#OTalk Tuesday 14th Jan 2020 – OT and Electronic Assistive Technology for People with Significant Cognitive Disabilities

This week Amy Wright  @OT_South is hosting here is what she had to say

For people with significant cognitive disabilities there is a potential lack of opportunity to trial and to develop electronic assistive technology (EAT) use to enhance participation.  People might use a single switch to operate lighting, telly, music, their favourite toy or a bubble machine at their friends birthday party! 

Evidence is weak, service provision is inconsistent.  In 2010, Professor Jim Mansell produced his ‘Raising our Sights’ report which highlights the importance of assistive technology (AT), the need for appropriate funding and research.  Assistive Technology also features in the PMLD link ‘Core and Essential Service Standards for Supporting People with Profound and Multiple Learning Disabilities’.   

The WFOT have a position statement on OT and AT, stating that ‘assistive technology provision is a core competency within OT practice’.  https://www.wfot.org/resources/occupational-therapy-and-assistive-technology.  However, not all OTs have knowledge of EAT or where to go for help and guidance in assessment and provision, to enhance occupational performance and improve quality of life for individuals.  And where do the equipment and resources come from?

Last month I helped to run a study day led by @zoeclarke77 and https://communicationmatters.org.uk/.  OTs attended alongside other professionals, technology suppliers and parents.  Presentations were given to share practice and workshop style consultations took place.   Discussions concluded that more needs to be done to improve services for people with cognitive disabilities, to allow them to use EAT for increased autonomy and reduce the level of assistance required to participate.  Professionals need to promote equitable access to EAT, to enable participation and well-being of a persons with disabilities. One suggestion was to get talking on twitter and so here I am leading this week’s chat!

Chat Questions:

  1. What is current practice in your area? How are people identified as needing EAT (electronics assistive tech such as a single switch to turn on TV)?
  2. What needs to happen next to enable OTs to develop flexible and locally specific strategies to increase access to high quality, affordable assistive technologies for people with cognitive disabilities?
  3. What barriers and supports are there using EAT for people with cognitive disabilities to enhance occupational performance and reduce their level of dependence on others? 
  4. What examples do you have where EAT has enhanced participation for an individual or group?

Post chat updates:

Online transcript from HealthCare#

PDF of trancript #OTalk Transcript 14 Jan 2020

The Numbers

944.212K  Impressions
335  Tweets
61  Participants

#OTalk Participants



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