While our assistive technology service focuses on building capacity through the design and delivery of training, we know that with the wide range of solutions now available, many people may be able to identify and address their own needs independently. Regardless of disability, needs or requirements when looking for a digital AT solution we always start at the same place, with the person who will be using it. That might be you or someone you are providing support for. Below we have three steps to get started. Steps one and two are the same for everyone. Step three will depend on whether you access a service, like Enable Ireland, or independently looking for a digital AT solution. If you already access a service, you may have support from clinical professionals like Speech and Language and Occupational Therapists. You might even have access to a dedicated AT Service depending on the region you live in.
What is it that you want the technology to help you achieve? Rather than something broad and vague like “Use a computer.” Be specific, set a goal that can be completed like “Email my sister”. Once your goals are achieved you can set new ones.
What technology do you have already? What is working and what is not? Many people are unaware of the powerful AT that they already have built into their devices (See Inbuilt Accessibility links below). Also, AT often comes as software that is installed on a computer or mobile device. There are often different options available depending on the platform you are using (Apple, Microsoft, or Android).
Next, try to define what features the technology solution needs to have to suit your requirements. For example, it may need to be compatible with your existing technology, have a specific access method, or include support for vision or hearing difficulties. Once you have identified the features you require it will help you decide what technology solution best suits your needs. If you have access to a therapist and/or an AT clinic, they may be able to help you with this process. Where possible, we recommend a "try before you buy" approach to all new technology. You might be able to access a loan device from your local team or through suppliers.
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