Research Article  |   January 2019
Role of Occupational Therapy Practitioners in Mass Market Technology Research and Development
Author Affiliations
  • Rachel Proffitt, OTD, OTR/L, is Assistant Professor, Department of Occupational Therapy, University of Missouri, Columbia; proffittrm@health.missouri.edu
  • Jaclyn K. Schwartz, PhD, OTR/L, is Assistant Professor, College of Nursing and Health Sciences, Florida International University, Miami.
  • Matthew Foreman, BSME, PhD, is Assistant Professor, Department of Occupational Therapy, Methodist University, Fayetteville, NC.
  • Roger O. Smith, PhD, OT, FAOTA, is Professor, Department of Occupational Science and Technology, University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee.
Article Information
Rehabilitation, Participation, and Disability / Columns: The Issue Is . . .
Research Article   |   January 2019
Role of Occupational Therapy Practitioners in Mass Market Technology Research and Development
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, January 2019, Vol. 73, 7301347010p1-7301347010p6. doi:10.5014/ajot.2019.028167
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, January 2019, Vol. 73, 7301347010p1-7301347010p6. doi:10.5014/ajot.2019.028167
Abstract

Performance of many activities of daily living and instrumental activities of daily living involve technology, such as an electric toothbrush or a self-checkout register at the grocery store. Unfortunately, more than 60 million people with disabilities in the United States struggle to use these technologies because of inaccessible designs. Occupational therapy practitioners have a unique expertise in the design of accessible equipment. Practitioners have been involved in the design of adaptive and assistive equipment targeting use by people with disabilities since occupational therapy’s beginnings. However, few occupational therapy professionals currently work in the research and development of everyday technologies. This article explores the role of the occupational therapy practitioner on the technology design team, discusses barriers to current practice, and makes recommendations to the profession.