survey in collaboration with key stakeholders. In April 2020, the WBU launched an open online survey for seven weeks in Spanish, French and English, seeking information from blind and partially sighted persons on how COVID-19 was impacting their day to day life. 853 people participated in the survey. The respondents expressed in their own words how their lives had been and continue to be impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. This report is a compilation of those voices. It depicts the ways in which COVID-19 response measures taken by state and non-state actors have created additional barriers and challenges for blind and partially sighted people. It also includes powerful testimonies on how people have shown resilience in the face of adversity.

 

 

Product Narrative: Eyeglasses. A market landscape and strategic approach to increasing access to eyeglasses in Low- and Middle-Income Countries

CHAUDRON, Mathilde
SAVAGE, Margaret
et al
July 2020

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Increasing access to eyeglasses to eliminate the burden of uncorrected refractive errors in LMICs will require a multisectoral approach that brings together the public and the private sector, multilateral organisations, and donors. This will require an approach that increases demand for eyeglasses, raises the number of access points for screening and provision, and accelerates the availability of affordable products. To achieve this, we propose five strategic objectives that can strengthen the market in both the short and longer term.

Human-centred design in humanitarian settings: Methodologies for inclusivity

HAMILTON, Zoe
CASSWELL, Jenny
ALONSO, Aline
July 2020

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This report documents the human-centred design process used in a project conducted in 2020 in Nairobi, Kenya. It includes research tools that can be used in other contexts, as well as the adaptations that were made to research tools to ensure they were inclusive. These tools are followed by the main lessons learned, and recommendations for others who want to implement a similar process.

The goal of this project was to better understand how people living with disabilities in humanitarian contexts use mobile technology, the barriers they face in accessing mobile services, and the opportunities that mobile might present to increase access to basic services in their daily lives. The target population for this project was urban refugees living with visual or hearing impairments in Nairobi, Kenya. 

The human-centred design tools used included: Location Mapping, User Journeys, Communication Mapping, Future Me and Daily Diaries. 

Use of technology by orientation and mobility professionals in Australia and Malaysia before COVID-19

DEVERELL, Lil
BHOWMIK, Jahar
LAU, Bee Theng
AL MAHMUD, Abdullah
SUKUNESAN, Suku
ISLAM, Fakir M Amirul
MCCARTHY, Chris
MEYER, Denny
2020

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Purpose

Orientation and Mobility (O&M) professionals teach people with low vision or blindness to use specialist assistive technologies to support confident travel, but many O&M clients now prefer a smartphone. This study aimed to investigate what technology O&M professionals in Australia and Malaysia have, use, like, and want to support their client work, to inform the development of O&M technologies and build capacity in the international O&M profession.

 

Materials and Methods

A technology survey was completed by professionals (n = 36) attending O&M workshops in Malaysia. A revised survey was completed online by O&M specialists (n = 31) primarily in Australia. Qualitative data about technology use came from conferences, workshops and interviews with O&M professionals. Descriptive statistics were analysed together with free-text data.

 

Results

Limited awareness of apps used by clients, unaffordability of devices, and inadequate technology training discouraged many O&M professionals from employing existing technologies in client programmes or for broader professional purposes. Professionals needed to learn smartphone accessibility features and travel-related apps, and ways to use technology during O&M client programmes, initial professional training, ongoing professional development and research.

 

Conclusions

Smartphones are now integral to travel with low vision or blindness and early-adopter O&M clients are the travel tech-experts. O&M professionals need better initial training and then regular upskilling in mainstream O&M technologies to expand clients’ travel choices. COVID-19 has created an imperative for technology laggards to upskill for O&M tele-practice. O&M technology could support comprehensive O&M specialist training and practice in Malaysia, to better serve O&M clients with complex needs.

The digital lives of refugees and Kenyans with disabilities in Nairobi: A human-centred design approach to identifying mobile-enabled opportunities

HAMILTON, Zoe
CASSWELL, Jenny
ALONSO, Aline
July 2020

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This research focuses on disability, using human-centred design methods to better understand how refugees and Kenyans with visual and hearing impairments in Nairobi use mobile technology and potential opportunities that it could provide.

The target populations for the project were urban refugees and host communities with visual or hearing impairments in Nairobi, Kenya. 

