Topic updated: July 2012

Assistive Devices

What is Assistive Technology?


What Is Assistive Technology?
Assistive technology is any kind of technology that can be used to enhance the functional independence of a person with a disability. Often, for people with disabilities, accomplishing daily tasks such as talking with friends, going to school and work, or participating in recreational activities is a challenge. Assistive Technology (AT) 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.

Assistive technology can be anything from a simple (low-tech) device such as a magnifying glass, to a complex (high-tech) device, such as a computerized communication system. It can be big — an automated van lift for a wheelchair — or small — a grip attached to a pen or fork by Velcro. Assistive technology can also be a substitute — such as an augmentative communication device that provides vocal output for a child who cannot communicate with her voice.

Meeting Challenges with Assistive Technology
Assistive technology helps to level the playing field for individuals with disabilities by providing them a way to fully engage in lifes activities. An individual may use assistive technology to travel about, participate in recreational and social activities, learn, work, communicate with others, and much more.

Here are several examples of AT that enable people with disabilities to enter into the community and interact with others.

Read more about assistive technology at The Family Center on Technology and Disability

shadow of wheelchair on pavement

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