Assistive Technology

Assistive Technology (AT) includes a wide range of technology products that are used to support persons with disabilities as they work, learn, play and live in their communities. Some examples of AT include: crutches, wheelchairs, ramps, hearing aids, Braille printers, adaptive software, communication devices, just to mention a few.

We have grouped all AT – whether high-tech or basic – into 17 categories. Under each category, we also provide some examples. Below is a list of the 17 categories with some examples of AT:


AT categories


AT category descriptions & examples


What do these types of AT do?


1. Clocks, Alarms, Memory

Includes devices for measuring, displaying, and speaking the time as well as calendar software, memory support products such as medication reminders, digital/paper memo pads, and personal emergency alarms, such as fall detectors, insulin- and seizure alarms. Also include devices that transforms signals such as telephone, doorbell etc. to an acoustic or mechanical output.

Enhances safety, alerts the user of incoming signals, allows persons with visual impairments to tell /measure time. Supports people with memory and planning activities.


2. Communication

Includes both electronic and non-electronic systems for facilitating communication such as letter, picture, and symbol boards and alternative and augmentative communication devices (AAC). Also includes audio and visual devices such as recording devices, Daisy players, closed captioning displays and FM systems. Includes all assistive products for telephoning and telematic messaging, such as all kinds of telephones and mobile phones, answering machines, intercoms and entry hones, as well as video communication devices.

Facilitates and enhances face to face and long-distance communication.


3. Eating and Drinking

For eating and drinking includes special plates, bowls, utensils, cups, guards, and other devices to support eating and drinking.
For preparing food and drink includes products to assist with weighing, measuring, cutting, chopping, cleaning and peeling, as well as cooking/frying.

Helps people to eat and drink independently, as well as prepare food and drink.

4. Environmental Modifications

Includes changes to the environment that improve access and provide support while walking, standing, getting up and changing position such as ramps, stair lifts, handrails and grab bars.

Provides access to the built environment and provides support while walking, standing, getting up or changing position.


5. Eye and Skin Protection

Includes eye protection such as sun glasses and substances that protect the skin such as sun screen.

Protects fair skin and eyes, particularly for people with albinism.


6. Hearing

Includes products for enhancing hearing and amplifying sound such as hearing aids and amplifiers.

Increases the volume of speech and other sounds to enhance hearing.


7. Mobile and Computer Devices

Includes portable computers, personal digital assistants and smart phones andtablets. Also includes hardware devices and software for computer input (such as adapted and Braille keyboards, adapted mouse and mouse software, scanners, speech recognition) and computer output (such as screen magnifiers, large print/tactile-graphic displays, glare reduction screen, braille printers and displays, speech synthesizers, and text-to-speech software). Also includes and video communication devices.

Input devices support independent use of computers. Output devices enhance various functions through the use of computer devices.


8. Orientation and Navigation

Includes devices for orientation such as white canes, devices with electronic, acoustic, visual and tactile information, and for navigation such as global positioning systems (GPS), tactile maps, etc.

Helps people identify their surroundings and find their way through an environment or to a new destination.


9. Personal Mobility

Includes the full range of mobility systems such as canes, crutches, walkers, cycles, manual and powered wheelchairs, prams and buggies, and accessories for these devices (tips, grips, wheels). Also includes systems for supported transfer such as transfer boards, lifting belts, and turn tables.

Provides and enhances mobility for individuals.


10. Pressure Care

Includes products to prevent pressure sores and ulcers such as pressure relief cushions and mattresses. Note: Wheelchair cushions for positioning is under Standing, lying and posture devices.

Reduces the risk of getting pressure sores.


11. Prostheses and Orthoses

Includes orthotic devices such as splints and braces for the body, limbs and joints, as well as therapeutic footwear. Includes systems for replacing lost limbs such as upper and lower limb prostheses, as well as prostheses of other body parts.

Orthotics improve function, and support and enhance stability and alignment of joints. Prosthetics replaces the function of lost limbs.


12. Reaching, Grasping and Positioning

Includes devices for reaching, grasping and holding objects such as reachers, switches, levers, cranks, grip adapters, mounting systems, suction cups. Includes devices which assist to open containers, bottles and cans and to extract the contents of a tube.

Helps people to reach and hold items, as well as to open containers and extract contents.


13. Reproduction and Sexuality

Includes products that support sexual activity such as vacuum systems, vibrators, and massage devices.

Helps people to engage in sexual and reproductive activities.


14. Standing, Lying and sitting Posture support

Includes devices to support standing (such as standing frames, lying (such as lying/sleeping supports, bed rails, height- and posture adjustable beds, mattresses (excluding pressure care mattresses) and special bedding), and sitting (such as custom seats, floor seats, posture support devices for wheelchairs, including trunk, head, pelvis, leg, arm and foot supports). Also includes lap trays and seat/wheelchair cushions for positioning (excluding pressure care cushions).

Support people to be safely and comfortably positioned in standing, lying and sitting postures.


15. Toileting and Bathing

Includes devices for personal care such as raised toilet seats, bed pans, ostomy care, catheters, diapers, bath seats, and shower chairs.

Helps to support bathing, toileting and continence management.


16. Vision

Includes devices to improve sight such as spectacles, contact lenses, and magnifiers.

Augments or magnifies vision. Note: Does not include computer systems.


17. Writing, Reading and Braille

Includes devices that support reading and writing (in text or Braille) such as audio materials, large print materials, tactile reading, page turners, signature guides, Braille writing equipment and type writers, and word processors, including writing and Braille software.

Devices which help people to read and write.