Disparities in Usage of Assistive Technology Among People With DisabilitiesBy Kaye, H. Stephen; Yeager, Patricia; Reed, Myisha; Assistive Technology, Vol. 20, No. 4, pp. 194-203
Publication Date: Winter 2008
Study explored differences in assistive-technology (AT) usage across disability subpopulations in California. A 2005 survey of nearly 2,000 adult consumers using the services of Independent Living Centers (ILCs) throughout the state was used as a statistical basis for the study. Respondents were typically working-age adults with relatively low incomes and one or more types of disability, mobility impairment being the most common, who were using an average of two AT devices. Survey results showed an overall disparity of AT usage, where groups negatively affected included people with cognitive or mental-health disabilities, people with less than a college education, Latinos, African Americans, and people with acquired congenital disabilities. Beyond these basic disparities were differences in the level of sophistication of the devices used: (1) Digital devices, reflected in lower usage of high-tech devices by older adults, people with less than a college education, Latinos, African Americans, and people with lower household incomes; and (2) Powered devices, such as power wheelchairs and hearing aids, negatively affecting users with less education, lower income, acquired disabilities, and Latino ethnicity. The authors conclude that the study findings highlight approaches needed to expand usage and to promote equal access to technologies that enable greater social and economic participation for people with disabilities.
Published by: Rehabilitation Engineering & Assistive Technology Society of North America (RESNA) (Website:http://www.resna.org)