Assistive Technology=Tools that Work

Assistive Technology or “AT” encompasses all technology used by people with functional limitations to perform tasks in the workplace that would otherwise be difficult, inaccessible, or impossible. AT is any piece of equipment that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functioning of individuals with disabilities.

An AT Service is a service provided to select, obtain, or use an AT device such as assessing an employee's technology needs and customizing AT equipment.

Using Assistive Technology in the Work Place

Smart Business - Tapping the Power of Technology

Everyone in the workplace has one thing in common; we are all working with the help of technology. Today’s progressive companies, large and small, are aware that tapping into the power of technology is simply smart business. Technology can give employers a competitive edge to retain and recruit the most talented people.

Increase Productivity through Assistive Technology

Most of us have a phone that sits on our work desk that has both speakerphone capabilities and speed dial - a convenience. For someone with a motor impairment, speed dial is AT because it eliminates holding a headset and punching a lot of numbers. Technologies available to improve performance are as unlimited as the imagination.

    Here are some examples of AT at work:
  • A secretary with the use of only one arm uses a mini keyboard to produce paperwork
  • A computer programmer with blindness uses a screen reader to assist in computer operation
  • A factory worker with hearing loss attends a required safety training and uses a personal amplifier to hear the video tape
  • A drill press operator returns to work after experiencing a back injury with modifications to the press platform
  • A worker with carpal tunnel syndrome uses a special three part keyboard that uses a vertical instead of a horizontal format and is much healthier for the hands and wrists
  • A worker with low vision uses a closed circuit television (CCTV) that has a magnifier and camera to assist reading of printed materials

These are just a few examples of real life AT options in use today. Productivity enhancers such as these can be found in all industry sectors.

How Do I Know What Device is Right?

There are several ways that a person can figure out what AT device is right for him or her.  Being evaluated through a formal AT evaluation is typically performed by a certified Assistive Technology Professional, an Occupational or Physical Therapist, or a Rehabilitation Engineer. In addition, visiting an AT Demonstration Center to view different devices allows both the employer and employee to learn about a range of devices.

Trying a device before purchasing it - by borrowing a device to try out in the work setting, helps to determine whether  a device works in the way expected. All states have an AT Device Demonstration Center and/or an AT Device Loan Program that employers and employees can use to find the right AT solutions. Contact your state AT Act Program to find a demonstration or loan center near you.