Assistive can be defined in many ways as there are many forms of assistive technology. One definition would be that from Jensen (as cited in Pain, Mclellan and Gore, 2003, p.14) stating that “any product , instrument, strategy, service and practice, used by people with disabilities and older people – specially produced or generally available – to prevent, compensate, relieve or neutralise the impairment, disability or handicap, and improve the individual’s autonomy and quality of life”
My personal understanding of assistive technology is that it is any product or device which has been adapted or can be assistive to the user’s needs in the ways that they require.
One piece of assistive technology that I have had the pleasure of using is the Go Talk communication range. There are 3 types and sizes in the range, the Go Talk 4+, Go Talk 9+ and the Go Talk 20+. This range is an electronic communication device. These devices allow you to place in pictures in the provided spots and link them up with recorded sentences or descriptions for each picture through the built in microphone. The differences between the range is that the number represents the number of picture slots that device has.
This form of adaptive technology provides an interactive way for clients to learn to pronounce words and make links between sounds and imagery. It can also be used as a form of communication for those with loss of speech or speech impairments. This was one device I used when working alongside OT’s and speech language therapist who were working with clients with dyspraxia.
The cost of these devices range between $260 and $490, the cost is dependent on the size/ model that you buy. They are not very heavy, weighing around 700 grams, model dependent.
Relationship with Occupation
This assistive technology could be linked with occupational transition. The process of children transitioning through education levels is one example of where this device may become a crucial learning aid improving the transition through the levels of education as it is a device which can be made very interactive. Secondly this deceive can be used as a communication aid. By recording sentences that may be basic answers or questions for a person who has suffered from some form of speech impairment it means that they can use this device to communicate with those around them. This may help them transition more easily if they have lost a previous ability to talk/communicate by providing a new way of communication that is easy for them to use and doesn’t use a lot of energy. Another area that this device may be use is with clients who have dementia. The picture slots may be filled with family members or important friends with recordings of who they are and how they relate to the person making the device like a talking photo album reminder for that person. This may help to ease or slow the transitions when the onset of dementia begins.