Assistive technology has undergone a revolution in recent years. There is a wide range of established commercial and free and open source software products available (such as screen readers, on-screen keyboards and spelling aids), as well as in-built accessibility features in computers and programs.
More people use mobile and portable devices with assistive apps. One significant benefit of technology is the provision of a voice for those who are unable to speak themselves. Apps for tablet devices for example that use scanning and a touch screen interface can now provide this at a fraction of the cost of some of the more complex and advanced hardware technologies.
In this guide, we provide an overview of the types of assistive technologies available and how they might be used in a learning and teaching setting.
Assistive technology or productivity?
Although we describe these tools as assistive technologies - a term familiar to disability professionals - we prefer to describe them as productivity tools and recommend they are promoted as such in your organisation.
A learner with a hidden disability may not wish to be identified as an ‘assistive technology’ user but may be perfectly happy to be identified with a productivity tool.