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Logo for the Journal of Rehab R&D
Volume 39 Number 2, March/April 2002
Pages 299 — 312


An overview of assistive technology for persons with
multiple sclerosis
Donna Jo Blake, MD, and Cathy Bodine, PhD, CCC-SLP
Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Services, Denver Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Denver, CO 80220; Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Denver, CO 80262;
Assistive Technology Partners, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Denver, CO 80218
Abstract — Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a progressive neurologic disease clinically characterized by episodes of focal disorder of the cranial nerves, spinal cord, and the brain. MS affects a significant number of young adults, and they most often face a future of progressive functional losses as more of their central nervous system and cranial nerves are affected. As the disease progresses, they have new impairments with accompanying limitations in activities, restrictions to their participation in life, and compromised quality of life. Assistive technology includes any item that is used to maintain or improve functional capabilities. The rehabilitation healthcare provider has many opportunities to intervene with assistive technologies to decrease activity limitations and participation restrictions. The purpose of this article is to (1) review the impairments and associated activity limitations and participations restrictions experienced by persons with MS, (2) provide an overview of high- and low-tech assistive technologies appropriate for persons with MS, (3) discuss funding opportunities for assistive technologies, (4) review current studies of assistive technology used for persons with MS and discuss future research directions, and (5) consider assistive technology as an intervention for disability prevention.
Address all correspondence and requests for reprints to Donna Jo Blake, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Services, Denver Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Denver, Colorado, 80220; 303-393-2819; email: donna.blake@med.va.gov.

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