Receptivity Toward Assistive Computer Technology by Non-Users Who Are Blind/Visually Impaired
Lisa Leff, Union Institute and University, United States
Union Institute and University . Awarded
The non-use of assistive computer technology by some people who are legallyblind/visually-impaired was investigated to determine the reasons for lack of interest (Chiang, Cole, Gupta, Kaiser, & Starren, 2006; Williamson, Wright, Schauder & Bow, 2001). Social and psychological factors implicated in non-interest were determined by profiling five participants who were either residents or outside attendees at a facility for blind/visually-impaired people, located in a major city in the northeast corridor. Two questionnaires were utilized in addition to an examination of the literature. The first questionnaire covered multiple areas which included questions concerning prior and current experiences with computers, concerns about using computers, level of satisfaction with instruction, method of obtaining information, incentives to take a computer course, and sources of obtaining medical information. The second questionnaire, titled Rand Visual Function Questionnaire 25 (2001), involved questions dealing with general health. Triangulation was used as a validity check and included, but was not limited to, informal interviews, observations of the premises and occupants, discussions with equipment manufacturers, reading in professional journals, newsletters and bulletins, consultations with social workers, staff, present and prior residents, and the use of two questionnaires. Results indicated multiple impediments which included the cost of hardware and software, insecurity concerning economic conditions with little or no possibility for employment, satisfaction with the status quo, and a lack of motivation to change. The social and psychological factors included communal apathy and depression, which may be indicative of broad psychosocial problems of interest to educators, psychologists, and social workers.
Key words: assistive computer technology, disability, legislation, motivation, psychosocial, triangulation, and blindness
Leff, L. Receptivity Toward Assistive Computer Technology by Non-Users Who Are Blind/Visually Impaired. Ph.D. thesis, Union Institute and University.
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