Meeting the Assistive Technology Needs of Students With Duchenne Muscular DystrophyBy Heller, Kathryn Wolff; Mezei, Peter J.; Avant, Mary Jane Thompson; Journal of Special Education Technology, Vol. 23, No. 4, pp. 15-29
Publication Date: 2008
Article discusses the role of assistive technology (AT) teams in assessing and monitoring the changing AT needs of students with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), a genetic disorder acquired almost exclusively by males. Three case studies are offered to illustrate the work of an AT team made up of teachers, AT specialist, student, parents, and therapists, where the central role of the student is emphasized. As DMD is a progressive disease, the AT team met weekly to assess the student’s needs and introduce or adjust AT, based on Baker’s Basic Ergonomic Equation for AT success or failure, where success will occur if motivation to use the AT exceeds the sum of time load and physical, cognitive, and linguistic effort required. The case studies, each following the student from elementary through high school, present three intervention scenarios: (1) Typically progressing DMD, (2) Rapid progression of DMD, and (3) Difficulty accepting AT during progression of DMD. The transition from manual to powered wheelchairs is described as is the introduction of adapted tables in classroom and lunchroom, a mobile arm support (MAS) for working and eating, and devices for toileting such as a urinal. AT for writing introduced range from an AlphaSmart word processor to a laptop computer with software such as Co:Writer and Draft:Builder. Reasons for students rejecting AT discussed include denial of the disability, a sense of loss of independence, and fear of ridicule from non-disabled peers.
Assistive Products Discussed: DRAFT:BUILDER
Published by: Exceptional Innovations (Website:http://www.exinn.net)
Technology and Media Division (TAM) of the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) (Web Site: http://www.tamcec.org )