DISABILITIES AND ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGIES IN   AGRICULTURE FARMING By Dr. R. Vijaya Anuradha[1] and Dr. G. Lokanadha Reddy[2]

 

Abstract

Estimating the prevalence of disability in India has been hampered by complex and multiple factors. The World Bank’s (2007) study shows that the rural disabled have lower access to health care, not only due to inadequate system of disability identification and certification, but also because of poor awareness about disability issues. People with disabilities in rural areas are largely excluded from mainstream poverty alleviation programmes due to attitudinal and physical barriers. Besides, in a situation where a family is poor and dependent on farming, children with disabilities often neglected because, the family believes that it is not worth educating them. Discrimination, or treating people unfairly because of prejudice, can make the lives of people with disabilities very difficult. Despite having the same hopes and ambitions as non-disabled persons, they encounter barriers that make it much harder for them to succeed.

The current paper highlights the challenges that are especially evident with those individuals with a disability involved in agriculture, with special reference to stress i.e. symptoms of stress, common stressors, ways to manage stress and problems of suicides prevailing among farmers. Further, it focuses on the ergonomics and safety in agriculture and also injuries and disabilities involved in farming. The main highlight of the paper is the assistive technologies needed for disabled farmers. In India, many research studies revealed that, threshers, sugarcane threshers, chaff cutter, tractor-trailer, sprayers etc. as the dangerous machines causing accidents in farming and some of the factors for farm injuries are – the operator’s attitude, outdated machinery and lack of maintenance, farm transportation vehicles, exposure to pesticides etc. Assistive technology includes any kind of device, modification, or service that will help a person with a disability work and live more independently. The use of assistive tech­nology can simplify tasks that need to be completed, create efficiency in labor-intensive work processes, and reduce fatigue. Some of the Assistive technologies referred to in this paper for the utilization of persons with disabilities on the farm include; Aids to daily living, Environmental controls, Home or worksite modifications, Job accommodations, Seating and positioning aids, Vision and hearing aids, Personal mobility aids, Vehicle or equipment modification, Prosthetics and orthotics, Tractor alterations, etc. Finally, the authors concluded with certain suggestions in favour of the disabled farmers such as; need for change in the attitudes of people towards disabled individuals, encouraging self help-organizations and self reliance among disabled farmers, educational opportunities need to be increased to improve the quality of life, rehabilitation services should include health, education, employment and social relations, special attention and care should be given to psychological, emotional and spiritual aspects of the disabled person etc.

[1]   Post Doctoral Fellow, Dept. of Education, School of Education and HRD, Dravidian University, Kuppam – 517 426, A.P. State.

[2]   Professor and Head, Dept. of Education, School of Education and HRD, Dravidian University, Kuppam – 517 426, A.P. State.

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