Using Technology to Enhance Services and Supports for Children and Youth with Disabilities and Medical Complexity and their Families in Canada: A Scoping Review
Keywords:Telehealth, telerehabilitation digital literacy, digital equity, early intervention, northern, rural
In Canada and internationally, the use of technology to enhance community-based health and developmental services and supports with children and youth has increased dramatically as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. In the Canadian context, how technology-enabled supports and services have developed and can be integrated as a long-term option in addition to in-person services requires further examination. This scoping review maps out existing and emerging themes in Canadian research published on how different technology modalities are being used in home and community settings with children and youth with disabilities and medical complexity and their families. A literature search conducted across seven databases between 2011 and 2023 resulted in potentially relevant publications, of which 12 met the inclusion criteria. The findings provide insights into how various technologies are being used and combined in order to provide parenting training and coaching and timely access to assessments in a continuum of care without the burden of travel time and costs. Also, the potential of technology to create peer support networks both for parents and older youth with disabilities. These findings can inform funding bodies and community organizations serving this population in undertaking in depth and critical analyses of how technology can be further integrated into hybrid models of service delivery. Further research and actions are also needed to address issues of digital equity.
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