Assistive technology refers to any item, device, piece of equipment, or set of products that is used to maintain or improve the abilities. Assistive technology allows us to function with more independence, provides more choices, and results in an increased sense of confidence. Assistive technology devices may range from simple and inexpensive everyday items to complex computer systems. Some devices are not designed just for people with disabilities; they can make life easier for anyone.
Examples of assistive technology that enable people to carry out daily activities include: eating and cooking utensils fitted with oversize handles for easier gripping, shower benches and bathtub lifts, wheelchair ramps, programmable telephones, and picture boards. There are also assistive technology communication devices that provide assistance when people who do not communicate using words. The device can include speech, gestures, sign language, symbols, synthesized speech, dedicated communications aids, or microcomputers. As a DSP, learn how to properly use any specialized equipment so that you can provide assistance as needed.
Assistive technology benefits all of us as we age. It may be a key element in helping people remain in their home and community as they age. It also helps maintain as much independence as possible, as physical and cognitive abilities change due to the aging process. If someone you support could benefit from any of the devices mentioned above or other equipment, mention this to your supervisor, the person’s coordinator, or family member. It is possible that the needed item may be available through Medicaid or Medicare.