Assistive Technology for Workplace Accommodation
How can assistive technology help you in the workplace?
Assistive technology (AT) encompasses devices that increase function, independence, participation, and productivity for people with disabilities, as well as the services needed for using these devices. AT can range from easy-to-obtain and inexpensive products like electric staplers to sophisticated, specialized adaptations for computer access. There are many AT solutions that can assist in a variety of occupations and workplaces to accommodate the needs of employees with disabilities so that they can realize their full potential.
Assistive technology is a type of job accommodation that enables a person with a disability to perform an activity or improve their job performance. Assistive technology, whether it is a customized workstation, specialized software, or another type of technology, often incurs little or no cost for an employer.
Assistive technology is defined in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as, “Any item, piece of equipment, or system, whether acquired commercially, modified, or customized, that is commonly used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities.”
Providing employees with the necessary tools to perform their job helps your company maximize productivity and enhance the skill set of your workforce.
- Conduct a needs assessment with your employee. Initiate and maintain an open dialogue about his or her career goals. Identifying goals will help create a more accurate assessment of the AT he or she may need to work in a competitive environment.
- Work with the employee to identify functional barriers to competitive employment. Discuss how AT can help the employee overcome these barriers. You and the employee may identify a number of simple solutions.
- If you need more help, consult with an AT professional to help identify products, determine costs, connect with vendors and install or implement the needed technology in your workplace.