Adaptive Technology

In today’s high-tech world, many new adaptive technologies are benefiting people with disabilities. Through our experiences, we have been introduced to many different adaptive technologies that people with paralysis use daily. There are a number of websites on the internet where users write about and critique different adaptive technologies.

Lifts are one popular technology. You can purchase and install a hoyer-lift owned by Joerns Healthcare and Invacare Corp. that can help you move from the bed to the wheelchair and back again.

There are also stair-climbers or stair-lifts to allow movement up and down the floors of your home.

Electric beds are popular. If you are lying down in bed, this allows you to sit up, eat, watch television or do anything in an upright position. It also helps alleviate circulation problems if for instance; you need your legs elevated. This can help avoid pressure sores because the mattress can be rotated right or left or up or down. There are many different types of electric beds.

Transfer boards are used for transferring. Moving from a wheelchair to another location is known as a transfer. People learn how to transfer when they are in a rehabilitation unit or when they get home a caregiver can help them learn to do this. If a person has enough upper body strength, he or she may be able to do this without assistance. Transfer boards may be used when moving to and from a bed, bathtub, or anywhere that a person would like to sit.

Door openers and environmental controls such a voice activated remotes can remove household and workplace barriers. Door openers help paralyzed individuals adapt to his or home environment. An automatic door opener can be fitted to swing open or slide doors for accessibility to different areas.

One obvious adaptive technology is the computer. Windows-based PCs, for instance, include accessibility applications and built-in speech recognition as part of the operating system. Macs also have specialized hardware. Computers can get more adaptive. Computer pointing pads in place of a traditional mouse, for instance, are beneficial to quadriplegics who have limited hand gripping capabilities. People can also use a mouth-stick controlled mouse or a sip-and-puff function for left and right clicking. Another more expensive option is a device that tracks subtle head and/or eye movements to position the mouse pointer.

Many people use voice recognition software. There are free program options you can download and software you may purchase. The Dragon NaturallySpeaking software is a popular brand among our network. You may need someone to help install the software if you cannot type because the program asks for your name and activation code.

Headsets and microphones are popular as well and can be used with voice recognition software or for phone calls.

These are just a few of the items that people use. ATBF can assist you by recommending brands and informing you of websites that offer these types of products so that you may price out different options and compare features. Please contact our office at 212-944-8727 if you have any questions about the products described above.