Assistive technology (AT) has a profound impact on the everyday lives and employment opportunities of individuals with disabilities by providing them with greater independence and enabling them to perform activities not possible in the past. Self-esteem, self-efficacy, and motivation are described as central elements in increasing a consumer’s confidence and belief in self. Good outcomes and efficacy expectations, as well as strong motivation, help lead to successful adaptation to AT. This chapter presents the human component of technology, the relationship between consumers and technological devices/equipment, and the acceptance and use by consumers. It offers recommendations to assist rehabilitation professionals in helping consumers with accepting, utilizing, and benefiting from technology. There needs to be a close and appropriate fit between the technological device and consumer. Therefore, the need for the counselor to actively listen and engage the consumer in the process is essential to the effectiveness and outcome of AT success.
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The conceptualization of disability as an attribute located solely within an individual is changing to a paradigm in which disability is thought to be an interaction among the individual, the disability, and the environment. This chapter draws both theoretical and practice implications, which may assist practitioners and educators in gaining a clearer understanding of counseling clients who have disabilities, from four broad models of disability. Intended as a broad overview of the major models and an introductory discussion of ways in which these models can affect the profession of counseling, the chapter presents several different ways of conceptualizing the experience of disability. The four broad models are: (a) the biomedical model, (b) the functional model, (c) the environmental model, and (d) the sociopolitical model. The functional model and the environmental model are presented together because both are interactive models; stated differently.
Rehabilitation counselors can begin to assist women with issues of abuse by acknowledging that advocacy and protection from abusive behavior are a priority for many women with disabilities. By routinely asking about abuse and addressing issues of safety and control during rehabilitation planning, counselors can provide valuable information, resources, and support that may help prevent abuse from occurring and assist women for whom abuse has occurred. To address abuse issues during rehabilitation, rehabilitation professionals have several responsibilities to (a) learn about violence by using available training related to abuse of people with disabilities; (b) employ universal screening as a routine client-intake procedure; (c) volunteer information, resources, and referrals to clients who are in danger or at risk of an abusive situation; (d) facilitate collaboration with domestic violence shelters to supply personal care services and replace medications and assistive devices left behind in an emergency situation.