Types of assistive technology
Assistive technology can be categorised in three ways:
- Augmentative or alternative communication
This refers to processes and tools to aid one-to-one communication; for example, everything from communications passbooks (explaining a person’s background and preferences) through to a ‘grid’ (a Perspex board with words bordering a clear space so that the recipient can see which word the user is looking at) to electronic devices that speak for the person (Primo).
- Communication assistive technology
For people with impaired speech, such as those living with conditions like cerebral palsy, autism or a stroke, speech generation devices can help to enhance their existing capabilities or give a voice where speech is severely impaired.
- Environmental assistive technology
These technologies assist a person to engage with their living space, and can open and close doors and windows, curtains and blinds. It can turn lights on and off, and control heating as well as home entertainment. The technology can also answer and make phone calls, activate alarm or nurse calls, and control the functions of a bed.