Date Presented 04/22/2023

Providing customized, 3D-printed assistive technology (AT) in an amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) clinic proved feasible and satisfied clients’ needs. This session will explore clients’ feedback and propose next steps for establishing efficacy of this innovative approach to AT.

Primary Author and Speaker: Kial-Ann M. Rasmussen

Additional Authors and Speakers: Breanna C. Stewart

Contributing Authors: William Janes

People with ALS report low satisfaction and high abandonment rates of many prefabricated assistive devices (ADs) OTs commonly recommend (Gruis et al., 2011). Fabrication of customized ADs using 3D-printing is an emerging intervention with the potential to address challenges of AD provision in ALS. We employed a case series research design to evaluate implementation and acceptability feasibility (Bowen et al., 2009) of a customized AD intervention within an ALS clinic. Participants were required to attend a local ALS clinic and express a need for a customized AD. We created the ADs using 3D printing, delivered them to participants, and provided training in their use. Descriptive statistics detailing the percentage of AD requests fulfilled and average time from request to delivery were used to measure implementation feasibility. Participants completed semi-structured interviews at the conclusion of the study. We assessed participant satisfaction using thematic analysis (Braun & Clarke, 2006) to determine acceptability feasibility. Nine participants requested a total of 34 3D-printed ADs for daily activities. We delivered 20 devices (59% fulfillment rate) to seven participants within the study timeline. Four of these participants completed the follow-up interview. Thematic analysis of interview data revealed three themes: Satisfaction with Devices and Services, Value of Training as a Service, and Increased Participation and Choice. These themes demonstrated participant satisfaction both with the ADs and the associated provision process. Results supported both implementation and acceptability feasibility, suggesting that this intervention can successfully be applied within a multidisciplinary ALS clinic. These findings indicate people with ALS have unmet AD needs and continued research into customized, 3D-printed ADs as a potential solution is warranted. Future research is needed to investigate the efficacy of 3D-printed ADs for people with ALS.


Bowen, D. J., Kreuter, M., Spring, B., Cofta-Woerpel, L., Linnan, L., Weiner, D., Bakken, S., Kaplan, C. P., Squiers, L., Fabrizio, C., & Fernandez, M. (2009). How we design feasibility studies. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 36(5), 452–457.

Braun, V. & Clarke, V. Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 3(2), 77-101.

Gruis, K. L., Wren, P. A., & Huggins, J. E. (2011). Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis patients’ self-reported satisfaction with assistive technology. Muscle & Nerve, 43(5), 643–647.