Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Instructional Technology and Educational Studies

Major Professor

Edward L. Counts

Committee Members

John R. Ray, Michael C. Hannum, C. Glennon Rowell


This study was undertaken with the intention of determining potential elements for inclusion in an assessment of persons with disabilities for access to computers utilizing assistive technology (AT). There is currently a lack of guidelines regarding areas that constitute a comprehensive and valid measure of a person’s need for AT devices to enable computer access, resulting in substandard services. A list of criteria for elements that should be incorporated into an instrument for determining AT for computer access was compiled from a literature review in the areas of neuroscience, rehabilitation, and education; and a Delphi study using an electronic survey form that was e-mailed to a panel of experts in the field of AT. The initial Delphi survey contained 22 categories (54 subcategories) and elicited 33 responses. The second round of the survey completed the Delphi process resulting in a consensus by the panel of experts for inclusion of 39 subcategories or elements that could be utilized in an assessment instrument. Only those areas rated as essential to the assessment process (very important or important by 80% of the respondents) were chosen as important criteria for an assessment instrument. Many of the non-selected elements were near significance, were studied in the literature, or were given favorable comments by the expert panelists. Other areas may be redundant or could be subsumed under another category. There are inherent obstacles to prescribing the proper AT device to assist disabled persons with computer access due to the complexity of their conditions. There are numerous technological devices to aid persons in accomplishing diverse tasks. This study reveals the complexity of the assessment process, especially in persons with severe disabilities associated with neurological conditions. An assessment instrument should be broad ranging considering the multidimensional nature of AT prescription for computer access. Both intrinsic and extrinsic factors affect the provision of AT.

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