A young kid who cannot speak can use a communication device to pass information in class. A young adult who has vision impairment can use a software program for computer screen reading and be able to secure employment. A physical disabled junior high school student can use the computer to complete his math homework; which would have been impossible while using the pencil and paper.
Most people with varied disabilities have been able to use technology in seeking independence. Technology has also assisted them to enhance their learning. This technology for people with disabilities known as assistive technology has helped disabled people in reaching their full potential. By being independent and productive the disabled people can be socially, physically, vocationally and recreationally integrated with others in the society.
Whether through customized device, product system or a common tool, technology can maintain, increase and improve the functional capabilities of disabled individuals. Technology helps individuals in getting and keeping their jobs. It also allow them get acceptance within the community. Technology allows them to be active and participate on a level platform with others. Listed below are numerous ways individuals with disabilities can use technology to make their living more comfortable:
- Daily living aids-use of devices that help them in activities such as bathing, cooking, toileting, dressing and maintenance of homes.
- Beds/bed modifications-these modifications make the functioning of the bed easier. Examples include electric and manual beds, transfer equipments and side rails.
- Communication-this entails the use of electric picture boards and manuals to assist in personal expressive communication.
- Ergonomics/computer access-these are hard wares and soft wares that allows disabled persons to use computers.
- Employment/education-entails using equipments that enable disabled people do school work and carry out tasks that are work related.
- Daily living electronic aids-the use of electronic systems or switches that enables individuals control appliances, lights, electronic aids, security systems and telephones in a home, room and other surroundings.
- Hearing -involves use of devices that assist in hearing. They include telecommunications devices, hearing aids, visual and tactile alerting systems. These gadgets are mostly used by deaf and those people who have a problem in hearing.
- Building/home modification-use of structures with adaptations to buildings that help in reducing or removing physical barriers. Examples include elevator lifts and ramps.
- Ambulation/mobility-using devices that enhance movements. Examples include transfer aids, wheeled chairs and vehicles, walkers, crutches and patient lifts.
- Orthotics and prosthetics-making use of devices and artificial limbs that are used in substitution, replacement and augmentation of malfunctioning or missing body parts to facilitate and assist in functioning.
- Leisure/recreation-using devices that enable individuals to take part in sports and other fun activities during their free time. Examples include modified snow boards or hand cycles.
- Positioning and seating-this involves modification of seating systems and chairs to assist in provision of greater body stability, reduction of pressure and improved posture. Examples include seat lifts and modular seating, support and wheelchair cushions.
- Driving/transportation-involvement of items that assist in personal transportation. Examples include vans and cars with adaptations to lift systems, child restraints systems with modifications that ensure vehicle success.
- Vision-these are devices that have modifications which enhance light. Examples include eyeglasses with special features magnification devices and other equipments (e.g. Large buttoned phones and talking calculators).