What is assistive technology?

Assistive technology is any kind of technology and/or tool that can be used to enhance the functional independence of a person with a disability. Often, for people with disabilities, accomplishing daily tasks such as communicating with others, going to school or work, or participating in activities can be a challenge. Assistive Technology (AT) devices are tools to help overcome those challenges and enable people living with disabilities to enhance and have access to a quality of life, that may otherwise not be known, and lead more independent lives.

The mission of this blog is to serve as a voice of a constant researcher in the field of educational and assistive technologies so that the best products, strategies and services may be located easily, in hopes that they will then be delivered, taught and used to better the lives of people with disabilities.


"Wall" A poem by an AAC user

Lateef McCloud has this poem posted on his blog and I found it so powerful I wanted to share it with you. I had the opportunity to hear Lateef speak at the AAC on the Bay conference this year. He is a young man who is very well educated and has a lot to say that we all could learn so much from. Having CP, Lateef is left to use a communication device to express himself, which he does so impressively well. However, as you will see by this poem, Wall, it is still not enough. Lateef- thank you for sharing with us your emotions and insights that are so powerful. It will help us to learn...


This sharp clawing at the back of the neck
loneliness clutching my throat
I suffocate from the emptiness I feel alone and invisible
my friends and family
say they want to hang around me
I hear whispers of them in the breeze

I can't use my 3000 dollar lightwriter as a paperweight
a tortoise tries to crawl a race with a bullet train
the word-prediction capabilities
don't shield me from the impatient faces that tap their toes
their eyes always wander looking for the next novelty
they need patience
but my cell phone goes deathly for hours in the day
can't we just find a fiber optic way
to hook my brain to the machine
so my thoughts can be electronically voiced
over twelve-inch speakers

So we left with a clear wall
made of shards of ice and glass
I can see this barrier everyday
the sun glinting off its clear reflection
everyone acts as if it were not there
and does not see me cut my hand and feet
as I try to knock this wall down
I kick and punch until my feet and hands
are oozing with blood
I yell myself hoarse like a bullfrog
but I cannot get my family and friends to get close to me
so they really know
my dreams, thoughts, desires, and feelings
I shiver behind this clear wall
and wait for someone to notice me
wait for a chance to speak

By Lateef McLeod