What is Assistive Technology?
Assistive technologies (or ATs) are specialized technology (software and/or hardware) that are used by people with and without disabilities to adapt how specific tasks can be performed. According to the Family Guide to Assistive Technology (The Federation for Children with Special Needs and Parents, Let’s Unite for Kids), they are useful for educators, staff and students when it does any or all of the following:
- Enables you to perform functions that can be achieved by no other means
- Enables you to approximate normal fluency, rate, or standards--a level of accomplishment which could not be achieved by any other means
- Provides access for participation in programs or activities which otherwise would be closed to you
- Increases endurance or ability to persevere and complete tasks that otherwise are difficult to be attempted on a routine basis
- Enables you to concentrate on learning tasks, rather than mechanical tasks
- Provides greater access to information
- Supports social interactions with co-workers, peers and students
In this section you will find a reference of assistive technologies relating to alternative control, alternative display and augmentative processing technologies. This reference will include descriptions of the technologies, how they work, and things to consider when choosing technologies, as well as a list of manufacturers where you can learn more about the assistive technologies.
Assistive Technology relates to the following sections of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) Integrated Accessibility Regulation:
Accessible Formats and Communication Supports
1. Assistive Technology is specialized hardware or software that provides users with an alternative format to communicate and access information and educational resources.
2. People interact, learn and communicate in diverse ways. Learning opportunities are increased when flexible ways of engaging with learning materials are provided. Considering how people communicate is important for knowledge to be exchanged. Alternative formats take into account diverse ways of exchanging information.
3. The AODA legislates that educational institutions and its employees know how to produce accessible or conversion ready versions of textbooks and printed material and be knowledgeable at interacting and communicating with people with disabilities who may use alternate formats and devices.