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Kinect4FOG: monitoring and improving mobility in people with Parkinson’s using a novel system incorporating the Microsoft Kinect v2

AMINI, Amin
BANITSAS, Konstantinos
YOUNG, William R
2018

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Parkinson’s is a neurodegenerative condition associated with several motor symptoms including tremors and slowness of movement. Freezing of gait (FOG); the sensation of one’s feet being “glued” to the floor, is one of the most debilitating symptoms associated with advanced Parkinson’s. FOG not only contributes to falls and related injuries, but also compromises quality of life as people often avoid engaging in functional daily activities both inside and outside the home. In the current study, we describe a novel system designed to detect FOG and falling in people with Parkinson’s (PwP) as well as monitoring and improving their mobility using laser-based visual cues cast by an automated laser system. The system utilizes a RGB-D sensor based on Microsoft Kinect v2 and a laser casting system consisting of two servo motors and an Arduino microcontroller. This system was evaluated by 15 PwP with FOG. Here, we present details of the system along with a summary of feedback provided by PwP. Despite limitations regarding its outdoor use, feedback was very positive in terms of domestic usability and convenience, where 12/15 PwP showed interest in installing and using the system at their homes.

Mental health assessments in refugees and asylum seekers: evaluation of a tablet-assisted screening software

MORINA, Naser
et al
October 2017

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Mental health problems resulting from persecution and forced migration are very common among refugees and asylum seekers and evolve into a major public health challenge. Language barriers often prevent timely access to appropriate health care, leading to chronic trajectories and abortive social integration. Tools for multilingual screening and assessment could be of great benefit for this particularly vulnerable population as well as for policy makers. This study aimed at testing the reliability, feasibility and usability of the Multi-Adaptive Psychological Screening Software (MAPSS), a newly developed Audio Computer-Assisted Self-Interview Software (ACASI) for touchscreen devices, for screening purposes in a clinical setting. In a randomized cross-over design including both MAPSS and paper-pencil clinician-administered interviews, 30 treatment-seeking refugees completed clinical measures and a feasibility questionnaire to rate the user interface of MAPSS. Five professionals performed given tasks in MAPSS and completed usability questionnaires for the administration interface.

Conflict and Health 2017 11:18

https://doi.org/10.1186/s13031-017-0120-2

New sign language new(S): the globalization of sign language in the smartphone era

TANNENBAUM-BARUCHI, Caroline
FEDER-BUBIS, Paula
October 2017

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"Languages are dynamic and change over the years. Changes in sign languages have been usually initiated to accommodate the needs of the local Deaf community. With the increase in smartphone use, sign languages are influenced not only by the local Deaf community, but also by foreign Deaf people on the other side of the screen, regardless of their location. Smartphones influence the sign language itself and the Deaf community by connecting different communities of Deaf people through messages, shared information and experiences, and news delivery. The popularity of this technology among Deaf communities is a social phenomenon emerging from Deaf people themselves. Smartphones may promote the globalization of sign language, shortening distances between Deaf communities around the world"

Disability & Society, Volume 33, 2018 - Issue 2

Enhancing reading abilities of learners with intellectual impairments through computer technology

MOSITO, Cina P.
WARNICK, Albert M.
ESAMBE, Emmanuel E.
2017

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Background: Developments in the teaching of children with disabilities support pedagogy that emphasises learners’ strengths as opposed to their assumed deficiencies. Educators and mediators who advocate this view continually strive for tools and methodologies that enhance learner participation in academic environments. Computer technology is one of the tools recognised for its potential to enrich learning experiences of learners with an intellectual impairment.


Objectives: We sought to assess the influence of text-to-speech stories on the reading ability of intellectually challenged learners.

 

Method: A qualitative action research study that involves learners at a special school in Cape Town, South Africa. Pre- and post-test data of the reading performance of learners are analysed with a focus on how they demonstrate change.

 

Results: Although no claims can be made about the explicit influence on reading performance, computer-assisted learning has the potential in isolating reading processes that classroom-based interventions can address. In addition, computers enhance motivation and enthusiasm to learn.

 

Conclusion: A need for education based on inclusion and positive differentiation remains the key driver in any educational interventions.

The patient perspective on the use of information and communication technologies and e-health in rehabilitation

WENTINK, M M
PRIETO, E
DE KLOET, A J
VLIELAND, T P M Vliet
MEESTERS, J J L
2017

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Introduction: Success of e-health relies on the extent to which the related technology, such as the electronic device, is accepted by its users. However, there has been limited research on the patients’ perspective on use of e-health-related technology in rehabilitation care.

 

Objective: To explore the usage of common electronic devices among rehabilitation patients with access to email and investigate their preferences regarding their usage in rehabilitation.

