PURPOSE : Various factors influence the selection of assistive technology for young children within a context with limited resources, such as South Africa. Rehabilitation professionals are required to weigh up different factors as part of their professional reasoning process when making assistive technology (AT) selections. Insight into the perceived influence of different factors may assist in understanding how professionals make decisions about AT in this context.
MATERIALS AND METHODS : An online survey with questions designed using best–worst scaling was distributed to rehabilitation professionals throughout South Africa. Factors influencing assistive technology selection included in the best–worst survey were identified in previous phases of a larger project. A total of n = 451 rehabilitation professionals completed the survey by selecting the factors that were most and least influential on their assistive technology provision. RESULTS : Results of the survey were obtained by calculating the number of times each factor was selected as most influential across the entire sample, and across all questions, enabling the researchers to sort the items in terms of the frequency of selection. CONCLUSIONS : Even though the rehabilitation professionals that participated in the study provide services in a context with limited resources, assessment and factors pertaining to the assistive technology itself were generally perceived to be of greater influence than environmental factors. It is recommended that these factors be reflected in frameworks and models of AT selection.
IMPLICATIONS FOR REHABILITATION:
The family’s ability to support the implementation of AT is an important resource that is perceived to influence the selection of AT by an RP.
Insight into the mind-set of professionals that are used to selecting AT within settings with limited resources may provide RPs in well-resourced contexts with guidance on how to do more, with less.
RPs should aim to determine child preference and attitude towards AT during the AT selection process.
RPs should be aware of their own influence on AT selection. Existing AT Selection models should be adapted to clearly reflect the influence of the recommending professional.