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Despite the documented ability of assistive technology (AT) to improve the function of people with disabilities, there are many reasons people who need AT do not obtain it. Some of these reasons include lack of funding, resistance to using devices, lack of awareness that AT exists, or other demographic factors such as age, gender, educational level, and geographic location. One author identifies three factors that influence technology adoption: the characteristics and needs of the client, the features of the technology, and societal factors such as legislative and regulatory influences, which include healthcare policy and reimbursement mandates. Additionally, some practitioners may lack knowledge or confidence in their ability to recommend or provide AT. This basic-level course will enable occupational therapy practitioners to recognize AT as part of their toolbox by providing conceptual models and training needed to use AT in client interventions. By looking carefully at the definition of an AT device, most practitioners will see AT is often already used in practice because ANY item, piece of equipment or product that is used to increase the independence of a person with a disability is assistive technology.
As technology becomes more ubiquitous in everyday living, the likelihood of it supporting meaningful occupations for the client increases. For example, more and more older adults are asking how to use mobile phones and tablets to remain connected with family; similarly, school-based practitioners certainly cannot ignore the importance of making technology accessible to all students. This course introduces occupational therapy practitioners to a systematic way of thinking about assistive technology and environmental intervention and incorporating it into their practice.
AOTA Content Focus - Occupational Therapy Process; Evaluation, Intervention, Outcomes
- Define the terms assistive technology (AT) and technology and environmental interventions (TEI).
- Describe the legislation regulating AT and TEI.
- Contrast the requirements of different funding sources in funding AT and TEI.
- Identify a systematic approach and conceptual practice models that can be used to evaluate AT and TEI needs for a client.
- Identify the client factors that affect the use of AT and TEI.
- Identify organizational considerations that may affect the recommendation of AT and TEI.
Lynn Gitlow, PhD, OTR/L, ATP, FAOTA, received a post-baccalaureate certificate in occupational therapy from Thomas Jefferson University in 1988. She has practiced occupational therapy in the areas of mental health, gerontology, and assistive technology. In the year 2000 she developed and coordinated the first occupational therapy assistant program in the state of Maine, at Kennebec Valley Community College. She subsequently held positions as an assistant professor of occupational therapy at Lewiston-Auburn College in Lewiston, Maine, and as an associate professor of occupational therapy at Husson University in Bangor, Maine. She later became a full professor and director of occupational therapy at Husson University. Dr. Gitlow was co-director and then director of the Technical Exploration Center, a community assistive technology loan program of Husson University. She received a master’s degree in education in 1993 from the University of Maine, a doctorate in disability studies from the University of Maine in 1998, and is a Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America (RESNA) certified Assistive Technology Provider (ATP). Currently she is an associate professor of occupational therapy at Ithaca College in Ithaca, New York.
- Courses must be completed within one (1) year of the date of purchase.
- You must score 75% or higher on the final exam and complete the course evaluation to pass this course and receive a certificate of completion.
- Through our review processes, Western Schools ensures that the course content is presented in a balanced, unbiased manner and is free from commercial influence. It is Western Schools’ policy not to accept commercial support.
- All persons involved in the planning and development of this course have disclosed no relevant financial relationships or other conflicts of interest related to the course content.
- There are no prerequisites for this course.