Deafblind people, stigma and the use of communication and mobility assistive devices

Hersh, M.A. (2013) Deafblind people, stigma and the use of communication and mobility assistive devices. Technology and Disability, 25(4), pp. 245-261.

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This paper draws on interviews with 27 deafblind people and the mother of an autistic deafblind woman carried out as part of a larger research project on travel issues for blind, partially sighted and deafblind people to investigate and report on issues related to the use of communication and mobility assistive devices, in particular long canes, guide dogs, hearing aids and wheelchairs. The interviewees came from six different countries and both similarities and differences were found between the experiences in the different countries. One of the main themes that arose in the context of the use of these devices was stigmatisation. This is already frequently a problem for deafblind people due to the additive or multiplicative effects of what could be seen as two distinct impairments. Consequently actual experiences or fears of being stigmatised as a result of using assistive devices led to some deafblind people who might benefit from these devices not using them. This generally makes them more dependent on other people for personal assistance and may reduce their quality of life, as such assistance is not always available. However, deafblind people are as diverse as any other population group and many of the interviewees used communication and mobility assistive devices and considered their benefits to outweigh any possible stigmatisation. Several of the interviewees used several assistive devices and had found some of them easier to accept than others.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Hersh, Dr Marion
Authors: Hersh, M.A.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Engineering > Biomedical Engineering
Journal Name:Technology and Disability
Publisher:IOS Press
ISSN (Online):1878-643X

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