Users’ perceptions of the impact of electronic aids to daily living throughout the acquisition process.

This study investigated the experience of seven new users of a particular type of assistive technology through the stages of anticipating, acquiring, and using an electronic aid to daily living. A mixed methods research approach was used to explore each of these stages. The Psychosocial Impact of Assistive Devices Scale was used to measure the perceived impact of the new assistive technology on users’ quality of life, and findings were further explored and developed through open-ended questioning of the participants. Results indicated that preacquisition of the device, users predicted that the electronic aid to daily living would have a positive impact on their feelings of competence and confidence and that the device would enable them in a positive way. One month after acquiring the device a reduced, yet still positive, impact was observed. By 3 and 6 months after acquisition, perceived impact returned to the same positive high level as preacquisition. It is suggested that prior to receiving the device, potential users have positive expectations for the device that are not based in experience. At the early acquisition time, users adjust expectations of the role of the assistive technology in their lives and strive to balance expectations with reality. Three to 6 months after acquiring an electronic aid to daily living, the participants have a high positive view of how the device impacts on their lives based in experience and reality. A model illustrating the electronic aids to daily living acquisition process is proposed, and suggestions for future study are provided.