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Assistive Technology Assessment

An Assistive Technology Assessment must be conducted by a team comprised of people who together have a solid understanding of the following four areas:

  1. The person who will be the end user - Client, student or resident's strength and limitations.
  2. The environment where the assistive technology will be used. Work, home, school or community.
  3. The tasks which the person needs to accomplish. Movement, communication, access to computers or the educational environment.
  4. The technology that will best answer the challenges of the person, by building on strengths minimizing limitations through out the most environment, and allowing the most important tasks to be accomplished.

The SETT Framework designed by Joy Zavala gives a great tool the for managing these area. Download SETT forms here. It is best to have a team that includes:

  • The Occupational Therapist (OT) evaluates hand (fine motor) and total body (gross motor) skills, touch and movement abilities, visual perception, positioning, and helps to find the person's best method to use assistive technology.
  • The Physical Therapist (PT) evaluates seating, positioning, and mobility. The PT works closely with the OT and Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) to find the best position for the person to be in when using the technology.
  • The Speech-Language Pathologist evaluates the person's communication abilities. The SLP is very important in deciding the type of augmentative communication that will work.
  • Other, more specialized team members may be needed. Rehabilitation engineers design and make customized technology. Architects plan any structural changes needed in buildings. Physicians write prescriptions for an assistive technology assessment and for recommended equipment. Audiologists assess and recommend hearing and listening aids.

Hightech Rehab Solutions provides an overall knowledge of Assistive Technology when we become part of your Assistive Technology Team. Our staff have backgrounds in rehabilitation, schools, occupational therapy, ergonomics and vocational rehabilitation.

Our team of professionals will be able to analyze the complete person.

  • Posture, physical status including pressure sensitivity, sensation, muscle tone, range of motion, strength, and alignment.
  • Specific gross and fine motor control, including specific hand skills and use.
  • Method of mobility.
  • Visual-perception skills and visual memory.
  • As these areas are evaluated, the therapist identifies motor movements the person could use to control technology devices.

Augmentative Communication Assessment

An augmentative communication assessment requires all of the above and evaluating the individual's:

  • Current method of communication including receptive and expressive language, speech, vocabulary selection, literacy skills, understanding of encoding strategies, use of gestures and facial expressions, and interactive language skills across partners and situations.
  • Auditory perception and memory.
  • Cognitive skills including the ability to handle codes that may be used to control augmentative communication devices.

Environment Assessment

The Environment Assessment is important because this is where the individual will use the technology. Work, school, and home environments have different needs. All must be considered. Space is the square footage available for the technology. At home, space is used by one person (my room). At school and work, space is not specific to an individual. Both should be considered.

  • Accessibility is entering and performing in the environment alone and with the technology.
  • Accommodation is the fit between the environment and the technology.
  • Family needs include the ability of the technology to fit into the routine of the family.
  • Peers, both co-workers or classmates, are affected by the technology. Sometimes technology is too noisy or disrupts the routines of the peers. The team will want to avoid adversely affecting others.

Other considerations include is the technology portable? Can it be moved by the individual, or does someone else have to move it? Is a support network available? Does the individual have peers or a teacher that will help the individual use the technology?

 

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