Role of Persons With a Disability in the Design ProcessBy Peterson, William; Topics in Stroke Rehabilitation, Vol 15, No. 2, pp. 87-96
Publication Date: March-April 2008
Paper discusses the importance of consumer input in the production of assistive-technology devices. The author, an engineer and director of the Office of Accessible Systems and Technology at the Department of Homeland Security, maintains that user input is needed at all production levels including (1) policy development, (2) standards development, (3) research and development (R&D), and (4) technology transfer and marketing. The role of the consumer in policy making and standards development is outlined from passage of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act, to the enactment of amendments to Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, ensuring the Federal Government’s purchasing of electronic and information technology accessible for people with disabilities. Consumer involvement in R&D is illustrated by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research’s (NIDRR) mandatory practice of including consumers in the R&D process for their large grants. A 2003 survey of the assistive-technology industry, conducted by the US Department of Commerce, is used to highlight the importance of consumer involvement in the marketing of assistive devices, as only 58 percent of manufacturers reported actively seeking input from people with disabilities when developing products for that population. The author also mentions the move away from consumer-specific to universally accessible products as an encouraging trend to drive costs down and increase usability and market base.
Published by: Thomas Land Publishers, Inc. (Website:http://www.thomasland.com)
National Stroke Association (Web Site: http://www.stroke.org )
This publication is included in the library of the National Rehabilitation Information Center (NARIC), accession number J54323