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20 Different Types of Assistive Technology

Different types of assistive technology devices for different purposes.

Technological developments make learning and daily tasks more accessible for people from all walks of life. Even some of them, like spell checkers, are indispensable in daily life for everyone. Others, like electric wheelchairs, revolutionize daily life for those with disabilities and their families.

1. Mobility Aids

An old woman undergoing a physical rehabilitation joint surgery.

Canes, wheelchairs, scooters, and prosthetics are all examples of mobility aids. These devices can help people with disabilities or limited mobility to move around more easily and independently.

Some mobility aids are designed for specific tasks, such as canes for walking or wheelchairs for going up and downstairs. Others, like scooters and prosthetics, can be used for a variety of activities.

Many people with disabilities find that using a mobility aid can help them live more independently. 

Mobile Pediatric Stander

This device is ideal for children who cannot stand on their own. It helps them be upright. The mobile factor of the stander helps them physically, and also helps them be face to face with their peers.

Standers are also great for adults as well. It helps improve posture and digestion. When a person is upright, their internal organs are in the correct position, which can help with things like constipation.

2. Driving Aids

A man wearing green sweater correctly using his car's driving aid.

For disabled people with driver’s licenses, there are a number of devices that help them while driving.

Hand controls can help with braking and accelerating. This helps people with limited mobility in their feet or people who can’t otherwise reach the pedals.

Power assist devices make it easier to steer. This is helpful for people who have weak muscles or arthritis.

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A wheelchair lift can be installed in a car to help someone get in and out of the vehicle. There are also vans that are designed specifically for wheelchair users.

Joysticks can also be used if someone has limited hand functions. These are just a few examples of how mobility aids can help people with disabilities.

Adjustable drivers seats and mirrors are also available to make driving more comfortable and safe.

3. Physical modifications

A pwd sign for those pwd's using wheelchairs in front o wheelchair ramp.

Adjusted doorways, ramps, and handles are some types of physical modifications that can be made to help those with disabilities.

These modifications can be made to a home, office, or any other building.

Ramps help those who use wheelchairs or scooters get in and out of buildings. They can also be used to get into vehicles.

Handles can be added or modified to make them easier to grip for those with arthritis or limited hand function.

Doorways can be widened to accommodate wheelchairs or scooters.

Automatic doors are also an option for those with limited mobility.

4. Assisted Listening Devices

These devices amplify sound and can be used in a variety of settings, such as in a classroom or during a meeting.

There are different types of assisted listening devices, such as:

Hearing aids

Amplified telephones

FM systems

Captioning services

Hearing aids are devices that amplify sound. This can help people with hearing loss to better communicate with others.

A doctor helping an old man fitting a hearing aid.

Hearing loop (or induction loop) systems use a wire to transmit sound from a microphone directly to a hearing aid. This can be used in places such as auditoriums or theaters.

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FM (frequency modulation) systems use radio waves to transmit sound. The sound is then amplified by a receiver that is worn by the person with hearing loss.

Personal amplifiers are small devices that amplify sound. They can be used in one-on-one conversations or in small groups.

Cochlear implants are a type of hearing aid that can provide a sense of sound to people who are deaf or have severe hearing loss.

An adorable little girl wearing a cochlear implant.

Closed captioning is a text version of what is being said on television or in a movie. This can be helpful for people who are deaf or hard of hearing.

There are also phones that have text captioning available. This can be turned on to show what the other person is saying during a phone conversation.

TTY machines are used to communicate with someone who is deaf or hard of hearing. This machine types out what you are saying so that the other person can read it.

Vision Aids

There are a number of devices that can help people with vision impairments.

Magnifiers can be used to help people see things that are small or far away.

High-contrast keyboards have keys that are a different color than the background. This can help people with low vision to see the keys better.

Braille displays show text in Braille. This can be helpful for people who are blind or have low vision.

A children's fingers feeling and touching a braille.

