by Kathy Kirchoff

Disabilities come in many shapes and sizes and so do the many devices available to assist you.  An assistive technology device (AT) is anything that helps you do things you normally couldn’t do. It could be something as simple as a device to help you hold a pen or more complex like speech recognition or text-to-speech software. With the help of assistive devices, people with disabilities can successfully attend and complete college, have rewarding careers, and contribute to their communities.


Whether your disability is obvious or hidden, your life can be made easier and offer you more independence through the use of an assisted device. There are many devices available to help with your disability. This Minnesota STAR program video is a good primer on assistive technology:


Can’t see the video? Watch it on YouTube.


High Tech Devices are Available

Advances in technology has improved assistive devices greatly and more options are available than in the past. Cochlear implants and phone or hand held devices now help the hard of hearing and those with speech limitations. Computers and websites have become more accessible. Cars, vans, and wheelchairs can be equipped to help those with mobility issues. Assisted devices are making the classroom and the workplace  easier for those with disabilities too. They help you perform common and complex work tasks that would be difficult (or even impossible) without the device.


Find the Right Device for You

There are places that loan out devices so you can try them out to see if they are a good fit for you (.pdf) before purchasing it. The simplest thing, like a properly fitted cane to help with mobility, can make a big difference. Learn about the Minnesota statewide device loan program:


Can’t see the video? Watch it on YouTube.


You can purchase items online and at assistive device stores. Minnesota offers programs to help you find and understand assistive devices. If you need help paying for them, there is assistance available for that too.