What is AT (Assistive Technology)?

Assistive Technology is any tool allowing individuals with impairments to use their own unique abilities to reach their goals. Such impairments may be permanent or temporary. AT is defined as technological tools (computers and communication devices) used to access education, employment, recreation or communication, living as independently as possible. There are also many tools that are low cost, low-tech solutions that can be considered AT tools.

Most people start with a goal such as, “I want to access a computer but I can’t use a keyboard”, “I’ve been temporarily injured and need to use a computer at work”, or “I cannot see a computer screen but I want to get on the Internet”.

Examples of AT include, but are not limited to, talking word processors, specialized keyboards, communication devices, arm and wrist supports, amplified telephone handsets, screen magnifiers or larger sized monitors, and environmental controls.

Where can I find AT on campus?

We currently have multiple universally designed workstations, a variety of AT applications, 2 scanners, and 1 CCTV/Opteplec station. You will find computers with AT applications in the Filene Center and 1 in Wallace Library on the periodicals level. Also it the library you’ll find 1 Opteplec reading station. Visit or call Technology Support at extension 3900 for more information and equipment locations.

Software information and exact locations of this equipment can be found on our Assistive Technology location site.

Does AT come with computers?

Mainstream technology has been moving increasingly in the direction of Universal Design. This means that mainstream hardware and software, “out of the box” is usable or customizable for use by a wide range of consumers with varying abilities and goals.

Operating systems on PC (Windows) and Macintosh each include options that meet the needs of many people with impairments. The advantages are that there is no extra cost to the consumer and are present and available to all. The user simply needs to know that they are there and to customize them for optimum individual use.

Who can I contact for more information?

The Office of Accessibility Services (OAS) is responsible for most assistive technology on campus. We work closely with Technology Support to aid students. For more information you may call OAS at x8215 or Technology Support at x3900 or email [email protected]

More A T information

Great resource for teaching and learning

Resources for the Learning Disabilities community
LD Resources
National Center to improve practice in special education through Technology, Media, and Materials

Computer workstations and more
OSHA ergonomic solutions