 

Methods: Adult patients who were admitted for inpatient and/or outpatient rehabilitation and were registered with an email address were invited to complete an electronic questionnaire regarding current and preferred use of information and communication technologies in rehabilitation care.

 

Results: 190 out of 714 invited patients completed the questionnaire, 94 (49%) female, mean age 49 years (SD 16). 149 patients (78%) used one or more devices every day, with the most frequently used devices were: PC/laptop (93%), smartphone (57%) and tablet (47%). Patients mostly preferred to use technology for contact with health professionals (mean 3.15, SD 0.79), followed by access to their personal record (mean 3.09, SD 0.78) and scheduling appointments with health professionals (mean 3.07, SD 0.85).

 

Conclusion: Most patients in rehabilitation used one or more devices almost every day and wish to use these devices in rehabilitation.

A world without Down’s syndrome? Online resistance on Twitter: #worldwithoutdowns and #justaboutcoping

BURCH, Leah
2017

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Presented by actress and comedian Sally Phillips, A World Without Down’s Syndrome has brought important ethical debates regarding prenatal screening into the public domain. By talking to people with Down’s syndrome, family members, and professionals, Sally has presented a nuanced and thorough examination of the type of world we are living in. Following the documentary, Twitter users have continued to engage with debates and have created a resilient platform for challenging public attitudes. This paper explores the ways in which Twitter hashtags have provided a space for such important and long overdue conversations. While it would not be possible to provide a full overview of the topical conversations that the two hashtags have provoked, I aim to focus on some of the most prominent topics. The following, then, will explore the potential of alternative narratives that resist, and disrupt, normative notions of the human using the hashtags #worldwithoutdowns and #justaboutcoping.

Leaving no-one behind: using assistive technology to enhance community living for people with intellectual disability

OWUOR, John
LARKIN, Fiona
MacLACHLAN, Malcolm
April 2017

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The transformation of community care for people with intellectual disabilities (ID) through enhanced access to assistive technology (AT) is discussed. The problems associated with lack of access to AT and the extent to which these occur are reported. Issues in lack of AT provision, including lack of global standards, are discussed. A call to action is made with reference to the appropriate parts of CRPD.   

 

 

Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology, 12:5, 426-428

DOI: 10.1080/17483107.2017.1312572 

Factors influencing employment and employability for persons with disability: Insights from a city in South India

RAMACHANDRA, Srikrishna
et al
April 2017

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Employee and employer perceptions on barriers existing among Information Technology (IT) and IT-enabled sectors to employ persons with disabilities (PWD) were investigated. Two hundred participants (147 PWD and 53 employers) from six organizations were included in the study, which was conducted in Hyderabad, India. A semi-structured questionnaire was administered to the participants. The study also documented enabling factors that have facilitated employment of PWD. An assessment of awareness levels among employers and employees with disabilities on the provisions of the Indian PWD Act (1995) was also undertaken.

 

Indian J Occup Environ Med. 2017 Jan-Apr; 21(1): 36–41

doi:  10.4103/ijoem.IJOEM_44_16

Able to include

INCLUSION EUROPE
February 2017

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"The ABLE TO INCLUDE solution improves the quality of life of people with intellectual or developmental disabilities (IDD) and similar conditions such as people affected by dementia or any kind of cognitive impairment. To achieve this, the project integrates a set of already-developed technologies to create a context-aware accessibility layer that, by being integrated with existing and future ICT tools, can improve the day-to-day life of people with IDD by understanding their surroundings and helping them to interact with the information society. The project focuses on the most important areas that a person needs to live independently and find fulfilment as an individual: to socialize in the context of the web 2.0, to travel independently and be able to work.

Three key technologies are used as a framework to develop everyday tasks:

Text and content simplifier
A pictogram-to-text, text-to-pictogram and pictogram-pictogram translation tool
Text-to-speech functionalities

These technologies are utilised to create an accessibility layer for people with IDD in everyday tasks within the framework of the information society. The accessibility layer is accessed through an open and free API that foster the introduction of an assistive technologies layer for people with IDD in any software development."

Let’s talk about sex: How people with intellectual disability in Australia engage with online social media and intimate relationships

DARRAGH, Judith
REYNOLDS, Louise
ELLISON, Caroline
BELLON, Michelle
2017

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The purpose of this study was to explore if people with intellectual disability access internet based social media, and if so, if they use it to form relationships that express their sexuality.

Cyberpsychology: Journal of Psychosocial Research on Cyberspace, 11(1), Article 9.

https://doi.org/10.5817/CP2017-1-9

Toolkit on disability for Africa

UNITED NATIONS DEPARTMENT OF ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL AFFAIRS (UNDESA)
November 2016

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A Toolkit on Disability for Africa has been developed by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA), Division for Social Policy and Development (DSPD). It is designed for the African context and aims to:

  • Provide practical tools on various disability-related issues to government officials, members of parliament, civil and public servants at all levels, disabled persons organizations (DPOs) and all those with an interest in the inclusion of persons with disabilities in society and development;
  • Support the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) and disability-inclusive development;
  • Offer examples of good practices from many countries in the African region.

