Virtual technologies and empowerment of users of rehabilitation

Naomi Schreuer, Patrice L.Tamar Weiss

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Empowerment is a multi-dimensional social process that helps people gain control over their own lives. Empowerment of people with disabilities entails the motivation to control as well as the knowledge and skills to adapt to and influence one's own rehabilitation process. The goal of empowered rehabilitation is to guide users to achieve their maximal independence by developing the skills necessary to overcome the physical, social and emotional barriers in their lives. We are currently witnessing a profound change in social attitudes where, after years of repression, people with disabilities struggle for their human rights and for control over resources. Information and communication technologies (ICT) have been used to empower populations who are weak due to gender, poverty, rural residence, age and disability. In this chapter, we have applied a model of patterns of social change to show how the use of novel ICT technologies may contribute to social change and empowerment of people with disabilities. Each of the model's four patterns - social planning, social reform, social development and social action - is illustrated with an example of the role of technology during this process. Lessons learned during the empowerment process for people with disabilities may also be incorporated into general ICT programs to help enhance usage in additional segments of the population including minority groups as well as those who have traditionally been challenged in this area (e.g. the elderly, people who live in remote locations).

Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationUbiquitous Display Environments
EditorsAntonio Kruger, Tsvi Kuflik
Number of pages16
StatePublished - 2012

Publication series

NameCognitive Technologies

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Software
  • Artificial Intelligence


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