What is Assistive Technology?
Assistive Technology (AT) is used by individuals with disabilities in order to perform functions that might otherwise be difficult or impossible for them. IDEA defines an Assistive technology device as “any item, piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of a child with a disability.” (Sec 300.5) Assistive Technology devices can include mobility devices such as walkers and wheelchairs, hardware that assist access to computers, computer software such as Phonetic Spelling software, variable speed recorders, etc.
What is Alternative/Augmentative Communication?
Alternative and Augmentative Communication (AAC) techniques can be used with students who are not speaking or who are not proficient verbal speakers. AAC includes low-tech picture symbols such as PECS systems, PODD books, and visuals used to support verbal speech. Some AAC students use medium-tech such as GoTalk, CheapTalk, or Voice Output Switches. Alternatively, others may include high-tech systems such as dedicated Speech Generating Devices such as Tobii Dynavox, PRC, or Saltillo, eye-gaze communication systems, and/or iPad based communication systems such as Proloquo2go, TouchChat with WordPower, or LAMP Words for Life.
Most students will use a combination of systems. For example, they might have a high-tech device with low-tech backup and also sign to familiar communication partners.
|Alternative/Augmentative Communication (AAC)||Assistive Technology (AT)|
Information adapted from: Assistive Technology and Alternative and Augmentative Communication by Nassau County & Suffolk County – Long Island. Retrieved from http://www.alternatives4children.org/assistive-technology-and-alternative-augmentative-communication.html