There are also talking computers that can read text out loud. This can be helpful for people with vision impairments or who are blind.

5. Communication Aids

Those who have difficulty communicating can use a variety of communication aids. These can vary from picture boards to more in-depth technology.

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6. Alerting Devices

A high-alert smoke detector with fire under it.

There are devices that can help those with hearing impairments or who are deaf.

Flashlights or vibrating pagers can be used to wake someone up from a sound sleep.

Smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors can be equipped with flashing lights or vibrating pads.

Telephones can also be equipped with flashing lights or vibrating pads to help those who are deaf or hard of hearing.

7. Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) devices

An adorable child using an augmentative and alternative communication device with her teacher's guidance.

AAC devices are used to facilitate communication. They can be low-tech, such as picture boards, or high-tech, such as computerized speech-generating devices. AAC devices can be helpful for people who have difficulty communicating or producing speech.

Some AAC devices use eye-tracking technology. This allows users to select letters or words by looking at them on a screen.

Some AAC devices are:

Picture boards: These have pictures or symbols that represent words. The user can point to the pictures to communicate.

Voice output devices: These speak the words that are typed into them. They can be helpful for people who cannot speak.

Computerized speech-generating devices: These generate speech by typing out words. They can also show pictures or symbols to help with communication.

Sign language: This is a form of communication that uses hand gestures, body language, and facial expressions. It can be used by people who are deaf or hard of hearing.

8. Text to Speech

Text to speech is a technology that converts text into spoken words. This can be helpful for people who are blind or have low vision.

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9. Reading Pens

An old man with difficulty in seeing used reading pens to hear the words that is written in the paper.

A reading pen is a handheld device that can read text out loud. This can be helpful for people who are blind or have low vision.

10. Voice Recognition

Voice recognition is a technology that allows people to control a computer with their voice. Many people, from mobility challenged or visually challenged, benefit from voice recognition technology.

11. Digital Recorders

Digital recorders can be used to record lectures or meetings. This can be helpful for people who are blind or have low vision. It also helps people who have ADHD, processing disorders, or intellectual disabilities.

iPads and Tablets

New model silver colored iPad face front and back.

iPads and Tablets are commonly used assistive devices for education and the classroom. They can be helpful for people who are blind or have low vision, as well as those with ADHD, dyslexia, and other learning disabilities.

There are a number of apps that can be used to help with organization, time management, and taking notes. Some of these apps are:

Notability: This app allows you to take notes, record lectures, and annotate PDFs.

Evernote: This app helps you organize your thoughts and ideas. You can also share notes with others.

iStudiez Pro: This app helps you keep track of your assignments, tests, and deadlines.

MyHomework Student Planner: This app helps you keep track of your homework assignments and due dates.

Due: This app helps you keep track of your deadlines and upcoming events.

12. GPS Devices

A phone with a gps logo in the center on top of paper map.

GPS devices can be helpful for people who are blind or have low vision. They can also be helpful for people with dementia, as they can help prevent them from getting lost.

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There are a number of GPS tracking apps that can be used on smartphones or tablets. These apps can help you keep track of your location and get directions to where you need to go. Some of these apps are:

Google Maps: This app provides turn-by-turn navigation and real-time traffic updates.

Waze: This app provides turn-by-turn navigation and live traffic updates. It also allows users to share traffic and road conditions with other users.

A man in hi car holding his phone opening a waze app for better access to directions with no traffic.

Apple Maps: This app provides turn-by-turn navigation and live traffic updates.

CoPilot GPS: This app provides turn-by-turn navigation, offline maps, and live traffic updates.

Related: 4 Different Types of GPS Technology

13. Electronic Spell Checkers

For those with dyslexia or visual impairment, electronic spell checkers are excellent tools. These spell checkers can be used on computers, smartphones, and tablets. Some of the most popular spell checkers are:

Ginger Software: This spell checker provides grammar and spelling corrections. It also has a dictionary and thesaurus.

