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APPGAT meets to map AT use in the UK

APPGAT meets to map AT use in the UK

12th November 2020

In recent years a number of surveys and other research initiatives have sought to provide a richer picture of assistive technology use in the UK, from the types of products being used to clarifying who uses assistive technology and in what contexts.

On 21st Oct 2020, the APPGAT was pleased to bring together a panel of guest speakers to explore how together, government and commercial sector initiatives can provide the best possible insight into assistive technology use in the UK, informing policymaking and frontline service provision.

Lord Low of Dalston chaired the event, which heard from:

  • Julie Eshleman - assistive technology researcher at Leonard Cheshire.  Julie spoke about her research that seeks to map out best practices in the implementation of assistive technology services in order to develop a new service model at Leonard Cheshire care homes.  The new model will ensure better services can contribute to realising the potential of assistive technology to improve disabled people’s quality of life.
  • Simon Judge – assistive technology service lead at NHS Barnsley.  Simon described his involvement in a project that sought to evidence the need for alternative and augmentative communication services across England.  The project highlighted how uneven provision in these services across the country contributed to people with communication impairments’ needs remaining unmet and fed into a national campaign that led to the emergence of a national NHS AAC service. Simon has published his presentation on his blog, which you can read here
  • Esther Dakin-Poole – UK-WHO assistive products list survey coordinator and BATA council member.  Esther outlined her role leading the ongoing UK assistive product list survey.  A World Health organisation initiative, BATA is currently surveying those wo use and develop assistive technology in order to collate a list of products that should be available to everyone through public services.  Click here to find out more about the project.
  • Kellie Mote – subject specialist at Jisc.  Kellie summarised the findings from this year’s annual student experience insights survey conducted by Jisc, which aims to understand how further and higher education students experience technology during their studies.  This year’s survey included two questions that address students’ use of assistive technology.  Click here to read the full report. 
  • Robert McLaren – head of health and accessibility at Policy Connect.  Robert highlighted a number of recent and current government initiatives that aim to generate better data and insight into the lives of assistive technology users . Robert pointed to the study conducted by the Government Digital Service in 2016 into the types of AT were being used by people visiting the GOV.UK website, the potential role of data in next year's National Strategy for Disabled People and news of a forthcoming EdTech survey commissioned by the Department for Education that will explore assistive technology.

The APPGAT will continue to monitor the progress of each of these developments in future meetings and projects.