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Disabil Rehabil Assist Technol. 2011;6(2):87-96. doi: 10.3109/17483107.2010.507859. Epub 2010 Aug 10.

The intersection of culture, disability and assistive technology.

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Department of Occupational Therapy, University of Manitoba, 771 McDermot Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.



Although the use of assistive technology (AT) is by an individual, it occurs within a much larger socio-cultural environment. The purpose of this article is to describe and analyse current knowledge about the intersection of culture and disability in the context of the AT user.


Literature review of theoretical and empirical study papers that discuss cultural aspects related to AT use or provision.


Understanding how an individual's culturally defined identity is shaped as an AT user, and the meaning the AT holds to that person and family, is essential to providing culturally appropriate AT services. AT providers also belong to a culture framed by their professional experiences; needed are ways of addressing ethnocentricity within culturally diverse practice settings. Some AT users may identify with a disability culture, a culture formed by a shared set of beliefs, values and behaviours around the construct of disability.


This review reveals there is a paucity of knowledge about the intersection of AT and culture, and that this intersection requires further research. Embarking on this investigation is mandatory if we seek to meet the needs of the culturally diverse individuals who use AT.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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