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Assistive Technology Consulting

Lisa R. Tebo, OTR/L, ATP, Director

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ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY
"Assistive technology" refers to the tools and strategies that allow an individual with a disability to complete any task or activity.  AT falls on a continuum of low-tech to high-tech, meaning that it can be as simple as using a "page fluffer" to raise the corners of pages so they can be grasped more easily, or as complicated as a specialized computer system or communication device.
 
Assistive technology devices, services, or strategies can address the following areas:
  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Play
  • Socialization and Communication
  • Mobility
  • Education, including reading, writing, math, and computer access

 

Some examples of assistive technology include:

Low Tech:

Pencil grips, talking calculators, raised-line paper, adaptive scissors, velcro

Mid Tech:

Specialized computer software, Braille, portable word processors, hand-held spellers

High Tech:

Adaptive computer keyboard and mouse, voice-recognition software, environmental control units, communication devices

DETERMINING ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY NEEDS

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) mandates that assistive technology be considered for all children with disabilities.  This does not mean that every child with a disability requires assistive technology.  Rather, it means that if the child's disability impedes his or her ability to successfully complete some aspects of their education,  AT should be considered as a possible solution.  In addition, families may wish to further pursue assistive technology solutions for use at home and in recreational and social settings.

 

Assistive technology consideration should be made through a team process, with the assistance of professionals knowledgeable in the area of AT.  Recommendations should be made based on the individual's abilities, his or her needs, and the tasks that must to be completed.  Recommendations should not be based simply on the newest, "coolest", or most advanced technology available.  Each individual's needs are unique.