Assistive Technology

Assistive Technology can help if you’re struggling to complete everyday tasks such as making phone calls, using a computer, turning on lights and answering doors.

There is a range of equipment available to make these things easier to achieve, from specialist door entry systems and adapted telephones, to mobile devices that remind you to take medication or eat your lunch.

Telephone, mobiles and TV

  • Big button telephones that have flashing lights when someone calls
  • Phones with voice operated dialling systems and amplified ringers
  • Special headsets if you’re unable to hold the phone in your hand
  • Wireless extension kits so you can take calls in any room in the house
  • Landline, wireless, or mobile phones especially designed to use with hearing aids
  • Text phones that have a keyboard to type what you wish to say (if you have speech difficulties), and a screen so you can read the response from the other end of the line
  • Easy to see, big button remote controls
  • TV video magnifiers.

Computers, tablets and smartphones

Using computers, tablets and smartphones has many benefits, allowing you to shop online, book medical appointments, order prescriptions or pay your bills. They also help you stay in touch with friends and family all over the world and provide access to a wealth of information at your fingertips. 

If you are worried about using a computer for the first time or just lack the confidence to do certain things, there is lots of help and training available locally for all ages and abilities.

Assistive technology for computers and tablets

There is a range of technology available to make using a computer or tablet easier if you have a specific disability of impairment, such as:  

  • Voice recognition software allows you to operate all aspects of your computer without using the keyboard or mouse
  • Text-to-speech software reads out what is shown on your computer screen, or a scanned page of printed text - so you’re not reliant on reading
  • Extra-large, high visibility keyboards and screen magnifiers can help if you have a sight impairment
  • Specially designed mice and keyboards
  • Screen readers with braille displays, and speech output software.

Apps to help you

An app is a piece of software designed to fulfil a specific purpose, and can be downloaded onto a smart phone or tablet. There are a range of apps which can help you manage daily tasks better and maintain your independence: 

  • Pill manager alerts you to take your medications, and helps you to re-order prescriptions
  • MouseTrack allows users with severe physical disabilities to be able to use apps and websites on their Android tablet
  • TalkForMe gives those with a range of speech impaired disabilities a way to get their voices heard with the app 'talking on your behalf'
  • Predictable allows users with speech disabilities to type a message using the intelligent word prediction
  • Skype and social media offer fun ways of communicating with family and friends all over the world.

Useful contacts:

British Assistive Technology Association
Address: British Assistive Technology Association (Registered Office)4 Queens Road Lewes East Sussex BN7 2JF
Web:www.bataonline.org

Richmond Council Adult Access Team
Address: Adult Social Services, Civic Centre, 44 York Street, Twickenham, TW1 3BZ
Phone: 020 8891 7971
Minicom: 18001 020 8891 7971
Email: adultsocialservices@richmond.gov.uk

Living made easy
Phone: 0300 999 0004
Web:www.livingmadeeasy.org.uk

Action for blind people
Phone: 0303 123 9999
Web:actionforblindpeople.org.uk
Email: helpline@rnib.org.uk

Action on hearing loss
Phone: 0808 808 0123
Web:www.actiononhearingloss.org.uk
Email: informationline@hearingloss.org.uk