The World Health Organization put forward a document in 1980 titled, International Classification of Impairments, Disabilities and Handicaps (ICIDH). This document defined individuals with disabilities as having an impairment that did not allow them to contribute in everyday conventional activities and in which they are incapable to perform their normal role, resulting a handicap. The use of assistive technology then comes in order to minimise interruption to a user’s habituated and desired ways of doing things, which then results with an enhanced quality of life (DeRuyter, F. 2002).
A massive development has gone through the application of technology in improving the problems of people with disability in the last two decades. Devices and services that are applied to ameliorate the difficulties challenged by persons with disabilities or illness mainly parallels to the definition of assistive technology (Cook and Hussey, 2002). In Ireland, there is no specific legislation in place that transmits directly to assistive technology, however, in the workplace, acts regarding person’s access to and use of AT has been set up such as Equal Status Act 2000-2011 and Employment Equality Acts 1998-2011. Assistive technology is divided into many categories. The following are some of its categories: activities of daily living, computer applications, mobility solutions, environmental controls, technology for the elderly, home safety solutions and alternative and augmentative communication. In this essay, I will focus on technology for the elderly with dementia.
Disability or illness makes a big impact on an individual’s quality of life. When one talks about disability, the negative attitude towards it comes to mind. In an overview provided by Riddell and Banks (2001) in Scotland, discrimination is greatly experienced by people with disability. They mentioned that employers are less interested to choose a disabled person over a non-disabled person when looking for jobs. This results in the two fold multiplication of unemployment rates for disabled people.
In Ireland in the recent years, the relationship between disability and poverty has been correlated negatively (Gannon and Nolan, 2006). According to the analysis carried out in 2003 on illness, disability and social inclusion throughout Europe, Ireland was included concerning these issues. It was distinguished that employment rate for people with moderate disabilities in 2001 was 27%. This was found to be well below the average 47% in the EU.
Disability also impacts education. It was documented by Barnes, Mercer and Shakespeare (1999) that compared to non-disabled children, disabled children have a much narrower curriculum in their studies which limits their academic skills, hence leaving school with ‘inferior’ qualifications.
People’s attitude to disability can greatly impact to their quality of life. When one has a deformity or doesn’t look the ‘same’ as them, they result into staring, thus...