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.


Communication Exchange

I was doing a little research one day and I came across a site called Voice Colors

"Through visual scripts and supports, Voice Colors© CRM focuses on giving the individual structured and unstructured opportunities to learn how to communicate and effectively participate in exchanges using a variety of language acts." Their services are based on: "The VCCRM educational approach enables individuals on the autism spectrum to learn and experience a diverse array of initiatives. The principles of communication, independence and building relationships are applied to a wide variety of daily activities that are meaningful, motivating and promote an enriched life."

What really spoke to me was their listing of "Language Acts as the Foundation For Communication Exchange". I often hear, "We understand him (or her.)" Do we really understand everything they may want to say? Consider, are they able to:
  • Ask a specific person for assistance
  • Request a diverse array of specific items
  • Ask for a break
  • Comment about an activity or personal achievement
  • Comment about a personal setback or disappointment
  • Comment about an aesthetic preference
  • Convey a point of view
  • Initiate an idea or choice
  • Initiate and sustain a social exchange
  • Initiate a change in the schedule
  • Ask and answer an array of questions
  • Anticipate an event or visit
  • Express humor about specific interactions or situations
  • Express remorse
  • Express empathy
  • Express frustration
  • Express desire to see a family member or friend
  • Express concern about others
  • Demonstrate generosity
  • Understand why a personal change in lifestyle or health status occurs
  • Understand when and why an event or change occurs
  • Gain clarification and/or additional information on a topic
  • Recognize errors and inform communication partners
  • Reflect about a personal experience
  • Negotiate the terms of a compromise
  • Disagree with directives and offer alternatives
  • Advocate for oneself and others
  • Change one’s mind
  • Review social guidelines or stories independently
  • Rehearse scripts as a path toward greater understanding and acceptance
From  http://www.voicecolors.org/presentations/voice-colors-topics

Shouldn't they be allowed to communicate as much as they want to? If we do not provide a means, look at all that we might be missing! You might need to start small, but let's not forget any of these topics over time. It's a great goal! Making a request is not enough. It is only the beginning.

To help us get there, great rules for a classroom and a home environment: 

Found on Pinterest, by Rachael Langley, AAC Specialist
Beautiful, isn't it? Thank you, Rachael.