Keynote Speakers

Dr. Shovan SahaMOT, PhD, Associate Professor, Dept. of Occupational Therapy, SOAHS, Manipal University, Manipal


Abstract: In the past several years there has been a great increase in the use of assistive technologies (AT) by persons with disabilities so that they can pursue self-care, educational, vocational, and recreational activities. 

Assistive technology is an important concept and refers to a broad range of devices, services, strategies, and practices that are conceived and applied to ameliorate the problems faced by individuals who have disabilities. It is defined as per the Public Law 100-407, the Technical Assistance to the States Act in the United States as ‘any item, piece of equipment or product system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified, or customized, that is used to increase or improve functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities’. 

Assistive technology can assist individuals with disabilities to achieve optimal function and independence and has become an increasingly accepted intervention. However, there are numerous reports of dissatisfaction and nonuse of technology by consumers. Device abandonment is a critical part and is considered to be a grey area in the entire domain of AT. Inspite of technological availability, studies have showed that there is minimal use of assistive technology by people with physical disabilities. Literatures suggest that on average, about one third of all devices provided to customers end up stored in closet, basement, or drawer. And such a rate of AT nonuse, discontinuance, abandonment and non- adherence is unacceptably high for both the consumer of such services and the provider funding such services.
When devices are not perceived to enhance quality of life (QoL), and those around them have come to expect much less from life, their world shrinks and they stop using devices. It has been observed that typical factors contributing to AT rejection are primarily non-medical psychosocial factors that appear to underlie why many people do not use, or quit using, their AT devices. These non-functional criteria are related to personal and psychosocial factors such as motivation, perceived and desired roles. These psychosocial constructs which might be critical components of the user perspective have been identified as factors in the construct of QoL.

Successful integration of assistive technology into daily lives requires potential device users to explore: 1. the meanings they assign to devices; 2. their expectations of assistive technology; 3. the anticipated social costs; and 4. ways to understand that disability is one, but not the defining, feature of one’s identity.

Therefore psychosocial perspective is that part of the AT practice which is critical to the device and service delivery effectiveness. The user satisfaction is the perception of the degree to which the assistive technology system achieves the desired goal(s). And knowledge of consumer satisfaction can predict the likelihood of device retention and abandonment.


Biography: Dr. Shovan Saha, Associate Professor and former Head, Dept of Occupational Therapy, School of Allied Health Sciences[1997-2014], Manipal University; graduated in Occupational Therapy in 1994 from Utkal University, Orissa, completed his post professional masters in Occupational Therapy from Mumbai University, Mumbai in 1996 and Doctoral Degree in 2014 from Manipal University, Manipal, Karnataka. 

He is associated with Manipal University since 1997 and is involved in occupational therapy education at Manipal University both for graduate and post professional post graduate program. He is also engaged as a clinician at the Manipal University Kasturba Hospital. His area of clinical interest has been in the field of HAND REHABILITATION, SPLINTING & LOW TECHNOLOGY REHABILITATION DEVICES. He has to his credit numerous indigenous designs of splints and low tech devices, and techniques in clinical management of wide range of conditions involving the upper extremity. 

He is currently the Executive Committee Member of Academic Council of Occupational Therapy [ACOT] of All India Occupational Therapist’s Association [AIOTA] and Vice- President of Indian Society for Hand Therapy and has been extensively involved with the activities of the respective associations. 

He has authored articles in national & international journals, and chapters in text books. Presented several papers and is an invited speaker both at national & international forum. 
He is recipient of several national & international awards for his work on splinting & low technology devices, and also as a dedicated teacher of Occupational Therapy. He is winner several national AIOTA Trophies, Professional Excellence Award, FACOT Award, Maddak International Award at AOTA, Best Teacher Award at Manipal University, Manipal Foundation Grant for his PhD, Outstanding Post Graduate Nomination at LTM Medical College, Excellence in Hand Splinting Training, Travel Grant from Manipal University for researching on the life of Kamala V. Nimbkar. 

He also is involved in several international projects of World Federation of Occupational Therapy, and WHO-ICF. 

His years of experience in the field of Hand Splinting, has led to the development of a specialized live training program, the one of its kind in entire Asia and has already trained 41 batches of Occupational Therapists. He also facilitated in setting-up of occupational therapy training program in the state of Goa by Goa government.    

He is also involved in creating opportunity for international clinical placement at Manipal University for occupational therapy students from approximately 10 countries.