Assistive Technology - What is it?

The Lighthouse’s unique expertise in assistive technology is woven into the fabric of many different services we provide.  But what exactly is assistive technology?


Assistive Technology (AT) is defined as any device or item that helps an older adult or person with a disability participate more fully in life.  

  • Assistive technology helps people do things they wouldn’t otherwise be able do because of their disability.
  • It can be as simple as a foam grip that makes it easier for a child with a disability to hold a crayon.
  • Or, it can be as sophisticated as a screen-reading software that allows a person who is blind to use the computer.


The opportunities offered by assistive technology are rapidly expanding! 

Other examples include:

  • speech-generating devices
  • handheld or electronic magnifiers
  • specialized “tremor-neutralizing” eating utensils
  • wheelchairs
  • bath chairs
  • tactile or high contrast markings around the home
  • grab bars
  • fall monitoring or door alarm systems
  • medication reminders
  • ramps
  • telehealth software
  • Smart Home technologies that allow a person with a disability to more independently operate lights, window shades, TV, or music


You may have also heard the term “adaptive technology.”

Adaptive technology is a subset of assistive technology.

It refers to special versions of (or “add-ons” to) existing technology that are specifically designed to allow people with disabilities to access that technology.
Examples include:
  • screen reading or speech recognition software that allows computer use for people with visual or physical disabilities
  • amplified telephone system
  • large print or audio books (This example is considered “adaptive technology” if it allows someone with a disability access to the existing “technology” of the written word).


Definitions aside, the bottom line is that assistive technology (AT) helps people challenged by disability or aging play, learn, work and live more independently. AT is one very important way we help people live vital lives.

Click here for our Tech Referral page