Presented by the Virginia Commonwealth University Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Employment of People with Physical Disabilities
Assistive technology changes as technology evolves. This can create new job opportunities for people with disabilities previously not considered. When determining the type of assistive technology that will be needed it is important to understand the individual’s interests, skill set, aptitudes, and barriers to employment. Matching the assistive technology to the individual requires consideration of the person, the demands of the job tasks, and the environment in which they work. Prior to beginning the assessment, it is essential to gather all the relevant information for the process to move smoothly and effectively. The client needs to be actively engaged and self-determined. Communication among the support team is one of the most critical factors when it comes to job success. The AT assessment can take place in a variety of settings and can have several different people involved. The technology may be off the shelf or individualized to meet their needs. Prior to making any accommodations in the work place, a number of questions need to be answered; “does the solution make the task easier?”, “will the changes increase the risk of injury?”, or “how will the changes affect other employees?” Cost and durability of the technology must be considered. Trials of equipment and accommodations, installation and training, and follow-up are essential components in the AT process. A variety of case studies will be showcased to include skilled trades, service industry, work from home, and college success.