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Expounding the rehabilitation service for acquired visual impairment contingent on assistive technology acceptance

By C. R. Kan, C. Y. Wang

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Abstract

Purpose: Globally, approximately 285 million people have visual impairments, with over 39 million people having full blindness. Beginning in the late nineteenth century, assistive devices such as service dogs, braille reading devices, and white canes have aided those with visual impairments. From the immense development of technology over the past two decades, traditional assistive devices have been supplemented with more technologically innovative assistive technologies. Despite this technological growth, many people with visual impairments have chosen to forgo the use of assistive technologies and continue to use traditional assistive devices instead.Materials and Methods: We have devised a series of surveys and questionnaires to study the views of those with visual impairments towards assistive technologies. Our survey was given to 568 visually impaired people in Taiwan both in person and electronically; the data was cross-referenced with the demographic information of the surveyors to find the disparities in user-preferences amongst different levels of visual impairment, age, household income, and other demographic factors.Results: Results drawn from the data concluded that while there was a large variation in whether or not participants used assistive technology, those that did indicated that assistive technologies were purchased to help them live life more independently.Conclusions: While assistive technology provides a beacon of hope for the visually impaired to live more independent lives, the data indicated that many visually impaired people were not aware of the new assistive technologies and devices that have been entering the market; furthermore, many visually impaired people are of lower income, and therefore cannot afford the technology.Implications for rehabilitationDetermining differences between congenital and acquired visual impairments, and comparing how the two types of visually impaired users have preferences over the assistive technology and devices that they utilise.Experience of life without visual impairment disincentivizes visually impaired people from purchasing new assistive technologies, whereas the appeal of an independent lifestyle incentivizes it.The visually impaired tend to purchase assistive technologies to operate rehabilitation more effectively, and the use of assistive technology and assistive devices, respectively, encourage future participation in rehabilitation.Marketability and cost of assistive technologies are the largest deterrents from visually impaired users from buying new technologies.

Publication Title Disabil Rehabil Assist Technol
Pages 1-5
ISBN/ISSN 1748-3107
DOI 10.1080/17483107.2019.1683238
Language eng
Notes 1748-3115Kan, Chung-Wei RussWang, Chung-YenJournal ArticleEnglandDisabil Rehabil Assist Technol. 2020 May 4:1-5. doi: 10.1080/17483107.2019.1683238.
Author Address Digital Education Institute, Institute for Information Industry, Taipei City, Taiwan.National CareTech Association, Taipei City, Taiwan.
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Tags
  1. accessibility
  2. Assistive Technology
  3. Visual Impairments