Aging, Disability, and Technology Access With Dr. Rosalie Wang


Rosalie Wang, Ph.D., OT Reg. (Ont.) is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, University of Toronto. She is an Affiliate Scientist at Toronto Rehabilitation Institute and a member of their AI and Robotics in Rehabilitation team. Dr. Wang’s research focuses on developing and implementing technology to enable daily activity participation and social inclusion of seniors. She is leading research in robotics for post-stroke rehabilitation and on the use of information and communication technologies by seniors with cognitive impairments. As an AGE-WELL investigator, she leads a national project on enhancing equitable access to assistive technologies.

We’re all aging, and everyone’s talking about it!

Key Takeaways

[:39] Jenna introduces today’s guest, Dr. Rosalie Wang, Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto.

[1:05] Dr. Wang describes assistive technology as a system that includes a subset of products or devices as well as a servicing, delivery, and/or maintenance component that enables an individual’s daily function.

[5:29] Phones, tablets, and computers, as well as software and applications, are included within the broad definition of what is an assistive product, however, in terms of public funding, they may not be recognized as such.

[8:33] Dr. Wang is working on a broad project called Aging, Disability and Technology: A Framework for Research, Implementation and Policy. She shares the results of the recent jurisdictional scan her team completed and explains what this survey gathered and why this information was necessary.

[12:43] The fact that the very definition of assistive technology is unclear and complex is a problem for building programs that address the right issues and structure funding in an efficient manner. Dr. Wang shares what her findings have pointed to, in terms of the gaps that this issue causes.

[18:05] Beyond even the cost of access for an app or a phone, the price of Internet access is not being factored in, and neither is basic access to the network.

[19:55] Dr. Wang details the main barriers she found to accessing assistive technologies such as systems navigation and knowledge gaps, and groups stood out as underserved like mental health disability or rural communities.

[29:30] Jenna touches on the enormous comprehensive breadth of this project and Dr. Wang shares the far-reaching steps to be taken to complete this research as well as identify the short-term and long-term policy action to better meet the needs of the population.