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Original Research Articles

Views and Experiences of People with Intellectual Disabilities to Improve Access to Assistive Technology: Perspectives from India

Authors:

Fleur Heleen Boot ,

1. Intellectual Disability Medicine, Department of Primary and community Care, Radboud University Medical Centre, Nijmegen, The Netherlands. 2. Department of Psychology and Assisting Living & Learning (ALL) Institute, Maynooth University, Ireland., NL
About Fleur Heleen
Fleur Heleen Boot, MD, PhD, is an Intellectual Disability Physician at care organisation Aveleijn and a Research Fellow at the Radboud University Medical Centre in The Netherlands. Her current research focuses on developing training programmes in the field of intellectual disability, health needs and stigma to reduce health inequity for people with intellectual disabilities in differently resourced settings. Areas of interest are Intellectual Disability, Global Health, Health Inequity, Access to Healthcare, Assistive Technology, and Inclusion. Countries she has worked in include India, South Africa, Ireland, the United States, and Chile.
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Ritu Ghosh,

Mobility India, Rehabilitation Research and Training Centre, Bangalore, India, IN
About Ritu

Ritu Ghosh, Prosthetist and Orthotist (P&O), holds a Master Degree in Business Administration in Health Care Services. She works as Academics Director in Mobility India, Rehabilitation Research and Training centre, Bengaluru and has over 24 years’ experience in the disability field with senior management skills such as strategic and operational planning/execution, resource and people management, monitoring and in leadership. She is a member at Board of Studies (Allied Health Sciences) in Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences, Karnataka and member in Rehabilitation Council of India, New Delhi in P&O expert committee. She is the founding Board Member of International Society of Wheelchair Professionals (ISWP) and a member of the Wheelchair Advisory Group of the International Society of Prosthetics and Orthotics.

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John Gerard Dinsmore,

Centre for Practice and Healthcare Innovation, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland., IE
About John Gerard

Dr. John Dinsmore (Trinity College Dublin) is the Health Innovation Lead/Deputy Director of the Trinity Centre for Practice and Healthcare Innovation (TCPHI); Ussher Assistant Prof. in Digital Health; and a member of the Board of Directors of the  European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) Health UK/Ireland. Dr. Dinsmore is also the coordinator/lead principal investigator of the Horizon 2020 projects ProACT and SEURO. His research focuses on the application of health psychology and behavioural science to the design, development, implementation and evaluation of digital health interventions, with a particular focus on chronic  disease and  multi-morbidity management.  

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Malcolm MacLachLan

1. Department of Psychology and Assisting Living & Learning (ALL) institute, Maynooth University, Ireland. 2. Olomouc University Social Health Institute (OUSHI), Palacky University, Olomouc, Czechia, IE
About Malcolm

Malcolm MacLachlan is Professor of Psychology and Social Inclusion and Co-Director of the ALL (Assisting Living & Learning) Institute, Maynooth University, Ireland; and the Clinical Lead for the Irish health service's National Clinical Programme for People with Disability.  He is also the Research and Innovation Coordinator for WHO's GATE (Global Cooperation on Assistive Technology) Programme and a visiting professor at OUSHI, Palacký University Olomouc, Czechia.

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Abstract

Purpose: People with intellectual disabilities are deeply affected by health inequity, which is also reflected in their access to and use of assistive technology (AT) which could benefit them. Including the perspectives of adults with intellectual disabilities and their caregivers, together with the views of local health professionals, suppliers of AT and policy-makers, this paper aims to provide an overview of factors influencing access to AT and its use by people with intellectual disabilities in Bangalore, a southern region of India.

Method: Face-to-face interviews were conducted with 15 adults with intellectual disabilities (ranging from mild to profound) and their caregivers, and with 16 providers of assistive technology. This helped to gain insight into the current use, needs, knowledge, awareness, access, customisation, funding, follow-up, social inclusion, stigma and policies around assistive technology and intellectual disability.

Results: Access to assistive technology was facilitated by community fieldworkers and services to reach out and identify people with intellectual disability. Important barriers were stigma, and lack of knowledge and awareness among parents.  Factors related to continued use were the substantial dependence on the care system to use assistive technology, and the importance of AT training and instructions for the user and the care system.

Conclusion and Implications: The barriers and facilitators related to assistive technology for people with intellectual disability differ from other populations in need. The findings of this study can be used to inform and adjust country policies and frameworks whose aim is to improve access to AT and enhance the participation of people with intellectual disabilities within their communities.

How to Cite: Boot, F.H., Ghosh, R., Dinsmore, J.G. and MacLachLan, M., 2021. Views and Experiences of People with Intellectual Disabilities to Improve Access to Assistive Technology: Perspectives from India. Disability, CBR & Inclusive Development, 31(4), pp.40–65. DOI: http://doi.org/10.47985/dcidj.423
Published on 23 Feb 2021.

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