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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.

Quality of wheelchair services as perceived by users in rural Bangalore district, India: a cross-sectional survey

GEILEN, Bart G
DE WITTE, Luc
NORMAN, Gift
GEORGE, Carolin Elizabeth
2020

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Background and aim:

This study investigated the current state of wheelchair services in Bangalore Rural district, as provided by Bangalore Baptist Hospital, and identified areas for improvement.

 

Method:

a cross-sectional survey was held among 50 wheelchair users. Data was collected on demographics, satisfaction, wheelchair skills and level of disability using QUEST, WST-Q and CHART-SF questionnaires.

 

Result:

Overall satisfaction can be described as more or less satisfied, scoring 3.8 out of 5. Wheelchair users were less satisfied with the services compared to the wheelchair itself. The skills a wheelchair users had were strongly correlated with satisfaction scores (p < 0.01). Differences in satisfaction between genders were observed and related to multiple factors.

 

Conclusion:

Wheelchairs should be easy to use with support services being easily accessible. A wheelchair should be delivered together with a training program to provide the user with the skills to operate and maintain the wheelchair. There are gender-wise differences in satisfaction towards wheelchair services that influence satisfaction.

Impact of the FindMyApps program on people with mild cognitive impairment or dementia and their caregivers; an exploratory pilot randomised controlled trial

BEENTJES, Kim M
NEAL, David P
KERKHOF, Yvonne J F
BROEDER, Caroline
MOERIDJAN, Zaïnah D J
ETTEMA, Teake P
PELKMANS, Wiesje
MULLER, Majon M
GRAFF, Maud J L
DRÖES, Rose-Marie
2020

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Purpose

FindMyApps is a web-based selection-tool and errorless learning training program to help people with mild dementia/Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) and caregivers find user-friendly apps. In preparation of a definitive trial, the impact and feasibility of the FindMyApps intervention on self-management and engagement in meaningful activities, including social participation, was explored.

 

Materials and methods

An exploratory pilot randomised controlled trial (trial registration approval number: NL7210) with pre/post measurements was conducted with community-dwelling people with mild dementia/MCI and their caregivers (n = 59) in the Netherlands. Dyads in the experimental group (n = 28) received training to use the tablet and FindMyApps, and the errorless learning method was taught to their caregivers. Control group dyads (n = 31) received a tablet (without FindMyApps), instructions on tablet-use and links to dementia-friendly apps. Validated instruments were used to assess person with dementia’s self-management, meaningful activities and social participation, caregiver’s sense of competence and both their quality of life.

 

Results and conclusions

No statistical significant group differences on the outcomes were found. Small to moderate effect-sizes in favour of the FindMyApps group were found for self-management and social participation. Caregivers tended to have more positive care experiences. Subgroup analyses showed that people older than 70 benefitted more from FindMyApps regarding self-management and higher educated people benefitted more regarding social participation. FindMyApps is feasible for the target group and may have potential to improve self-management and social participation. For a future definitive effectiveness trial a larger sample size is recommended, as well as taking into account the possible impact of education and age.

Moral distress and ethical decision-making of eldercare professionals involved in digital service transformation

FRENNERT, Susanne
2020

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Aim

Technology affects almost all aspects of modern eldercare. Ensuring ethical decision-making is essential as eldercare becomes more digital; each decision affects a patient’s life, self-esteem, health and wellness.

 

Methods

We conducted a survey and interviews with eldercare professionals to better understand the behavioural ethics and decision making involved in the digital transition of eldercare.

 

Conclusion

Our qualitative analysis showed three recurrent roles among eldercare professionals in regard to digital service transformation; makers, implementers and maintainers. All three encountered challenging and stressful ethical dilemmas due to uncertainty and a lack of control. The matter of power relations, the attempts to standardize digital solutions and the conflict between cost efficiency and if digital care solutions add value for patients, all caused moral dilemmas for eldercare professionals. The findings suggest a need for organizational infrastructure that promotes ethical conduct and behaviour, ethics training and access to related resources.

Postural asymmetries, pain, and ability to change position of children with cerebral palsy in sitting and supine: a cross-sectional study

CASEY, Jackie
ROSENBLAD, Andreas
RODBY-BOUSQUET, Elisabet
2020

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Purpose: To examine any associations between postural asymmetries, postural ability, and pain for chil- dren with cerebral palsy in sitting and supine positions.

 

Methods: A cross-sectional study of 2,735 children with cerebral palsy, 0-18years old, reported into the Swedish CPUP registry. Postural asymmetries, postural ability, the gross motor function classification sys- tem levels I–V, sex, age and report of pain were used to determine any relationship between these variables.

