Assistive Technology

Assistive Technology (AT) refers to any item or product used to maintain or improve the functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities.


This can be:

  • High-tech- a computer operated by eye movement
  • Low-tech- a door handle designed for people with dexterity or muscle strength challenges.
  • Large – a chair-lift for a van
  • Small –  pen or pencil grip


And also include wheelchairs, prosthetics, speech-generating devices, Braille technology, hearing aids and more.


AT is rapidly growing, as is the support for universal design– the idea for products and services to be accessible by people with and without disabilities (see the work done by Google, Apple and Microsoft, for example). More and more products are becoming accessible, usable and desirable by all.


Below is an AT timeline, provided by Blue Bird Care.


This timeline has been produced by Bluebird Care



UCP Elsie S. Bellows Fund – Available only through UCP affiliates and helps provide AT equipment to individuals with disabilities.


Programs and Other Helpful Resources:


State AT Programs – Federally mandated for each state. Find information about low-cost computers, loan programs, AT evaluations and more.


Alternative Finance Programs – Find the Alternative Finance Program in your state.

Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS) – a telephone service that allows persons with hearing or speech disabilities to place and receive telephone calls.


Alliance for Technology Access – The mission of the ATA is to increase the use of technology by children and adults with disabilities and functional limitations.


Assistive Technology Industry Association – The Assistive Technology Industry Association (ATIA) is a not-for-profit membership organization of manufacturers, sellers, and providers of technology-based assistive devices and/or services.


Pass It On Center – The Pass It On Center fosters the appropriate reuse of AT so that people with disabilities can get affordable AT they need in order to live, learn, work and play more independently.


AbleData – Able Data provides objective information about assistive technology products and rehabilitative equipment.

AssistiveTech – provides information on AT devices and services as well as other community resources for people with disabilities and the general public.


Enabling Devices – a company dedicated to developing inventive learning and assistive technology devices to help people of all ages with disabling conditions.