Assistive technology are mechanical devices which aid the functioning of individuals in performing daily living tasks. The technology may be high tech, such as computerised devices, or low tech, such as magnifying lenses or finger grips. Assistive technology devices can be helpful for children, whether their disabilities impact the children in physical ways, including sensory disabilities, or in academic ways, such as with learning disabilities.
Assistive devices that help with mobility include wheelchairs, including specialised electric wheelchairs, or those with special switches for those with multiple physical handicaps. Other mobility devices include walkers, scooters, adapted bicycles or braces. Related to mobility devices are positioners. Positioners help children to sit, stand or lie down in positions that they may not be able to get into or hold on their own. Some positioners are specialised chairs or stands with straps to help hold the child's body in place for different tasks.
These assistive devices can include communication boards, text to speech software, recorded speech devices, picture or symbol boards or speech synthesizers. Various computer software programs can aid with speech or communication difficulties. Some children struggle with written communication and can benefit from low tech assistive technology, such as word banks provided by teachers, writing grips or high-tech solutions, such as word prediction word processing software.
Sensory assistive technology devices include things such as visual aids, including magnifying glasses, large print books, increased-sized font displays, screen enlargers, Braille, books on tape, high contrast displays and tactile models. Auditory devices, such as hearing aids, personal FM units, amplifiers, closed captioning for TV, typing telephones, and low-tech measures, such as visual cues and outlines and notes typed and provided to students, can provide help for students with hearing disorders.
Assistive technology can help children perform daily living and self-help tasks. Examples of these include specially designed utensils for feeding oneself, non-skid dishes and special grips for toothbrushes, hairbrushes or other simple daily living items. Other examples of assistive technology for daily living tasks include shower seats, handles in the bath and raised toilet seats. Other items include special handles to open jars, or reaching sticks to help open cabinets or other hard to reach things.
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