Beyond traditional ethics when developing assistive technology for and with deaf people in developing regions
Tucker, William David
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There are limitations to traditional ethical approaches and procedures when engaged in assistive technology (AT) research for Deaf people in a developing region. Non-traditional issues arise as a consequence of employing action research, including but not limited to how informed consent is construed and obtained; empowerment of participants to become involved in co-design; awareness of unfamiliar cultural issues of participants (as opposed to subjects); and accommodating community-centred, as opposed to person-centred, nuances. This chapter describes AT research with an entity called Deaf Community of Cape Town (DCCT), a disabled people’s organisation (DPO) that works on behalf of a marginalised community of under-educated, under-employed and semi-literate Deaf people across metropolitan Cape Town. We describe how non-traditional ethical concerns arose in our experience. We reflect on how these ethical issues affect AT design, based on long-term engagement; and summarise the themes, what we have learned and how we modified our practise, and finally, offer suggestions to others working on AT in developing regions.