Conditions & Treatments

Assistive Technology Services

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In the past decade, advances in computer technology and materials science have revolutionized the field of assistive and adaptive technologies. Assistive technologies can open new worlds for individuals with physical, communication, and cognitive limitations.

Technologies can help someone who is learning to live with a new disability compensate for his or her limitations. A new technology may also help someone with a chronic or progressive disabling condition maintain or improve his or her independence.

At Spaulding Rehabilitation Network’s Assistive Technology Center in Boston, dedicated and experienced clinicians in physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech-language pathology provide assessments and training with different types of assistive technologies.

Alternative Computer Access – People who are unable to use a standard keyboard or mouse due to physical, visual, or cognitive limitations may be able to operate a computer with alternative computer access technologies such as voice recognition, adaptive keyboards, a specialized mouse, or assistive software.

Assisted Memory and Information Processing – Electronic memory aids can benefit outpatients following brain injury, as well as individuals with dementia or other forms of memory loss. Small portable computing devices such as PDAs and smart phones can successfully aid individuals with memory loss.

Communication –  Spaulding’s Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) program provides comprehensive evaluations and interventional strategies for those needing alternative or augmentative means of communication through use of a variety of different communication devices.  Augmentative and Alternative Communication is a set of strategies and methods to assist people who are unable to meet their communication needs through speech or writing. AAC strategies may include low-tech options (such as letter boards or communication books) or high technology devices that produce speech. These devices can be customized to meet the individual's communication needs at home, at school, at work, and in the community. The goal is to provide communication skills that extend beyond simply conveying of basic wants and needs, and provides the means to allow each individual to be heard, and to express emotions.  

Electronic Aids to Daily Living – People who have difficulty using their arms and hands to control objects during everyday activities can gain control through remote switches to operate household appliances and devices such as TV, stereo, lights, call bell devices, door openers, and thermostats.

Ergonomics – Repetitive Strain Injury can make it difficult to use a standard computer set-up. Many people with wrist, shoulder, or neck pain may benefit from using ergonomic keyboards and mice, and from workstation modifications and body mechanics education.

Mobility, Seating, and Positioning – Wheelchair users may gain further independence through advanced wheelchair technologies. Some people may require modifications to a manual wheelchair; others may need a power wheelchair controlled by a joystick or a specialized switch, activated by sip and puff, or head movement.

Wheelchair users who have difficulty sitting upright, or who have postural abnormalities, may also benefit from customized seating and positioning systems. The systems use modified back supports, seating components, and tilt or recline features to meet an individual's needs. The systems are designed so that users can achieve the best possible posture and can improve their performance of everyday activities.



Expertise

Our therapists specialize in the evaluation, prescription, and customization of assistive technologies. They work closely with industry vendors and have presented at local and national conferences.

Within the Assistive Technology Center, Michelle Kerr, PT, has certification as Assistive Technology Professional, as certified by RESNA, while Margaret M. Dellea, OT, holds a master’s degree in biomedical engineering. Amaliya Silsby, Speech-Language Pathologist on the Assistive Technology team provides support to individuals who have difficulty communicating. Our assistive technology therapists have many years of experience in the field. 

Locations

Related Services

The following service is related to the Assistive Technology Services at Spaulding.

Wheelchair/Seating Clinic
Work Injury Rehabiltation

Find a Service

Please call for more information or to make a referral

Inpatient: 1.617.952.5350

Outpatient: 1.888.SRN.4330

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Our programs provide access to a range of therapeutic activities from cycling to water sports to golf.

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Clinical Trials at Spaulding
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Spaulding is part of Partners HealthCare's Clinical Research Network.  Enrollment opportunities exist across many therapeutic categories.

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