 

This report is divided into four main sections, following an introduction, the second section focuses on insights learned from the hearing impaired, the third on the visually impaired and the fourth highlighting issues that were cross-cutting insights across both groups. Sections two and three include insights related to mobile, health and financial services. The fourth section includes insights related to humanitarian and disability support services

 

Association of anxiety and depression with physical and sensory functional difficulties in adults in five population-based surveys in low and middle-income countries

WALLACE, Sarah
MACTAGGART, Islay
MORGON BANKS, Lena
POLACK, Sarah
KUPER, Hannah
June 2020

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The aim of this study was to assess the association between anxiety and depression with physical and sensory functional difficulties, among adults living in five low and middle-income countries (LMICs).

A secondary data analysis was undertaken using population-based disability survey data from five LMICs, including two national surveys (Guatemala, Maldives) and 3 regional/district surveys (Nepal, India, Cameroon). 19,337 participants were sampled in total (range 1,617–7,604 in individual studies). Anxiety, depression, and physical and sensory functional difficulties were assessed using the Washington Group Extended Question Set on Functioning. Age-sex adjusted logistic regression analyses were undertaken to assess the association of anxiety and depression with hearing, visual or mobility functional difficulties.

The findings demonstrated an increased adjusted odds of severe depression and severe anxiety among adults with mobility, hearing and visual functional difficulties in all settings (with ORs ranging from 2.0 to 14.2) except for in relation to hearing loss in India, the Maldives and Cameroon, where no clear association was found. For all settings and types of functional difficulties, there was a stronger association with severe anxiety and depression than with moderate. Both India and Cameroon had higher reported prevalences of physical and sensory functional difficulties compared with Nepal and Guatemala, and weaker associations with anxiety and depression

Aesthetics and the perceived stigma of assistive technology for visual impairment

DOS SANTOS, Aline Darc Piculo
FERRARI, Ana Lya Moya
MEDOLA, Fausto Orsi
SANDNES, Frode Eika
2020

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Purpose: 

The aim of this study was to identify factors that influence the perceived stigma of two assistive devices for visual impairment, namely the white cane and smart glasses.

 

Method: 

Face-to-face semi-structured interviews with eight European students were conducted to probe their experiences and knowledge related to disability, assistive technology, visual impairment, as well as handheld and wearable devices.

 

Results: 

Close relationships with disabled people seems to have a positive influence on participants perceptions about stigma, disability, and assistive technology. Academic background seems to not have any influence. The aesthetics of assistive devices was observed as an important factor that influences the adoption or abandonment of the device.

 

Conclusion: 

Device without negative symbolism but with modern aesthetics (smart glasses) were positively accepted by the participants than the device with traditional aesthetics and symbolisms of visual impairment (white cane). Designers should, therefore, consider aesthetics in addition to functionality in order to avoid the perceived stigma, thereby reducing the chances of device abandonment.

Overview on accessibility of video conferencing apps and services

STAKEHOLDER GROUP OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
May 2020

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The purpose of this document is for United Nations staff and partners to make their video conferences as inclusive as possible for all persons with disabilities. The Stakeholder Group of Persons with Disabilities gathered the following information from representative organizations of persons with disabilities, in particular from the International Disability Alliance and its members, and from additional research. This list is by no means exhaustive, but rather attempts to provide an accessibility overview. 

The Social Network: How people with visual impairment use mobile phones in Kibera, Kenya

HOLLOWAY, Catherine
BARBARESCHI, Giulia
ARNOLD, Katherine
MAGOMERE, Grace
WETENDE, Wycliffe Ambeyi
NGARI, Gabriel
OLENJA, Joyce
May 2020

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Living in an informal settlement with a visual impairment can be very challenging resulting in social exclusion. Mobile phones have been shown to be hugely beneficial to people with sight loss in formal and high-income settings. However, little is known about whether these results hold true for people with visual impairment (VIPs) in informal settlements. Findings of a case study of mobile technology use by VIPs in Kibera, an informal settlement in Nairobi are presented. The study used contextual interviews, ethnographic observations and a co-design workshop to explore how VIPs use mobile phones in their daily lives, and how this use influences the social infrastructure of VIPs. Findings suggest that mobile technology supports and shapes the creation of social infrastructure. However, this is only made possible through the existing support networks of the VIPs, which are mediated through four types of interaction: direct, supported, dependent and restricted

 

Paper presented at CHI 2020, April 25–30, 2020, Honolulu, HI, USA

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