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Six Things You Should Know About Assistive Technology

Six Things You Should Know About Assistive Technology

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1. What is Assistive Technology (AT)?

Assistive technology is any kind of technology that can be used to enhance the functional independence of a person with a disability. Assistive Technology devices are tools to help to overcome those challenges and enable people living with disabilities to enhance their quality of life and lead more independent lives.

2. How does Assistive Technology work?

For some people with disabilities accomplishing daily tasks such as talking with friends, going to school, work or synagogue or participating in recreational activities is a challenge. Assistive technology helps people who have difficulty speaking, typing, writing, remembering, pointing, seeing, hearing, learning, walking, and many other things. Different disabilities require different assistive technologies.

3. What kinds of Assistive Technology are there?

We tend to think of Assistive Technology as computer or electronic devices, but that is not the case. These are some examples of AT:

  • Mobility aids including wheelchairs, scooters, walkers, canes, crutches, prosthetic devices, and orthotic devices enhance mobility
  • Hearing aids
  • Computer software and hardware, including voice recognition programs, screen readers which convert text to voice, and screen enlargement applications
  • Automatic page-turners, book holders, paper or plastic tabs to help turn pages and adapted pencil grips
  • Closed captioning
  • Ramps, automatic door openers, grab bars, and wider doorways
  • Lightweight, high-performance wheelchairs
  • Adaptive switches and grabbers help people reach light switches, cooking, dressing and grooming.

4. Does Assistive Technology have to be high tech?

It can be, but it can also be low tech. It can include electronic devices, wheelchairs, walkers, braces, educational software, power lifts, pencil holders, eye-gaze and head trackers. Some examples include:

  • Low-tech: communication boards made of cardboard or fuzzy felt.
  • High-tech: special-purpose computers.
  • Hardware: prosthetics, mounting systems, and positioning devices.
  • Computer hardware: special switches, keyboards, and pointing devices.
  • Computer software: screen readers and communication programs.
  • Inclusive or specialized learning materials and curriculum aids.

5. How can Assistive Technology support students in the classroom?

  • Written Language
  • Voice Output
  • Reading
  • Listening
  • Organization/Memory
  • Math
  • Social Skills

6. Use Apps

Student learning is enhanced through apps that can be used on IPads, smartphones and computers.

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