Adaptive Devices For Persons With Disabilities: Devices For Vision And Hearing
People may often think of assistive technology devices for physical disabilities, but those who have deafness or are hard-of-hearing or blind or have low vision benefit greatly from assistive devices. Some of the best products for those who are blind or who have low vision include:
- Home assistants that can help control thermostats and lights
- Large-print materials
Those who are deaf or hard-of-hearing who need adaptive devices can benefit from mobile devices with specialized apps, portable closed-captioning systems, vibrating alarm clocks, wireless TV listening systems, and amplified headphones.
Where Can I Get More Information
The NIDCD maintains a directory of organizations that provide information on the normal and disordered processes of hearing, balance, taste, smell, voice, speech, and language.
Use the following keywords to help you search for organizations that can answer questions and provide printed or electronic information on assistive devices:
Cerebral Palsy And Augmentative And Alternative Communication
Page Medically Reviewed and Edited by Gina Jansheski, M.D.
This article has been fact checked by a Board Certified Pediatrician. Sources of information for the article are listed at the bottom.
For any content issues please Contact Us.
Some kids living with cerebral palsy have severe speech problems, making it extremely difficult and sometimes even impossible to communicate orally. Augmentative and alternative communication can help these children express themselves and connect with family, caregivers, and others.
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Input And Display Methods
Their input and display methods range from typing letters, words and sentences in a device to selecting pictures or symbols in a simple board or selecting them in a more complicated set of electronic panels that need to be navigated to access all possible items and combinations to form more complicated messages.
The suitability and complexity of the input and display method will depend on the capabilities and skills of the disabled user.
Paying For Adaptive Equipment & Assistive Technology
As mentioned above, assistive technology items often come with significant purchase and maintenance expenses. This is especially true for devices that are intended for children or individuals whose expected improvement will ultimately cause them to outgrow the product.If youre not sure how to fund assistive devices for people with disabilities, here are a few potential sources to get you started:
- School districts/systems
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Types Of Assistive Technology
Assistive technology isnt new. In fact, it has been a part of the human experience for thousands of years. It is believed that eyeglasses were invented in Italy between 1268 and 1289 and, the first recorded use of a wheelchair dates back to 5th Century China.
Assistive technology can range from no and low tech solutions to high tech solutions. For example:
- using paint to help with wayfinding
- speech generating devices that can be activated using eye gaze
Assistive technology solutions may be store bought, such as speech recognition software modified such as placing tennis balls on a walker to make it easier to glide over carpets and, even custom made such as creating a prosthetic hand using a 3D printer.
Throughout this site, we will use the following ten categories below to group AT solutions. It may not surprise you to learn that AT may fit into more than one category depending upon the persons needs as well as how and where the person uses the AT.
Who Decides Which Aid Or Service Is Needed
When choosing an aid or service, title II entities are required to give primary consideration to the choice of aid or service requested by the person who has a communication disability. The state or local government must honor the persons choice, unless it can demonstrate that another equally effective means of communication is available, or that the use of the means chosen would result in a fundamental alteration or in an undue burden . If the choice expressed by the person with a disability would result in an undue burden or a fundamental alteration, the public entity still has an obligation to provide an alternative aid or service that provides effective communication if one is available.
Title III entities are encouraged to consult with the person with a disability to discuss what aid or service is appropriate. The goal is to provide an aid or service that will be effective, given the nature of what is being communicated and the persons method of communicating.
Covered entities may require reasonable advance notice from people requesting aids or services, based on the length of time needed to acquire the aid or service, but may not impose excessive advance notice requirements. Walk-in requests for aids and services must also be honored to the extent possible.
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Solutions For People Needing Assistance
Dr. Stephen Hawking is renowned for his contributions to physics, his best-selling books, and his computer-generated voice. Hawking is almost completely paralyzed by amyotrophic lateral sclerosis , a progressive neurological disease also known as Lou Gherig’s disease. Although paralysis prevents Hawking from using his voice, he is able to speak through an electronic device that allows him to write and use computer-generated speech by twitching his cheek.
Known as computer-generated speech or augmentative and alternative communication devices, these electronic devices are becoming an increasingly common way for people to communicate when they are unable to move or speak because of severe paralysis. In addition to ALS, people may become unable to speak or move because of paralysis fromspinal cord injuries, stroke, brain injuries, and other conditions. People with locked-in syndrome, for example, may havecomplete paralysis except the ability to move their eyes. Despite this, they can operate these devices, allowing them to communicate.
