Technological advancement has transformed the functional and prevalence impact of the individuals with special needs, the scale in social disparities in people with specific needs, and probably the indispensable meaning of disability within a progressively technology dominated world. This article investigates various specific facets of this technological transformation on how the technological change impacts on the definition of disability, giving emphasis on various technological attempts towards addressing some deficiency in human condition or in the human capacity within the context of healthcare.
This aspect of technology is comprehensive in nature and implies the application of the scientific knowledge for the applied and practical purposes, which is directed towards the improvement of health conditions and well-being. On the other hand, the definition of people with special needs has undergone drastic evolution over the years, purposefully to conform to changing analytical societal perceptions and frameworks. But Neal Halfon and colleagues describes individuals with special needs as an environmentally contextualized limitations in health-related aspects within a person or the limitation in promising capacity to accomplish developmentally appropriate activities and be able to participate, as could be desired by the society (Halfon et al., 2000).
Impacts of technology on people with special needs.
Technology widens the social disparities in healthcare for those individuals with special needs. The aspect of efficacy that comes with technology as its ability to change health outcomes becomes key in understanding the relationship between technology and social disparities. With the enhancement in efficacy due to technological innovation, having access to technology is significantly considerable in the context of the people with specific needs. With respect to the research done by Cruz-Cunha (2010), the health outcomes tend to improve for those people who can afford the technology, for instance, though not for others. Therefore, the increase in attaining efficacy consequently there is increase too in the burden on society to ensure access to the technology equitably to every special person. In the absence of such access, the innovation in technology would just likely to widen the disparities in the outcomes of the individuals instead of reducing them.
The advanced preventive strategies give a reflection of the new capacities in reducing the occurrence of a disabling condition. The development of a wide array of advanced vaccines has enabled prevention of various infectious diseases, for example, meningitis, which could result in severe disabling sequel (Porter, Branowicki& Palfrey, 2014). Technologies have also significantly impacted in the diagnosis of potentially disabling conditions, for instance, phenylketonuria among other genetic disorders. That is, early diagnosis permit immediate application of preventive interventions, with inclusion of dietary alteration.The rapid progress in the therapeutic interventions has in many circumstances reduced the impact of disability on social engagement and daily functioning.
The improvements within the care of high-risk newborns which have shifted mortality to morbidity in exceedingly premature neonates have drastically reduced long-term morbidity in less premature newborns those who in the previous time would have high rates of severe illness and level of special need (Gargiulo&Kilgo, 2013).
The broad concerns in the actual access to the most appropriate assistive technology for the people with special needs is heavily dependent on the healthcare and education systems, both of which are very vulnerable to political pressure in order to cuton the expenditures on the public programs. Besides, the general financial pressure, here lies a chain of specific challenges within pediatrics and the special need persons’ healthcare delivery system which should be confronted in order to make real improvements in the quality of healthcare services provided to the individuals with special needs.
Cruz-Cunha, M. M., Tavares, A. J., Simoes, R. J., &IGI Global. (2010). Handbook of research on developments in e-health and telemedicine: Technological and social perspectives. Hershey, PA: Medical Information Science Reference.
Gargiulo, R. M., &Kilgo, J. L. (2013). An introduction to young children with special needs: Birth through age eight. Belmont, Calif: Wadsworth.
Halfon, N., Hochstein, M., Shulman, E., UCLA Center for Healthier Children, Families, and Communities., National Center for Infancy and Early Childhood Health Policy (U.S.), & United States. (2000). A 21st century investment strategy for America’s children: How federal policy can support states, communities and parents. Los Angeles: UCLA Center for Healthier Children, Families and Communities.
Halfon, N., Ebener, P. A., Sastry, N., Wyn, R., Ahn, P., Hernandez, J., Wong, D., & California Wellness Foundation. (2000). California health report. Santa Monica, CA: RAND.
Porter, S., Branowicki, P., & Palfrey, J. (2014). Supporting students with special health care needs: Guidelines and procedures for schools.
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