 

Toolkit Modules:

  • UN DESA toolkit on CRPD – Trainers’ tips
  • Introducing the UNCRPD
  • Frameworks for implementing and monitoring the UNCRPD
  • Disability-inclusive development
  • Accessibility
  • Building multi-stakeholders partnerships for disability inclusion
  • National plans on disability
  • Legislating for disability rights
  • Access to justice for persons with disabilities
  • The rights of persons with disabilities to work
  • Inclusive health services for persons with disabilities
  • Participation in political and public life
  • Information and communication technology (ICT) and disability
  • Culture, beliefs, and disability
  • Inclusive education

App-cessibility - apps to make your tech more accessible for you.

OSBOURNE, Abbie
October 2016

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Three adaptive apps for mobile phones are briefly introduced. RogerVoice helps the hard of hearing to make phone calls by automatically transcribing speech. The dyslexia key can make the font easier to read and also can enable a sequential keyboard. Be My Eyes enables users to request help from volunteer readers by phone using videolinks

Development and functional demonstration of a wireless intraoral inductive tongue computer interface for severely disabled persons

STRUIJK, Lotte N S Andreasen
LONTIS, Eugen R
GAIHEDE, Michael
CALTENCO, Hector A
LUND, Morten Enemark
SCHIOELER, Henrik
BENTSEN, Bo
2016

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Purpose: Individuals with tetraplegia depend on alternative interfaces in order to control computers and other electronic equipment. Current interfaces are often limited in the number of available control commands, and may compromise the social identity of an individual due to their undesirable appearance. The purpose of this study was to implement an alternative computer interface, which was fully embedded into the oral cavity and which provided multiple control commands.

 

Methods: The development of a wireless, intraoral, inductive tongue computer was described. The interface encompassed a 10-key keypad area and a mouse pad area. This system was embedded wirelessly into the oral cavity of the user. The functionality of the system was demonstrated in two tetraplegic individuals and two able-bodied individuals

 

Results: The system was invisible during use and allowed the user to type on a computer using either the keypad area or the mouse pad. The maximal typing rate was 1.8 s for repetitively typing a correct character with the keypad area and 1.4 s for repetitively typing a correct character with the mouse pad area.

 

Conclusion: The results suggest that this inductive tongue computer interface provides an esthetically acceptable and functionally efficient environmental control for a severely disabled user.

'Brain training' technique restores feeling and movement to paraplegic patients

RADFORD, Tim
August 2016

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It is reported that eight paraplegics – some of them paralysed for more than a decade by severe spinal cord injury – have been able to move their legs and feel sensation, after help from an artificial exoskeleton, sessions using virtual reality (VR) technology and a non-invasive system that links the brain with a computer. "After just 10 months of what the Brazilian medical team “brain training” they have been able to make a conscious decision to move and then get a response from muscles that have not been used for a decade". The work is part of the Walk Again Project.

Evaluation of the feasibility and acceptability of the ‘Care for Stroke’ intervention in India, a smartphone-enabled, carer-supported, educational intervention for management of disability following stroke

SURESHKUMAR, K
MURTHY, G V S
NATARAJAN, S
GOENKA, S
KUPER, H
February 2016

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This study aimed to identify operational issues encountered by study participants in using the ‘Care for Stroke’ intervention and to evaluate the feasibility and acceptability of the intervention. ‘Care for Stroke’ is a smartphone-enabled, educational intervention for management of physical disabilities following stroke. It is delivered through a web-based, smartphone enabled application (app). It includes inputs from stroke rehabilitation experts in a digitised format. Sixty stroke survivors discharged from hospital in Chennai, South India, and their caregivers participated in the study. The preliminary intervention was field-tested with 30 stroke survivors for 2 weeks. The finalised intervention was provided to a further 30 stroke survivors to be used in their homes with support from their carers for 4 weeks. Field-testing identified operational difficulties related to connectivity, video-streaming, picture clarity, quality of videos, and functionality of the application. Assessment was carried out by direct observation and short interview questionnaires. 

 

 

Including alternative stories in the mainstream. How transcultural young people in Norway perform creative cultural resistance in and outside of school

DEWILDE, Joke
SKREFSRUD, Thor-André
2016

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The development of an inclusive pedagogy takes on new urgency in Norwegian schools as the student body has become increasingly culturally and linguistically diverse. Traditionally, the Norwegian school has been dominated by homogenising and assimilating discourses, whereas alternative voices have been situated at the margins. In response to this tendency, we present two transcultural students’ autoethnographic stories produced in alternative spaces to the Norwegian mainstream, that is, in a transition class for newly arrived students and on Facebook. Both spaces are perceived as contact zones in the sense that they are culturally and linguistically complex. This article illustrates how the students perform cultural and linguistic resistance towards dominant homogenising discourses as the transition class and Facebook seem to offer opportunities for constructing alternative stories. Moreover, we contend that these alternative stories offer important knowledge for conventional education contexts since they represent stories of competence in contrast to the assumed limitations of these students.