Hive Active Smart Plug
The Hive Smart Plug is one of the most useful smart devices for the disabled as it functions as an adapter to plug your other devices into. It is plugged right into the wall and any device that gets plugged onto it can be controlled by the homeowner. To take advantage of the hive smart plug or any hive smart device, first youll need the Hive Hub. Once the Hub is setup, the system will look for your new devices, and if found, install them and show them on the app display. The Hive app is very intuitive to use. You can add multiple devices to the system seamlessly and quickly. On average, it probably takes around 45 seconds for the device to be found.
Once identified and added to the system, youre then able to use the app to actually control that device. The range of actions you can perform depends on what devices you add but for but for consumers with limited mobility in their extremities, being able to control multiple functions from a phone in a simple interface can make all the difference. Some examples include things like turning a lamp on / off, changing the brightness and color of a smart bulb, or turning up the heating or air conditioning. Hive sensors are synchronized with the plug and this allows various commands to be executed. For instance, you can start your morning coffee from the comfort of your bed. Checkout this great tutorial for installing and using the Hive Active Smart Plug:
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# 5 Go Board Assistive Technology
Coming in at number 5 in our review, the Go! Board Assistive Technology by Enabling Devices helps children living with cognitive disabilities to stay on schedule with picture symbols. This unique and affordable non-voice AAC device comes with 8 icon holders that display pictures or symbols corresponding to various activities and tasks. Encouraging kids to complete the endeavor symbolized on the icon, the icon can be removed from the board once the activity has been done. A convenient pocket at the base of the board stores the used picture icons, keeping them organized in one place.
Often used in schools, daycare centers, therapy facilities, and at home, this simple but efficient augmentative and assistive communication device is completely customizable. Its tough and durable design withstands hard and heavy usage, yet it is super lightweight for easy transport and set up wherever you need it. The 8 icon holders use a clear mylar cover to protect and display the pictures and symbols, utilizing a brightly colored border to ensure easy visibility for low vision users. Create your own symbols and pictures, or use the software that comes with 300 color icons.
Barriers To Obtaining Adaptive & Assistive Technology Items
Unfortunately, there are many barriers associated with obtaining adaptive and assistive devices for people with disabilities. These challenges include the following:
- Lack of awareness
- Lack of government legislation and policies
- Lack of programs and services
- Lack of state/federal funding
- Lack of products and trained personnel
Most countries dont have national assistive technology policy programs, and private sector access is typically poor or nonexistent. Additionally, assistive devices often arent included in healthcare plans, leading to high out-of-pocket costs that are prohibitive for many people who need them.
Making adaptive equipment and assistive technology more accessible for people with disabilities regardless of their location or income level starts with:
- Clearly identifying businesses that build, repair, and maintain assistive technology
- Obtaining information on referrals, costs, and processes for each of those businesses
- Compiling potential funding opportunities for people who cannot afford assistive products
- Partnering with referral organizations to decentralize product and service provisions
- Providing transportation and home- or community-based repair services in remote areas
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Use Of Accompanying Adults Or Children As Interpreters
Historically, many covered entities have expected a person who uses sign language to bring a family member or friend to interpret for him or her. These people often lacked the impartiality and specialized vocabulary needed to interpret effectively and accurately. It was particularly problematic to use peoples children as interpreters.
The ADA places responsibility for providing effective communication, including the use of interpreters, directly on covered entities. They cannot require a person to bring someone to interpret for him or her. A covered entity can rely on a companion to interpret in only two situations.
Even under exception , covered entities may not rely on an accompanying adult to interpret when there is reason to doubt the persons impartiality or effectiveness. For example:
What Is The Idea Behind Speech
Speech-generating devices allow people who cant use spoken language to speak electronically.
Some autistic children have difficulties developing speech and language, which makes communicating their needs and ideas very difficult. This can lead to frustration and behaviour challenges. Because speech-generating devices can give some autistic children a way to communicate, they might help with childrens behaviour too.
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What Are Assistive Devices
The terms assistive device or assistive technology can refer to any device that helps a person with hearing loss or a voice, speech, or language disorder to communicate. These terms often refer to devices that help a person to hear and understand what is being said more clearly or to express thoughts more easily. With the development of digital and wireless technologies, more and more devices are becoming available to help people with hearing, voice, speech, and language disorders communicate more meaningfully and participate more fully in their daily lives.
What Is Adaptive Equipment
Adaptive equipment is a subcategory of assistive technology thats specifically designed for people with disabilities . In most cases, adaptive devices for persons with disabilities are modified to help you complete a specific task. Common examples include adaptive car equipment, screen readers, and sip-and-puff systems, among others.
