Assistive technology (AT) is any kind of tool or piece of equipment that helps a person live more independently. AT also provides a way for people to participate more fully in life activities. AT can be high tech, such as a computer operated by eye movement, or low-tech, such as a specially designed door handle. AT can be big like an automated van lift for a wheelchair, or small like a Velcro-attached grip for a fork or pen.

AT can help someone:

  • Travel

  • Participate in recreational and social activities

  • Study

  • Work

  • Communicate with others

Examples of Assistive Technology

  • Home equipment, like a seat for using the bath, or adapted eating utensils
  • Educational and work aids, like book holders and adapted pencil grips

  • Travel equipment, like a wheelchair or an adapted car seat

  • Communication systems for people who need help with seeing, hearing, and/or speaking

  • Computer technology, like programs that convert speech to text or enlarge words on a screen

  • Sports and recreation equipment, like bowling balls with handgrips and one-handed fishing reels

Ask your child's primary care provider (PCP) about getting a professional evaluation for AT services.

Some types of AT may be covered by your child's health plan under the durable medical equipment (DME) benefit. Check the benefits handbook or call a Member Services Representative at your child's plan to find out what types of AT are covered. See Chapter 8 for more information about using AT in school. For other resources on AT, check the Assistive Technology and Adaptive Equipment section of the Family TIES Resource Directory.