The IDEAL PROCESS for developing Assistive Technology policy

Malcolm MacLachlan, Emma M. Smith, Ikenna D. Ebuenyi, Monica Z. Jamali, Alister Munthali
Sept. 19, 2023
Academic Research Publications


Policy development and implementation are key to improving access to Assistive Technology (AT). In this paper, we describe a strength-based framework for doing this at national level. We used an action research approach, with the United Nations Conventions on the Rights of Persons with Disability (UNCRPD) as the primary frame of reference. Primary data were collected using the World Health Organisation’s rapid Assistive Technology Assessment (rATA). We describe the process of applying our emergent framework and how our findings support it. We identified seven guiding principles for effective policy process: ParticipatoryResource aware, Outcomes focused, Collaborative, Evidence-informed, supporting good practices, and System strengthening – which can be summarized by the acronym PROCESS. Five crucial building blocks for effective AT policy development emerged: Identification of the assistive technology ecosystem, Demography of disability and AT use, Evaluation of inclusion and participation in existing policy, Alignment with UNCRPD and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and Locality of implementation – which can be summarized with the acronym IDEAL. The IDEAL PROCESS incorporates key content building blocks and core process principles, constituting a systematic framework for guiding the development of context sensitive AT policy and a strength-based pathway to improving access AT.