Assistive technology includes devices and software programs designed to help individuals with disabilities or difficulties in performing daily tasks. In Australia, these technologies have become increasingly important and widespread in recent years, supporting individuals with disabilities.
In this article, we will explore the various types of assistive technologies available in Australia and how they are helping individuals with disabilities lead more independent and fulfilling lives.
What Is Assistive Technology?
The history of assistive technology can be traced back to the early 20th century when the first devices were developed to help people with disabilities to live more independently. However, the real growth in assistive technology occurred in the latter half of the 20th century, with the advent of new technologies and the increasing recognition of the need for such devices.
In the 1960s and 1970s, the disability rights movement gained momentum, and this helped to raise awareness about the importance of assistive technology. At the same time, advances in electronics and computing made it possible to develop new and more sophisticated assistive devices.
During the 1980s and 1990s, the introduction of personal computers and the Internet opened up new possibilities for people with disabilities. This period saw the development of computer access technology, including adapted keyboards / mouse, and screen readers.
In recent years, assistive technology has continued to evolve, with new devices being developed to meet the needs of a broader range of disabilities. In addition, the widespread use of mobile devices has also made it easier for people with disabilities to access and use assistive technology.
Assistive technology is an essential tool for millions of people with disabilities, allowing them to live more independently. The continued development of new and innovative assistive technologies will be key to ensuring that people with disabilities have the support they need to live their lives to the fullest.
What Are Some Examples Of Assistive Technology?
One of the most common types of assistive technology, mobile aids are devices that help individuals with physical disabilities to move around more easily and safely. Examples include wheelchairs, scooters, walkers, canes and crutches.
In Australia, there is a wide range of mobility aids available, from manual wheelchairs to powered scooters. These devices can be customised to meet individual needs, making them more comfortable and effective.
Another type of assistive technology is communication devices. These devices are designed to help individuals with speech or hearing difficulties communicate more effectively. For example, individuals with speech difficulties may use speech-generating devices, alternative keyboards, and communication boards, whilst individuals with hearing difficulties may use hearing aids or cochlear implants. These devices are widely available and can also be tailored to a person's needs, so they can communicate with their friends, family and carers well.
Environmental Control Units
These devices allow individuals with physical disabilities to lead more independent lives and control their environment. For example, adaptive switches and remote controls can help individuals with physical disabilities control lights, appliances and other electronic devices more easily.
Computer Access Technology
Specialised computer programs and software can help individuals with disabilities to use computers and other electronic devices more effectively. Examples include adapted keyboards, mouse alternatives and screen readers.
Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC)
These devices and systems help individuals with communication difficulties express themselves and participate in daily life. Examples include communication boards, symbol-based communication systems and sign language interpretation.
These devices help individuals with hearing and vision impairments. Examples include magnifying glasses and closed captioning systems, which are commonly used by individuals with visual impairments to help them see text or images more clearly. Similarly, individuals with hearing impairments may use hearing aids or cochlear implants to help them hear sounds more clearly.
Assistive technologies for individuals with cognitive or learning difficulties are also available in Australia. For example, software programs can help individuals with reading difficulties, such as dyslexia, to better understand written text. Similarly, memory aids can help individuals with memory difficulties to remember important information.
In addition to all the above, assistive technologies are also available in the workplace to help individuals with disabilities perform their jobs more effectively. For example, speech-to-text software and specialised keyboard software can help individuals with disabilities type and communicate more easily. Similarly, specialised software can help individuals with disabilities perform mathematical calculations, use email and perform other computer-based tasks.
LusioMATE is another assistive technology device that has a significant impact on improving people's quality of life.
Lusio Rehab: Helping Improve Health Outcomes Through Technology
LusioMATE is another assistive technology device that has a significant impact on improving people's quality of life, by helping them achieve their physical therapy and rehabilitation movement goals through fun and engaging gameplay.
Assistive technologies have become increasingly important in Australia, providing support and independence to individuals with disabilities. From mobility aids to communication devices, there is a wide range of assistive technology available to help individuals with disabilities to lead more independent and fulfilling lives. With continued advancements in technology, it is likely that these technologies will become even more sophisticated and effective in the future.
At Lusio Rehab, we offer a versatile physical therapist in your pocket—LusioMATE! This physical therapy ecosystem app has wearable sensors that can be attached to any part of the body and connect via bluetooth to an ever growing number of FUN exergames created to entertain and motivate Players through their tailor made PT programs. The app provides real time feedback and full remote monitoring capability ideal for tele-rehabilitation.. It’s available for use in clinics, at home, and anywhere.
Contact us today to know more about LusioMATE.