Assistive Technology Basics
What is assistive technology?
Assistive technology is any technology that enables a person to be able to continue to perform or to circumvent any area of challenge due to a disability. And I think one of the things that’s really important around the definition of assistive technology is this idea of the disability part. Because when we actually look at students who are using assistive technology, most of the technology that they’re using is the same type of technology that other students are using. They’re just using it to help them do something that is more challenging for them because of the nature of their learning profile.
And when we think about assistive technology, I often think about a person who’s paraplegic. So just not able to use their legs. And before we invented the wheelchair, if we wanted to get them from point A to point B, they could either pull themselves across the ground, a very effortful task, or they could ask someone to carry them from point A to point B. Not very independent. Then the wheelchair’s developed, suddenly they can get from point A to point B much more efficiently and do it independently.
And that is the promise assistive technology holds for students who have learning disabilities or other learning difficulties. That they can do the same type of work that their peers are doing, that they couldn’t do as well on their own without the technology. And they can do the work much more independently.