Assistive technology (AT) is connecting the world quickly and easily in previously unimaginable ways. Many of these advances have been lifesavers for people with disabilities.
- Stroke survivors who have “locked in” syndrome and can communicate only by eye blinks can communicate through eye-tracking systems.
- Word-predicting programs can help survivors with severe aphasia type only the first letter of a word and then choose from a list of predicted words.
- Special keyboards let survivors type with one hand.
Other technology is low-tech, less expensive and simple to use:
- Wheelchairs and walkers help survivors get around more easily.
- Tape recorders and books on tape help survivors who have difficulty reading.
- Electronic card shufflers and page-turners help people enjoy games and books.
- Velcro® holds clothing together and is easier to use than snaps or buttons.
Many types of assistive technology can be funded through:
- State rehabilitation commissions
- Social Security Disability Insurance
- Work Incentives
- Ticket to Work Programs
- Private insurance
Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, a school or school district must provide assistive technology to disabled students who need this technology and whose parents can’t provide the equipment. For more information on funding, contact Advocacy, Inc., at (800) 880-2884.
AbleData is a project funded by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research. A database of more than 19,000 products for people with disabilities is at www.abledata.com.
The Tetra Society of North America is a nonprofit organization that helps find technological solutions for people with disabilities. If Tetra can help you, they’ll negotiate a price for the product they create. Visit www.tetrasociety.org. The links on this page are provided for convenience only and are not an endorsement or assurance of the entities or any products or services.