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Logo for the Journal of Rehab R&D
Volume 43 Number 2, March/April 2006
Pages 185 — 198

Abstract - Employment issues and assistive technology use for persons with spinal cord injury

Brad Hedrick, PhD;1 Theresa Louise-Bender Pape, DrPH, MA;2-4 Allen W. Heinemann, PhD;4-5 Jennifer L. Ruddell, PhD;1* Janet Reis, PhD1

1University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana-Champaign, IL; 2Department of Veterans Affairs Edward
Hines Jr Hospital, Chicago, IL; 3Marianjoy Rehabilitation Hospital, Wheaton, IL; 4Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL; 5Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL
Abstract — In this study, we examined associations between assistive technology (AT) cost, underwriting, ownership, use, employment, and employer accommodations for two groups (civilian and veteran) of working age adults (18-64 yr) with spinal cord injury or dysfunction (SCI/D). The project included the development of a survey instrument, and initial findings indicate that AT is important for the employment success of individuals with SCI/D. The majority of the AT devices owned by the respondents were characterized as important to work, and these devices were 3.5 times more expensive. The mean cost of assistive devices was 68% to 124% greater for persons who were self-employed compared with persons employed by others. Education was related to employment status for both groups. In addition, satisfaction with assistive devices was very high regardless of employment status or history.
Key words: activity participation, assistive technology, assistive technology cost, disability, education, employment status, employment success, health status, spinal cord injury, work history

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