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Independent LivingVolume 24 No 1

  published in March 2008

Featured Articles

Assistive Technology (Past, Present and Future)

Since writing his first article on the benefits of a talking terminal for blind people, John Williams has had well over a thousand articles related to assistive Technology published. Here he talks about the past and present, and using his crystal ball, predicts the future.

For more, you can find this article by John Williams in Independent Living (volume 24 no.1) published in March 2008.

JOHN WILLIAMS has been writing about disability issues since 1978. In 1982, he coined the phrase ‘Assistive Technology’, which has since become the universal term to describe products that benefi t people with disabilities. John is an award winning, former weekly columnist for Business Week Online Magazine. He has written about hundreds of products used by people with disabilities, has had more than 2000 articles published, and is author of the book Assistive Technologies: Expanding a Universe of Opportunities for People with Disabilities. John is credited with raising awareness of disability issues and especially the benefi ts of assistive technology, to a national and international level.

Water Wise (choosing the right pool hoist)

Choosing the right pool hoist for your client from the large variety available can mean the difference between being able to access a pool or not.

There are two main designs of pool hoist: those with a sling attachment and those with a fi xed plastic seat. The design of choice depends on the abilities of the client; for example, whether the client has adequate trunk control to stay upright in a fi xed seat (including with a lap belt or chest belt). A hoist with a sling option is more likely suitable to home environments or schools that cater for people with a severe physical disability. Several hoists have a choice of either seat or sling, but the user must remember to factor in the time taken to change over between the two styles.

More Than Just Comfort (tilt in space & recline)

Seating is a dynamic activity during which we constantly change our position. Health professionals who prescribe seating systems must try to accommodate this dynamic activity into any chosen assistive technology.

When we sit, the action is a dynamic one. Aside from shifting around on the seat, our leg position changes frequently: stretching out or tucking under the seat. Assessment of client and carer expectations and needs is essential and an understanding of what is currently available in the market place helps to ensure the best choice of product. There is, however, no ‘one size fi ts all’ recipe for a successful seating system, especially when considering tilt in space or recline. Every prescription is unique.