Technology offers many different ways to help people with disabilities lead more normal lives. Devices that help them perform an activity are called assistive technology. Assistive technology can help people reach their personal and professional goals.
Assistive Technology (AT) is defined in state and federal law as, “Any item, piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of a child with a disability.” This covers a wide range of devices, software, apps, and strategies that may be of high-tech in nature.
The invention of the telephone might not have been very exciting to a person who is hearing impaired. But it led to a way to send text messages over a phone line with the use of a teletypewriter.Think of the millions of people who send and receive messages over cell phones and other wireless devices. This ability to communicate quickly by text messaging or e-mail is very useful. But imagine just how useful it can be to a person who is hearing impaired.
People who are visually impaired can have documents read out loud electronically on their computer. And for people who cannot use their arms to type, speech recognition programs may be the answer. These let people give commands to their computer or have their words turned into print.What about a person who is not able to speak? There are now special devices to help them, too.
There are many devices to help people with disabilities use computers. There are ways for people to operate a computer by moving their heads or even just their eyes.
AT helps students in doing the things they need to do – read, write, listen, communicate, and many other tasks that they might otherwise be unable to do or to do effectively.