Technology Can Mean So Much More Than The Latest Fancy Gadget

Technology has always been an important part of medicine.  From developing wheelchair technology, touch pad communications, MRI scans and advances in x-rays etc.  It has always been a part of our everyday lives and for those living with disability it can be used for even more advantages.

For example, technology such as gaming is now being adapted for disabled children and adults, so they too can be part of the gaming world.

Charity ‘Special Effect’ is a gamers who work hard on putting the fun and inclusion back into the lives of people with physical disabilities by helping them to play video games.  They use technology which ranges from modified joypads to eye-control – they work to find a way for people to play to the very best of their abilities.

Of course not only does this promote inclusion but it stops those with a disability from feeling isolated, that this gaming world is only for certain people – when it fact, technology has designed it to be inclusive to everyone.

Not just that but it also has a positive impact on the families and friends it effects as it creates a commonality between them, it can help support therapy, confidence and rehabilitation.

This is a big change for society but one which we shouldn’t be shocked at.  Technology is there to help us advance in so many ways and yet sometimes we forget that not everyone is able to use it in the same way.

For example the control buttons on a PlayStation aren’t the easiest to use for those with Cerebral Palsy but adapted by using switched and a joystick (also helping to develop those fine motor skills) means that person can now take part in the game, play with friends from all over the globe and enjoy the fun and amusement that others do.

It has also been proven to help with confidence and rehabilitation by using the example above help develop those fine motor skills in this instance, without, for example a child, knowing that they’re also learning too.  It becomes part of the fun and for many adults it makes them feel that they can maintain a work/life balance and it is more of the “norm”.

We’ve also seen the use technology help support those living with Dementia, through the use of Virtual Reality (VR).

A virtual reality app, launched earlier this year, has been developed by charity, Alzheimer’s Research UK and named ‘A walk through Dementia’.  It provides a sense of what it’s like to live with different forms of dementia.  Providing this level of knowledge and basic understanding of what it’s like for those living with the disease it is hoped it will improve on how we can help and the support in which is offered.

The app is currently being trialled in the UK to visitors at St Pancras International Station in London.  However, a similar VR was created in 2014, reported in Science Daily, and tested in care homes in the US, to give care staff a clearer understanding of what their patients were going through. The app has been used throughout rehabilitation centres as the benefits of staff training from this, as well as creating an understanding of what it was like to live with dementia was tenfold.

Technology is such a big part of our lives, no one should be excluded from this.  It is also the best form for us to communicate with each other no matter what your background or your disability.  Everyone is on the same playing field and it is this that really makes technology great and something quite special.

It’s also at its best when its’ being used to show what people with a disability are going through.  You can sit in a wheelchair for a day to experience what this would be like, but you can’t experience Dementia, until now.  Technology has cleverly allowed us an insight into something that almost seems impossible – into the minds of others.

Taken from the July issue of Geek Parenting, out now!

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