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What are assistive technologies?
The Technology Related Assistance to Individuals with Disabilities Act of 1988 described an assistive technology device as "any item, piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities."
Assistive technologies can be "high tech" and "low tech:" from canes and lever doorknobs to voice recognition software and augmentative communication devices (speech generating devices).
Chronic illness can result in physical disability. People who have a chronic illness may deal with symptoms such as pain or muscle degeneration. Some of these individuals may need assistance with mobility. Some mobility aids include:
- Prosthetic Devices
Mobility varies with each person. Some people with a physical disability may be able to walk with the assistance of a cane or a prosthetic. Some people, like those who are quadriplegic, may control their mobility device with their mouth or their head. Examples of assistive technologies that help their users with limited mobility include:
- Mouth stick - a device that allows users to control input (whether that be moving their wheelchair or surfing the web) with a stick they manipulate with their mouth.
- Head wand - a device similar to a mouth stick, but users control input with their head instead of their mouth
BlueStar Diabetes Manager
BlueStar can help individuals manage their Type 2 diabetes. It is prescribed by your healthcare professional and allows you to track your symptoms, food, and medical information. It can produce reports that you can share with your healthcare provider.
Catch My Pain
This application allows you to track your pain and connect with other users. You can draw where your pain is located and track your emotions and symptoms. You can use the application to share your pain experience with your health professional.
CDC Mobile App
The CDC has recently released a new version of their mobile app for iOS and Android. It includes videos, podcasts, journals, and blogs, as well as important public health information 24/7.
Chronic illness often causes stress, depression, and anxiety. The Headspace application can help reduce anxiety and stress and improve well-being by guiding users through meditation sessions.
Employees with a Physical Disability
Finding Assistive Technology
AbleData is a database that contains unbiased information about assistive technology products. You can search by product name, maker, or by product category, such as blind/low vision or communication.