The use of assistive technologies among children with disabilities: the perception of parents of children with disabilities in Ghana
Osam, JA and Opoku, MP and Dogbe, JA and Nketsia, W and Hammond, C, The use of assistive technologies among children with disabilities: the perception of parents of children with disabilities in Ghana, Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology, 16, (3) pp. 301-308. ISSN 1748-3107 (2021) [Refereed Article]
Assistive technologies (ATs) are fundamental to the successful educational and societal inclusion of all children with disabilities. In particular, the use of ATs has been found to increase levels of independence in daily living and promote greater access to learning opportunities for children with disabilities. However, the knowledge base and baseline information on the use of ATs is limited in developing countries such as Ghana. In this study, we sought to explore the experiences of parents regarding the use of ATs by their children with disabilities in Ghana.
Materials and methods
We used a survey questionnaire consisting of both open- and closed-ended questions to explore the perspectives of parents with children with disabilities (n = 35) who were attending the rehabilitation unit of a referral hospital.
Although participants acknowledged the benefits of ATs for the development and participation of their children in society, they noted barriers to the usage of ATs by their children. Among several barriers, parents mentioned that they lacked funds to purchase assistive devices. Some parents also mentioned the high cost of ATs and rehabilitation services.
The need for government to include rehabilitation services and ATs in the National Health Insurance Scheme to ease the burden on participants and other implications of the findings for policymaking are extensively discussed.
. Implications for rehabilitation
In an environment where there is negative attitude towards children and parents with disabilities, ATs are expected to encourage the participation and acceptance in society.
. Although many participants were aware of the benefits of ATs to their children, they reported barriers to usage among their children with disabilities.
. This study shows that poverty, limited health facilities, unfriendly environment and stigmatisation were barriers encountered by parents.
. We conclude that the government should expand health and rehabilitation facilities to encourage access and participation.
Ghana, parents, ,assistive technologies, children with disabilities, health facilities