Assistive Devices

Assistive Devices 

An assistive device is a hardware and/or software that makes a particular function easier or possible to perform for the persons with disabilities. This section provides information on the assistive devices/aids and appliances required by persons with disabilities including mental retardation, loco motor disability, hearing impairment, speech impairment, visual impairment, cerebral palsy, multiple disabilities and so on. The information provided here is being constantly updated primarily in the form of adding new assistive devices, updating rates and expanding availability of the devices. Therefore, please make frequent checks for latest information on assistive devices under each category of disability.

Visual Impairment:

The category of visual impairment includes “low vision” and “Blindness”. According to the Persons With Disabilities (PWD) Act, 1995, low vision means impairment of visual functioning even after treatment or standard refractive correction but who uses or is potentially capable of using vision for the planning or execution of a task with appropriate assistive device. Blindness refers to a condition where a person suffers from any conditions including total absence of sight, or visual acuity not exceeding 6160 or 201200 (snellen) in the better eye with correcting lenses or limitation of the field of vision subtending an angle of 20 degree or worse. Assistive devices for the persons with visual impairment can be grouped under educational devices (like braille duplicators and writers, writing devices, braille paper, talking books and tape recorders, reading machines, braille computers, mathematical devices, geography devices, science devices etc.) mobility devices (like canes, electronic travel devices, mobility show cards, mini beepers etc.), vocational devices (like goniometer, attachmentto lathe, spot welding, continuity tester, braille micrometer, rotomatic rule, folding boxwood rule, stanley saw guide, stanley drill guide, light probe, metal and voltage detector, stanley combination square, stanley caliper rule, starrett micrometer, Ohaus Port-O-Gram talking scale, audible carpenters level etc.), low vision devices (like magnifiers of books, screen, cards, overhead projectors, spectacles, lenses etc.), aids and devices for performing activities of living (like clocks and watches, games and puzzles, sports, kitchen equipments, thermo voice: announces temperature, talking blood pressure and pulse monitoring kit, Becton Dickinson Magni Guide: for accepting barrel of insulin syringe, insulin needle guide, talking blood glucose monitoring kit, big print address book, talking wallet, locklid saucepan, weight talker, key finder, clothing identifiers, tactile braille signs, eye-ease eye drop guide, medicine spoon etc.)

Speech Impairment:

Speech impairment refers to person's inability to speak properly. Speech of a person is judged to be impaired if the person's speech was not understood by the listener. The persons with speech impairment include persons with loss of complete voice. The category of communication disorder encompasses speech and language disorders. Speech disorders include voice disorders, articulation disorders and fluency disorders. The devices for the person with speech impairment include communication aids (like, portable speech synthesizer) and educational kits. Speech trainer, delayed auditory feedback (DAF), alternative augmentative communication (AAC), Dr. Speech, VAGHMI, computerized speech lab (CSL), artificial larynx, meteronome, prosthesis for cleft of palate etc. 

Hearing Impairment:

As per the Persons With Disabilities (PWD) Act, 1995, hearing impairment means loss of sixty decibels or more in the better year in the conversational range of' frequencies. The category of assistive devices for the person with hearing impaired largely comprised of hearing aids and assistive listening devices. These devices include body level and ear level (behind-the-ear, spectacle, in-the-ear, in-the-canal and completely-in-the-canal) hearing aids. Conventional, programmable and digital hearing aids are also available for the persons with hearing impairment. Assistive listening devices help the hearing impaired person in obtaining additional information in situations where a hearing aid alone may not be effective. These devices enhance perception of sounds/speech such as doorbells, telephone rings, telephone conversation and television signals etc. An ear mold is used to couple specific types of hearing aids to the ear of the user. There are hard molds, soft molds and shell for in-the-ear and canal type hearing aids. For the group needs, assistive devices include FM systems, infra red systems, hardwire systems, induction loop systems etc.

Locomotor Disability:

As per the Persons With Disabilities (PWD) Act, 1995, loco motor disability means disability of the bones, joints muscles leading to substantial restriction of the movement of the limbs or any form of cerebral palsy. The assistive devices available for the persons with loco motor disability include orthotic devices, prosthetic devices, and rehabilitative devices. The orthotic devices primarily include ankle foot orthosis (AFO), knee ankle foot orthosis (KAFO), hip knee ankle foot orthosis (HKAFO), reciprocating gait orthosis (RGO), and smart walker orthosis (SWO). Prosthesis is an artificial extension that replaces a missing body part. Prostheses are typically used to replace parts lost by injury (traumatic) or missing from birth (congenital) or to supplement defective body parts. In addition to the standard artificial limb for every-day use, many amputees have special limbs and devices to aid in the participation of sports and recreational activities. 

Mental Retardation:

As per the Persons with Disabilities (PWD) Act, 1995, mental retardation means a condition of arrested or incomplete development of mind of a person which is specially characterized by sub normality of intelligence. This condition may occur in the form of borderline mental retardation, mild mental retardation, moderate mental retardation, severe mental retardation and profound mental retardation. The assistive devices for the persons with mental retardation include worksheets, workbooks, picture boards, charts, pencil grip to aid in writing skills, educational toys and games, blocks, models of common objects, letters, numerals etc. and need based special devices for performing activities of daily living (ADLs) and educational materials. The assistive device also may be any item advised by the Rehabilitation Professional or treating physician.

Cerebral Palsy:

As per the Persons With Disabilities (PWD) Act, 1995, cerebral palsy refers to a group of non-progressive conditions of a person characterized by abnormal motor control posture resulting from brain insult or injuries occurring in the pre-natal, peri-natal or infant period of development. The assistive devices for the persons with cerebral palsy include devices for performing activities of daily living (ADLs), educational devices, communications aids, walking assistive devices and so on.