Assistive Technologies Research: Employment for Persons with Spinal Cord Injuries

Assistive technology and computer adaptations for individuals with spinal cord injury.

McKinley W, Tewksbury MA, Sitter P, Reed J, Floyd S.  Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA, USA.  NeuroRehabilitation. 2004;19(2):141-6.

Spinal cord injury (SCI) commonly occurs in individuals during important years for formation of vocational goals, resulting in low post-injury employment rates and higher costs to society. Individuals with SCI who are employed have improved quality of life. Assistive technology, often available at modest cost, can help individuals with SCI to compensate for functional limitations, overcome barriers to employability, enhance technical capacities and computer utilization, and improve ability to compete for gainful employment.


Employment issues and assistive technology use for persons with spinal cord injury.

Hedrick B, Pape TL, Heinemann AW, Ruddell JL, Reis J.  University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana-Champaign, IL 61820, USA.  J Rehabil Res Dev. 2006 Mar-Apr;43(2):185-98.

In this study, we examined associations between assistive technology (AT) cost, underwriting, ownership, use, employment, and employer accommodations for two groups (civilian and veteran) of working age adults (18-64 yr) with spinal cord injury or dysfunction (SCI/D). The project included the development of a survey instrument, and initial findings indicate that AT is important for the employment success of individuals with SCI/D. The majority of the AT devices owned by the respondents were characterized as important to work, and these devices were 3.5 times more expensive. The mean cost of assistive devices was 68% to 124% greater for persons who were self-employed compared with persons employed by others. Education was related to employment status for both groups. In addition, satisfaction with assistive devices was very high regardless of employment status or history.