Adaptive Device

What Is an Adaptive Device?

An adaptive device is any tool (including a product, system, or machine) used to help people with disabilities or impairments accomplish activities of daily living (ADL). These include dressing and undressing, eating, maintaining continence, doing personal hygiene tasks, or transferring and mobility actions.

Here are some types of adaptive devices:

Adaptive devices can be used to help anyone with a disability live independently.

Adaptive Devices and the ADA

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protects people with disabilities from discrimination in many areas of public life, including transportation, communications, access to government programs and services, and employment.

As a result of this legislation, employers are now required to make reasonable accommodations for qualified job applicants and employees with disabilities. This gives them a chance to perform their jobs to the same extent as people without disabilities.

If you need an adaptive device to meet this requirement, an employer must provide it. People with disabilities may have the following range of adaptive devices provided to them:

Because of the ADA, many adaptive devices and technologies are subsidized or available to employers at reduced or no cost through national and local programs, and any adaptive devices supplied to employees are tax-deductible.

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Adaptive vs. Assistive Devices

Many people use the terms adaptive and assistive devices interchangeably. However, they are not the same.

While adaptive devices are those that help people with disabilities accomplish ADLs, “assistive devices” refers to devices that are used to increase or maintain a person’s functional capabilities. Adaptive devices are a subcategory of assistive devices.

It is worth noting that the ADA requires access to both if the request is reasonable in terms of cost and availability.

The difference between adaptive and assistive devices is most clearly seen when selecting and purchasing a device. Because adaptive devices are specifically designed to assist someone with a disability, they may be easier to use because they are tailored to a person’s specific needs.

In contrast, assistive technology may require modification or be more difficult to learn and use due to its broader application.

Adaptive devices are often more expensive. In some cases, a person with a disability may purchase an assistive device that can provide them with nearly the same functionality at a lower price. These cost differences become especially important when someone needs multiple devices and is searching for a cost-effective way to obtain accommodations.

What Are Some Examples of Adaptive Technology?

When you hire someone who needs adaptive technology, here are some of the options you can invest in to make it possible for them to do their work:

This is just a sampling of how modern technology assists people with disabilities in their everyday lives and work.

What Are Some Examples of Assistive Devices?

Some employees require more than software to perform their work responsibilities. The following assistive devices can help them:

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