Assistive Technology: form, function and emotional response

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  • 1. www blog: twitter: Assistive Technology: form, function and emotional response
  • 2. My name’s Denise… www blog: twitter: Hello!
    • Relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (MS) diagnosed in 2003
    • MS is a neurological condition that’s unpredictable, variable and different in each case
    • My symptoms include: fatigue, weakness, numbness, visual disturbance, poor balance and vertigo
    • Use a wide range of assistive technology to make day-to-day tasks more manageable
  • 3. But what is Assistive Technology? www blog: twitter:
    • Assistive Technology (AT) is any product or service designed to enable independence for disabled and older people
    • (Source: user group consultation at the King’s fund in 2001)
    • This term is useful for those in the know, but unfortunately not everyone understands what it means
    • Technology doesn’t have to be complex
  • 4. A few examples… www blog: twitter:
  • 5. www blog: twitter: Ikea The battle of the bland…
    • Ugly, clinical looking AT = DEPRESSING
    • Grateful for fact helped me to keep independence
    • Frustrated as home looked more and more like a hospital
    • Surely this CAN’T be the way it has to be…
    • Looked for alternative mainstream products that did same job
    • Very aware of fact people benefit from learning, as well as support of others with similar experiences
  • 6. Doing my little bit… www blog: twitter:
    • From experiences and learning, decided to set up
    • online community
    • Platform to share experiences and views on AT
    • Raising awareness of need to improve both functionality and aesthetics
    • Result was Enabled by Design:
    • A community of people passionate about those well designed products that make day-to-day tasks that little bit easier. By sharing their loves, hates and ideas, Enabled by Design-ers challenge the one-size-fits-all approach to assistive equipment through the use of clever modern design.
  • 7. www blog: twitter:
  • 8. www blog: twitter: And now for the psychology bit… How does AT make you feel?
  • 9. And now for the psychology bit cont’d… www blog: twitter:
    • Not everyone feels this way
    • Some people don’t care what it looks like, as long as it does the job
    • But for those that do, these feelings provide barrier to using AT
    • Not using AT when needed can resullt in lower standard of living/level of safety
    • Using AT but feeling this way can lower self-esteem and emotional well-being
    • Use of AT often marks change in circumstances
    • Being surrounded by AT can be a constant reminder of this
  • 10.
    • Change perceptions of AT by mainstreaming
    • products to “normalise” them through
    • universal/inclusive design
    • Emphasis on products/gadgets that help to
    • make life easier, rather than AT. Language is
    • important!
    • Although functionality is paramount, form and
    • aesthetics are important too!
    • Transforming AT into must-have desirable objects will help to remove stigma
    • Above points important, but mustn’t lose sight that choice, quality and value for money must be high on agenda
    www blog: twitter: So what’s the answer? OXO
  • 11. Any questions? Thank you for listening!  www blog: twitter:
  • 12. You can contact me here: [email_address] @enabledby www blog: twitter: