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The Impact of ICT on a Person With Special/Particular Needs Essay

Over 10% of the world’s population suffers from a variety of different disabilities. These different disabilities all hold certain negative effects on each person affecting their ability to work as effectively as their co-workers, understand and comprehend things as easily as others, focus and concentrate on topics at hand or affecting the movement of a part of their body. Out of the thousands of different disabilities out there, all of these have their different negative effect and although not every single disability may do so, the majority of these mental or physical disabilities limit the person’s potential and ability to function normally.

However, with ICT and the development of technology, these limits have often been conquered to allow people with a certain disability to function to the best of their natural ability allowing them to uphold their position as a normal or even upstanding citizen in the workplace and in everyday life. An excellent example would be Stephen Hawking, one of the most highly redeemed physicist and cosmologist and famously known to the general public all around the world. He suffers from a disease called Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis which essentially attacks and over time critically corrodes all of his neurological functions affecting his motor neurones and damages the cells that have the ability of speaking, walking, breathing, swallowing and general movement of the body. Usually speaking, people with this disease rarely ever live over 10 years after diagnosis. However, Stephen Hawking’s case is rare in the sense that not only has he, by far, surpassed this life expectancy but his case also makes for the most protracted case ever documented. His whole body is, as of 2009, almost completely paralysed.

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However, using technology, he has gone past the restraints of his physical body and was thus allowed to function as a famous and highly prestigious physicist.

Technology has advanced to allow Stephen Hawking to go past his disabilities as he uses a DECTalk DTC01 advanced voice synthesizer to talk and creates messages using simply his cheek-the only part of his body he can use to move. Although this makes it a long tedious process, the whole process of using his cheek to speak shows how far science has gone in the ability to help people.

And with technology, people with other diseases and illnesses can also benefit and break the limits of what their disease has done to them. An example is Sarah Falcon, a young woman suffering from Cerebral Palsy. Cerebral Palsy is similar to Hawking’s disease in that it affects and deteriorates the motor functions but much less severely in relation to Hawking’s case and different in the fact that it affects the development of the motor conditions but do not completely limit them. They cause a physical disability in human development, mainly in the areas of body movement. There are a lot of different types of Cerebral Palsy, the most common one being spastic and what Sarah suffers from. There is yet no known cure for any of the subtypes.

Cerebral Palsy occurs most commonly during pregnancy but can also appear during childbirth or after birth up to the age of three.

People with Spastic Cerebral Palsy are hypertonic (an abnormal increase in muscle tension reducing the ability to stretch) and have a ‘neuromuscular mobility impairment’ which essentially affects the ability for the nervous system to successfully send signals in the body to cause it to properly contract and retract in accordance to the message sent. This disease causes the recipient, in this case the muscles, to receive a signal distorted to what the original message contained and thus causes the muscle to move different to what the person suffering with the disease wanted.

Sarah Falcon has an abnormal muscle tone in that she slouches while sitting, lacks the usual reflex ability of a person not suffering from this disease and lacks motor development and co-ordination.

In Sarah Falcon’s personal case, she has limited use of her arms and legs and lacks to ability to sufficiently control them, often having spasms and such. She has ‘Spastic Quadriplegia’ which affects all four of her limbs. She is also hypertonic which causes her to have an increased muscle tone and thus appears stiff and rigid. She favours the right side of her body and thus cannot keep a straight posture. Fortunately for Sarah, she miraculously has audible control over her speech. She can speak completely coherently and in a comprehensible tone.

What Sarah has, spastic quadriplegia, is the most severe type of the spastics a person can get and it’s a difficult task to even function in daily occurrences. However, Sarah has overcome this with the modern technology being developed and brought out in this day and age. Not only can she perform necessary tasks previously impossible, she can even have a job working at home being a writer. All her technology she uses all meet her essential needs; living a normal life, moving around on her own assistance, using modern technology and various other needs covered by the technology.

Technology used for personal use

For technology Sarah uses for her own personal use, I will be covering the following:

* Motorised Wheelchair

* Stair lift

* Television/Sky-digital box

Motorised wheelchair:

Due to her stiff limbs and lack of nervous control, Sarah has trouble moving her limbs and lacks the ability to walk altogether. Due to not being able to move her limbs accurately, she cannot manually move a wheelchair without constant assistance. However, with a simple remote to press buttons on, it has enabled her to be able to not need constant assistance, although supervision is still needed in-case of an accident or other problems.

The remote-controlled wheelchair also known as the motorised wheelchair, powerchair, electric wheelchair or electric-powered wheelchair is an essential piece of technology to help Sarah through her daily life. It is propelled via an electric motor in contrast to using manual power. This is perfect for Sarah as she is unable to propel a manual wheelchair.

The motorised wheelchair works just like a normal wheelchair except that it’s not manually powered. Unlike a normal wheelchair which uses hands to rotate the wheels, this wheelchair uses electricity which activates a motor thus spinning the wheels, making Sarah able to move without having to exert her own strength.

How it affects Sarah’s needs

Advantages (How it meets Sarah’s needs)

Sarah’s motorised wheelchair is the Beatle Powerchair. This wheelchair is easily manoeuvrable and user-friendly due to its easy controls via a joystick and menu. As quoted from the site ‘simplyhealth.co.uk’, ‘The Handicare Beatle electric wheelchair is specially designed for excellent in and outdoor manoeuvrability giving you the freedom to enjoy more in life. The Beatle electric wheelchair offers high performance and excellent usability.’

This is what allows Sarah to live and perform as naturally as possible in her condition. She works from home and the ability to manoeuvre in an eased manner is extremely helpful in allowing Sarah to go on with her daily life in a normal function.

The front wheel drive of the Beatle Powerchair allows an easier control for Sarah. This is essential and increasingly important as it prevents the wheelchair from falling by giving more support on the two stationary back wheels. It stops her from falling off the chair as easily which would be fatal as she has no proper control over her limbs and will find it hard to not only shield herself from the fall but to also get back up.

The easily customised seating also helps to suit Sarah’s needs directly. Sarah needs a certain stylised seat to help her specially postured back and for her neck which her disease makes unable to keep stable. She needs to maintain a position which does not strain her neck and lets her hang loose while also making sure she stays upright. The customised seat feature works a charm for this. If the seat does not match Sarah’s needs, she can easily replace it to one that would suit her need. However, seats aren’t the only adjustable feature. The backs, backrests, leg supports also co-operate with Sarah’s needs as they are also completely adjustable.

Sometimes, Sarah may have poor control over her wheelchair or even lose control which could potentially lead to a horrifying accident. To prevent this, the Handicare Beatle electric wheelchair comes with changeable suspension and powerful motors which ensure Sarah the smoothest rides she can get with excellent manoeuvrability.

The controls also suit Sarah’s needs. Suffering from spastic quadriplegia can make it hard to grasp difficult controls due to the difficulty of controlling the limbs but the beatle electric chair comes with easy electronic controls with a simple joystick which can be used in correspondence with the touch screen. Either one can be used with the touch screen being the one requiring less difficulty but just as much functionality as the joystick. The controls have been claimed to be designed by world-renowned experts to make them easy to use, vital for someone like Sarah.

With Sarah’s lack of mobility, it can be hard doing normal tasks even with the motorised wheelchair. She may have problems reaching things from her wheelchair, which could result in her dangerous attempt turn into an accident. The Beatle powerchair negates this and caters to Sarah’s needs by including an elevated seat. Sarah can use this elevated seat to reach things without the risk of having to lean out of her chair. She also gets an electrical leg rest, electrical back and an electrical tilt providing her with numerous relaxing positions she can go to, enabling her ability to avoid stressing her figure and damaging her stature further. She can avoid pains and enjoy leisure time in relaxing positions and also work from a much easier perspective as a relaxed position can allow her to focus more on work.

Disadvantages (How it does not meet Sarah’s needs)

While Sarah may be able to do all these things, it doesn’t necessarily mean all rainbows and sunshine. Sarah is still a sufferer of Cerebral Palsy and while technology may try its best, her illness still causes her many difficulties. These difficulties all vary from a lot of different things.

While the powerchair may be motor powered and easy for Sarah to use, she can still experience certain difficulties. The powerchair is designed to be steady but it can also go to quite a high speed, up to 5km/h. While this may be normal for a non-sufferer, Sarah can have problems reacting in time or controlling the machine fast enough to prevent any accidents. Sarah can face the possibility of things such as bumping into walls, accidently manoeuvring down stairs or onto other dangerous surfaces or even moving into dangerous objects that can cause great harm to Sarah.

It is also extremely expensive to buy, maintain and make useable in a living environment. This is simply because the chair is quite expensive but also requires electricity to run. Not only does this affect costs, it also goes against Sarah’s want of trying to be as green as possible and using the least amount of electricity and only to what’s necessary. But it’s not just the chair; she also requires a stair lift to carry her on her chair. This takes more money and more electricity.

Summary of advantages

* Motor powered, much easier to use for Sarah

* Easily manoeuvrable and user-friendly

* Good support for staying upright

* Adjustable/replaceable features

* Good suspension to keep a comfortable stable ride

* Simple easy controls

* Allows Sarah to experience a normal life that she always wanted

Summary of disadvantages

* Can’t always control accurately as it is very hard for her to be dextrous with her hands

* Extremely expensive to maintain and hard to get up the stairs, thus needing the stair lift contributing more to expenses

* Requires electricity rather than the typical manual force-uses up money and resources which Sarah is very conscious of (she tries to be as green as possible)

* The speed of the chair might be too much for Sarah as she has very poor directional control of the chair

Conclusion

Conclusively, the electric chair is essential for Sarah’s needs. She needs to move to travel around her house and this chair adheres to that need. Sarah is ultimately unable to move at all without the use of a chair such as this. While she has use of her legs, they are limited to the utmost capability of her abilities. She cannot do more than wiggle her legs around, nevertheless actually managing to stand up and walk. But this doesn’t mean Sarah can never feel the thought of never moving on her own will again. The electric chair allows her to do this. While it has disadvantages, they are mostly outweighed in terms of meeting Sarah’s needs. It is an extremely important item in maintaining Sarah’s lifestyle.

Stair lift:

A stair lift is simply a mechanical device programmed to lift mobility-troubled people to be lifted up and down stairs. Its purpose is to help those who are unable themselves to go up the stairs to do so, providing them with the ability to partake in a normal lifestyle without constant assistance.

Although it would be much more efficient, Sarah refuses to relocate to a one-story bungalow due to her attachments to her current location due to familiarity, family, friends and overall nostalgia. Due to this, she uses a stair lift every day and his has since become an essential part of her life.

The stair lift works via the mechanical items which are fitted onto the railings on the wall of the staircase. The stair lift is moved up and down the stairs via hydraulics or through an electric motor, similar to the motorised wheelchair.

How it affects Sarah’s needs

Advantages (How it meets Sarah’s needs)

Sarah has a ‘disabled stair lift’. This means that she does not have to get off of her wheelchair to get onto the stair lift but instead uses the ‘easy access’ ramp to place herself as well as her wheelchair on the stair lift and be carried with it up the stairs.

The disabled stair lift meets Sarah’s complex needs in a lot of different ways.

Sarah is able to feel much more independent as she rarely needs assistance with the stair lift. She can use it in correspondence with the motorised wheelchair to freely move around the whole of her house however she likes. Sarah cannot get out of her wheelchair at her own will but this disabled stair lift allows her to carry her wheel chair along with her in it all at once. She can manoeuvre through her whole house, whether to different rooms and floors all by herself. This has boosted her self-esteem and she can work whenever she wants at her own will as she doesn’t need to call for an assistant to get to her required method of work at her computer desk on the top floor.

The easy access ramp provides security in getting on the stair lift. She can easily move her wheelchair up the ramp with little to no effort as her wheelchair is electronically functioned. This makes her able to go up the stair lift in a smooth manner. The lack of a rough terrain allows the stiff-limbed Sarah to avoid losing balance on her wheelchair. To someone like Sarah, a rough terrain can be fatal as she has really bad control over her body and limbs. She could easily lose balance but the smooth access to the stair lift prevents this and allows Sarah to stay safe.

The user-friendly controls allow the physically challenged Sarah to easily take control of the stair lift. Difficult controls could make it really hard for Sarah as her limbs are completely unable to be moved accurately and so, controls which require precision or control may be really difficult. However, the simple pushing of a joy stick or a switch to move up and down works perfectly for Sarah. Sarah can use it without much ease, strength or dexterity in her actions.

The high weight limit of 200kg is also extremely efficient for Sarah. It works perfectly as Sarah is only 70kg and the stair lift is described as being ‘strong yet lightweight aluminium frame’. Not only will this be durable, but it will also be easy to manage. Her wheelchair is also made to be as lightweight as possible while maintaining proper stability. The stair lift is powerful enough to easily carry both Sarah and her wheelchair.

Sarah can essentially traverse throughout her whole house at her own will. Her need of wanting to be free and hold a normal lifestyle is met as she is free to go wherever she wants in her house. She doesn’t have to have someone pushing her.

Disadvantages (How it does not meet Sarah’s needs)

As with the motor chair, the stair lift is also extremely expensive and takes a lot to maintain. It uses up a lot of electricity and because Sarah uses it quite often, this can get quite pricey. It also goes against Sarah’s ideology of trying to be as green as possible.

The stair lift is also quite difficult to get off and on all the time, something Sarah needs to do a lot to travel around her house. While it does have a ramp, the ramp can be tedious to use, especially as to how often Sarah uses it. It takes a lot of strain on her power chair to bring herself unto the platform of the stair lift.

It is also quite slow going up Sarah’s long stairs. While this can be seen as an advantage due to the safety it provides, Sarah views it as a time waste as she is impatient and very conscious of the time she wastes every time she goes up and down the stairs. It also hurts her self-esteem as she needs to feel like a normal person to be satisfied. Going up the stairs slowly reminds her of her condition and inability.

Summary of advantages

* Sarah does not have to move to a bungalow and can maintain her current living style in a house with floors

* Does not have to leave wheelchair as it gets carried along with her

* Allows her to be more independent, she doesn’t have to rely on others to carry and support her

* User-friendly

* High weight limit to support both her and her wheelchair

* Meets her need of wanting to be free and have a normal-lifestyle, not a lifestyle in need of constant support/aid

Summary of disadvantages

* The stair lift is also quite expensive and uses a lot of electricity which Sarah doesn’t like

* Despite the ramp, it can be hard and straining for Sarah’s wheelchair to go unto the stair lift all the time, something which is inevitable as she has to go up and down a lot

* It also takes quite a bit of time go up and down, which Sarah finds annoying and damaging to her self-esteem as it serves as a reminder of her inability

Conclusion

While the stair lift does have a few disadvantages, most of these are minimal compared to the benefit it supplies Sarah. As well as the motorised wheelchair, the stair lift is also something which Sarah is heavily reliant on. She could not function normally without it. Her need of living a normal lifestyle is met as she wants to be as independent as possible. The stair lift is essential to meeting her main needs. She uses it every day, a bit part of her life. Without it, she couldn’t traverse in her own house. Sarah could never be able to get up her stairs by herself without the stair lift. It would be impossible.

Television/Sky-digital box

A television is a normal household device for people all around the world. It is used to view television broadcasts around the world. It processes and produces sounds and visuals from these broadcasts. It provides entertainment in various forms, e.g. educational, cultural, comical etc. Nearly every household has at least one of these and a television has very much been, since its creation and production to the mass public, something which every normal person either owns or watches regularly. It keeps you up to date with news, current events, celebrity gossip, new movies and much more. This is why it is so vital that Sarah has a television. As mentioned before, one of her needs is to feel like a normal person. With a television, she can do exactly that. Sarah is the type of person who doesn’t go out too often to socialise as it tends to be an eyesore in her condition and with her wheelchair. So, she uses television to keep in touch with real life.

There are two types of television: analogue and digital.

Analogue television systems are now out-dated and soon to become obsolete. Analogue television, as the name states, use analogue signals to transmit and receive a TV broadcast. An analogue signal is essentially a broadcast signal which is continuous in terms of amplitude or frequency. These are very inefficient and require an aerial to pick up the signal and can often result in the picture being unclear. These were the main form of television until digital television was discovered. Now, analogue signals are set to be totally rid of by 2012, regarding all analogue televisions redundant.

