Healthcare Technology Featured Article

May 31, 2024

The Role of Assistive Technology in Enhancing Independence for People with Disabilities

According to the WHO, around 2.5 billion people require assistive devices daily. This number is expected to rise to 3.5 billion by 2050.

Assistive technology for disabilities benefits individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. For example, it helps participants in programs such as family support services by OPWDD in their daily activities by making tasks easier to manage. AT enables individuals to better cope with physical and mental disabilities and improve their skills for independent living within a family setting.

This post will analyze how AT devices help people with IDD develop adaptive behaviors. We’ll also quickly examine the different types of AT devices, their benefits, and the most relevant examples for adults with cognitive challenges.

Continue reading to learn more.

What is Assistive Technology?

This refers to devices or software that aid people with disabilities in performing everyday activities. They range from low-tech devices like pencil grips to high-tech options like voice recognition apps.

AT devices are made for individuals with specific learning disabilities. They assist adults with IDD break down physical and mental obstacles. This leads to an improved quality of life and self-reliance.

What Are the Different Types of AT?

The main categories of AT tools include:

  • Mobility
    These tools help with moving around. Examples include wheelchairs, walkers, canes, and prosthetic devices.
  • Communication
    These devices assist people with speech difficulties or language limitations. Examples are communication boards, speech output devices, and eye gaze trackers.
  • Cognitive
    These tools support those with brain injuries or cognitive impairments. Examples include memory aids and organizational tools.
  • Vision
    These tools help the visually impaired access information. Examples include screen readers and magnification software.
  • Hearing
    These improve hearing. Examples include hearing aids and visual alert systems.
  • Daily living
    They help with daily tasks like dressing and cooking. Examples include adaptive utensils and medication organizers.
  • Positioning
    These tools help with posture and mobility issues. Examples include wedges, cushions, and standing frames.

Benefits of Assistive Technology for People with Disabilities

  • Increased independence
    Individuals are empowered to perform tasks independently, reducing the need for constant assistance from others.

  • Promotion of learning and skill development
    Assistive technology for learning disabilities helps visually impaired students read. An example is a screen reader. It reads text aloud from e-books and digital content so people with visual limitations can access learning materials on computers.

  • Better communication
    One of the most significant benefits of assistive technology for students with disabilities is its capacity to improve communication for those with speech impairments.
  • Better Mobility
    Devices like wheelchairs and walkers help adults with IDD move more freely. This makes them feel more connected to the community.

  • Greater safety
    Devices like medication organizers and visual alert systems contribute to the safety and well-being of individuals with disabilities. This helps minimize risks and accidents.
  • Promotion of inclusion
    AT breaks down barriers to participation in various group activities, thus promoting inclusion in learning, hobbies, or leisure activities.

Examples of AT for People with Disabilities


Clicker aids writing and reading with various assistive features. Its mapping tool helps students create visual webs of words and symbols, enhancing comprehension.


Dragon is a smart speech recognition tool that boosts business productivity and aids students with disabilities. It transcribes speech at speeds up to 160 words per minute, which is helpful for those who have difficulty using a mouse or typing.

Google Classroom

Google Classroom is one of the most popular types of assistive technology for students with disabilities.  It offers tools like speech-to-text, aiding accessibility in online learning. Future updates promise video tutorials, guided lessons, and hints.

Seeing AI

Seeing AI for the visually impaired offers audio guidance. It reads text, identifies products using a smartphone camera, describes surroundings, and learns to recognize friends and their expressions.


Speechify is an audio-to-text converter. It’s particularly useful for reading textbooks or PDFs. Even better, it is compatible with various devices and operating systems.

Choosing the AT device that best suits your needs might seem tricky. However, consulting with professionals like doctors, teachers, and tech experts simplifies the process. Explore funding options from sources like schools, government programs, insurance, and charities.


AT is essential for helping adults with IDD become more independent. From wheelchairs to Braille, these examples of assistive technology for students with disabilities promote inclusion, learning, and safety. This ultimately improves the quality of life for the users and positively impacts their families and communities.

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