Assistive and adaptive devices refer to any device, system, or tool that improves the performance of a person with a disability. There is a subtle difference between the words, assistive, and adaptive.
The word “assistive” is a general term to describe all devices that facilitate and improve any activity that a person wants to do.
The word, “adaptive” refers to devices that adapt existing tools so that a person with a difficulty can use it. For example, an eating utensil with a built-up handle is an adaptive device. On the other hand, a wheelchair or a cane is not an adaptive device but it is an assistive device. These aids can either be a low-tech one such as a cane or a very high-tech one such as a robot assistive speaking tool.
We can classify these aids into several groups such as below;
- Mobility devices: scooters, power chairs, wheelchairs etc
- Communication devices: the devices that facilitate speech, writing, typing, vision, hearing, listening, reading etc.
- Computer access devices: hardware and software tools including apps
- Daily living aids: the devices that facilitate dressing, eating, cooking, home chores, toileting, bathing, switching etc.
- Prosthetics and Orthotics
- Recreation and leisure assisting devices: sports assisting tools, games, toys etc.
- Cognitive aids