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ERIC Number: EJ849492
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-May
Pages: 6
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 18
ISSN: ISSN-0145-482X
A Wheelchair User with Visual and Intellectual Disabilities Managing Simple Orientation Technology for Indoor Travel
Lancioni, Giulio E.; O'Reilly, Mark F.; Singh, Nirbhay N.; Sigafoos, Jeff; Campodonico, Francesca; Oliva, Doretta
Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness, v103 n5 p308-313 May 2009
Persons with profound visual impairments and other disabilities, such as neuromotor and intellectual disabilities, may encounter serious orientation and mobility problems even in familiar indoor environments, such as their homes. Teaching these persons to develop maps of their daily environment, using miniature replicas of the areas or some landmarks as orientation cues, may be difficult. The difficulty may be even greater when the persons are in wheelchairs and thus have limited opportunities to explore the surrounding space and related cues. A potentially effective alternative to the aforementioned maps could be the use of orientation technology, specifically, orientation systems that rely on directional cues. These systems are intended to guide or direct persons to their destinations without requiring spatial or travel abilities other than those of orienting to the sources that are providing cues. Although such systems can be useful, efforts are needed to enhance their flexibility and simplicity so that they can more easily suit different environmental and personal situations. The authors designed a system to be simpler than previous systems. It uses cues only at destinations (that is, a single sound source per destination) and involves a portable, electronic control device with keys to activate the cues at the sources or destinations. This article reports a study which assessed such a system with a wheelchair user, a woman, with minimal residual vision and a moderate intellectual disability. The wheelchair user described in this report could not efficiently find doors to rooms by following the walls of a room or corridor with her hand. Moreover, she could not discriminate and use the keys of the control device. To deal with these disadvantages, the authors marked the doors to rooms with orange lights and used a larger control device with wider keys for activating destinations. The keys for activating the destinations were covered with small (discriminated) objects representing the activities that were available at the destinations; these objects were encircled with light-emitting diodes. The diodes on a key remained illuminated until that key was selected. (Contains 2 figures.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Italy