Thursday, July 31, 2008

Role of Psychology in Assistive Technology and Device Discontinuance: Article from the American Psychological Association

Susanne Croasdaile, from the VCU Assistive Technology Blog, posted a link to an article from APA about the role of psychology in AT. According to the article, the input of psychology can lead to a better "goodness of fit" between the person and the technology, and decrease the phenomenon of device discontinuance.

It should be noted that the traditional terminology used for device discontinuance is device abandonment. Unfortunately, this asigns blame for the discontinuance on the user of the technology or device, rather than mis-match between the device/technology and the user.

(For more information about the factors related to device discontinuance, see "ATOMS Project Technical Report - Factors in Assistive Technology Device Abandonment: Replacing “Abandonment” with “Discontinuance” by April Lauer, MS, OTR, Kathy Longenecker Rust, MS, OT, & Roger O. Smith, PhD, OT.)

From the APA article:

"Development of successful AT products requires a careful analysis of the goals, functional capacities, and physical and social environments of the intended users. Marcia Scherer, of the University of Rochester Medical School, notes that psychologists play a leading role in carrying out this work, by conducting studies of users’ judgments of whether and how particular technologies benefit them; how technologies fit within the users’ full range of activities and contribute to their sense of control; the perceptions and attitudes of users and others toward particular technologies; and the ways in which technologies actually increase users’ abilities to perform particular activities independently in daily life."

"Careful research on these questions as part of the technology development process can help ensure that the products are actually acquired and used. As Scherer points out, “We know that technology-person mismatches can have a series of repercussions including wasted resources, and people not performing at their functional best. On the service delivery level, device abandonment represents ineffective use of an assistive technology, all of which can be addressed through psychological science.”

No comments: