What is assistive technology?
Assistive technology is any tool that is used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities for engaging with materials. Such tools include:
- Prosthetics: used by people with limb differences.
- Special switches: used by people with limited movement or motor function disabilities. Such tools include sip-puff and pointing devices.
- Keyboards: used for navigation and text entry by people who cannot use a mouse or choose not to do so.
- Braille displays and screen readers: used by people who are blind or have low vision.
- Captions: used by people who are d/Deaf or hard of hearing, those with print-related disabilities, those who are neurodivergent, and language learners. They are beneficial for someone who needs to get information from audio in environments that make accessing audio difficult, like loud or very quiet spaces.
If technology isn’t designed with accessibility in mind, assistive technology may not be able to function well and people may encounter barriers. Many people use assistive technology to engage and thrive in the world, and making technology more accessible ensures that systems and content can be engaged with by people using those strategies, including people with disabilities who might often rely on assistive technology.
Some requests for disability-related accommodations may include assistive technology. If you have an accommodation request or need to learn more about accommodations at Wake Forest,
- For students, contact The Center for Learning, Access, and Student Success (CLASS) at firstname.lastname@example.org (336-758-5929)
- For faculty and staff, contact email@example.com, explore the Accommodation Process for Employees, and refer to the details in the NonDiscrimination on the Basis of Disability Policy from HR.
Getting to know assistive technology
Below you can find links to quick introductions to three types of common assistive technologies. As always, if you have any suggestions for feedback or improvements, please contact us and let us know!