Extensive use of ICT in services for people with disabilities a realistic scenario!

Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has the potential to augment rehabilitation services and existing practices, reach stakeholders and allow for remote contact before, during and after the interventions. There is a need to diagnose current use and user trends amongst vocational rehabilitation clients in order to implement courses of action to 1) implement ICT in the services and 2) tackle eventual unmet needs in digital literacy.
Through a paper based survey to its clients with disabilities during the year of 2017 (N=103), CRPG has carried out such a diagnosis.

The data revealed that most participants use both a computer and a smartphone, regularly access the Internet, use social networks, and have Internet access at home. ICT is used mostly for leisure purposes and communication, followed by coursework and Internet searches. Whilst not fully up-to-date with new developments in the field, clients are interested in news about technology and wish to learn about different devices (namely computers, smartphones, tablets and devices to track health parameters). For clients who do not access the Internet, reasons found were mostly related to judgments of it being difficult to use or fear. There was a small percentage of respondents reporting the use of assistive technology to interact with ICT.

The study originated three insights for the future of CRPG. There is an opportunity to:
• design digital services relying on mobile devices and to design useful and engaging content that may be delivered in video format;
• leverage clients’ interest in news on ICT to empower clients in relation to, e.g., their participation in civic society and education via digital means;
• offer digital services and activities across service areas at CRPG.


Ana Correia de Barros
Resource Short Description:
Findings of a survey among service users of CRPG (Rehabilitation centre in Gaia (PT))