Assistive Technology is an umbrella term that includes assistive, adaptive, and rehabilitative devices for people with disabilities.
Specifically Assistive Technology refers to “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.”
From this you can see that AT is catchall term used to classify a huge variety of products that provide any level of specialization to technology. Sensory toys, large print keyboards, magnifying screens, ergonomic gear, educational software – all of it is Assistive Technology.
Adaptive Technology is really only slightly more specialized Assistive Technology. Mostly it means AT items that are specifically designed for persons with disabilities and would seldom be used by non-disabled persons. These devices include typing telephones for people who are deaf, braille machines for people who are blind, and motorized wheelchairs for people who cannot walk. Today there are many devices designed to provide technology for people with disabilities.
While a speech to text device is likely to be used by anyone who can’t type as fast as they talk or someone who needs their hands free for another purpose, a text to speech device is more likely to be only used by individuals with special requirements for communication.
The difference is subtle and, in fact, many in people who work in the industry do not bother to make a distinction. Whichever term you use it can open up a whole new realm to people who access it.
Assistive and Adaptive Technology promote greater independence by enabling people to perform tasks that they were formerly unable to accomplish, or had great difficulty accomplishing, by providing enhancements to, or changing methods of interacting with, the technology needed to accomplish such tasks. Ultimately this really encompasses everyone. From inclusion for Special Needs to items designed specifically for rehab, from sensory toys for children to vision and hearing aids for the elderly, AT has something for everyone, in every walk of life.
Cadan Assistive Technologies has been supporting the special needs community by providing assistive technology devices, alternative input devices, switches, amplified phones, augmentative devices, large key and large print keyboards, Braille displays, and software for over 30 years. During that time we have watched as technology has improved for our customers with Special Needs.
Our broad academic customer base covers the entire education industry from beginning to end. We serve the rehabilitative community, private corporations, hospitals, US government agencies, non-profit groups, and individuals. We are a proud member of Assistive Technology Industry Association, and have been since its inception and you can see us every year at Closing the Gap. Cadan Technologies, our parent company since 2009, is a targeted small disadvantaged business and considered a minority as we are wholly Woman owned (WBENC certified).
We offer the largest spectrum of products we can to serve our clients and their Special Needs.
We are happy to have contributed to making the lives of people with Special Needs more independent and rewarding, and look forward to continuing to do so far into the future.