Date of Graduation
Technology is becoming more commonplace in our society. It is being used with young children in every setting to improve quality of life and increase educational opportunities. Many parents and service providers have not been adequately trained on how to use assistive technology with young children. Camp Gizmo was set up as a forum for parents, professionals, and college students to learn what assistive technology is available and how to use it to meet the needs of children. The camp gave parents an opportunity to try different technologies with their children. These children, their siblings and the children of camp organizers and attendees all had fan participating in traditional camp activities while their parents attended classes. Case studies were done with five families who attended camp. The families were followed through the camp process and then afterwards for four to six months to see whether use of assistive technology changed as a result of camp. This study also looked at the factors in the daily lives of families that increased or impeded assistive technology use. Finally, the parents were asked about their perception of the impact of assistive technology use on their families. All five families increased their use of assistive technology. Factors in addition to camp contributed to the increase, such as parents willingness to use technology and the support of professionals involved. When technology did not get used, the main barriers were system-related in terms of access to equipment. Lack of support from professionals was also a major barrier to use. The families did not view assistive technology as having an effect on their families' routines because they were able to incorporate its use into their daily routines. Recommendations made regarding practice changes included: increasing preservice and inservice training; providing comprehensive, team assessments; providing follow-up to assessments; and increasing availability of assistive technology. Policy recommendations included: streamlining the funding system, improving transition of equipment and helping parents advocate for their rights.
Hider, Erin Denise, "An examination of child, family and professional factors that influence the use of assistive technology in early intervention." (1999). Graduate Theses, Dissertations, and Problem Reports. 9037.