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Features To Consider When Purchasing An Aac Device
Selecting the appropriate AAC device requires an understanding of your childs strengths and limitations, along with a basic comprehension of the different AAC methodologies and technologies. Relying on an experienced speech-language pathologist to assist in this decision-making process who works in conjunction with your childs healthcare and therapy team is a crucial factor in finding the most helpful and appropriate AAC support.
Considerations include determining your childs cognitive and physical abilities, along with their fine motor skill development. Figuring out what motivates your child to communicate and the most important vocabulary relevant to them will also help to establish the best AAC options to meet their unique requirements. Here are some of the most important features and types of AAC to look for:
Q: What Does Aac Stand For
A: AAC stands for Augmentative and Alternative Communication. This can take the form of unaided AAC and aided AAC. Unaided AAC requires some level of motor control and includes body language, fingerspelling, and facial expressions, while aided AAC utilizes some kind of external low-tech or high-tech electronic or non-electronic device or tool, such as communication boards, single/sequential message devices, and recordable/speaking tools.
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Speaking Machines For Disabled People
Image: Speaking machine for disabled people
2019 Jun 19
Disabled people are sometimes unable to use their own voice to communicate effectively through words and sentences as most people. One solution for many of them is to resort to some kind of speaking machines that supplement or replace their speech.
There are many options of speaking machines for disabled people right now on the market, with different ways of access, input, display, speech generation and types of device.
In this article we try to categorize them and give an overview of what is possible right now for different needs of people with different disabilities.
The speaking machines for disabled people are more appropriately called Speech Generation Devices or Voice Output Communication Aids . They are part of what we callAlternative and Augmented Communication tools. We have already done an article with a list of AAC devices for disabled people, but not all of them are speaking machines.
The speaking machines for disabled people give them the possibility of participating actively in communication with their familiar and social circles.
These tools are especially important for people with ALS and, most recently, are being used as therapy and learning tools for children with perceived speech deficiencies.
The speaking machines differ in different characteristics. Here are a few of them.
What Augmentative And Alternative Communication Devices Are Available For Communicating By Telephone
For many years, people with hearing loss have used text telephone or telecommunications devices, called TTY or TDD machines, to communicate by phone. This same technology also benefits people with speech difficulties. A TTY machine consists of a typewriter keyboard that displays typed conversations onto a readout panel or printed on paper. Callers will either type messages to each other over the system or, if a call recipient does not have a TTY machine, use the national toll-free telecommunications relay service at 711 to communicate. Through the relay service, a communications assistant serves as a bridge between two callers, reading typed messages aloud to the person with hearing while transcribing whats spoken into type for the person with hearing loss.
With todays new electronic communication devices, however, TTY machines have almost become a thing of the past. People can place phone calls through the telecommunications relay service using almost any device with a keypad, including a laptop, personal digital assistant, and cell phone. Text messaging has also become a popular method of communication, skipping the relay service altogether.
Another system uses voice recognition software and an extensive library of video clips depicting American Sign Language to translate a signers words into text or computer-generated speech in real time. It is also able to translate spoken words back into sign language or text.
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Q: What Is Augmentative And Alternative Communication
A: Augmentative and alternative communication helps to supplement or compensate for impairments in speech and language production in both children and adults. Abbreviated as AAC, this type of communication is considered augmentative when its used to add to existing speech, and alternative when its used in place of absent or non-functional speech. Falling under the broader umbrella of assistive technology, AAC can also be used for speech-language comprehension deficits, along with impairments to understanding written language, as well.
Smart Devices Making Everyday Life Easier For People With Disabilities
There is no greater feeling than having a sense of independence among those in the disabled community. Wheelchairs are heavily promoted as a piece of equipment needed to promote independence among those living with a disability but there are many forms of disability & limited accessibility that arent always related to mobility impairments. Moores law has shown us that the capacity of technology doubles every 18 months and in the last couple of years there have been great strides made in assistive technology. Thanks to rapidly improving technology and ever-continuing disruption, accessibility focused mobile applications & smart devices for people with disabilitiesand the elderly have been invented to improve the lives of everyone, especially people with disabilities. The iAccess Life app is an example of software assistive technology to allow users with disabilities to rate, review and search for establishments such as restaurants, hotels, and retail stores based on their accessibility. iAccess Life has previously compiled a list of the best apps for the mobility impaired and has followed that up with list of extremely useful smart devices for people with disabilities and the elderly.
More options to choose from will trigger more competition
Smart Devices are Easy to Install
The client base will grow hence increased demand
The most useful solutions will become the most popular
Lets check out some of the best smart home devices for people with disabilities and the elderly:
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