Outcomes of assistive technology services in a community based organization
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Assistive technology (AT) is defined as “any item, piece of equipment or product system whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified, or customized that is used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities” (Assistive Technology Act amendments, 2004). The field of AT and AT services is dynamic and supported by multiple professions, and may be delivered in a variety of settings and contexts (Cook & Polgar, 2015). While this shared stake in the field of AT provides a variety of unique perspectives, it creates a challenge for uniformity when delivering and measuring the effectiveness and impact of services. This project titled, Outcomes of Assistive Technology Services in a Community Based Organization, will seek to develop a comprehensive service delivery and outcome measurement system that is grounded in theory and informed by the evidence. Several theoretical frameworks, including Model of Human Occupation (Kielhofner, 2009), the Person Environment Occupation model (Law, Cooper, Strong, Stewart, Rigby, & Letts, 1996), the Human, Activity, Assistive Technology Model (Cook & Polgar, 2015), and the Adult Learning Theory (Knowles, Holton and Swanson, 1998) are used as a basis for structuring the program. Although the available evidence for AT interventions and services is limited, the literature was comprehensively searched and the best evidence was selected to inform the designing of this program. Best practices were identified for assessment, intervention, and outcomes measurement. Strategies for staff development are identified, and a plan for funding, implementing and disseminating project findings is outlined.