As technology and innovation becomes more advanced, assistive technologies helping those with disabilities follow suit. The world is becoming more accessible for everyone of all kinds of abilities, and it is important to recognize the things around us that are helping us thrive and live our lives with ease. Let us explore some of the assistive technologies for people with disabilities available today.
One of the most common forms of assistive technology many disabled individuals use is mobility aids. These can bemore low-tech, like walking sticks or canes to help with walking from place to place, or they can be high-tech, such as electric wheelchairs, stairlifts, and other motorized walking aids. Many different disabilities can cause an individual to need one or more mobility aids. In recent years, the level of technology used in mobility aids has increased, leading to achievements like joystick- or mind-controlled wheelchairs, which allow the user to movearound using only the movement of their hand or the signals of their brain. Some mobility aids, like stairlifts and rails or handles, are permanent household aids that make homelife easier, especially for those who live independently.
Text to Speech, Speech to Text
A relatively new addition to widely available assistive technology is the ability to convert online text to speech, and speech to digital text. This technology is very beneficial to those who are visually impaired and have trouble typing, writing, or reading text. For disabled individuals to be able to send and receive messages with speech, listen to digital texts, and write without the worry of mobility or visual impairments impeding communication is an importantadvancement in assistive technology, and is only the beginning of digital communication and writing/reading aids to come.
Prostheses are some of the oldest known assistive technologies to exist. They are artificial body parts that can aid those individuals who have lost limbs or other body parts, or have been born without them. They can often serve as mobility aids—for example, prosthetic legs can help an individual walk and move around without the use of a wheelchair or other mobility devices. In recent years, technology has advanced to the point where it is possible for individuals to have mind-controlled prostheses, which allows motorized prosthetic limbs to function in a way similar to real limbs—under control of the wearer’s brain.
Everyday Item Adaptation
For folks with certain disabilities, using everyday objects such as utensils, remote controls, toothbrushes, and otheritems can be difficult. Today, many new technologies have been applied to objects like these, adapting them specifically to be used by people with disabilities. For example, there are many different types of adapted utensils available today that cater to those with motor disabilities, allowing them to dineindependently. The electric toothbrush was, in fact, invented to be an aid to disabled individuals to help them independently maintain dental hygiene.These adaptations may seem small, but they can make a world of difference to individuals who benefit from them.
Assistive technologies are becoming more and more available as innovation progresses. These technologies provide help to those who need them with all kinds of everyday tasks, in both their homes and communities. For those who would benefit from them, Delta Center offers free adaptive telephones to help adults with disabilitiesmake and receive calls. Do you have hearing loss? Visual impairment? Mobility problems? Maybe you or a loved one have cognitive issues like dementia or speech impairment. If any of these apply to you or a loved one, an adaptive telephone may help you to stay connected with your friends and family with ease. For more information or to see if you qualify for an adaptive telephone from Delta Center, visit our information page here.