What is assistive technology?
Assistive technology (AT) is any item, piece of equipment, software program, or product system that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of persons with disabilities. It can be a piece of hardware or it can be software, it can be built in to the operating system of a device or can be a third-party product.
Types of assistive technology
Assistive technology aids individuals with a variety of disabilities including individuals who are blind or have low-vision, who are D/deaf or hard-of-hearing, or who may have difficulty with fine motor skills. Assistive technology is also used by individuals with cognitive or learning disabilities.
|User Population||Types of assistive technology used|
|Without vision||Screen readers, braille output|
|With limited vision||Screen readers, screen magnifiers, color and contrast modification|
|Without perception of color||Color and contrast modification|
|Without hearing||Captions (including live/CART)|
|With limited hearing||Captions (including live/CART)|
|With limited manipulation||Alternative pointing devices, adaptive keyboards, switch devices, voice control|
|With language, cognitive, and learning disabilities||Text to speech software, reading and study aids|
Assistive technology built in to operating systems
- Accessibility Support for Windows: Information about the Windows Ease of Access Center options including Magnifier, Narrator, High Contrast, Speech Recognition, etc.
- Mac Accessibility Support: Information about VoiceOver, Zoom, Color and Contrast settings, Sticky Keys, etc.
Third-party assistive technology
- Screen readers: JAWS, NVDA
- Screen magnifiers: ZoomText
- Reading and study aids: Read&Write, Microsoft Learning Tools
- Other: EquatIO
- An exhaustive, categorized list of current assistive technologies is maintained on the Accessible Technology Software Trello board by Joshua Hori at UC Davis.