What Is Assistive Technology?
Assistive Technology is any piece of equipment that allows a person of any age with a disability to participate in daily activities. The primary goal of assistive technology is the enhancement of capabilities and the removal of barriers in the performance of daily living skills.
Assistive Technology products enable people with disabilities to accomplish daily living tasks, assist them in communication, education, work or recreation activities, and in essence, help them to achieve greater independence and enhance their quality of life.
Assistive Technology is available to meet the needs of individuals who need assistance with:
- Activities of Daily Living
- Academic Activities (Reading, Writing and Math)
- Leisure and Play Activities
Assistive Technology supports range from low-tech solutions such as communication boards, picture schedules, slant boards, and modified pencils to high-tech solutions, which include computer-based instructional strategies, speech-generating devices, and motorized wheelchairs.
Assistive Technology Categories
Communication Aids: Equipment designed to help persons with speech or writing difficulties to communicate. At its very simplest, augmentative communication can be a page with picture choices or letters of the alphabet a person points to. It can also involve highly sophisticated voice output devices controlled by eye gaze technology.
Computer Access Aids: Hardware and software products which enable individuals with disabilities to access, interact with, and use computers at home, work or school. It can include modified or alternate keyboards, switch technology, touch screens, software such as speech recognition software.
Education and Learning Aids: Includes software focusing on skills such as reasoning, decision making, problem solving, memory skills, perceptual skills, word prediction/completion and text-to-speech software, as well as cognitive retraining or rehabilitation tools, etc.
Environmental Aids: Environmental and structural adaptations remove or reduce physical barriers for individuals with disabilities. Environmental adaptations usually involve building construction, engineering and architecture, but also include environmental controls and switches that can control an individual's entire living environment.
Mobility and Transportation Aids: Products which assist individuals with mobility difficulties to move within their community and home environment with as much independence as possible. Includes vehicle adaptation, standing/walking aids, transfer aids, stair lifts, walkers, scooters, wheelchairs and three-wheeled chairs, adapted bikes and trikes, etc.
Recreation and Leisure Aids: Products that help individuals with disabilities to actively participate in sports, social, and cultural events. Includes modified sports equipment for skiing, biking, running, boating; adaptive controls for video games, adaptive fishing rods, etc.
Vision and Reading Aids: Products designed to assist individuals who are blind and visually impaired. Includes high and low-tech magnification tools and speech output devices, electronic books, talking equipment (clocks/watches, calculators, etc.), large button phones, speaker phones, large print books, taped/audio books, etc.
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Center for Assistive and Rehabilitative Technology
115 South Street, Middletown, NY 10958