The Benefits of Assistive Technology

After a brain injury (BI), the survivor’s life is impacted by changes in abilities possibly affecting physical, sensory, auditory and/or […]

After a brain injury (BI), the survivor’s life is impacted by changes in abilities possibly affecting physical, sensory, auditory and/or cognitive areas. Persons with brain injuries benefit from assistive technology including adaptations and compensatory strategies.

Assistive technologies for memory are often low-tech solutions. This makes it easier for the individual to learn, retain and integrate back into daily living. A planner is one option where the person would have a schedule, to do list, and important contacts all in one location. The user simply writes down the information into a planner without any technology being incorporated. It still is considered an assistive technology solution. For more advanced solutions, a PDA has been proven beneficial for some individuals with BI. An electronic organizer is a midrange memory aid between the planner and a PDA. It is less expensive and straightforward in operation.

Digital recorders take auditory notes when writing is problematic. A digital model is easier to operate and to organize than a tape model. A digital recorder allows for a multitude of recordings to be placed in different locations. This allows the user to play back the recording directly rather than listening through the entire tape. Folders can be created for different types of information making organization easy.

Reminders may be needed for scheduled activities throughout the day. Solutions include a watch with alarm capability, a text messaging alarm system, the invisible clock to assist in maintaining attention by beeping on a programmed time period, Microsoft Outlook, written task lists, medication dispensing units, the sequencer with voice output, communication devices, Time Pad, and cheat sheets.

Aphasia is the inability to adequately understand spoken language or verbally communicate. The frustration level may increase for the aphasiac individual trying to hold a discussion with another. Assistive technology assists in improving capabilities through a picture book, electronic augmentative and alternative communication device with voice output, an alphabet board, digitized pictures, and/or gestures. A strategy is to ask only yes and no questions during a conversation.

A cerebral vascular accident (CVA or stroke) leaves many hemiplegic meaning one side of the body is paralyzed. Several vendors such as dynamic-living.com or maxiaids.com sell one-handed devices. There are products for the kitchen, living room, personal hygiene, dressing, work, computers and outdoors. Dressing hooks are a wire loop used to pull a button through a hole or grab stockings to pull them up. One-handed knives fit into a slot so the unaffected hand is able have leverage in slicing food. A bar on one side of the chair operates modified wheelchairs. There are countless other possible one-handed options.

There are many more options that can assist the individual with BI to create a better quality of life. Spending time researching these options is the key that opens the door to all the possibilities available.