presented by Donna Case
Individuals with disabilities want to live and participate in their own homes and communities. Too often, individuals with disabilities live in homes and communities that lack accessibility. These barriers prevent the individual from being independent and experiencing meaning in their life. Application of universal design concepts and use of assistive technology for the home and community facilitates meaningful participation in these areas. This course will present an overview of universal design concepts as they relate to home and community, technologies for home and community, and transportation barriers and solutions.
Donna Case, PhD, OTL, began her work with assistive technology more than 30 years ago when working with adults with significant multiple disabilities who had been removed from Michigan’s State Institutions. She received a master's degree in Interdisciplinary Technology from Eastern Michigan University to facilitate her students' ability to interact in meaningful ways with their environments and community. She received an Individual Interdisciplinary PhD in Industrial Engineering and Occupational Therapy, looking at improving employment options for individuals with severe disabilities using assistive technology. Donna has been teaching courses in assistive technology to occupational therapy, engineering, and special education students for more than twenty years. She has written chapters and articles on assistive technology for a variety of publications.
Universal Design principles, when followed during the design and building of home and community spaces, make life more accessible for individuals with disabilities. Universal Design facilitates independence and aging in place for many individuals who may experience sensory, motor, or cognitive limitations.
Many individuals are unable to remain in their homes alone due to safety concerns involving their kitchens and bathrooms. Assistive technology can facilitate an individual being able to do what they need or want to do in a safe manner.
Home automation, or smart home technology, is a mainstream technology that can allow an individual with disabilities to live alone or more independently. Smart appliances and commercially available technology make home automation less expensive and easier to use than previous technologies.
Individuals with disabilities tend to live isolated lives. Transportation barriers between home and the community can be eradicated by assistive technology. This chapter will address various solutions to these barriers.