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Definition of Assistive Technology

Some still believe that the definition of “assistive technology and assistive technology services” is too broad to be meaningful. There is a significant cost and training differential for example, in giving a client a bump dot for a microwave or training the client to use a computer with adaptive software. How can this be addressed?


Matthew Haynes's picture

To me items such as bump dots are not technology. That's modifying an existing piece of equipment and making it more accessible. Most of my staff apply this on our functional assessment under "Modification and Use of home appliances". What I think is often confused is the use of low-tech assistive devices like standard optical magnifiers and high-tech AT like screen readers and CCTVs. The 7-OB doesn't capture how may individuals were taught on either type, just that they received something under that umbrella of services.
Stephanie Jensen's picture

I haven't thought of counting the bump dots as assistive technology and training.
Elizabeth DeShields's picture

Where do you believe that training on an IPhone or IPad falls under? What happens when communication and Assistive Technology overlap?
Sandy Neyhart's picture

To me,..the definitions are quite helpful and do not include bump dots (for example) as AT.
Kendra Farrow's picture

There are two separate categories for reporting, AT devices and AT services or training. One thing I have noticed is that many times states report that nearly every consumer receives devices, but they do not always report that training is being provided for those devices. I suspect that some instruction is provided for all new devices, so I think we should look at how we gather the number about AT services to make sure that credit is given for providing instruction that goes with the devices.
Sandy Neyhart's picture

I agree with you Kendra and find that to be my direction to the staff I supervise. It is an unusual circumstance that an AT device is provided without AT service (instruction & training).
Kendra Farrow's picture

B2. Enter the total number of program participants who received one or more assistive technology devices and aids. As defined in Section 3(4) of the Assistive Technology Act of 2004 (Pub. L. 108-364), “assistive technology device means any item, piece of equipment, or product system whether acquired commercially, modified, or customized that is used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities.” Assistive technology devices may include such items as canes, slates, insulin gauges, CCTVs, computers, adaptive software, magnifiers, adaptive cooking items, adaptive recreational items, handwriting guides, Braillers, large button telephones, etc. B3. Enter the total number of program participants who received one or more assistive technology services and training. As defined in Section 3(5) of the Assistive Technology Act of 2004 (PL 108-364), “assistive technology service means any service that directly assists an individual with a disability in the selection, acquisition, or use of an assistive technology device.” Services may include the evaluation of assistive technology needs of an individual, services related to acquisition of technology, costs of loan programs, maintenance and repair of assistive technology, training or technical assistance for the individual or professionals related to the use of assistive technology, programs to expand the availability of assistive technology, low vision therapy services related to the use of optical aids and devices, and other services related to the selection, acquisition, or use of an assistive technology device.