Digital television is now the way forward. Nearly all homes have a digital television set and with analogue soon to be completely obsolete, digital TV will now be the only type out there. Digital TV uses digital signals to broadcast television. In contrast to analogue signals, the use of digital signals is discrete in terms of amplitude and frequency. These signals are much more stable and bring a much clearer picture. There is no need for a separate aerial on the TV as digital uses a satellite to connect to the corresponding company that supplies your digital box (needed to receive transmissions for digital TV).

How it affects Sarah’s needs

Advantages (How it meets Sarah’s needs)

As stated before, Sarah doesn’t go out much. However, despite this, she feels the need to be a normal person. She can’t go out but she gets her experiences and ‘stays in touch’ with real life using TV. She can get an idea and keep up with the world outside by watching and keeping up with the current and latest TV shows. This satisfies Sarah’s need of wanting to be normal which comes from her lack of experience with other people. She gets to experience how people behave and the likes on the TV; something helpful for someone like Sarah who barely leaves the house.

Sarah’s inability to move efficiently hinders almost everything. However, watching television is one of the rare pleasures where she can relax without having to use any special technology to do a simple task thousands of others can do easily. She doesn’t need anything and this pleases her. This adds to the relaxation she receives from this leisure activity. She can just rely on her own eyes and nothing else. The remote for the television is also simple enough for Sarah to use.

However, if Sarah is having problems pressing the numbers to get to the channel, she can simply use the favourites feature to get to her desired channel(s). She can add numerous channels to her favourites and go through all these favourites with only one simple button. This is something she can easily do even at her state and allows her to browse at her own leisure and ease.

Sarah can stay up to date with things such as news, celebrity gossip and current events such as disasters. Sarah doesn’t purchase newspapers as they can be quite hard to manage in her condition. This may make her uninformed of things currently happening in the world right now, something which is quite important to know. Sarah, however, can watch the news, learn about latest celebrity gossip and other such events using the channels provided on Sky. She can feel much more in touch with reality and feel less out of place in a world she feels she doesn’t want to be in or doesn’t belong in.

Sarah can also simply entertain herself with TV. It is one of the easiest ways for her to do so as she cannot do much else with Cerebral Palsy. She cannot go out and socialise, do sports or fun activities such as bowling and other stuff people do for entertainment. With all these things she can’t do, TV is her escape. Sarah’s main form of entertainment comes from television. It occupies her time and allows her to spend less time thinking or worrying about her problems. It’s her leisure time and as Sarah cannot find much leisure elsewhere, it is very important in meeting the need to entertain Sarah.

Sarah can purchase lots of different channels regarding lots of different matters. While this may seem to be a costly venture, Sky contains relatively cheap prices and a lot of channels are even only a cheap one-time payment! Sarah owns a Sky digital-card that came with the digital-box and she can purchase and store channels onto this card. She can expand her intelligence and general knowledge on the knowledge pack. The knowledge pack helps her fight her lack of reading books and such. Sarah finds it extremely hard and tedious to read books as it can get uncomfortable and quite difficult for her to simply turn pages one at a time. As she can’t read books, she finds it hard to learn a lot of common knowledge facts. But she can overcome this obstacle by simply looking at the channels on the knowledge pack. The purpose of these channels are all for common knowledge issues. Sarah can watch these and broaden her own knowledge, something she lacks due to not reading books. She can feel much more confident if she has a wider knowledge of things.

Sarah’s TV is also different in terms of its placement. Sarah’s TV is mounted on a wall. As Sarah sits in a wheelchair, she might have trouble finding a good position as the postures she can make are quite limited. Instead of having to move herself around, she can instead use a remote to move the angle, direction or exact area her TV is in using the wall mounted feature.

Lastly, if Sarah misses anything, she can simply record it pre-hand with Sky+’s feature of recording and play it back anytime.

Disadvantages (How it does not meet Sarah’s needs)

As with a lot of other things, Sky Digital doesn’t come at a necessarily cheap price. To purchase a digital box is a one-time price but to maintain the service Sky provides in terms of channels, the cost is periodical. This can add on to Sarah’s bill and as she is an author, she isn’t necessarily making a stable payment so it can be quite hard for her.

As well as Sky, her television itself adds a lot of money to Sarah’s bill. Not only does a decent television come at a high price, Sarah’s wall-mounted television which is also manually moveable via a remote is actually extremely expensive! Also, with the amount of times in which Sarah uses it, it piles on the electrical bill. This is extremely bad for Sarah. It not only uses a lot of money, it also goes against Sarah’s plans of being green. But it meets her other more important needs so she sacrifices her need of being green to meet her more leisurely needs.

As well as adding quite a hefty sum of money to Sarah’s bill, it also consumes a lot of her time. Television is quite addictive, especially for someone like Sarah who doesn’t have much else to do. This addictiveness eventually distracts her from doing her work or other things she wants to complete. Procrastination takes over and she ends up delaying her work. As a writer, procrastination hits hard and she often spends her day just watching TV and not working whatsoever.

Lastly, a satellite dish isn’t necessarily completely efficient. While it is much better at receiving a reception compared to an analogue TV’s aerial, it is also vulnerable to wind, rain and other dangerous weather effects. If something does happen to the dish, Sarah would need to call professional help as she is in no shape to fix the satellite dish herself.

