What is Assistive Technology?

Assistive technology may be classified as a device or system that provides people with practical solutions to everyday life activities. They promote greater independence and safety by enabling people to perform tasks that they had difficulty with or were unable to accomplish on their own. Examples include:

  • aids for daily living such as modified eating utensils, dressing aids, adapted personal hygiene aids, pencil holders, page turners and adapted books;
  • sensory aids for vision/hearing impaired such as magnifiers, large print screens, hearing aids, visual alerting systems, Braille and speech/telecommunication output devices;
  • seating and positioning aids that provide body support such as adapted seating, cushions, standing tables, positioning belts, braces, cushions and wedges;
  • mobility aids which help people move within their environments such as electric or manual wheelchairs, modifications of vehicles for travel, scooters, crutches, canes and walkers;
  • recreational aids to enable participation in social/cultural events and sports such as audio description for movies, adaptive controls for video games, adaptive fishing rods, cuffs for grasping paddles/racquets and seating systems for boats;
  • home/workplace modifications such as structural adaptations that remove or reduce physical barriers like ramps, lifts, bathroom changes, automatic door openers and expanded doorways;
  • alternative and augmentative communication devices help people with speech impairments or low vocal volume to communicate such as speech generating devices, voice amplification aids and communication software;
  • prosthetics and orthotics being the replacement or augmentation of body parts with artificial limbs or other orthotic aids, such as splits or braces;
  • computer access aids include light pointers, modified or alternate keyboards, voice to text software, switches activated by pressure/sound/voice, touch screens, special software and headsticks; and
  • environmental control systems help people control various appliances such as switches for appliances like the telephone/TV, and are activated by pressure, eyebrows or breath.