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"Adaptive technology" redirects here.
Assistive technology or adaptive technology (AT) 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. AT promotes greater independence by enablingpeople to perform tasks that they were formerly unable to accomplish, or had great difficulty accomplishing, by providing enhancements to or changed methods of interacting with the technology needed to accomplish such tasks.
Likewise, disability advocates point out that technology is often created without regard to people with disabilities, creating unnecessary barriers to hundreds of millions ofpeople. Even the makers of AT technologies will often still argue that universal design is preferable to the need for AT and that universal design projects and concepts should be continuously expanded.
Assistive technology and universal accessibility
Universally Accessible Street Cross at Evanston, Illinois
Universal (or broadened) accessibility, or universal design means greaterusability, particularly for people with disabilities.
Universally accessible technology yields great rewards to the typical user as well; good accessible design is universal design. One example is the "curb cuts" (or dropped curbs) in the sidewalk at street crossings. While these curb cuts enable pedestrians with mobility impairments to cross the street, they also aid parents with carriages andstrollers, shoppers with carts, and travelers and workers with pull-type bags.
As an example, the modern telephone is inaccessible to people who are deaf or hard of hearing. Combined with a text telephone (also known as a TDD Telecommunications device for the deaf and in the USA generally called a TeleTYpewriter or TTY), which converts typed characters into tones that may be sent over the telephone line,a deaf person is able to communicate immediately at a distance. Together with "relay" services, in which an operator reads what the deaf person types and types what a hearing person says, the deaf person is then given access to everyone's telephone, not just those of people who possess text telephones. Many telephones now have volume controls, which are primarily intended for the benefit of peoplewho are hard of hearing, but can be useful for all users at times and places where there is significant background noise. Some have larger keys well-spaced to facilitate accurate dialing.
Also, a person with a mobility impairment can have difficulty using calculators. Speech recognition software recognizes short commands and makes use of calculators easier.
People with learning disabilities likedyslexia or dysgraphia are using text-to-speech (TTS) software for reading and spelling programs for assistance in writing texts.
Computers, with their hardware extensibility, editing, spellchecking and speech synthesis software are becoming the cornerstone of assistive technologies, improving quality of life for those with learning disabilities and visual impairments. Spell assist programs andvoice-recognition facilities are also bringing the text reading and writing experience to the wider public.
Toys that have been adapted to be used by children with disabilities might have advantages for non-disabled children as well. The Lekotek movement assists parents by lending assistive technology toys and expertise to families.
Many health professionals may be certified by RESNA (RESNA.org) toserve assistive technology needs: occupational therapists, physical therapists, speech language pathologists/audiologists, orthotists and prosthetists, educators, and rehabilitation and health professionals.
Assistive technology products
Personal Emergency Response Systems
This voter with a manual dexterity disability is making choices on a touchscreen with a head dauber.