Economics of Inclusiveness: Can We as a Society Afford Not to Provide Assistive Technology or Use Universal Design?
Pp. 132-143 (12)
Desleigh de Jonge and Ingrid Schraner
This chapter uses a person-centred approach to develop an inclusive society and related
economic analyses. It develops a new kind of cost-effectiveness analysis that can encompass individual
situations. To do so, this chapter uses the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and
Health (ICF) in a novel way. Traditionally, people with disabilities have been excluded from
environments and activities by exclusionary design practices and limited access to recent technological
developments. The cost of including people with disabilities has thus been conceptualised in terms of
the additional expenses for specialized technologies and modified environments. However, little
attention has been given to the costs and outcomes of the existing exclusionary design practices and
possible wastage of resources. Building on previous work, this chapter uses the ICF’s concepts of
activities and participation to identify effectiveness, and the ICF’s concepts of environmental factors to
identify the relevant costs. Such a cost-effectiveness analysis compares a particular person’s current
situation, which includes providing the currently available assistive technology (AT) in an exclusionary
environment, with a hypothetical optimal situation. This optimal situation is conceptualized within the
framework of current technological possibilities and the person’s individual requirements. It includes
the following two sub-situations: one in which a person is provided with an optimal AT system in the
existing exclusionary environment and another in a universally designed environment with a
corresponding AT system. The chapter uses an illustrative case to compare activities and participation
achieved in both situations, and calculates the real costs that would result in an Australian town.
Division of Occupational Therapy, School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Queensland, St. Lucia, Brisbane, QLD 4072, Australia.