 

Results: Over half the children had postural asymmetries in sitting (n1⁄41,646; 60.2%) or supine (n1⁄41,467; 53.6%). These increased with age and as motor function decreased. Children were twice as likely to have pain if they had an asymmetric posture (OR 2.1–2.7), regardless of age, sex and motor func- tion. Children unable to maintain or change position independently were at higher risk for postural asym- metries in both supine (OR 2.6–7.8) and sitting positions (OR 1.5–4.2).

 

Conclusions: An association was found between having an asymmetric posture and ability to change position in sitting and/or lying; and with pain. The results indicate the need to assess posture and provide interventions to address asymmetric posture and pain.

Landmine Monitor 2020

INTERNATIONAL CAMPAIGN TO BAN LANDMINES – CLUSTER MUNITION COALITION (ICBL-CMC)
November 2020

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This is the 22nd annual Landmine Monitor report. Landmine Monitor 2020 provides a global overview of the landmine situation. Chapters on developments in specific countries and other areas are available in online Country Profiles at www.the-monitor.org/cp. Landmine Monitor covers mine ban policy, use, production, trade, and stockpiling; includes information on developments and challenges in assessing and addressing the impact of mine contamination and casualties through clearance, risk education, and victim assistance; and documents international and national support for mine action. This report focuses on calendar year 2019, with information included up to October 2020 where possible.

 

The victim assistance coordination section covers the following topics: Participation of victims and their representative organizations; A relevant government agency to coordinate victim assistance; Multi-sectoral efforts in line with the CRPD; National referral mechanisms; Centralized database with needs and challenges

WHO launches assistive technology capacity assessment (ATA-C)

WORLD HEALTH ORGANISATION (WHO)
November 2020

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WHO has developed the assistive technology capacity assessment (ATA-C) tool, a system-level tool to evaluate a country’s capacity to finance, regulate, procure and provide assistive technology. The ATA-C tool enables countries to better understand the current status and identify key actions to improve access to assistive technology: it can be used for awareness raising, policy and programme design and ongoing monitoring and evaluation.

The ATA-C is part of the WHO Assistive Technology Assessment (ATA) Toolkit, helping countries to collect effective and relevant data on assistive technology

Inclusive Design: What if we built a world that was accessible to all?

McKINNON, Iain
CARR, Peter
PATRICK, Mikaela
MONGOLIA RESEARCH TEAM
ASTERINA, Nina
October 2020

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This webinar, hosted by Global Disability Innovation (GDI) hub, brings together a diverse panel of experts to discuss what inclusive design looks like in practice for them, who benefits and how it can offer methods to build a more accessible world that benefits all of us.

 

Speakers presentations were:

  • What inclusive design means to GDI Hub and why it matters, drawing on our experience working in both the UK and globally
  • An overview of inclusive design of the built environment in the UK and Kenya, including the role of access panels to embed the views of disabled people in planning and decision-making
  • An introduction to GDI Hub’s AT2030 programme including our Inclusive Infrastructure research sub-programme that is conducting six global case studies in LMIC cities around the world over the next 2-3 years.
  • The challenges and opportunities for an accessible Mongolia and the importance of Disabled People’s Organisations (DPO) engagement in decision-making
  • The importance of inclusive planning processes for accessible cities in Indonesia

Management of Undergraduate Community-Based Rehabilitation Programmes in the Philippines: A Cross-Sectional Survey

TRINIDAD, Pocholo B
SHIBU, Litty M
CABALLERO, Napoleon R
RAJAB, Ebrahim
2020

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Purpose: The survey aimed to identify common strengths and weaknesses regarding the characteristics, management and implementation of Community-Based Rehabilitation (CBR) training in the undergraduate curriculum of Schools of Physical Therapy in the Philippines, and make recommendations for improvement.

 

Method: A survey was conducted with the academic heads of CBR departments in 10 Physical Therapy schools. The institutions were selected through cluster sampling according to regional location. Nine of these were private institutions. Data was collected through a 24-item self-assessment survey distributed to the heads of the participating colleges /departments.

 

Results: A number of strengths and weaknesses were identified. The strengths were:  all schools had a 1 to 2-month clinical CBR course integrated into their undergraduate curriculum; CBR courses were supported by a course syllabus, learning outcomes, student assessment and clinical training manual; 80% of institutions had implementing policies and guidelines governing management of the CBR programme(s); at least one physiotherapist was involved in the management of the CBR programme(s); and, CBR activities were delivered in coordination with key stakeholders management, with emphasis on delivery of physical therapy services, disability prevention, health education, participation of persons with disabilities and community awareness. The weaknesses were: no head/programme coordinator for 30% of CBR programmes; 40% did not have clinical coordinators as designated management positions in the CBR programme; only 50% of academic staff received formal CBR training, of which 80% was provided through CBR summits and professional interaction with other physical therapists; and, only 50% of schools adopted a multidisciplinary approach to service delivery which was focused on the Health domain of the CBR Matrix.

