Assistive Technology (AT) Forum News Bulletin No. 13 October 2004
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Report on Specialist Equipment Services
For many disabled people, assistive technology is crucial to their ability to choose how they want to live and whether they can live independently. Technological support comes in many forms - it can be as simple as a tap turner, or as complex as an environmental control system. While many disabled people are already using these technologies successfully, some people have very complex needs, which are not met by the current equipment or service models.
A new discussion document produced by the Royal College of Physicians and the Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine emphasises the importance of multi-professional input to customise the equipment, design individual bespoke solutions and to safely integrate different kinds of equipment.
The document focuses on four key areas of assistive technology - communication aids, computer access, environmental control systems and telecare. It includes specific examples to show that designing the technology around specific needs can have life-enhancing effects.
"Specialist Equipment Services for Disabled People: The Need for Change" makes eight key recommendations in four areas to improve access to specialist equipment and professional expertise:
Access and assessment
Specialist equipment services for disabled people should be widely and equitably available
Complex need and the integration of disparate technologies should be overseen by specialist equipment services