Assessing the Benefits of Assistive Technologies for Activities and Participation

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PurposeAssistive technologies (ATs) are a key component of the Environmental Factors domain of the World Health Organization's International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF). This article defines the Environmental Factors of the ICF and describes how ATs can improve the functioning of individuals with disabilities in community environments. Emphasis is placed on the need for comprehensive assessment before selecting ATs, particularly of the individual's current goals, past experiences with the use of technologies and other supports, and predisposition to use the AT as well as alternative or additional supports.MethodPrevious research identified correlates of successful AT use and other supports by persons with disabilities. Key studies are reviewed with a discussion of the implications of findings on the further development of the ICF.ConclusionEffective use of ATs and other supports will be maximized by matching device and support features to users' goals, preferences, and environmental resources.

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