 

Conclusion:  The CBR component of the undergraduate physical therapy curriculum in the Philippines can be improved. A shift in the teaching to transdisciplinary care and inter-professional learning is recommended. Regular review of the CBR indicators should be done by the schools, including the key stakeholders.  Challenges for CBR implementation were recruitment of community volunteers as CBR workers, availability of indigenous resources and finances to support CBR activities, and family participation in the rehabilitation of a relative with a disability. Each school should determine whether current human resources and training are adequate. Schools must be encouraged to jointly identify common problems in CBR education and share solutions. 

Recommendations for studies on dynamic arm support devices in people with neuromuscular disorders: a scoping review with expert-based discussion

ESSERS, J M N
MURGIA, A
PETERS, A A
JANSSEN, M M H P
MEIJER, K
2020

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Purpose

Neuromuscular disorders are characterised by muscle weakness that limits upper extremity mobility, but can be alleviated with dynamic arm support devices. Current research highlights the importance and difficulties of evidence-based recommendations for device development. We aim to provide research recommendations primarily concerning upper extremity body functions, and secondarily activity and participation, environmental and personal factors.

 

Methods

Evidence was synthesised from literature, ongoing studies, and expert opinions and tabulated within a framework based on a combination of the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) model and contextual constructs.

 

Results

Current literature mostly investigated the motor capacity of muscle function, joint mobility, and upper body functionality, and a few studies also addressed the impact on activity and participation. In addition, experts considered knowledge on device utilisation in the daily environment and characterising the beneficiaries better as important. Knowledge gaps showed that ICF model components and contextual constructs should be better integrated and more actively included in future research.

 

Conclusions

It is recommended to, first, integrate multiple ICF model components and contextual constructs within one study design. Second, include the influence of environmental and personal factors when developing and deploying a device. Third, include short-term and long-term measurements to monitor adaptations over time. Finally, include user satisfaction as guidance to evaluate the device effectiveness.

Measure It Super Simple (MISS) activity tracker: (re)design of a user-friendly interface and evaluation of experiences in daily life

UMMELS, Darcy
BRAUN, Susy
STEVENS, An
BEEKMAN, Emmylou
BEURSKENS, Anna
2020

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Purpose

The purposes of this study were, first, to (re)design the user-interface of the activity tracker known as the MOX with the help of input from elderly individuals living independently and, second, to assess the use of and experiences with the adapted Measure It Super Simple (MISS) activity tracker in daily life.

 

Methods

The double diamond method, which was used to (re)design the user-interface, consists of four phases: discover, define, develop, and deliver. As a departure point, this study used a list of general design requirements that facilitate the development of technology for the elderly. Usage and experiences were assessed through interviews after elderly individuals had used the activity tracker for 2 weeks.

 

Results

In co-creation with thirty-five elderly individuals (65 to 89-years-old) the design, feedback system, and application were further developed into a user-friendly interface: the Measure It Super Simple (MISS) activity. Twenty-eight elderly individuals (65 to 78-years-old) reported that they found the MISS activity easy to use, needed limited help when setting the tracker up, and required limited assistance when using it during their daily lives.

 

Conclusions

This study offers a generic structured methodology and a list of design requirements to adapt the interface of an existing activity tracker consistent with the skills and needs of the elderly. The MISS activity seemed to be successfully (re)designed, like the elderly who participated in this pilot study reported that anyone should be able to use it.

Novel lateral transfer assist robot decreases the difficulty of transfer in post-stroke hemiparesis patients: a pilot study

KOYAMA, Soichiro
TANABE, Shigeo
OTAKA, Yohei
KATO, Tomoya
FURUZAWA, Shotaro
TATEMOTO, Tsuyoshi
KUMAZAWA, Nobuhiro
YOSHIMUTA, Hiroshi
TORII, Katsuhiko
TSUKADA, Shingo
SAITOH, Eiichi
et al
2020

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Purpose

The purpose of this study was to clarify whether the novel lateral transfer assist robot facilitates easier transfers compared with a wheelchair in post-stroke hemiparesis patients.

 

Methods

This cross-sectional study enrolled 20 post-stroke hemiparesis patients, and the task difficulty of transfers was compared between a wheelchair and lateral transfer assist robot. All participants were asked to transfer from either wheelchair or lateral transfer assist robot to a platform table and back. The primary outcome was the transfer score of the Functional Independence Measure. The secondary outcome was the time required for transfer.

