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Assistive Technology Definition

Posted by
Steve Lee
When it comes to AT we often have our own ideas of what is included and what is excluded. For example an extreme view is the wheel is AT. Another view is that it means low tech solutions like grab rails. Other's think it is high tech things like screen readers. SO can we agree on a definition? At least for ATIS4all. I really like the Kings Fund's definition: 'Assistive Technology (AT) is any product or service designed to enable independence for disabled and older people. (King's Fund consultation, 2001)'.

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Posted by Alejandromoledo
I would suggest two definitions. The first one is more focused on ICT: "Assistive Technology: hardware or software added to, connected to, or incorporated within, a system that increases accessibility for an individual (from ISO 9241-171 [i.15])". However, I rather prefer a more ambitious definition, which allows us to have a broader perspective on AT: "Assistive Technology: any item, piece of equipment, or product system, acquired as such, or modified, or customised, and used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of persons with disabilities". What do you think?
Posted by Svobodova
I fully agree with the King´s Fund definition of the Assistive Technology. It is easily understandable.
Posted by maude_age
The king's fund definition is definitely the easiest to use! I like the word 'enable', and the mention to a product AND a service. The only change we could bring would be to replace 'for disabled and older people.' by 'for persons with disabilities and older persons'.
Posted by RenzoAndrich
I think that the value of a definitions depends on the target at which we are addressing. if we address the public at large, I think that King's Fund's definition, amended as suggested by Maude (and by the UN Convention) is perfect: ""any product or service designed to emable independence for persons with disabilities and older persons". If we address scientists, we have the ISO 9999:2011 definition which is quite complicate (cryptic for the public at large") but detailed ad precise: "Any product (including devices, equipment, instruments and software), especially produced or generally available, used by or for persons with disability for: 1) participation; 2) to protect, support, train, measure or substitute for body functions/structures and activities; 3) to prevent impairments, activity limitations or participation restrictions". Whatever the case, One thing that should be avoided is to restrict the definition of assistive technology to ICT: it is misleading and historically wrong. When we need to restrict the discussion to just ICT products and solution, we should speak of "ICT Assistive Technology", which is a subset of the whole domain of assistive technologies.
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