How does rehabilitative & assistive technology benefit people with disabilities?

Deciding which type of rehabilitative or assistive technology would be most helpful for a person with a disability is usually made by the disabled person and his or her family and caregivers, along with a team of professionals and consultants. The team is trained to match particular assistive technologies to specific needs to help the person function more independently. The team may include family doctors, regular and special education teachers, speech-language pathologists, rehabilitation engineers, occupational therapists, and other specialists, including representatives from companies that manufacture assistive technology.1

Assistive technology enables students with disabilities to compensate for the impairments they experience. This specialized technology promotes independence and decreases the need for other educational support.2

Appropriate assistive technology helps people with disabilities overcome or compensate, at least in part, for their limitations. Rehabilitative technology can help restore function in people who have developed a disability due to disease, injury, or aging. Rehabilitative and assistive technology can enable individuals to:

  • Care for themselves and their families
  • Work
  • Learn in schools and other educational institutions
  • Access information through computers and reading
  • Enjoy music, sports, travel, and the arts
  • Participate fully in community life

Assistive technology also benefits employers, teachers, family members, and everyone who interacts with users of the technology. Increasing opportunities for participation benefits everyone.3

As assistive technologies are becoming more commonplace, people without disabilities are benefiting from them. For example, people who are poor readers or for whom English is a second language are taking advantage of screen readers. The aging population is making use of screen enlargers and magnifiers.4

  1. Assistive Technology Industry Association. (n.d.). What is assistive technology? How is it funded? Retrieved August 11, 2012, from External Web Site Policy
  2. National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities. Considering assistive technology. Retrieved August 12, 2012, from External Web Site Policy
  3. National Assistive Technology Technical Assistance Partnership. (2012). Assistive technology information. Retrieved August 12, 2012, from External Web Site Policy
  4. Division of Information Technology, University of Wisconsin–Madison. (2008). Benefits of assistive technology extend to everyone. Retrieved August 12, 2012, from External Web Site Policy

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