Valtavirtateknologioita itsenäisesti käyttävien vammaisten henkilöiden eriytyvät toimijuudet sähköisten vammaispalveluiden käyttäjinä
Research on electronic services has increased, but few studies focus on users with disabilities. From the viewpoint of the situational modalities of agency, the present study focuses on the use of electronic disability services (EDS) by persons who can operate independently with mainstream technologies, such as computers and mobile phones. The objective of this study is to enhance understanding about the contextual elements framing the use of EDS. The data were based on thematic interviews of 14 persons with disabilities who were clients in disability services. Data were categorised and classified, and the modalities of agency approach were used as a theoretical tool in order to reach the individual and contextual elements that construct the diversity of agencies.
Based on the analyses, the research participants were defined as experienced, potential, reserved, and forced users of EDS. Experienced EDS users are sovereign, progress-oriented clients who can benefit from a range of electronic services. Potential EDS users are loyal service users who need information and support in utilising EDS. Reserved EDS users lack confidence in social and disability services, including EDS. Finally, forced EDS users try to adapt to electronic services, but they need the assistance of their relatives and significant others in using them.
To conclude, we argue that the use of EDS by persons with disabilities builds on these people’s current life situations, which are based on their previous experiences and other contextual factors of which we concentrated on their disability-specific situation and the permanency or non-permanency of their clientship in disability services. According to the results, persons with disabilities who lead a relatively stable life and have a positive attitude toward EDS (experienced and potential EDS users) appear to utilize EDS more than those whose life situation is unstable and whose experiences of disability services are more problematic (reserved and forced EDS users). The latter tend to use EDS remotely and with less enthusiasm than the experienced and potential users. The willingness and ability of persons with disabilities to use EDS could be increased by improving the usability, availability and accessibility of these services, but this should be accomplished in accordance with the needs of these different types of users.
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