Assistive Technology in Occupational Therapy

People living with a disability no longer need to rely on traditional devices and therapy services to improve their quality of life. Whether one opts for therapy services from a private occupational therapist or from reliable disability support services in Townsville, the challenges are greatly reduced with the help of assistive technology (AT).

Assistive Technology as a Strategy

According to Occupational Therapist Australia, it is the job of occupational therapists to assist the disabled to actively participate in their jobs for better quality of living. They use an array of strategies to integrate the person with their environment and work. AT is at the forefront of ensuring this objective. As per the World Health Organization (WHO), AT enables societal inclusion and fruitful participation by significantly lessening the negative effects that disability brings.

AT devices are varied, running from refined devices used during the past few decades to technologies that are now powered by the most advanced electronic applications. They can be as simple as a fruit peeler or as advanced as an automated wheelchair. They can be as classic as a cane or as complex as an electronically controlled speech equipment. AT can be that generalized or specific to every type of disability.

Assistive Technology and Its Outcomes

Researchers are in agreement with what AT can bring to those having disabilities, whether permanent or not. While AT can spur an individual’s capacity to participate, it is also able to improve autonomy and productivity. This has huge impacts on the community as the demand for disability care is reduced, saving money for both the individual’s families and public institutions offering care.

With a more independent outlook, the person with a disability is able to curb functional decline. This will allow them to be part of more activities at home and work. As with the latter, maintaining to be part of the workforce will no longer be an issue, hence enhancing further work-life outcomes. In effect, AT lays down a more enabling society.

Conditions for Assistive Technology to Work

assisting a senior

For AT’s success as an integral part of society, there is a requirement to consolidate capacities by using more devices, intervening at the right time and providing service when needed. The environment where the individual operates must also be redesigned with particular notice of specific needs. A workplace that wants to help their disabled employees participate better may need to add ramps if a special wheelchair is bought.

While the three-fold requirement is necessary, it may not be sufficient in terms of implementation. Occupational therapists are drawn into making prescriptions below what is ideally needed if the available AT is not tailor-fit to the occupational setting the individual is in. Best practices show that for AT to be effective, device-specific solutions must be considered, from funding to actual application.

Occupational therapists depend on AT heavily. This is especially true when it comes to providing a supportive environment. People with disabilities need to be more efficient members of society. While goals and outcomes are clear, implementing solutions remains a complex activity. Integrating devices with the environment and service must still be individual-specific.

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