Assistive technology is any tool or device that helps a person with a disability to do a task they would otherwise be unable to perform. Assistive technology can be a commercial product or a homemade tool. It can be a simple "low tech" device such as a pencil grip or an expensive "high tech" device such as a computer.
Assistive Technology tools are useful for:
- Managing the environment
- Auditory impairments
- Solving mathematical problems
- Reading and writing
- Retaining information
- Visual impairments
What kinds of assistive technology are there?
There are thousands of items that can be classified as assistive technology and many ways to think about categories of assistive technology. One useful way is to categorize assistive technology devices according to the task for which they are helpful. The following categories may help you think about the tasks for which assistive technology can be used.
Categories of Assistive Technology by Function for Which They are Used
- Computer Access
- Recreation & Leisure
- Activities of Daily Living
- Vocational Tasks
When is the use of Assistive Technology Appropriate?
Assistive technology is any tool or device that a student with a disability uses to do a task that he or she could not otherwise do without it or any tool the student uses to do a task more easily, faster, or in a better way. It can be a commercial product or something someone makes. It can be a simple "low tech" device such as a pencil grip or an expensive "high tech" device such as a computer.
Assistive technology has the powerful potential of impacting significantly upon a student with disabilities by contributing to his or her learning, independence, self-esteem, and quality of life. The only way to truly know whether assistive technology will make a significant difference for a student is try it out. For instance if a student is struggling with getting meaning from printed text, the IEP team may think that the student will benefit from having text scanned into a computer and spoken. The only way to determine if this will work is to try it. If the student has never tried the assistive technology, the IEP team should write the trial use of the technology into the IEP, rather than the purchase or permanent acquisition of the assistive technology.