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NeuroRehabilitation. 2011;28(3):261-9. doi: 10.3233/NRE-2011-0654.

Emerging new practices in technology to support independent community access for people with intellectual and cognitive disabilities.

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AbleLink Technologies, Inc., Colorado Springs, CO, USA.


The concept of community access is a multidimensional term, which may involve issues related to physical access, knowledge and information, power and control, relationships and communications, advocacy, participation and quality of life [21]. This paper discusses historical and emerging practices and interventions related to physical access to community and community based information for individuals with cognitive disabilities such as intellectual disability, autism or traumatic brain injury. While much societal attention has been paid to features of independent community access for populations such as individuals with hearing, vision or physical disabilities, less attention has focused on independent community access for people with intellectual and other significant cognitive disabilities. Attitudes and actions by families and professional service communities are often mixed for some individuals in this population. The somewhat limited research base in these areas is explored, including a case study review and results from several promising feasibility studies. The paper concludes with comments concerning future prospects and recommendations for improving independent community access for persons with significant cognitive disabilities.

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