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Assistive Technology

Occupational Description

People who work in the field of Assistive Technology assess the needs of clients with disabilities, assist in the selection of appropriate assistive technology to meet their customer’s needs, and train their clients to use the selected technology. 
Assistive technology may include—but is not limited to:
  • AAC (Augmentative and alternative communication)
  • Accessible transportation (public and private)
  • ADL (aids to daily living / activities of daily living)
  • Cognitive aids
  • Computer access
  • EADL (electronic aids to daily living)
  • Environmental aids
  • Learning and study aids
  • Recreation and leisure
  • Seating, positioning and mobility
  • Sensory (e.g. hearing, vision, physical) aids and accommodations
  • Vocational aids and accommodations

Job Description

Professionals who work in the Assistive Technology field come from a variety of professional and technical backgrounds and work in interdisciplinary teams to analyze the needs of clients with many types of impairments. They assist in the selection of appropriate assistive technology to reduce impairments related to the effects of disability, helping clients identify their goals, and collaborate in meeting a client’s needs through acquisition, setup and installation, and training in the use of the selected device(s), measuring outcomes, and understand evidence based process. People who work in the field of Assistive Technology assess the person’s abilities and goals, determine the need for assistive technology, and incorporate that technology to prepare for, and maintain employment.

Employment Characteristics

Assistive Technology Professionals may be employed in one or more of the following job settings:
  • Acute care hospital
  • Inpatient rehab facility
  • Health system or hospital-based outpatient facility or clinic
  • Private outpatient office or private practice
  • Skilled nursing facility/long term care facility
  • Patient's home/home care
  • Community-based center, i.e. independent living center, AT specialty center
  • Government funded agency
  • Academic institutions (primary, secondary, or post-secondary)
  • Retail AT supplier
  • Complex Rehabilitation Technology (CRT) supplier/provider
  • Durable Medical Equipment (DME supplier/provider)
  • Research center
  • Industry/Manufacturer
Regardless of the job setting, their work involves hands-on, direct-to-client interactivity in assessing the client’s abilities and/or matching the client with an appropriate AT solution.  Depending on the professional’s role in the AT service delivery process, the amount of worktime dedicated to AT services varies.

Educational Programs

Assistive Technology Professionals may be employed in one or more of the following job settings:
  • Acute care hospital
  • Inpatient rehab facility
  • Health system or hospital-based outpatient facility or clinic
  • Private outpatient office or private practice
  • Skilled nursing facility/long term care facility
  • Patient's home/home care
  • Community-based center, i.e. independent living center, AT specialty center
  • Government funded agency
  • Academic institutions (primary, secondary, or post-secondary)
  • Retail AT supplier
  • Complex Rehabilitation Technology (CRT) supplier/provider
  • Durable Medical Equipment (DME supplier/provider)
  • Research center
  • Industry/Manufacturer
Regardless of the job setting, their work involves hands-on, direct-to-client interactivity in assessing the client’s abilities and/or matching the client with an appropriate AT solution.  Depending on the professional’s role in the AT service delivery process, the amount of worktime dedicated to AT services varies.

Certification/Registration

Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America
Phone:  (703) 524-6686
Email:  info@resna.org
Website: www.resna.org
 
Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation and Education Professionals
Phone: (520-887-6816)
Email: css@acvrep.org
Website: https://www.acvrep.org
 
Certificate program:
International Society of Wheelchair Professionals
Website: http://wheelchairnet.org

Careers/Curriculum

The following list is a sampling of organizations that provide membership and/or continuing education opportunities to individuals who work in assistive technology service provision.  This listing is not intended to be comprehensive.
 
Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America
1560 Wilson Blvd
Phone:  (703) 524-6686
Email:  info@resna.org
Website: www.resna.org
 
Assistive Technology Industry Association
Phone:  (312)321-5172
Email:  info@ATIA.org
Website: www.atia.org
 
American Occupational Therapy Association, Inc.  (AOTA)
Phone: 301-652-6611
Website: www.aota.org
 
American Physical Therapy Association
Phone: (800) 999-2782
Email: learningcenter@apta.org
Website: https://www.apta.org/
 
American Speech-Language-Hearing Assocation
Phone: 800-638-8255
Website: http://www.asha.org/
 
AAC Institute
Phone: 412-489-5527
Website: http://aacinstitute.org/
 
International Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication
Phone: (905) 850-6848
Website: https://www.isaac-online.org/
 
Quality Indicators in Assistive Technology
Email: QIATleadership@gmail.com
Website: http://www.qiat.org/