Scenario 6: Use of technology to enable effective by and with people with ID

A social worker has a new client with ID who uses a communication device.  What resources can he consult to learn more about effective communication with people who use technology to communicate and about how technology supports health self-determination?

Assistive technologies can facilitate communication about health and wellness between individuals with ID and health professionals, thereby supporting self-determination and good health. Professionals who work with people with ID should become familiar with the benefits and use of technology to facilitate communication.


Title:  Leveling the Playing Field: Improving Technology Access and Design for People with Intellectual Disabilities (2015)

Source: The President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities

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Description:  “The President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities is honored to advise the President and the Secretary of Health and Human Services about the role of technology in improving the quality of life for people with ID and ensuring their full citizenship rights. A new generation of technologies continues to redefine, at an accelerated pace, how we all live, grow, and excel. The same should be true for people with ID. Access to technology is critical for people with ID to fully engage in the everyday life of our society.  Interacting with technology should no longer be considered optional. Participating in education, communicating with friends and family, having access to various forms of transportation, working in competitive employment, and performing activities of daily living, such as cooking or washing clothes, all typically require the use of keypads, touch screens, and other forms of interface with displays and controls…”

Title:  How Assistive Technologies Enable People with Disabilities (August 5, 2015)

Source:  Scientific American

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Description:  “The emergence of mobile ‘assistive’ technologies, influenced heavily by the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) 25 years ago, marks a major step forward for people with disabilities, unlocking unprecedented new possibilities for communication, navigation and independence…”

Title:  AAC (augmentative and alternative communication) Devices

Source:  United States Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication

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Description:  “Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) includes all forms of communication (other than oral speech) that are used to express thoughts, needs, wants, and ideas. We all use AAC when we make facial expressions or gestures, use symbols or pictures, or write…. An AAC aid is any device, either electronic or non-electronic, that is used to transmit or receive messages…”

Title:  Augmentative and Alternative Communication

Source:  Government of South Australia

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Description:  “Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) is the broad term used to describe the many communication methods which support or replace speech. Augmentative and Alternative Communication can help people express their needs, hopes and ideas, to connect with their family and friends, to communicate in the workplace, access education, understand more about the world around them and direct others who care for them.  AAC can be used to help a person understand what is being said to them and/or to help a person express what they want to say. It can be useful for both short and long-term communication needs. AAC may be suggested for people who have communication difficulties associated with other disabilities, such as intellectual or physical disability, brain injury or progressive neurological disability…”