Assistive Technology

Assistive Technology

Assistive Technology (AT) is a generic term that includes assistive, adaptive, and rehabilitative devices for people with disabilities and includes the process used in selecting, locating, and using them.

Research has proved that individuals have unique strengths, needs, talents, and interests. Learning Disabilities (LD) often affect the ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell, or do mathematical calculations. Individuals live, learn, and function in many settings - home, school, work, social, and recreational. AT is used by individuals with disabilities in order to perform functions that might otherwise be difficult or impossible.

Assistive Technology (AT) tools may greatly improve the chances of success in school, work and life increasing self-reliance and independence. Nevertheless, AT doesn't necessarily fix or eliminate particular learning difficulties, but it can be used to make the most of strengths and bypass areas of difficulty. However, choosing the appropriate technology requires time and patience. The right tool depends on the individual need, the setting in which it will be used, and the task(s) to be accomplished. The more information and support during this process of discovery, the greater the chance for success. Therefore, it is important for individuals and professionals to learn about available tools, adaptations and strategies before making any real investment.

A tremendous variety of assistive technology is available today, providing the opportunity for nearly all people to make their lives more independent and avail the opportunities available in today's information society. Cost of AT can vary and range from a few rupees for "low tech" tools - pencil grips or calculator - to several thousand rupees or more for "high-tech" hardware and software. Assistive Technology can include mobility devices such as walkers and wheelchairs, as well as hardware, software, and peripherals that assist people with disabilities in accessing computers or other information technologies. For example, people with limited hand function may use a keyboard with large keys or a special mouse to operate a computer, people who are blind may use software that reads text on the screen in a computer-generated voice, people with low vision may use software that enlarges screen content, people who are deaf may use a TTY (text telephone), or people with speech impairments may use a device that speaks out loud as they enter text via a keyboard.

Assistive technology is not the same as instructional software that develops specific academic skills. Instructional software is more often used to develop or improve weaker skills in specific academic and or subject areas. It's different from assistive technology (AT) that is more about tools used to work around, or bypass, areas of difficulty. However, some instructional software can be customized with assistive features, adjustable skill levels - to meet an individuals needs.