Summary of advantages

* Sarah can keep in touch with real life as she doesn’t go out often

* Sarah’s use of her television and Sky digital are not hindered at all by her disability as the use of the remote is quite easy even with Sarah’s bad control

* If Sarah does have a problem with getting to certain channels, she can easily add channels to her favourites which can be navigated with only the press of one button

* Sarah can stay up to date with news events, celebrity gossip etc. with little to no effort

* Sarah can entertain herself

* Sarah can watch movies, film series, dramas, soaps and many more

* She can get channels devoted to certain categories e.g. knowledge, family, children, films

* Record programs with Sky+ so she can stay up-to-date

* Her television is mounted on a wall and thus she can gain a good view and also move its position via a remote

Summary of disadvantages

* Costs a hefty sum to maintain Sky digital

* TVs can be quite expensive and use a lot of electricity

* Due to the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation), a TV licence is required. This takes more money

* Quite distracting and time consuming

* Satellite dish can easily be blocked by problems such as weather

Conclusion

While it comes at a high price for Sarah altogether, the TV and Sky digital combo is a necessity for Sarah. What Sarah can essentially do for leisure is extremely limited. TV, however, is one of the only things not completely limited. Sarah can watch TV all she wants and does not have to be hindered by her condition. It’s her one feeling of being a completely normal person. It’s a definite need that is important to Sarah. Without a form of leisure or entertainment, Sarah’s life wouldn’t have much to look forward to or do. So, although Sarah can be distracted or too consumed into television, she can at least enjoy the time spent doing so.

Technology used for social use

For technology Sarah uses for her own social use, I will be covering the following:

* iPhone 4

* Facebook

IPhone 4

The iPhone 4 is the latest upgrade of the iPhone series. The iPhone is a touchscreen smartphone developed my apple. In particular, the iPhone 4 is the fourth generation of iPhones, preceded by the iPhone 3GS. It can do a lot of different things, notable for its ability to video call, use media such as books, periodicals and movies as well as general web and e-mail use. It runs a simple Apple iOS operating system, same to the iPad and previous iPhone generations. It is sensitive to fingertip contact and does not require much power or dexterity, perfect for Sarah’s condition. Its memory capacity comes in either a 16 GB or 32 GB flash memory model. It comes with 512 MB eDRAM, WiFi connection, built in speakers and microphone, a 5mp rear camera and a 0.3mp front camera and a 640×960 resolution.

Despite having Cerebral Palsy, Sarah tries as hard as possible to be a normal person. In spite of not being able to fully control the iPhone using the touch screen due to movement problems, she can however use the ‘voice recognition’ feature. Using the voice commands/recognition feature, she can navigate from menus and such, with the ability to use certain programs or open files to calling people. Features like this make Sarah able to use the iPhone, albeit in a limited fashion. Using the iPhone, she can simply call people, receive calls, listen to music and other such things although there are barriers and cases preventing her from using the iPhone efficiently.

How it affects Sarah’s needs

Advantages (How it meets Sarah’s needs)

The voice recognition feature is what makes the whole phone operable to Sarah’s needs and standards. Sarah has very limited use of her limbs and although she can move them, her dexterity and accuracy of them are extremely terrible. She can use the touch screen to hit buttons, but can only manage to place her finger on the button only if it’s big enough to Sarah’s needs. So while she can do simple things, the voice recognition makes everything much easier and breaks the limit of what it is Sarah can exactly do. Sarah’s sister and carer helps set everything up for her, which is extremely easy to do thanks to the iPhone’s user-friendly system. Sarah can then send calls by going to her address book by saying ‘Contacts’ and then saying the name of the contact she wants to call. She can also send SMS messages by saying ‘SMS’, then saying the name of the contact, then using word prediction she can either spell out letters, say whole words or use an increased text size to write words, made easier via word prediction. She can also open multimedia by simply saying ‘media’. After this, she can either say ‘Picture’, ‘Video’, ‘Music’, or any other forms of media to open them. She can then say the corresponding command to open the right file. While all this may be confusing, her iPhone comes with a voice recognition app that displays all the voice commands she needs to say to open the right file. This also works not just for the things mentioned but also to navigate through a lot of the other menus and options. Each menu can either have a default voice command or a customised one.

The increased text/icon size feature makes Sarah able to use her own hands to navigate her phone, despite having extremely inaccurate control over this. It was briefly mentioned with the voice recognition feature but with this, Sarah can increase the size of text and icons. She has a much wider target with this and can navigate from icons using the touch screen, she can write text, albeit slowly, with bigger text icons and she can use the iPod to its fullest, despite having Cerebral Palsy.

The Touch Sensor/touch screen to provide the most basic function and is the key to using the iPhone for Sarah, as well as the voice recognition feature. Not only does the touch screen allow the iPhone to have a much larger range of the features it can do, it also allows Sarah to work with it much easier than a non-touch technology. She doesn’t have to press too hard due to the easy sensitivity and it’s also adjustable so Sarah can find a setting that matches her needs.

One of the most outstanding features of not just the iPhone 4 but almost all apple products are the applications available for use. One particular application already mentioned would be the voice recognition feature. But this isn’t the only app helpful to Sarah. The iPhone has a whole variety of apps helpful to all types of people and in this case, even people with Cerebral Palsy. This is because applications are not simply made by Apple; they are also made by other developers looking for different target audiences and such. An example of this would be the ‘scrolling app’. It’s different to what the name suggests, it’s marketed at people like Sarah who have trouble pressing the correct keys when typing. What it does is scrolls across the keyboard in an efficient manner that allows it to not take too long but also leave it easy enough for Sarah to be able to handle. When it passes the row of the letter Sarah wants to use, she taps anywhere on the screen. It will then scroll past each key on the row. Again, Sarah presses the screen when it passes the key she wants. Although this can be a tedious process, it works very well with the word prediction that comes with the iPhone. When the keys are too complex or small for Sarah to press, she can simply use this app. This gives her the ability to be able to overcome her limits on using a phone and send texts, browse the web and actually post statuses and comments on Facebook without having to try hard to hit small keys and such.

