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Does assistive technology contribute to social inclusion for people with intellectual disability? A systematic review protocol
  1. John Owuor1,2,
  2. Fiona Larkan1,
  3. Bonnix Kayabu1,
  4. Geraldine Fitzgerald3,
  5. Greg Sheaf3,
  6. John Dinsmore4,
  7. Roy McConkey5,
  8. Mike Clarke6,
  9. Malcolm MacLachlan1,2,7
  1. 1 Centre for Global Health (CGH), Trinity College Dublin (TCD), Dublin, Ireland
  2. 2 ALL Institute, Department of Psychology, National University of Ireland Maynooth, Maynooth, Co. Kildare, Ireland
  3. 3 The Library of Trinity College Dublin, Trinity College Dublin (TCD), Dublin, Ireland
  4. 4 Trinity Centre for Practice and Healthcare Innovation (TCPHI), School of Nursing and Midwifery, Trinity College Dublin (TCD), Dublin, Ireland
  5. 5 Institute of Nursing and Health Research, School of Nursing, University of Ulster, Newtownabbey, UK
  6. 6 Centre for Public Health, Queen’s University Belfast, Belfast, UK
  7. 7 Global Cooperation on Assistive Technology (GATE), The World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland
  1. Correspondence to Dr John Owuor; John.Owuor{at}


Introduction The aim of this review is to answer the following question: Does assistive technology contribute to social inclusion for people with intellectual disability? Previous research on assistive technology has focused on socioeconomic impacts such as education, employment and access to healthcare by people with intellectual disability. There is a need to consolidate evidence on the interaction between intellectual disability, assistive technology, community living and social inclusion.

Methods and analysis The review will consider studies from all settings: geographical, socioeconomic and care (institutional and community care), published in English. Studies reported in other languages with abstracts in English will be included if they can be translated using Google Translate, otherwise such studies will be included in the appendix. The review will include both qualitative and quantitative studies. The intervention in this review refers to the use of assistive technology to promote community participation or interpersonal relationships (social inclusion) for people with intellectual disability. The outcomes will be behavioural and social benefits of using assistive technology by people with intellectual disability. Enhanced interpersonal relationships and community participation by people with intellectual disability. Data analysis will be in two phases. The first phase will involve analysis of individual study designs separately. The second phase will be narrative/thematic synthesis of all study groups.

Ethics The review will not create any ethical or safety concerns.

Dissemination At least one peer-reviewed article in a leading journal such as the BMJ is planned. The findings will also be disseminated through a seminar session involving internal audience at Trinity College Dublin and within the Assistive Technologies for people with Intellectual Disability and Autism research programme.

PROSPERO registration number CRD42017065447; Pre-results.

  • assistive technology
  • social inclusion
  • intellectual disability
  • interpersonal relationships
  • community participation

This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See:

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  • Contributors JO is the guarantor of the review and drafted the manuscript. GF and GS led the technical development of the methodology. FL, BK, RM, JD, MC and MM provided a critical review of the protocol to ensure rigour and validity based on their extensive expertise in disability, systematic reviews, information management, and health and social care research. MC advised on how to keep the review manageable. JO, GF and GS designed and validated the search strategy and will retrieve and screen the data. GS will lead the data management and screening and editing of the manuscripts. All authors read and critiqued the draft and approved the final version of this manuscript.

  • Funding This research was supported by funding from the charity RESPECT and the People Programme (Marie Curie Actions) of the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) under REA grant agreement no. PCOFUND-GA-2013-608728. The Charity RESPECT and EU Marie Curie Actions cofund as outlined above. The funder provided the salary and all related research expenses incurred by Trinity College Dublin (TCD) in hosting JO during a two-year fellowship.

  • Disclaimer The funder was not involved in the design and implementation of the review.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Author note We will seek to minimise the risk of bias by trying to avoid any need to amend this protocol. However, should there be a need to revise the protocol, we will provide relevant details and the rationale for such changes. Any potential amendments will be documented and implemented by the first author, with the approval of all the contributing authors.

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