Assistive devices are the devices, tools, or technology designed to help people perform specific functions. They are known as AT devices and are used by people to walk, communicate, and function better.
Some common examples of AT devices that differently-abled or physically challenged people use are wheelchairs, canes, hearing machines, and software such as text to speech. We have discussed the different types of assistive devices at length.
Examples of assistive devices
Assistive devices are meant to improve the condition of an individual or help them learn or function without difficulties. There are different types of Assistive devices based on how it will help the individual mitigate the activity restrictions, prevent impairments, and substitute physical structures or functions.
Mobility aids are devices that help people with moving within their environment. Wheelchairs, walking sticks, canes, crutches, walkers, tricycles, and white canes are examples of such devices that assist in moving.
Prosthetics and orthotics
Prosthetics is the augmentation or replacement of body parts with artificial limbs to perform restricted activities, whereas orthotics aids are braces or splints. Other prosthetics aids include pagers or audiotapes, which assist with cognitive limitations or hearing deficits.
Communication boards, cards, picture-based instructions, and electronic communication devices are meant to help people with speech impairments or low vocal volumes. These devices perform functions such as speech amplification, speech generation, and magnification of screens to help people communicate better.
Positioning and seating equipment
Positioning equipment includes cushions, adapted seating, standing table, braces, wedges, and positioning belts to maintain their position and seating. Such devices support their body weight to perform daily tasks with ease.
Hearing aids and loops
Hearing devices such as loops and reading pens or software are meant to assist people with hearing difficulties. Sensory apps let people use technology such as smart TV or smartphones as they work on gestures made by the people.
People with low vision or blindness have a great impact on their abilities to perform important daily activities. Eyeglasses, magnifiers, GPS enabled apps, communication cards, screen readers for computers, Braille systems, large print books, and magnifying apps help with visual issues and maximize their participation.
Some cognitive and learning devices are needed by people to process information in a better way. These devices help them communicate and participate in social interactions. Talking book players, adapted toys and games, Braille systems, electronic speech output devices, modified electronics and smartphones are some examples.
There are plenty of assistive devices targeted to help people perform daily tasks better. They include GPS, smartphones, timers and modified appliances such as dressing aids, switchboards, adapted books, adapted personal hygiene aids for cooking, bathing and eating. Most of these devices are activated by pressure, breath, eyebrows or other body gestures.
Modifications in the environment
Physical modifications in the built environment can help people with disabilities a great deal. The designing of structures such as ramps, wider doorways, grab bars, enable them easy access to workplaces, buildings, and public places such as parks or malls.
The market is affluent with assistive devices and technology-based systems such as cell phones, TVs, and modified computers to enable people with sensory difficulties or other limited activities. However, it is important to make them accessible because not everyone knows such devices exist and how they can be useful.