As mentioned before, word prediction works with a lot of these things to help Sarah out a lot. Word prediction helps save Sarah time and worry over hitting all the exact keys. It helps save a LOT of time with the scrolling app and also helps save Sarah the worry of hitting a lot of different keys, which might prove difficult for her in her state. It speeds up Sarah’s usage of the phone and allows her to do whatever she needs to faster.

Sarah is extremely keen on using Facebook. While she does this mainly from her computer, she can also do this from her iPhone. This allows her to be social wherever she is, which she wants a lot as she is at home all day. She craves to be like a normal person and although she may not necessarily be like everyone else, the chance to talk with people on Facebook wherever she is gives her a sense of security and enjoyment.

The 5 megapixel camera allows Sarah to keep memories of all she does. She can take good quality pictures but also stops pictures from being blurred due to the high resolution. The motion capture feature of the camera which is integrated due to its high quality allows the blur to be minimised from the unsteadiness of Sarah’s hands.

Sarah can also call her friends and family. But not only that, she can also video call them. She can give them face-to-face progress on how she’s doing and how she’s coping with everything and any problems she’s facing. This is not just very important to her family but also gives an emotional protection and reinforcement to Sarah as she cannot actually travel and see her family or friends much.

Disadvantages (How it does not meet Sarah’s needs)

The iPhone doesn’t have too many big problems. But it does have a few. For example, the touch screen may be a bit too hard for Sarah to properly manage to actually control. As we all know, her limb control is limited and it may be too much for her to try and use a touch screen and some of the iPhone’s intricate features. But this is made much easier with a feature such as the voice command.

Its memory could be a problem to another user but Sarah doesn’t tend to store much stuff on her iPhone. She tends to mostly browse the web, listen to music or go on Facebook and other things. She doesn’t necessarily have an extremely large amount of music so it is perfect for her.

The battery problem is something that a lot of iPhone users complain about. The iPhone 4 does not have a removable battery. While this may not be much of a problem to the average user (thus excluding Sarah from this problem), it can be more of a problem with its regular fans who use the technology a lot thus wearing out the battery or experiment with the insides.

It is quite expensive but it’s nothing too much. It doesn’t use much charge and it’s a one-time price as Sarah bought a pay-as-you-go phone. She doesn’t top up her phone much as she doesn’t spend too much. While she does go on Facebook on the iPhone, she does the majority of Facebook on her computer.

Summary of advantages

* The voice recognition/command feature lets Sarah to overcome the limit on her limb controls to more freely expand on her use of the iPhone

* The increased text/icon size feature also does what the voice recognition/command feature does in allowing Sarah to much more easily

* Touch sensor/touch screen on the iPhone allows it to do much more than other technology

* A lot of apps in iPhone that help people with disabilities use the iPhone to its best of ability, e.g. the scrolling app

* Word prediction allows Sarah to be able to text or type much easier/faster

* She can access Facebook through her phone, allowing her to be social even with her limitations which cause her not go out and do outside activities

* 5 megapixel camera allows Sarah to take good quality pictures of whatever she likes without needing complex equipment and it also prevents blurring due to Sarah’s unsteadiness

* A front camera allows Sarah to video call her friends and family

Summary of disadvantages

* The touch screen might be too much for Sarah to properly control

* It might get a bit too confusing to control

* Has a limited memory-you cannot increase the upgrade the memory

* Cannot change battery

* Quite expensive to use

Conclusion

While the iPhone has some disadvantages, these are outweighed by the most beneficial thing of the iPhone, its features. These features all range from different things but they all help Sarah a lot with her disability and trying to make sure she makes the most out of the iPhone despite the disability issue.

Facebook

Ever since Mark Zuckerberg, the young billionaire, made Facebook, it instantly became a hit. It now has around 500 million active users with more than 60 million status updates posted daily. Sarah can find many of her friends and family on Facebook. She can connect socially with old friends, re-unite with people she hasn’t seen in a while and make lots of new friends. Facebook has become a web of socialising. The need to socialise outside of the virtual world is eliminated whether that causes a negative or positive effect on our current generation has no impact on meeting Sarah’s needs. Being extremely limited due to Cerebral Palsy, she doesn’t go out much regardless of whether or not Facebook replaced her social life. She can’t participate much in activities and such with friends and has a very limited social life. Facebook gives her the social life she’s always wanted, albeit not exactly ideal but very good for Sarah.

How it affects Sarah’s needs

Advantages (How it meets Sarah’s needs)

Facebook has given Sarah what she has always wanted-a connection to the normal world. She can now socialise which she relatively was not able to do before as she did not participate in any outside activities for the most of her adult life. Sarah is a shut-in due to Cerebral Palsy and prefers to much rather stay inside. But she also wants to feel normal and finding friends and talking to people. Facebook gives her this opportunity. It satisfies her social needs.

She can talk to people she previously wouldn’t have been able to. She can make contact with new friends and faces but also reunite with people she hasn’t spoken to in a while. This pleases her as it makes her feel like a normal person.

But an even bigger encouragement to Sarah is finding people who have the same troubles as she does. She can join groups or like pages and find people from there about people with Cerebral Palsy. After Sarah hears and talks to people who have the same problems she has, she feels inspired to do more for herself.

Disadvantages (How it does not meet Sarah’s needs)

However, Sarah has essentially given up on a social life outside Facebook. While she may consider herself to have a social life due to being socially active on Facebook, it doesn’t necessarily count as she does not go out in real life.

