Assistive Technology (AT) is a broad term that includes assistive, adaptive, and rehabilitative devices for individuals with disabilities, including the process used in selecting, locating, and utilizing them. Assistive Technology cultivates greater independence by equipping disabled people to execute tasks with ease, which otherwise were difficult for them.
Assistive Technology relates to “any item, piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired commercially, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities”, whereas adaptive technology covers equipment that is specifically designed for persons with disabilities and would rarely be used by non-disabled persons.
How AT devices are a help for Disabled?
AT devices for mobility are also cited as ambulatory aids. They provide an extension of the upper extremities to help transfer body weight and thus offer support for the user.
Assistive devices help enhance the quality of life, sustain the sense of independence and also ensure safety. Assistive devices help mitigate possible risks in and around the home. They can also be used for memory recall. This eases the stress of caregivers also, as these devices with their multiple benefits are reassuring.
Recycle & Reuse Programs for Disabled People-
Assistive Technology can be costly, often causing affordability to be a problem for individuals with limited or fixed incomes. In waste management, recycle is the last level in a hierarchy. The first level is “reduce”, which is when a company reduces its inventory and gets rid of excess stock. The second level is “reuse”, which means to use repeatedly and to put the device back in circulation. The third level is “recycle”, which means taking something that was discarded and converting it into a new product.
Recycled AT equipment is any part of used equipment that is now capable of being reused. The reuse programs create an opportunity for those who require AT equipment at low or no cost. An added “green” advantage is, retaining usable equipment so as to reduce the amount of waste sent to the landfills. Recycling Centers, Swap ‘n Shop, Recycled Computers, and Other Resources are some such programs. REEP Classifieds is free and accessible to people with disabilities, their families, companions, service providers, and others who want to locate, buy, sell, or donate previously owned AT. Sellers can post listings, containing photos and buyers can evaluate the listings and ask for the seller’s contact information.
An aging U.S. population coupled with the fiscal realities of balancing the federal budget which has yielded reductions in entitlement programs, make attempts to change long-term care policy. Studies have shown that the advancement of community support systems to lessen or eliminate the demand for costly institutional care enhances a person’s quality of life and promotes cost savings. One means to acknowledge the reduced resources open for the purchase of AT is through the re-use of existing devices. An estimated 20 – 40% of AT equipment goes unused for various reasons, such as changes in medical needs or an individual grows out of the equipment. This unused equipment generates a potential resource that could suffice the needs of many individuals. Thus, recycling of AT equipment is indeed a boon for the disabled.