Digital Imagery

Digital Imagery
Captured on film

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Tutorial Eight: Assistive Technology

We had a lecture and tutorial about Assistive Technologies - I cannot believe just how many types of equipment and the amount of technology is out there. This is a highly specialised area I have a strong interest in this feild and hope to one day be out there working with people and assistive equipment that can work with the individual needs of people requiring equipment to enable them to participate and independantly do activities of their choice - quite amazing!

I will begin by defining the term, looking at one piece of equipment that we experienced in the tutorial and look into other pieces of equipment that can assit people.  
Assistive equipment can be defined as "any item, piece of equipment or product system whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified, or customized that is used to increase or improve functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities" (Cook & Hussey, 2000, pp.5).

It can also be defined as, assistive technology is a piece of technology or equipment (usually required to be an electronic device) that will assist a person to perform their daily occupations, eg communication or working at the computer. A device will be meet the needs of a specific individual and can be very costly. 

"Assistive Technology devices can help improve physical or mental functioning, overcome a disorder or impairment, help prevent the worsening of a condition, strengthen a physical or mental weakness, help improve a person's capacity to learn, or even replace a missing limb".

There are many websites that provide information on assistive technology. Here are a few that I came across.
Not only is specially designed equipment available to assist an individual with a disabliity but ordinary everyday items can be used as assistive equipment. 

Take a look at this blogger site of teachers using the Wii console and games in the classroom. 
This project is led by Su Harris (Suffolk L&T Adviser for Primary English) and involves five KS2 teachers from Suffolk working together to develop the use of the Nintendo Wii in both literacy and across the curriculum. Just goes to show how adaptable resources can be used in different settings!

I have chosen to use the Wii Console & Resort Games in my assignment for PO1 and it has been interesting to research about how devices like the Wii can assist individuals with their recovery from illness/conditions.Fasinating!

Trev Wilson from Star Mobility and Disability Centre came and introduced us to the great big world of assistive technology. He explained how equipment & devices can support areas of impairment for an individual.
About 2 years ago I worked alongside Trev and an Occuaptional Therapist in Thames to support an individual with communication difficulties. The various types of aids were trialled by the individual until one in particular was found to be the best, this is known as The Tango. Together the individual, other staff and I took photos of places most frequently accessed and uploaded then into the tango then would add voice messages to match the photos. The Tango supported the individual to communicate his needs and interests and as far as I know is utilising it well.

During the tutorial I looked specially at the talking photoalbum. We were givent he opportunity to use an A5 size one. They are also available in A3 and A4 sizes. This photoalbum had many leaves where to dispaly photos or pictures (like we did to put together a reciepe to amke a banana smoothie). Each page has a button to activate a function of recording a 10 second message, this can be an instruction or a message. For all up to date prices see Star Mobility Website

This assistive device will provide an individual with both visual and auditory prompts, great for those with sequencing difficulties. It allows the user to move on to the next step in their time which would be very assistive with an individual with cognitive difficulties like memory loss. This increases an individual to increase their occupation susing such a device. It could also be used by family members wanting to provide stimulation about other family members or places and could therefore increase communications and interests.

Not only does this photoalbum provide all of the above, it was fun and easy to use!

Take a look at the above or below suggested web sites, I cant promise you will be as interested as i am but it will really surprise you as to how many types of assistive equipment is out there to be used to allow individual to experience life!

Well folks, thats all. This was the last entry required for PO1, it has been a mixed experience. Very frustrating at times, blogs moving all around the site for no apparent reason (though I do know the only one that can be blamed is the editior, me hehe) but on the whole I have learnt so much more than I had anticipated. Thank-you for taking the time to look through my blog site I hope you have been inspired like I have :)


Cook, A.M., Hussey, S.M. (2000) Assistive technologies: principles and practice. USA: Mosby.


  1. Hi Cara,
    This is very interesting! I can tell this is a passion of yours in the OT realm! I'm sad that I missed this class :-(
    Nancy :)

  2. Hey Nancy,
    Yes I am passionate about this topic, I think its due to seeing how it has altered individuals lives and being part of the process with them, exciting!
    Cheers, Cara