Sarah has also become too reliant on Facebook. She essentially uses it for most of her contact with other people other than herself and her close family members. If Facebook were to disappear, this would affect Sarah a lot as she really values her friends on Facebook and is quite scared of losing them.

But while Facebook helps, it’s also a big web that takes people’s concentration away. Sarah now has trouble doing any of her work as she often becomes distracted by Facebook. It not only stops her doing work but also wastes a lot of her time ‘apparently socialising’.

Summary of advantages

* Gives Sarah the chance to feel normal and gives her a social life she would not otherwise have

* Allows her to contact friends she normally wouldn’t have been able to

* She can reunite with old friend

* She can make new friends and even find people in the same predicament she’s in

Summary of disadvantages

* While Sarah uses Facebook as a replacement for her social life, it doesn’t necessarily mean she has a social life

* Sarah has become too reliant on Facebook meaning that without it, she would not have a social life whatsoever

* Sarah has become too addicted to Facebook checking it often

* Facebook has become a big time-waster for Sarah

Conclusion

Facebook is essentially Sarah’s bridge to the real world and other people. However, she is now too dependent on it and does not bother getting her social life from anywhere else. She not only wastes time but is also under the false pretence that she is socialising with people. While this may be subject as some people can view Facebook as socialising, it doesn’t affect Sarah’s case much as she still does not go outside whatsoever.

Technology for work related use

For technology Sarah uses for her work, I will be covering the following:

* Computer and Microsoft Word

* WiViK on-screen keyboard

Computer and Microsoft Word

A simple computer goes a long way in procuring different uses and making the use of technology much more proficient; the term ‘simple’ in fact is a complete misdemeanour in describing a computer as it is anything but simple. The uses can range to storing movies, documents and music to browsing the innumerable amount of data on the world wide web to get hold of information about most, if not, anything. But the World Wide Web is a different form of technology and the computer is simply used as a medium to connect to the internet. This is one of its innumerable uses; using a Wi-Fi source to browse the web.

Microsoft Word is the most popular word-processor software out there. Nearly all computers are pre-installed with it and it is constantly being updated. It currently has a lot of different features to use and Sarah uses it as the main program for her work.

The ability to browse the web gives the computer an almost unlimited source of potential. In terms of the impact on Sarah, procuring resources to help her job as a writer turns so much simpler. For information or reference Sarah needs to find for her books, a computer can use the web to easily search for this.

How it affects Sarah’s needs

Advantages (How it meets Sarah’s needs)

Using a computer, Sarah can access a lot of different software. She can easily use software for numerous different objectives. One example is Microsoft office where she can access other things similar to Microsoft Word such as PowerPoint, Access, Excel and many more. With the software available, Sarah is sure to find one that can suit her needs. She can also find a whole lot of software that can help towards Sarah’s disabilities. She can find software that’ll help ease her access around the computer and install software that can make her computer use much simpler.

A computer also has access to internet. Almost all computer users have access to internet and the internet is what provides much of the functions that are boasted with a computer. Sarah can use the internet to access websites such as Facebook which is extremely important to Sarah as she needs Facebook to maintain a social life.

Another extremely vital piece of technology Sarah uses with the computer is Microsoft Word. This comes installed with the computer in most cases and helps a lot in letting Sarah do her job. Sarah can do her work as an author using Microsoft word. Something even more helpful with Microsoft Word is the spell-check feature. This allows Sarah to not focus on her spelling errors and simply carry on with her writing. Due to her disability and her need to use a special keyboard, she regularly makes a lot of typos or spelling errors. The spell check feature saves a lot of time for Sarah as she doesn’t need to go back and spend time fixing her mistakes. Microsoft Word also allows Sarah to customise her font style, size and colour allowing her to take full control over her work.

What the computer does for Sarah is essentially allows her to actually hold and maintain a job. In her state, finding a suitable and doable job would be near-impossible. However, with the computer allowing Sarah to work at home, it has been possible for Sarah to get a job. Sarah can be part of a working community and not feel left out. This boosts her confidence in not just herself but her abilities.

While the computer may be hard to use for someone like Sarah, it is compatible with different hardware that helps enable her to use the computer. An example would be the keyboard I will be investigating and also a special mouse that allows Sarah to have a better control and grip of the buttons on a mouse and the directional movement features.

Sarah has access to a lot of different resources due to the internet. She can easily download lots of different material needed for her stories and such. She can also actually manage to read books, news and articles whereas she usually couldn’t due to the difficulty of turning a book. This has made Sarah feel much better as she feels more in touch with herself and her passion of writing.

Sarah also can do simple things such as store and download files, music, videos, game etc. She can watch different movies and TV shows and do lots of other stuff. The high hard drive memory allows her to do all this.

Sarah can use programs like Skype or hardware like a webcam or microphone to call or video call people. She can connect to people while also saving money on what would essentially be adding money on her phone bill. Instead, she can video call family and friends for free.

Disadvantages (How it does not meet Sarah’s needs)

The computer does have a few faults though. To do a lot of the things the computer is capable of, you need access to the internet. Without the internet, a computer’s abilities are quite limited. But to be able to get internet, Sarah has to pay a monthly bill (depending on the ISP) and the price can get quite steep. This also adds on to her outstanding bill and while Sarah tries to spend as less as she can, the internet is quite important to her and she is obligated to pay the price.

A computer also takes a lot of electricity to run. This ups the electricity bill and also again goes against Sarah’s ideology of being green. It is also extremely addictive and time consuming and can be quite the distraction for Sarah. She is often persuaded to procrastinate on her work by the vast amount of things she can do on the internet.

It can be quite an arduous task using a computer in her state. What makes it easier is the special keyboard. But this also slows down Sarah’s work speed and makes her work quite difficult to finish.

