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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Women with disabilities constitute one of the largest and most disadvantaged populations in the United States. This chapter helps rehabilitation counselors understand the myriad factors that affect the psychological and social health of women with disabilities. After giving some background on the historical roots of the rehabilitation response to women and a description of the demographic and health characteristics of this population, the chapter presents a heuristic, holistic model for understanding the reality of our lives and strategies for helping us achieve optimal health. It first discusses the pivotal construct of self-esteem, followed by social connectedness, its polar opposite abuse and the consequences of disparities stress and depression. The chapter ends with recommendations on strategies that the rehabilitation researchers and practitioners can use to include gender in their examination of individual and program outcomes, and thereby advance the field.