Assistive Technology

Assistive technology is an umbrella term that includes assistive, adaptive, and rehabilitative devices for people with disabilities and also includes the process used in selecting, locating, and using them. Assistive technology promotes greater independence by enabling people to perform tasks that they were formerly unable to accomplish, or had great difficulty accomplishing, by providing enhancements to, or changing methods of interacting with, the technology needed to accomplish such tasks.

Assistive technology and adaptive technology

The term adaptive technology is often used as the synonym for assistive technology, however, they are different terms. Assistive technology refers to "any item, piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired commercially, modified, or customised, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities", while adaptive technology covers items that are specifically designed for persons with disabilities and would seldom be used by non-disabled persons. In other words, "assistive technology is any object or system that increases or maintains the capabilities of people with disabilities," while adaptive technology is "any object or system that is specifically designed for the purpose of increasing or maintaining the capabilities of people with disabilities.Consequently, adaptive technology is a subset of assistive technology. Adaptive technology often refers specifically to electronic and information technology access.

AT (Assistive Technology) helps people learnm communicate and live more independently.

Assistive technology is used in education, employment, healthcare, residential homes and domestic settings. It may be used by all ages, for a wide range of disabilities or impairments, and for a wide range of activities.

The range of disabilities AT can help includes:

  • autism spectrum disorders
  • blindness and low vision
  • deafness and hard of hearing
  • difficulties with computer/web access
  • communication disorders
  • mobility impairment
  • manual dexterity difficulties
  • learning disabilities
  • cognitive disabilities

The range of products AT covers (in broad terms) includes:

  • low tech like communication boards made of cardboard or fuzzy felt.
  • high tech such as special purpose computers, including those with eye gaze and head tracker systems.
  • hardware such as prosthetics, attachment devices (mounting systems), and positioning devices, pencil holders.
  • computer hardware, like special switches, keyboards, and pointing devices.
  • computer software such as screen-readers or communication software.
  • inclusive or specialised learning materials and curriculum aids.
  • specialised curricular and educational software.
  • electronic devices to control the living or working environment

Keytools provide an all encompassing range of Assistive Technology Products for all requirements, with in-house specialist advisers to help undersatnd and talk through product needs.  If you are unsure of what product you need or would like any further help with product selection or general advice, please call on 0844 879 2282 and ask to speak to a Specialist Keytools Adviser.


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