Dr Shyamanta Das
Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) are enhancing the scope of people with disabilities to use available opportunities. It helps them to overcome barriers in carrying out their daily activities. Young people with mild to moderate intellectual disabilities were provided instrumental and psychological support via an e-mentoring online programme. It contributed to the development of their interpersonal and social skills. It enhanced their self-image and self-esteem. Internet use also improved their frequency and quality of social interaction. It also helped them to overcome the existing social barriers in the physical and social environment. It also contributes towards opening the scope for self-determination, learning, entertainment, self-expression, and socialisation.
The SHUT clinic (Service for Healthy Use of Technology) is India’s first clinic for the promotion of healthy use of technology. It is being managed by consultants from the Department of Clinical Psychology, National Institute of Mental Health & Neurosciences (NIMHANS), Bengaluru. The SHUT clinic uses cognitive behavioural therapy, family interventions, group sessions, lifestyle intervention, and yoga-based techniques for the management of technology addiction. It also works on the promotion of healthy use of technology.
Users with intellectual disability browse the internet more frequently during their free time as well as for entertainment. A case study from the SHUT clinic on the use of internet among users with intellectual disability has been published in the Open Journal of Psychiatry & Allied Sciences (OJPAS). The users reached out for the management of addictive behaviour. They were found to have been addicted to the internet, especially pornographic sites and games. It was also associated with a disturbance in their lifestyles. It has implications for screening the addictive use of technology and their management among users with intellectual disability.