Beyond Access: Technology, Blindness, & Self-Determination
School of Education, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point
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This mixed-methods study sought to examine the user experience of technology related to self-determination from the perspective of persons who are blind. Connections between assistive technology and Deci and Ryan’s (2017) Self-Determination Theory (SDT) were explored through the three basic needs of autonomy, competence, and relatedness. The study was designed within the frameworks of post-phenomenology and positive technology, with clients from Computers for the Blind, a non-profit organization that offered computers with screen reading and screen magnification software. The TENS-Interface, a recent SDT-based instrument (Peters, Calvo, & Ryan, 2018), was administered, followed by qualitative interviews and observations called Technology Biographies (Blythe, Monk, & Park 2002). Findings showed evidence of some correlations and qualitative corroborations related to the user experience of technology related to self-determination. Recommendations are offered for further research and improvement in practices for serving individuals who are blind.