Original Research

Perspectives on access and usage of assistive technology by people with intellectual disabilities in the Western Cape province of South Africa: Where to from here?

Fleur H. Boot, Callista Kahonde, John Dinsmore, Malcolm MacLachlan
African Journal of Disability | Vol 10 | a767 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ajod.v10i0.767 | © 2021 Fleur H. Boot, Callista Kahonde, John Dinsmore, Malcolm MacLachlan | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 10 June 2020 | Published: 23 February 2021

About the author(s)

Fleur H. Boot, Department of Primary and Community Care, Faculty of Medicine, Radboud University Medical Centre, Nijmegen, The Netherlands; Assisting Living and Learning (ALL) Institute, Department of Psychology, Maynooth University, Maynooth, Ireland
Callista Kahonde, Centre for Disability and Rehabilitation Studies, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa
John Dinsmore, Centre for Practice and Healthcare Innovation, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
Malcolm MacLachlan, Assisting Living and Learning (ALL) Institute, Department of Psychology, Maynooth University, Maynooth, Ireland; and, Centre for Disability and Rehabilitation Studies, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa; and, Olomouc University Social Health Institute (OUSHI), Palacky University, Olomouc, Czech Republic


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Abstract

Background: Whilst assistive technology (AT) can play an important role to improve quality of life, health inequity regarding access to appropriate AT for people with intellectual disabilities (ID) is still very much present especially in low resource countries.

Objectives: This study focused on exploring factors that influence access to and continued use of AT by people with ID in the Western Cape province of South Africa and to suggest potential implications of these findings and actions required to promote access to AT.

Method: A qualitative approach was used to explore the experiences of people with ID and providers of AT. Face-to-face interviews with 20 adults with mild to profound ID, and 17 providers of AT were conducted and the data were analysed thematically.

Results: People with ID within the study setting faced many challenges when trying to access AT and for those who managed to acquire AT, its continued usage was influenced by both personal characteristics of the user and environmental factors. Important factors that influence AT access and use for people with ID found in this study were (1) attitudes from the community, (2) knowledge and awareness to identify AT need and (3) AT training and instructions to support the user and care network.

Conclusion: With the perspectives of both the providers and users of AT, this study identified priority factors, which could be addressed to improve AT access and use for people with ID in the Western Cape province.


Keywords

intellectual disability; assistive technology; access; health inequity; South Africa

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