Assistive Technology for People Living with Brain Injury
By Rula Tareq, Communications Specialist, Brain Injury Association of America
Assistive technology (AT) enables and promotes inclusion and participation, especially for persons with disability and older adults. The main purpose of AT is to maintain or improve an individual’s functioning and independence, thereby promoting well-being.
Brain injury can often impact a person’s speech, memory, and other cognitive functions. Identifying the specific needs of a person living with brain injury is the first step in locating the right AT device. Some types of devices include wheelchairs, hearing aids, computer software (e.g., voice recognition programs, screen readers, etc.), and cellphone apps to help with memory, attention, or other challenges in thinking skills.
How do I know if my loved one needs an assistive technology device?
It is important to work with your therapist or doctor to determine where and how you can consult an AT specialist. You can also find a specialist through a brain injury rehabilitation program or the State AT Program.
Where should you start?
Your state Assistive Technology Center is a great place to start. They can help you figure out the best possible AT options. Some states have devices available that you can either test or see being used in a demonstration.
Funding for Devices
Funding for devices can often be complex. There are a variety of possible national and local funding sources. Some of the sources are public (e.g., Medicaid or Vocational Rehabilitation) and some can be private (e.g., Lion’s Club, United Way, Local Charities, etc.). Your state AT Center will have information about funding options.
To learn more about assistive technology, check out these resources:
- National AT Act Technical Assistance and Training Center
- Assistive Technology Industry Association
- Use of Assistive Technology at Craig Hospital
If you need personalized support or resources, contact BIAA’s National Brain Injury Information Center at 1-800-444-6443 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.