Special Issue "Assistive Technology and Support Services for People with Disabilities in Low Resource Settings"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Health Care Sciences & Services".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 October 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Daniel Mont
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Center for Inclusive Policy, 1450 Church Street, NW Unit 602 Washington, DC 20005, USA
Interests: disability; inclusion; social protection; education; rehabilitation
Mr. Alexandre Cote
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Center for Inclusive Policy, 1450 Church Street, NW Unit 602 Washington, DC 20005, USA
Interests: disability; inclusion; social protection; employment; human rights

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

About 15 percent of the world’s population has a disability, and a growing body of research shows they are worse off than their nondisabled peers according to a wide range of social and economic indicators, such as education, employment, poverty, violence, HIV infection, and access to health care and social services. This is directly attributable to many barriers in the environment, for example, inaccessible infrastructure and information and discriminatory attitudes. The availability of quality supports, such as personal assistance and assistive technology, is necessary for many people with disabilities in order to fully participate in the economic and social lives of their communities and close these outcome gaps. However, little research has been done demonstrating the extent of this need or how to address it. Examples and guidance on the design and delivery of these supports in low- and middle-income countries are greatly needed. We invite papers addressing the access and impact of support services and assisitive technology for people with disabilities in low- and middle-income countries, and examples and guidance on how they can be effectively provided in low-resource settings, especially those combining a high academic standard coupled with policy recommendations.

Dr. Daniel Mont
Mr. Alexandre Cote
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2300 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • disability
  • assistive technology
  • assistive devices
  • support services
  • inclusion

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Provision of Assistive Technology for Students with Disabilities in South African Higher Education
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(8), 3892; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18083892 - 08 Apr 2021
Viewed by 376
Abstract
This paper used the Critical Disability Theory (CDT) to analyse the provision of assistive technology (AT) and assistive devices at an institution of higher education in South African. In this empirical study, data were collected through interviews with students with disabilities and Disability [...] Read more.
This paper used the Critical Disability Theory (CDT) to analyse the provision of assistive technology (AT) and assistive devices at an institution of higher education in South African. In this empirical study, data were collected through interviews with students with disabilities and Disability Rights Centre staff members. The paper sought to explore the effectiveness of the provision of AT and assistive devices, in terms of enabling students with disabilities’ learning. The provision was deemed inadequate, and a specific AT and assistive device was inaccessible to one category of disability, consequently limiting learning. The paper concludes that the provision of assistive devices at the institution enabled students with disabilities’ learning, however, there was a need for improvement by way of the Universal Design for Learning (UDL). The UDL will help all diverse students, including students with disabilities in all their categories of disability, to be assisted to learn through the provision of AT and assistive devices. It is hoped that the paper will contribute to contemporary debates on the provision of AT and assistive devices for people with disabilities in low-resource settings, from a South African context specifically, and in higher education broadly. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Perspectives of Multidisciplinary Professional Teams during Assessment Processes for ATD Selection in the Japanese Public Provision System
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(5), 2697; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18052697 - 08 Mar 2021
Viewed by 507
Abstract
Selection of assistive technology devices (ATDs), which are imperative for persons with disabilities to improve their quality of life, requires collaboration of users and multidisciplinary professionals. However, it is still unknown how to design and implement an adequate collaborative work flow and a [...] Read more.
Selection of assistive technology devices (ATDs), which are imperative for persons with disabilities to improve their quality of life, requires collaboration of users and multidisciplinary professionals. However, it is still unknown how to design and implement an adequate collaborative work flow and a professional team. Under Japanese governmental ATD provision system, based on the application by clients, ATDs are mainly selected through collaborative processes with the clients and health professionals in public organizations, rehabilitation counseling centers (RCCs). By employing qualitative study methods in this study, we investigated the ATD selection process in which health professionals in RCCs collaboratively assess clients with physical disabilities so as to support them in selecting the adequate ATDs. To identify the perspectives required for ATD selection completely, the assessment processes were recorded and analyzed with a pseudo setting in two RCCs. Content analysis of the conversations between the client and professionals revealed the characteristics of the information exchanged in the assessment processes. A total of 760 assessment items were identified, thus indicating a broad array of interest. Despite the richness of information collected for the assessment, half of the assessment items did not have corresponding items in the documents that were employed during the prescription process. Thematic analysis of the interviews that followed revealed the common values and collaborative processes in ATD selection, which were shared and elaborated among the staff in daily social interactions. To facilitate implementation of ATD provision in various areas with few resources, it may be effective to convert this tacit-to-tacit knowledge sharing into a more explicit sharing by promoting analyses of good practices. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
More Than Just Assistive Devices: How a South African Social Enterprise Supports an Environment of Inclusion
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(5), 2655; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18052655 - 06 Mar 2021
Viewed by 459
Abstract
Appropriate assistive technology has the potential to considerably enhance quality of life, access to health and education, and social and economic participation for people with disabilities. Most disabled people in the world live in low- and middle-income countries where access to assistive devices [...] Read more.
Appropriate assistive technology has the potential to considerably enhance quality of life, access to health and education, and social and economic participation for people with disabilities. Most disabled people in the world live in low- and middle-income countries where access to assistive devices and other support is severely lacking. There is little evidence that describes contextually relevant approaches to meeting these needs, particularly in African countries. We provide a detailed description of a South African organisation which has manufactured mobility and seating devices for children with disabilities since 1992. The Shonaquip Social Enterprise (SSE) also trains and builds capacity among a wide range of stakeholders (caregivers, health workers, educators, government, and communities) to acknowledge and advocate for the wellbeing of disabled children and adults, and works closely with government to strengthen existing service provisions. Using examples from the SSE, we highlight a number of useful principles to consider when trying to provide for the needs of people with disabilities, particularly in low-resource settings. While access to assistive devices is important, devices have limited capacity to improve participation if the broader environment is overly restrictive and stigmatising. Improved access to devices ought to be situated within a range of broader efforts to increase the inclusion and participation of people with disabilities. Full article

Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Title: How social protection systems can improve access to support services and assistive devices
Authors: Alex Cote; Daniel Mont
Affiliation: Center for Inclusive Policy

Title: Analysing predictors of use and need for glasses and vision services from population-based surveys in two low-and-middle income countries: India and Guatemala
Authors: Dorothy Boggs
Affiliation: London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

Title: Analysis of the implementation of the right to personal mobility (Article 20 of the UN CRPD) in India
Authors: Shivani Gupta; Agnes Meershoek
Affiliation: Center for Inclusive Policy Universityof Maastricht

Title: Access to services from persons with disabilities in Afghanistan: Is Community Based Rehabilitation making a difference?
Authors: Jean-Francois Trani
Affiliation: University of Washington- Saint Louis
Abstract: The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) ratified in 2006 states that the achievement of equal rights, empowerment and social inclusion of people with disabilities requires comprehensive rehabilitation services involving educational, social, economic and medical interventions all dimensions of the World Health Organization Community based rehabilitation (CBR) matrix. CBR programs aim at achieving those goals. In the present study, we investigated whether a large scale CBR program implementing the WHO CBR matrix in the context of Afghanistan is having a positive impact on various rehabilitation outcomes. We enrolled in the study 1861 newly recruited CBR participants with disabilities from 169 villages between July 2012 and December 2013 and 1132 controls screened with disabilities randomly selected with a two-stage process within 6000 households from 100 villages in the same provinces as the CBR but outside its catchment area. Using propensity score matching and difference in difference analysis, we estimated the impact of the CBR rehabilitation intervention on mobility, activities of daily living , and employment. There were statistically significant differences between participants and controls on our outcomes of interest between baseline and endline. Our study indicates that a CBR program may provide positive rehabilitation outcomes for persons with disabilities even in a conflict context such as Afghanistan. It contributes to address the longstanding question whether CBR can actually improve rehabilitation of persons with disabilities.

Title: The access to assistive technology in humanitarian settings
Authors: Maria Kett
Affiliation: University College London

Title: Stigma toward assistive technology use among persons with disabilities in Kenya
Authors: Mark Carew
Affiliation: Leonard Cheshire
Abstract: Disability stigma is highly prevalent in many low-and-middle income countries and it represents one of the most complex barriers preventing people with disabilities from accessing equal rights and opportunities (Rohwerder, 2018), including making use of available assistive technology. The majority of empirical work has focused on the impact of stigma on people with disabilities or testing stigma-reduction strategies among non-disabled people. Rarely, have studies examined how disability stigma may be constructed through misconceptions endemic to interactions between both disabled and non-disabled people and the consequent impact of disability stigma on assistive technology use. Through two strands of work, we bridge this gap. First, via a series of focus groups, workshops and interviews with young Kenyans without disabilities, we show that non-disabled youth’s perception of disability are shaped by everyday interactions with people with disabilities, personal experiences and contextual factors (e.g., community attitude towards disability or religious beliefs). Second, via planned qualitative and quantitative work with Kenyans with disabilities, we examine the extent that disability stigma operates as a barrier to assistive technology use. Findings will be discussed in terms of recommendations that could contribute to reduce disability stigma and engender increased assistive technology uptake.

Title: Supported Decision-Making in Latin America: analysis of three countries' experiences
Authors: Alberto Vasquez, Pamela Smith & Brenda Valdivia
Affiliation: SODIS - Sociedad y Discapacidad
Abstract: Since the adoption of the UN Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities, there has been an increased interest in supported decision-making as a strategy to realize the right to legal capacity of persons with intellectual and psychosocial disabilities. The present article examines and discusses three supported decision-making projects in three Latin American countries (Argentina, Colombia and Peru), which have been directly implemented by civil society organizations, including organizations of persons with disabilities and their families. The results and learnings of these initiatives constitute a valuable source of information for legislators and policymakers for the future development of supported decision-making programs in low and middle-income resource settings

Title: Assistive Technology and Inclusive Citizenship for Disabled People in Sierra Leone
Authors: Vicki Austin
Affiliation: University College London

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