About this Research Topic
It is expected that a large group of people with intellectual disabilities (ID) will be or are in need of assistive technology with the primary goal to maintain or improve their functioning and independence, and thereby promote their well-being. Assistive technology is defined as the application of organized knowledge and skills related to assistive products, including systems and services. Assistive products are any external products including devices, equipment, instruments or software. Assistive products can improve the quality of life for people with impairments, including the extent of their inclusion and participation in society.
Importantly, assistive products are also used to prevent impairments and secondary health conditions. People with ID have a higher prevalence of comorbidities including sensory impairments, spasticity, epilepsy, dementia, obesity and speech & language impairments which could be better managed with assistive products. Sadly though, people with ID are still devalued when attempting access to (health) care services and are still regarded as a stigmatized group, often depending on their family or carers to access these services. Exacerbating the problem is the higher rates of mis- and underdiagnosis of impairments for this population.
The prevalence of ID is expected to increase, mainly due to an improved neonatal healthcare, an increased life expectancy of people with ID, and an increased number of people with borderline ID having problems in adaptive functioning who will need care support similar to people with mild ID. This means that assistive technology offers considerable opportunities for the advancement of population health and the realization of basic human rights. However, the use of assistive technology and products by people with ID is a neglected area of research and practice.
This Research Topic aims to provide a series of articles which highlight the need, impact and possibilities of assistive technology and products for people with ID. Multidisciplinary perspectives will provide the most viable and appropriate approach towards a better understanding for closing the gap and increase inclusion.
Keywords: Intellectual Disability, Assistive Technology, Assistive Devices, Health Inequality, Global Health, Inclusion
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