Computer-related assistive technology: satisfaction and experiences among users with disabilities.

Many people with disabilities use assistive technology devices (ATDs) for computer access. The specific focus of this exploratory study was (a) to assess the experiences, opinions, and satisfaction levels of 24 individuals with disabilities using computer-related ATDs; (b) to investigate their awareness of health risk factors related to computer usage; and (c) to examine the psychosocial impact of computer-related ATDs on users. Data were collected via telephone interviews with 24 individuals with physical disabilities who had experience using one or more ATDs. The Quebec User Evaluation with Assistive Technology instrument was used to evaluate users’ satisfaction with ATDs in a number of dimensions, including their physical attributes. The Psychosocial Impact of Assistive Devices Scale measured the psychosocial impact (i.e., independence, competence, and adequacy) of an ATD on users. Additional questions were posed to gather information about user’s opinions and experiences. Training appeared to be an important component for ATD users, many of whom preferred a setting to try out devices rather than group or individual training. Respondents with visual impairments revealed a higher level of adaptability versus those without visual impairments (p = .001). Additional research is needed to develop specific survey items focused on users of computer-related ATDs and the evaluation of the psychosocial impact of ATDs on computer users.