WhiteSmoke: This spell checker provides grammar and spelling corrections. It also has a translation feature.

Whitesmoke app is a grammar checker, spell checker, style checker and more - in a single package.

SpellCheckPlus: This spell checker provides grammar and spelling corrections. It also has a plagiarism checker.

PaperRater: This spell checker provides grammar and spelling corrections. It also has a writing style checker.

These are just some of the assistive devices that are available to help with communication, organization, and daily living tasks.

14. Word Prediction Software

People who have writing issues benefit from word prediction software. This type of software can be used on a computer, smartphone, or tablet.

It predicts words based on the first few letters that are typed. This can make writing and typing much easier for those with dyslexia or other writing issues. Some of the most popular word prediction software are:

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Dragon NaturallySpeaking: This software allows you to control your computer with your voice. It also includes a word prediction feature.

Dragon NaturallySpeaking is a software that predicts words and provides many more features.

Co:Writer: This software has a word prediction feature. It also includes a translation feature.

WordQ: This software has a word prediction feature. It also includes a speech-to-text feature.

Speakit! Typing Assistant: This software has a word prediction feature. It also includes a speech-to-text feature.

15. Visual Search Engines

Visual search engines are a type of assistive technology that can help people who have language disabilities. These search engines use images instead of text to provide results. This can make it easier for users to find what they are looking for.

16. Audible Search Engines

This type of search engine benefits people who have visual impairments. These search engines provide results in an audible format. This can make it easier for users to find what they are looking for.

17. Literacy Specific Software

There is a type of software specifically designed to help people with literacy disabilities. This software can be used on a computer, smartphone, or tablet. It can help with reading, writing, and spelling. Some of the most popular literacy specific software are:

Read&Write: This software has a text-to-speech feature. It also includes a dictionary and thesaurus.

ClaroRead: This software has a text-to-speech feature. It also has a translation feature.

Claro Software is a software that develops Assistive Technology, software for people with disabilities such as print and reading difficulties.

Kurzweil 3000: This software has a text-to-speech feature. It also has a built-in scanner.

18. Educational Software

There is a type of software specifically designed for educational purposes. This software can be used on a computer, smartphone, or tablet. It can help with reading, writing, and spelling. Some of the most popular educational software are:

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Reading Eggs: This software helps teach children how to read.

Mathseeds: This software helps teach children math skills.

Spelling Shed: This software helps teach children how to spell.

Related: 4 Different Types of Educational Technology

19. Electronic Resources and Books

A pile of books fitting inside a laptop to add knowledge to technologies through books.

There are a number of electronic resources and books that can help people with communication disabilities. These resources can be used on a computer, smartphone, or tablet. They can help with reading, writing, and spelling. Some of the most popular electronic resources and books are:

Bookshare: This website provides access to over 700,000 digital books.

Learning Ally: This website provides access to over 80,000 digital books.

Audible: This website provides access to over 150,000 audiobooks.

20. Mouse Alternatives

There are a number of devices that can be used as an alternative to a mouse. These devices can be used on a computer, smartphone, or tablet. They can help with reading, writing, and spelling. Some of the most popular mouse alternatives are:

Trackballs: This type of device is rolled with the hand to move the cursor.

Two different types of trackballs with red and blue colors.

Touchpads: This type of device is touched with the finger to move the cursor.

Head-tracking systems: This type of device uses head movements to control the cursor.

Eye-gaze systems: This type of device uses eye movements to control the cursor.

Head Pointers: This type of device is worn on the head and used to touch the screen.

Foot mice: This type of device is controlled with the feet. ECS Double Button Foot Pedal for Mouse Click 

Joysticks: This type of device is held in the hand and moved to control the cursor.

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Different types and design of joysticks with different special features isolated in a white background.

Single switch entry devices: This type of device is activated with one switch to control the cursor.

Multiple switch entry devices: This type of device is activated with multiple switches to control the cursor.