Assistive Technology (Overview)

Assistive technology includes devices and software used by those with impairments of one type or another.  This section lists sources for assistive technology as well as agencies that help set the standards for evaluation of AT, agencies that are helping to bring AT to a wider audience, and information about AT in general. User information and discussion groups may also be found here.  

Overview of Assistive Technology
Paths to Literacy
Begin your understanding of assistive technology with this overview of the tools and devices used by the visually impaired to assist their daily activities.

Overview of Assistive Technology
Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI)
TSBVI offers an overview specific to student use, including technology assessments, training materials, lesson plans, and other technology-related information.  Additional links provided by TSBVI are available in their Resources section.

Deafblind Technology Solutions
Perkins eLearning, Perkins School for the Blind

To learn more about the various devices available for deafblind communication, including communication with hearing and/or sighted individuals, view this tutorial from Perkins and Perkins Products.

Department of Justice Guidelines for Software
United States Department of Justice
The Department of Justice shares questions for evaluating the accessibility software programs most used by its employees and many businesses.

Special Issue: Technology
Future Reflections, 2012

Future Reflections, the publication of the National Organization of Parents of Blind Children, produced this special issue in 2012, dedicated to access technology for users who are blind.

Laptops, Braille Displays, Screen Readers & Screen Enlargement - Assistive Technology for the Blind
Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind 

A short video that demonstrates how laptops, refreshable braille displays, screen readers, and screen enlargement devices are being used by the blind and visually impaired students at the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind in St. Augustine, Florida.


Web-Based Organizations and Resources

ABLEDATA has a searchable datable of AT products and manufacturers, both domestic and international. The category AT Resources allows one to search for assistive technology grants and loans.

Access World 
American Foundation for the Blind

Access World is an AFB publication with product comparisons and reviews of assistive technology for people with visual impairments; archives are fully searchable.

American Foundation for the Blind
This section of the AFB website features descriptions of adaptive equipment, user tips, and advice on making web sites and computer applications accessible to people who are visually impaired.

Assistive Technology Assessment, with Ike Presley
Perkins eLearning Webcasts

In this 25 minute video, Presley shares the strategies involved in conducting an assessment to choose the right assistive technology tool for the learner.

Closing the Gap
Subscribers receive Solutions, a bi-monthly online newletters on new assistive technology, and full access to the comprehensive Resource Directory of AT products. Non-subscribers can search the directory with less detail.


Essential Websites

Center on Technology and Disability (FCTD)
This federally funded resource offers a wealth of information, "designed to increase the capacity of families and providers to advocate for, acquire, and implement effective assistive and instructional technology (AT/IT) practices, devices, and services."

A Guide to Assistive Technology in K-12 Schools

This Canadian website is mostly concerned with wheelchair use, and accessories and clothing for wheelchair users. This section links to a wealth of resources on a wide range of high- and low-tech devices and adaptations that can serve children of school age.

National Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program
Federal Communications Commission (aka ICanConnect)

The National Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program (NDBEDP) enables low-income individuals who are deaf-blind to access 21st-century communications services.  This program will help ensure that qualified individuals have access to the internet, advanced communications, and information services.