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Class Objectives Demonstration of Assistive Technology (AT) Benefits of AT Quality of Life and AT Limitations of AT Health Care Providers and AT What is Assistive Technology (AT)?

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Class Objectives

  • Demonstration of Assistive Technology (AT)

  • Benefits of AT

  • Quality of Life and AT

  • Limitations of AT

  • Health Care Providers and AT


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What is Assistive Technology (AT)?

  • Assistive Technology (AT) is any device that enables a person to maintain or improve function. (Helpful tools for Senior Citizens; Assistive Technology Resource Centers of Hawaii; 2000; page 8.)


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AT can be simple

  • A magnifying glass

  • A straw

  • Anti-glare screen for the monitor

  • Door handles instead of door knobs

  • Calculators/clocks with extra large digits


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AT can be complex

  • Dragon NaturallySpeaking (software)

  • JAWs (screen reader software)

  • ZoomText (screen magnifier software)

  • Talking clock

  • AlphaSmart portable note taker




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Benefits of AT

  • Maintains or improves daily function

  • Reduces stress-related injuries

  • Eases integration into society (levels the “playing field”)

  • Modifies the environment instead of the person


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Assistive Technology improves the quality of life

  • AT enables a person to function at his or her own pace.

  • AT fosters independent living.

  • AT levels the “playing field” so all can participate.


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Examples of AT include:

  • TTY telephones

  • Automatic Doors

  • Adaptive Computing





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AT also includes Adaptive Computing

  • Adaptive computing is changing the computer via software or hardware to make it more accessible to persons with a disability.


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Hardware

Ergonomic keyboards

Trackball mouse

Large screen monitors

Head operated mouse

Video Magnifier (CCTV)

Software

Speech-to-text software (Dragon NaturallySpeaking)

Screen reader software (JAWs)

Screen enlarging software (ZoomText)

There are two types of Adaptive Computing


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To determine what AT the person needs

  • Do a Fundamental Assessment Process (FAP)


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The person knows what works and does not work for them

  • After an initial trial period, if the person says they don’t like the AT or says it ‘doesn’t work,’ then find other AT to try.

  • A good AT match is an interactive process.


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When choosing AT

  • Match the person with the AT. Personal likes and dislikes are important in AT.

  • Keep in mind the cost of the AT. AT ranges in price from inexpensive to very expensive.


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If the person is a computer novice

  • It may take the person a little longer to learn to use the AT.

  • Mention this to the person, so they don’t get discouraged.

  • Sometimes it isn’t a ‘lack of progress,’ it is just a part of the normal learning curve.


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Health Care Providers play an important role in AT

  • Health Care Providers are able to help the person determine what functional abilities they have.

  • Health Care Providers can suggest AT when it is needed.

  • Health Care Providers can refer the person to AT resources for more information.


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Web sites for more information about AT

  • Assistive Technology Resource Centers of Hawaii www.atrc.org

  • Pacific Disability and Business Technical Assistance www.pacdbtac.org

  • Disability and Communication Access Board www.hawaii.gov/health/dcab

  • Centers for Independent Living http://interwork.sdsu.edu/projects/rrtcp/hcil.html


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