 

Results

The transfer score of the Functional Independence Measure was significantly higher with lateral transfer assist robot than with wheelchair (p < .001). The transfer times from these devices to a platform table and back showed no significant differences (to device from platform table: 7.8 s, lateral transfer assist robot vs 7.6 s, wheelchair, p > .05: device to platform table: 7.1 s, lateral transfer assist robot vs 8.0 s, wheelchair, p > .05).

 

Conclusions

Transfer with a lateral transfer assist robot is easier than with wheelchair and facilitates independence in post-stroke hemiparesis patients.

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.

Product Narratives: the challenges of supply and demand-side barriers for priority AT

HOLLOWAY, Cathy
OLDFREY, Ben
END FINEBURG, Alison
SEGHERS, Frederic
SOENDERGAARD, Dennis
September 2020

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This Disability Innovation Live session, looked at the Assistive Technology (AT) Product Narratives (PNs). The Product Narratives were developed by the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) under the FCDO funded AT2030 programme, led by GDI Hub, in support of the ATscale Strategy.

These PNs set out what we know about the state of the global market for each AT product, and identify global recommendations for how to address some of the barriers to access currently experienced in low and middle-income countries. In this session, we hear from the experts about what the PNs are, how they will inform global policy, and how we hope they will help us reach more people with life-changing AT

Breaking down the barriers for people with disabilities through innovation in Africa

GSMA
September 2020

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During this interactive session, hosted by GSMA’s Assistive Tech team, we shared insights on the mobile disability gap, including findings from our gender and disability research, and lessons learnt from the innovation landscape. We also heard from several leading assistive tech innovators supporting the digital inclusion of people with disabilities, both visible or unseen across emerging markets

Disability, stigma & the role of innovation - Disability innovation live

AUSTIN, Vicki
CAREW, Matthew
MIRZOYANTS, Anastasia
BARBARESCHI, Giulia
August 2020

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This webinar focussed on the role of stigma in preventing disability inclusion, and what enables it to be overcome, focused on innovative and creative methods

The speakers talked about:

  • Culture, Paralympic legacy & how innovation can change mindsets
  • Stigma research incorporating the perspectives of persons with disabilities & disability inclusive research processes
  • Kenyan youth & the perception of people with disabilities
  • Assistive technology, identity & the role of innovation

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.

COVID-19 and Disability; Exploring a new innovation landscape

HOLLOWAY, Catherine
OLDFREY, Ben
CHIIRA, Bernard
KETT, Maria
July 2020

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This webinar explored the impact of, and learnings from COVID-19 on Disability Innovation. We heard from those shifting their work in response to the pandemic. We also looked at how learnings from Assistive Technology (AT) are being applied to this unprecedented global environment.

Finally, there was an overview of how knowledge was captured during Ebola can support the response to this latest threat

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.

Implementing music therapy through telehealth: considerations for military populations

VAUDREUIL, Rebecca
LANGSTON, Diane G
MAGEE, Wendy L
BETTS, Donna
KASS, Sara
LEVY, Charles
2020

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Purpose

Telehealth provides psychotherapeutic interventions and psychoeducation for remote populations with limited access to in-person behavioural health and/or rehabilitation treatment. The United States Department of Défense and the Veterans Health Administration use telehealth to deliver primary care, medication management, and services including physical, occupational, and speech-language therapies for service members, veterans, and eligible dependents. While creative arts therapies are included in telehealth programming, the existing evidence base focuses on art therapy and dance/movement therapy, with a paucity of information on music therapy.

 

Methods

Discussion of didactic and applied music experiences, clinical, ethical, and technological considerations, and research pertaining to music therapy telehealth addresses this gap through presentation of three case examples. These programmes highlight music therapy telehealth with military-connected populations on a continuum of clinical and community engagement: 1) collaboration between Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA and the Acoke Rural Development Initiative in Lira, Uganda; 2) the Semper Sound Cyber Health programme in San Diego, CA; and 3) the integration of music therapy telehealth into Creative Forces®, an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts.

 

Results

These examples illustrate that participants were found to positively respond to music therapy and community music engagement through telehealth, and reported decrease in pain, anxiety, and depression; they endorsed that telehealth was not a deterrent to continued music engagement, requested continued music therapy telehealth sessions, and recommended it to their peers.

 

Conclusions

Knowledge gaps and evolving models of creative arts therapies telehealth for military-connected populations are elucidated, with emphasis on clinical and ethical considerations.

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