Man in wheelchairImagine how your life would change, if all of a sudden, you were to become a person with a disability. Whether its vision or hearing loss, or the loss of one’s mobility, most people don’t think that it will ever happen to them. But the reality is, that nineteen percent of Americans currently live with a disability, and according to the Social Security Administration, for people in their twenties living today, one in four will become disabled before reaching retirement age.

For anyone facing the life changing prospect of living with a disability, the main thing to realize is that help is available. From peer support to in-home healthcare to assistive technology, there are options that can help you to live a normal and independent life. Though all of these topics are important tools in the journey to independence for people with disabilities, today I will focus on assistive technology.

Assistive technology is a term that refers to devices designed or modified for the purpose of enabling people with disabilities to perform tasks that they were previously unable to perform. All sorts of products can be found under the assistive technology umbrella, but today I will focus on the two categories we work with in the Assistive Technology department at The IC. The Assistive Technology department works with other departments at The IC to provide consumers with assistive devices and home modifications that help them to live a more independent life.

Assistive devices can be broken down into two categories, low tech and high tech. A low tech example of an assistive device would be a walker. It seems simple, but a walker can mean a world of difference for someone experiencing limited use of their lower limbs, and sometimes the simplest solutions can make the most difference for people with disabilities. A high tech example of an assistive device is a desktop video magnifier. For an individual who is blind or experiencing low vision, a screen reader can increase the size of text and images on printed materials or a computer screen. This makes it possible to read text or see images that would otherwise be undistinguishable.

In addition to assistive devices, The IC also includes home modifications in the services that we offer to consumers. For many people with disabilities, living in a home that wasn’t designed with their specific needs in mind can be difficult. For example, the standard installation of kitchen cabinets can make accessing the sink extremely difficult for a person using a wheel chair, due to the lack of space under the sink for wheel chair travel. But with a simple home modification, this problem can be solve. By removing the cabinets under the sink, the individual can easily fit their chair under the sink and gain needed access.

If you or a loved one need help with assistive devices or home modifications, don’t hesitate to contact us here at The Independence Center. The Assistive Technology department regularly helps people with disabilities to find solutions that expand their capabilities and improve their independence. To speak to someone at The IC, or to learn more about assistive technology, give us a call at (719) 471-8181.