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South African Journal of Occupational Therapy

On-line version ISSN 2310-3833
Print version ISSN 0038-2337


VISSER, Marieta et al. The use of assistive technology in classroom activities for learners with motor impairments at a special school in South Africa. S. Afr. j. occup. ther. [online]. 2020, vol.50, n.2, pp.11-22. ISSN 2310-3833.

INTRODUCTION: Participation in education is the right of every child, regardless of disability. An Assistive Technology and Inclusion Programme, implemented at a special school, has provided learners with motor impairments with an alternative to typical writing and other classroom activities in which they cannot participate. This study aimed to describe how learners with motor impairments use assistive technology to participate in classroom activities at a special school in South AfricaMETHODS: A quantitative, descriptive study was conducted with 34 learners enrolled in this programme. The children were observed performing a pre-determined activity using assistive technology. An observational checklist was compiled from the literature and relevant school activities. Video recordings of each learner s performance were used to score the checklistRESULTS: Activity performance was assessed according to the learner's ability to use assistive technology, their need for assistance, quality of performance and speed of performance. Most learners were able to perform all the activities with some verbal and physical assistance, cutting and erasing required the most assistance but the ability to use the assistive technology (>90%) and quality of performance (>85%) achieved high scores. The median time to complete the activity varied from 5 to 66 secondsCONCLUSION: This study yielded descriptive evidence on learners with motor impairments' successful use of assistive technology when participating in school activities, and reinforced the importance of an occupational therapy Assistive Technology and Inclusion Programme in the classroom. Further context-based evidence is required to improve the expansion and sustainability of such programmes

Keywords : Occupational therapy; assistive technology; motor impairments; school activities; participation; South African special schools.

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