Bridging the disability divide through digital technologies

Deepti Samant Raja
2016

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The exclusion and marginalization of persons with disabilities is a human rights issue as well as an economic issue for countries. Digital technologies break traditional barriers to communication, interaction, and access to information for persons with disabilities. The confluence of increasing public and private service provision through Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and the growing number of mainstream, everyday ICTs that can be used as accessible devices is changing the paradigm of technology-enabled development for persons with disabilities. This paper provides an overview of the opportunities presented by the internet and ICT for the full participation of persons with disabilities. Accessible ICT can level the playing field for persons with disabilities across life domains including education, employment, e-governance and civic participation, financial inclusion, and disaster management. However, earlier divides may persist and new divides may be created when ICT-enabled development is not accessible to persons with disabilities, leading to an uneven distribution of benefits. This paper reviews the main challenges to the realization of ICT-enabled inclusive development and presents cost-beneficial policy and practice recommendations for governments and development practitioners

Project Re•Vision: disability at the edges of representation

RICE, Carla
CHANDLER, Eliza
HARRISON, Elisabeth
LIDDIARD, Kirsty
FERRARI, Manuela
2015

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The representational history of disabled people can largely be characterized as one of being put on display or hidden away. Self-representations have been a powerful part of the disability rights and culture movement, but recently scholars have analysed the ways in which these run the risk of creating a ‘single story’that centres the experiences of white, western, physically disabled men. Here we introduce and theorize with Project Re•Vision, our arts-based research project that resists this singularity by creating and centring, without normalizing, repre- sentations that have previously been relegated to the margins. We draw from body becoming and new materialist theory to explore the dynamic ways in which positionality illuminates bodies of difference and open into a discussion about what is at stake when these stories are let loose into the world.

Representation, access and contestation: Facebook and vision impairment in Jordan, India, and Peru

PAL, Joyojeet
ALFARO, Ana Maria Huaita
AMMARI, Tawfiq W
CHHABRA, Sidharth
LAKSHMANAN, Meera
2015

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This paper presents qualitative research on the use of Facebook by visually impaired people and organizations representing them in Jordan, Peru, and India. We found that individuals and organizations have very different motivations and pathways for using social media. Social media serve as a means to help individuals with vision impairments to expand their social circles, network with casual acquaintances, and find various kinds of social and technical resources independently. However on issues of representation we found that social media have the potential to play a double-edged sword, reinforcing in some cases the same stereotypes that individual users of assistive technology (AT) sought to overcome by using technology in their professional lives. We find that individuals often characterize social media and assistive technology in the same vein — suggesting that for many parts of the global South, the dramatic change in the means and ability to leverage social and professional possibilities has not come from any one technology alone, but from a broader evolution of the technological environment available to people with vision impairments. Access to social media and technology disrupt an environment in which social and economic spaces for people with disabilities are still a zone of contestation between a dominant discourse of vision impairment enforced by generations of negative representations of disability, and a new world of technology users challenging representations and assumptions as engaged, connected professionals.

 

Disability and the Global South (DGS), 2015, Vol. 2 No. 3

The impact of an online Facebook support group for people with multiple sclerosis on non-active users

STEADMAN, Jacqui
PRETORIUS, Chrisma
2014

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Background: Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a debilitating disease and there is little research on support networks for people with MS (PwMS). More specifically, most studies on online support groups focus on those who actively participate in the group, whereas the majority of those who utilise online support groups do so in a passive way.

 

Objectives: This study therefore aimed to explore the experiences of non-active users of an online Facebook support group for PwMS. Emphasis was placed on the facilitators and the barriers that were associated with membership to this group.

 

Method: An exploratory qualitative research design was implemented, whereby thematic analysis was utilised to examine the ten semi-structured interviews that were conducted.

 

Results: Several facilitators were acquired through the online support group; namely emotional support (constant source of support, exposure to negative aspects of the disease),informational support (group as a source of knowledge, quality of information) and social companionship (place of belonging). Some barriers were also identified; namely emotional support (emotions lost online, response to messages, exposure to negative aspects of the disease), informational support (information posted on the group, misuse of group) and social companionship (non-active status).

 

Conclusion: These findings demonstrate that the non-active members of the online support group for PwMS have valid reasons for their non-active membership status. More important,the findings suggest that the online Facebook support group provided the group members with an important support network in the form of emotional support, informational support and social companionship, despite their non-active membership status or the barriers that have been identified.

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