Journal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities

, Volume 17, Issue 4, pp 327-336

First online:

Wheelchair-Bound Persons with Multiple Disabilities Learning to Use Simple Foot–Leg Responses Within a Microswitch-Based Program

  • Giulio E. LancioniAffiliated withUniversity of BariDepartment of Psychology, University of Bari Email author 
  • , Nirbhay N. SinghAffiliated withONE Research Institute
  • , Mark F. O'ReillyAffiliated withUniversity of Texas at Austin
  • , Giorgia PiazzollaAffiliated withLega F. D'Oro Research Center
  • , Sara PidalaAffiliated withLega F. D'Oro Research Center
  • , Doretta OlivaAffiliated withLega F. D'Oro Research Center

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Two wheelchair-bound adults with multiple disabilities were taught to use simple foot-leg responses to control environmental stimulation within a microswitch-based program.During the program, recording was also made of their mood (indices of happiness) and interviews were conducted with 10 health professionals on the possible benefits of the foot-leg responses.Data showed that both participants learned to use the foot-leg responses andmaintained them at high frequencies during the course of the study lasting about 3 months.They also had a substantial increase in their indices of happiness.Interview data indicated that the foot-leg responses were considered benefi-cial in terms of body awareness and muscular trophism. Implications of the findings are discussed.

Key Words

foot–leg responses indices of happiness microswitches multiple disabilities wheelchair-bound persons