2006 Conference General Sessions

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ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY EXPERIENCES OF CALIFORNIA INDEPENDENT LIVING CENTER CONSUMERS: SURVEY RESULTS

 

Presenter(s)
Myisha Reed
California Foundation for Independent Living Centers
1029 J Street, Suite 120
Sacramento CA 95814
Day Phone: 916-325-1690
Fax: 916-325-1699
Email: myisha@cfilc.org

Presenter #2
Patricia Yeager
California Foundation for Independent Living Centers
1029 J Street, Suite 120
Sacramento CA 95814
Day Phone: 916-325-1690
Fax: 916-325-1699
Email: py@cfilc.org

This presentation will discuss the final results of the Assistive Technology & Consumer Survey. This statewide survey of independent living center consumers examines assistive technology experiences in the areas of employment, health, independent living, function, funding and ethnic minorities.

The Community Research for Assistive Technology (CR4AT) project is funded through a five-year grant from the National Institute of Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR). It is a collaborative project between the California Foundation for Independent Living Centers (CFILC), a statewide trade organization of independent living centers, the California State University, Northridge  Center on Disabilities and the University of Northern Colorado. A partnership was also forged with the Disability Statistics Center at the University of California, San Francisco for further survey expertise. Independent living center staff and university researchers work together to collect information on assistive technology experiences from consumers across California.

Focus group results from year 2 of the project informed the survey design process. Priorities were identified in the data and used to develop the survey content (Krueger, R, 1998). Questions examined the personal assistive technology experiences of consumers with regard to health, function, funding, employment, independent living and underserved populations. Community researchers (independent living center staff) were provided training in survey standards, design and dissemination. An initial survey pilot was performed with local consumers and necessary changes were made. The survey was distributed in-person, by mail and internet to people with disabilities throughout California. Responses were collected by telephone, mail, in-person meetings and internet in both English and Spanish. After four months, just over 300 responses were collected.

As a result of the lower than expected response rate, the survey was relaunched during the fourth year with some changes. CR4AT staff and Project Advisory Committee members convened and edited the survey tool, resulting in a shorter, easier to read survey. The new survey and information were sent to a sampling of California independent living center consumers by mail in English, Spanish and Braille. Consumers were able to participate by mail, phone and internet. Both consumers and independent living centers were paid an incentive for participation and over 1800 responses were received.

This presentation will discuss the final results of the Assistive Technology and Consumer Survey. The survey is scheduled to end September 2005.

CR4AT uses both the Participatory Action Research (PAR) and ecological models for this project. Consumers are actively involved in directing the projects activities at all levels and all research activities contribute to systems change at all levels (Doe & Whyte, 1995). The results of this survey will be distributed widely and used to further the systems change activities of the project through the final year.
Action Teams are currently using research data in public policy and various other activities throughout the state, including the development of an assistive technology poster for the Latino community, a survey on assistive technology available via mass retail, and assistive technology education materials for consumers and businesses.

CR4AT welcomes active participation. The project is entering the evaluation phase of the research and session attendees are encouraged to make suggestions and provide feedback on project activities and results. CR4AT always seeks to establish connections with other stakeholders to improve the experiences of AT consumers.


Doe, T. & Whyte, J. (1995). Participatory action research, Presentation for National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research, Washington, DC.

Krueger, R. (1998). Analyzing and reporting focus group results. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.


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