Staying Connected: The Use of Computer Related Accessible Technology Among People With MSBy Kraft, George H.; Kennedy, Patricia; Lowenstein, Nancy; Rumrill, Phillip D.; Stewart, Thomas; Young, Mark; McCullars, Jessica Cameron; Peterson, Sarah; International Journal of MS Care, Vol. 11, Supplement 1
Publication Date: March 2009
Article reports the results of a survey among people with multiple sclerosis (MS) in the United States regarding their attitudes toward, and awareness and usage of, computer related accessible technologies. The 30-minute survey, which was conducted either by telephone or via e-mail, included 2352 predominantly female Caucasian respondents aged 18 to 64 years, some 56 percent of whom had a college education or higher, and half of whom were employed. The survey was devised and conducted by the MS Technology Collaborative, a collaborative of the National MS Society, Microsoft, and Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals. Results found respondents to be highly technology-reliant, with technology playing a central role in their lives, providing them connections to needed resources and people who matter to them, giving them access to information and tools related to treatment, and helping them stay employed. Those with more severe symptoms, such as fatigue, memory and cognitive problems, and difficulty with hand strength, were significantly more likely to agree that technology plays a vital role in helping them live with MS. However, awareness of computer related accessible technologies such as speech or voice recognition, screen readers, alternative keyboards, or joysticks and trackballs, was fairly low, and usage rates were even lower. Respondents reported lack of information as the primary barrier linking those with MS to accessible technologies. In response to these findings, the MS Technology Collaborative has created an online tool (http://MyMsMyWay.com/) that aligns the needs and circumstances of persons with MS with available technology tools and resources.
Published by: Consortium of MS Centers (Website:http://www.mscare.org)
Link to text: http://www.mscare.org/cmsc/images/pdf/Bayer_0309_FINAL.pdf