Resources – Disabilities and Assistive Technology

Assistive Technology

Assistive technology (AT) can be defined as any item, piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities. (29 U.S.C. Sec 2202(2)).

  • Types of Assistive Technology Products 
    Short description of  common types of AT from Microsoft Accessibility
  • What is Assistive Technology
    From the Assistive Technology Industry Association (ATIA)
  • AbleData
    A federally funded project whose primary mission is to provide information on assistive technology. It’s  database had information on more than 30,000 assistive technology products (over 20,000 of which are currently available), from white canes to voice output programs. The database also contains information on non-commercial prototypes, customized and one-of-a-kind products, and do-it-yourself designs.
  • AT-IT Compatibility Guidelines
    Guidelines from ATIA to help mainstream electronic and information technology (E&IT) vendors make their products more compatible with current and future assistive technology.
  • Do It Yourself
    Directions on how to make low-cost assistive technology adaptations and devices from the Assistive Technology Partners (part of the AVTI consortium)

Disability Demographics

There is no “gold standard” for measuring the number of people with disabilities. One source  is the U.S. Census American Community Survey (ACS). Between the 2007 and 2008 ACS, the Census dropped a question about employment disabilities. This change reduced the overall numbers reported, with the largest impact on people aged 18-64. It is reflected in the change in overall numbers reported between the 2010 and 2011 fact sheets. (from Review of Changes to the Measurement of Disability in the 2008 American Community Survey)

  • 2011 U.S. Census Fact Sheet 
    36 million people have a disability (12% of the civilian noninstitutionalized population)

    • Of people 18 and over, 10%of people 18 to 64 have disabilities and 37% 65 and older have disabilities.
    • 10.2 million have difficulty hearing
    • 6.5 million have a vision difficulty
    • 13.5 million have difficulty concentrating, remembering or making decisions (11.4  aged 18 and over)
    • 19.4 million aged 5 and older who have difficulty walking or climbing stairs.
  • 2010 U.S. Census Fact Sheet 
    54 million people have a disability (19% of the civilian noninstitutionalized population)
  • 2009 U.S. Census Fact Sheet 
    41.2 million people have a disability (15%of the civilian noninstitutionalized population)

About Disabilities

WebAIM articles on disability types. WebAIM is a non-profit organization at the Center for Persons with Disabilities at Utah State University.

Working with People with Disabilities