Assistive Technology Makerspaces Promote Capability of Adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
3D printing, assistive technology, capabilities approach, developmental disability, inclusion, intellectual disability, makerspace
Makerspaces can engage people with disabilities in the design and development of assistive technology (AT) that can enhance their capabilities to perform new activities and function. However, the adoption of makerspaces in the environments and institutions serving people with disabilities remains challenging. The authors modeled a makerspace training program, an environmental intervention, based on the capability approach framework. This mixed methods study investigates the feasibility of an 8-week program to train adults (n = 5) with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) and staff members (n = 5) at a community services center. Study outcomes were measured using knowledge tests, surveys, QUEST 2.0 and interviews. Results indicate a significant increase in staff’s knowledge (p = 0.035) and familiarity with program topics (p < 0.05). Participants with IDD were highly satisfied with the ease of use, weight and effectiveness of the AT devices they created. Five themes emerged from the thematic analysis of interviews: (1) inclusive environment, (2) freedom and improved Capability for building technology for self or client, (3) multidisciplinary collaboration, (4) interactive program elements, (5) makerspace challenges. Overall, the makerspace training program is a valuable program that empowers people with disabilities and ensures the realization of their right of autonomy to create their own AT.
Boccardi, A., Szucs, K., Ebuenyi, I., & Mhatre, A. (2022). Assistive Technology Makerspaces Promote Capability of Adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. Societies, 12 (6). https://doi.org/10.3390/soc12060155