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Three key benefits of Assistive Tech in education and beyond

Three key benefits of Assistive Tech in education and beyond

'Assistive technology (AT) describes  software, devices or equipment that helps people work around whatever learning challenges they face. AT is carefully designed to help with many disabilities or learning differences, such as dyslexia, autism and physical disabilities.' (Barclays) 

It could be a mind mapping programme like Mindmanager or a document reader like Orcam. These products are perfect for users with special needs, such as low vision or who are neuro-diverse, but also for others who wish to express and engage with their work differently.   

Traditionally, Assistive tech has been viewed as a tool only used by individuals with additional learning needs. However, more and more people are utilising the tech available on the market. 

Assistive Tech has many benefits in education and beyond; below, we look at three key benefits for users and employers. 

Less stigma 

Everybody remembers the need to fit in at school. If you need to use assistive tech to aid your learning, some stigma could be attached to it. However, if increased numbers of people use the products, the less stigma users may face and the more accepted they become, meaning everyone can see the benefit of using them.  

For example, in the workplace, many companies use tools like Monday or Asana to plan weekly tasks. This would have usually been seen as a tool for neuro-diverse people who need more structure daily; however, companies now see the benefit of having a plan that everyone sticks to. The result is that more people are using it, and those who need it to function in school or the workplace feel less singled out. This can be the same for many different AT. 

Inclusive 

Institutions are much more inclusive by promoting AT in school or the workplace. Inclusiveness shouldn't just be about age, gender, nationality, etc. It should allow everyone a fair chance, and AT supports this. By investing in AT, organisations are being inclusive and equitable. As a society, we expect work-ready students when they leave school; surely that works both ways? We should have work-ready employment too. By utilising AT, users feel more included and valued and, therefore, will be more productive - benefiting the whole team and organisation!  

Independence 

Reading, mind mapping, spelling, using a smart pen or listening back to meeting notes provides users with a sense of independence. It means they can perform tasks with a little bit of help. Without access to these tools, they may not be able to socialise or work to their full potential, something many people take for granted! 

Remember 

Whilst assistive technology benefits all, it is essential to remember that AT is necessary for those that rely on it and that need does not stop after school. Imagine going into a new workplace and not having access to a pen or paper. It is vital to ensure all have the same opportunities in the workplace, and if that means investing in a piece of kit that allows an individual to thrive, then you should!  

Access to AT in education is a great stepping stone, but these should also be readily available to workplaces.  

For more information on AT that we stock, call our sales team on +44 (0)1252 612806 (UK) or check out our website!