Range of Assistive Technology and Devices

The Range of Assistive Technology

AT Spectrum

The amount of technology that currently exists is impressive. Many times we also do not realize that some "assistive devices" are actually considered assistive technology. For this reason, we like to introduce assistive technology as a continuum or spectrum of sophistication. 

a vertical graph with the 4 levels of assistive technology

  1. No Tech: Simple Modifications, Inexpensive, Ready to Use, Affordable Tools
  2. Low or Light Tech: Less Sophisticated, Easy to Learn, Readily Available, Affordable Tools
  3. Medium Tech: May Cost More, Requires Some Training, Relatively Complicated Mechanical Devices
  4. High Tech: Very Advanced, Needs Specific Training, May Require On-Going Support, Electronic/Digital Devices, Expensive

As we defined "Assistive Technology" previously, AT "is any item, piece of equipment, software program, or product system that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of persons with disabilities.” This definition can include something as simple as a pencil grip or something as complex as a sip and puff switch activated power chair.  

Scope of AT Devices

The "scope"  of assistive technology refers to when and why we use assistive technology. Below is an expensive list of where assistive technology can assist everyone.

  • Communication
  • Seating and Positioning
  • Power Mobility
  • Manual Mobility
  • Mobility Aids
  • Assistive Listening
  • Vehicle Modification
  • Leisure/Recreation
  • Worksite Modification
  • Home Modification
  • Learning Aids
  • Environmental Controls
  • Vision Aids
  • Self Care/ADL

Light Tech

No Tech:

These are items that you probably already have in your house that you most likely have used before in your life. Many people might not  consider highlighters or pencil grips assistive tech, however for people with dyslexia, using various colored highlighters could drastically assist in ones ability to 

Image of shaprie highlightersPencils with grips on them

Mid Tech

Mid Tech

Medium Tech devices is a bit of a gray area, but a good distinction to catagorize mid tech devices is that they require some training to use them. Typically they cost more than a light tech device and have a more limited usefulness than a higher-tech/robust device.

Examples

Switches a green switch

Accessible toys Tickle Me Elmo

Switch Communicators Big step by step switch

Go Talk Go talk 20

High Tech

High Tech

High tech assistive technology is generally very advanced and one would need training to use it to its fullest potential. It may also require ongoing technical support. Typically high tech devices are fully electronic, expensive and versatile in functionality.

Examples

Braille Note 32 BrilleNote32

Head Tracking Mouse head tracking mouse

Designated/Choice Communicator dedicated communication device

iPad ipad mini 3

Smart Home Technology 3 alexa eco devices

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