Assistive Technology

Every year the assistive technology for people with disabilities, who have disorders of a musculoskeletal system, becomes more and more comfortable and functional. It expands a framework of independence of such people and improves their lives. However, in order to estimate the impact of assistive technology on people with disabilities, its main features, advantages, and disadvantages, the matter should be studied more closely.

Numerous studies showed that assistive technology has a great influence on person's self-esteem and well-being. Assistive technology provides people with an opportunity to help themselves, as well as makes them feel less helpless and controllable. Assistive technology represents a set of devices and tools, which help people with disabilities to feel less dependent on other people and be more self-reliant. Everybody knows that people with disabilities are limited in their interaction with surrounding environment. In this regard, scientists have developed techniques, devices, and gadgets in order to create a friendly environment for those people. Besides, they introduce various assistive technologies helping to compensate functional limitations such as reachers, shower chairs, grab bars, etc. Such assistive devices are neither expensive nor a kind of "high tech." However, they are rather functional and helpful for people with disabilities at their homes (DiCasimirro and Bryen).

Very often people with disabilities lack communication abilities. In this regard, scientists create more and more additional communication assistive technologies. It helps both people with disabilities and care workers dealing with them. Communication assistive technology helps people with disabilities to make choices, express their preferences, etc. Moreover, it allows a person with disabilities to control and manage his or her life, and, thus, reduce the possibility for any disappointments and their manifestations (Parette and Scherer).

Some researches prove that assistive technology has positively influenced and changed lives of most children and adults with disabilities. For example, many schoolchildren with disabilities were enabled to remain in regular classes and decrease school related services by means of assistive equipment (DiCasimirro and Bryen). Assistive devices help working-age people with disabilities to reduce their dependence on paid assistance and family members, avoid or reduce frequent attending a nursing home, and increase their earnings. Besides, those users of assistive technologies, who work on a regular basis, perform their duties better and faster, work more hours, and, thus, earn more money. Many people with disabilities claim that assistive equipment helps them to obtain and keep their jobs (Liu and Fernandes).

However, society, families, and friends of the disabled people bring a range of preferences, priorities, and values in relation to assistive technology. In other words, a so-called phenomenon of stigmatization may often confuse people with disabilities and make them reject the use these devices. In this case, the potential of the assistive technology to reduce social and physical limitations is at risk and becomes minimized. The experience of stigma in people with disabilities results in their worse treatment, person avoidance, disrupted social relations, depression, poor self-esteem, and anxiety. Thus, some people do their best to hide their assistive technologies if possible, and some even reject the application of such devices in order to avoid the stigma (Parette and Scherer).

Taking into account abovementioned information, it should be noted that assistive technologies help people with disabilities to control their own lives more precisely, be active participants of social life, and interact with people without disabilities. On the other hand, assistive technologies help people with disabilities to take advantage of opportunities, which are considered as granted by people without any disabilities. Therefore, assistive technology helps and improves lives of not only people with disabilities, but also the whole nation. However, some people can reject or hide their assistive tools in order to avoid experiencing stigma. It may lead to worsened treatment as well as mood and self-esteem disorders. Thus, psychologists have to conduct certain lessons and therapies for those people in order to make them feel free and self-confident.