Lastly, it can all be a bit confusing due to Sarah’s lack of control over herself. Sarah can easily get overwhelmed and be unable to control the computer due to her physical restraints.

Summary of advantages

* Run lots of different software on her computer

* Access the internet which enables Sarah to access things such as Facebook

* Microsoft Word allows her to do her job as a writer with as much help as she can get from a program

* Allows her to actually have and maintain a job, which Sarah views as very important as it is one of her only chances to feel as though she’s doing something productive

* Allows Sarah to be part of at least one community which makes her feel like she belongs

* While Sarah may have trouble using a computer or controlling one, there are many programs to help disabled people like her and guide her through it

* As well as software, there are also hardware such as a special mouse or the keyboard I will be evaluating after this

* A lot of resources are available that Sarah can get online and/or store on her computer that can help her overcome her disability or have easier control of her computer

* Store files, play music, videos, games etc.

* High memory to store a lot of different things

* Use programs like Skype or hardware like a webcam or microphone to video call people and such

* Microsoft word allows Sarah to use spell check, different fonts, different documents, easy format and many other things that help her out a lot with her job of writing

Summary of disadvantages

* Needs to have access to the internet to do a lot of things advertised and such which adds to the periodical cost Sarah has to pay

* Takes a lot of electricity

* Can be addicting, time consuming and very distracting with the vast amount there is to do

* With her job being on the computer, it is very easy for her to procrastinate

* She has to use a special keyboard to actually even be able to type properly, making typing quite a tedious task

* Can be quite confusing to use

Conclusion

The computer is what allows Sarah to maintain a job. Without it, Sarah would have a complete lack of direction on what to do. It not only helps provide Sarah with opportunities but also resources and features that help ease her life. It’s a necessary technology in Sarah’s life and vital to Sarah’s daily lifestyle.

WiViK on-screen keyboard (virtual keyboard) software

The WiViK on-screen keyboard is a piece of keyboard software that functions in a different way to usual keyboards/software. It is an alternative to the normal keyboard and was specifically made for people in Sarah’s situation i.e. people with spinal cord injuries, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), muscular dystrophy, and cerebral palsy. It functions with the use of any pointing device being used as an input. There are lots of different and alternative pointing devices with can function with the WiViK keyboard. It works how any other keyboard would work but instead, the keyboard is on the screen. You select a key and the WiViK on-screen keyboard sends it to a word-processor, e-mail, message, web page or other text-based application. The keyboard contains any keys and can be moved anywhere on the screen and to any size. It also has a word-prediction system.

How it affects Sarah’s needs

Advantages (How it meets Sarah’s needs)

Sarah can use the on-screen keyboard to essentially make her computer use much more efficient. While she found it hard to type fast on a physical keyboard, it is much easier on an on-screen keyboard. She can pinpoint words using a pointer that doesn’t necessarily have to be a mouse.

It was specifically marketed towards people with her type of disability. This means that it suits her ability and was made with her in mind. She can find help where previously hard to find more to her needs.

The word prediction eliminates the slow speed usually associated with something like this. Once Sarah gets used to it, the word prediction uses an algorithm to calculate most used and most associated words with certain combos of letters and with this , Sarah can effectively and instantly bring up her predicted word without having to type it all out.

The adjustable text size is also very helpful. It can make words easier to press on with the pointer. She can use the pointer to scroll along keys and click on her desired key much more easily.

Disadvantages (How it does not meet Sarah’s needs)

But it can be quite slow. Compared to a non-disabled person, the WPM count isn’t at a particularly good rate. This makes Sarah feel quite frustrated as she isn’t fast enough to keep up with the rate her thoughts are pouring out onto the word processor.

Also due to her motor-difficulties, she might find it hard to point at words quickly, even with increased text-size. This’ll increase the number of typos and make Sarah work slower. The word prediction will also fail to work properly with typos.

Summary of advantages

* Allows Sarah to use a keyboard much more easily

* Specifically marketed towards people with her type of disability

* Has word prediction to make her able to type easier and faster

* Adjustable text size

Summary of disadvantages

* Can be quite slow

* May also be difficult to pinpoint certain keys

Conclusion

Overall, the on-screen keyboard is what constitutes the ability for Sarah to even use a computer, making it already an extremely important technology. But while it is important, there are lots of rooms of improvement. The speed is quite slow and in reality, Sarah cannot be a successful writer without the assistance of another person typing for her. The keyboard makes Sarah capable of doing her work, but at a slow pace. But this slow pace is also the only one thing which Sarah can feel proud of as she is prideful in the fact that she is trying her hardest to actually work in her condition.

The keyboard, however, is much more practical on small-scale things such as Facebook and such.

Overall evaluation on what technology does for Sarah

As I have investigated, Sarah is hindered a lot in her daily life due to Cerebral Palsy, as it is quite a potent disability. But with technology, she has gotten over a lot of these limits and although she may not be able to do things as easy as a person without the disability, she can still do a lot of things she couldn’t have done if it weren’t for technology. What has to be noted and kept in mind for people with physical disabilities are also how this affects them mentally. Self-esteem, insecurity, lack of self-confidence, these are all issues that can come from being physically inferior and we need to keep this in mind when providing for a disabled person. Technology helps these people and stops them from feeling so useless. Sarah is a prime example. She is extremely self-conscious about not being a normal person and tries her best with technology to be as normal as she can.

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The Impact of ICT on a Person With Special/Particular Needs. (2017, Sep 28). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/the-impact-of-ict-on-a-person-with-specialparticular-needs-essay

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