​   ​​The New England Consortium  on Deafblindness  (NEC)

                                                       A Deafblind Community of Practice

                              Serving Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont

What is assistive technology?

       Assistive technology is technology used by individuals with disabilities in order to perform functions that might otherwise be difficult or impossible. Assistive technology can include mobility devices such as walkers and wheelchairs, as well as hardware, software, and peripherals that assist people with disabilities in accessing computers or other information technologies. For example, people with limited hand function may use a keyboard with large keys or a special mouse to operate a computer, people who are blind may use software that reads text on the screen in a computer-generated voice, people with low vision may use software that enlarges screen content, people who are deaf may use a TTY (text telephone), or people with speech impairments may use a device that speaks out loud as they enter text via a keyboard.

A formal, legal definition of assistive technology was first published in the Technology-Related Assistance for Individuals with Disabilities Act of 1988 (The Tech Act). This act was amended in 1994; in 1998, it was repealed and replaced with the Assistive Technology Act of 1998 ("AT Act"). Throughout this history, the original definition of assistive technology remained consistent. This same definition was used in the Access Board's   Electronic and Information Technology Accessibility Standards, developed as required by 1998 amendments to Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act.

Assistive Technology Links

(AT) websites, links and video clips.

  • The PACER Center and the National Center have developed two AIM Guides for Families and Advocates. The AIM Accessible Instructional Materials Guide (A Technical Guide) and The AIM Accessible Instructional Materials Guide (Basics for Families).

  • The Technical Guide provides background information on AIM provisions in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and gives a thorough description of the decision making process for AIM.

  •  Basics for Families is an introductory booklet, written in plain language that outlines the four steps of the AIM decision-making process.

  • GetATStuff - the Assistive Technology Exchange in New England. Here you can look for or list Assistive Technology devices for sale or for free. The goal of getATstuff is to help get Assistive Technology devices that are no longer being used into the hands of people who need and can benefit from them. 

Additional Links:

Assistive Technology