Assistive Technology


The World of Assistive Technology

Our customers never fail to amaze us. AbleNet products have found their way into nearly 100 countries around the world, from right here in Minnesota in the United States, south into Brazil, across the Atlantic to Europe, into Russia, Africa, India, China, and Australia. We’re amazed at the “universal language” our products speak for people striving to improve their lives and the lives of those close to them. It is their stories that continue to drive us to work tirelessly to innovate new products and bring them to the global marketplace.

You'll see direct evidence of that commitment here in Assistive and Augmentative Communication (AAC), Switch Access, Environmental Control Units (ECU), Computer Access, Mobile Device Access, Learning Technology, and Mounting Products.

Through speaking with our customers over the years, we’ve always realized they don’t simply use one of our products in isolation—they combine our products in unique ways based on their individual situations. You’ll see some of those strategies and shared wisdom highlighted in our “Connections Strategies” on each product group page. This resource will help you create a system of products that will open new worlds and transform lives.

Assistive and Augmentative Communication (AAC)

Assistive and Augmentative Communication ProductsBeing able to express your ideas with those around you is not simply a convenience, or even a need, but fundamentally a basic human right. Assistive and Augmentative Communication (AAC) products from AbleNet allow persons with disabilities the chance to engage with others and connect with their world. But we also know that sometimes access and mounting challenges stand in the way of using a communication device. That's why we've developed the following methodology to help you break through those barriers.

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Assistive and Augmentative Communication (AAC)

  1. How many message choices are needed (depending on the situation or cognitive ability)?
  2. Where will the AAC device be used – on table top, on a wheel chair, or in hand?
  3. How will the AAC device be accessed – direct, via external switch(es)?
  4. Positioning of the AAC device or necessary switches – do they need mounting?
  5. Do you need to activate other products during use?



Switch Access

Switches for disabledSwitches are at the core of access technology. What can appear to some as simply a "button" can —properly selected and installed—open worlds of access to communication devices, environmental controls, computer software, and mobile devices. Selecting the correct switch can be challenging, but AbleNet makes it easy. By following some simple guidelines, you can narrow the vast array of AbleNet switch options to a few appropriate choices.

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Switch Access

  1. What is the most repeatable activation method—hands, head, mouth, muscle contraction, etc?
  2. What device needs to be controlled? What is its location and connection type?
  3. How does the switch need to be positioned for repeatable activation with the least possible fatigue for the user?
  4. Do cords limit successful interaction with products?



Environmental Control Units (ECU)

Environmental Control Units for persons with disabilitiesEnvironmental Control Units, or ECUs as they’re commonly called, enable persons with physical disabilities to participate in a broad range of everyday activities at home, at work, in classrooms, in nursing homes, and in hospitals through a variety of user-friendly interfaces, including the touch of a button or the sound of the user’s voice. At AbleNet, we are committed to matching the correct technology with the correct person in the correct situation.

Learn More:
Environmental Control Units (ECU)

  1. What do you want to control—TV, lights, appliances, telephone, bed?
  2. Where would you mount the ECU—wheelchair, bed, desk?
  3. How will you access/control the ECU—direct, external switch(es), scanning, voice?
  4. Are there any cognitive issues affecting number of choices, memory, etc.?
  5. Will physical and cognitive abilities be changing over time?



Computer Access

Computer access for persons with disabilitiesFor persons with disabilities, computers open up worlds. Through the computer and over the internet, disabilities melt away to reveal the person's true gifts and talents. But for many, accessing a computer through a traditional keyboard, mouse, and screen is a challenge, if not an impossibility. That's why AbleNet has developed a full line of computer access products and alternative input technology to remove those barriers.

Learn More:
Computer Access

  1. What computer functions do you want to control—keyboard, mouse, joystick, cursor, scanning software?
  2. What is the activation method - direct, head movement, muscle contraction, external switches?
  3. Do the products need to be positioned for use?
  4. Do cords limit successful interaction with products?



iPad, iPhone and iPod Access

Communication apps for mobile devices Mobile devices such as Apple's iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch are the hottest consumer technology products on the market today. While thousands of applications have been written for nearly every conceivable situation, persons with disabilities have fewer opportunities than most to enjoy the newest in mobile computing. With that in mind, AbleNet is committed to introducing—and continuing to grow—its line of mobile device access products.

Learn More:
iPad, iPhone and iPod Access

  1. What mobile device you do want to control?
  2. What app or function do you want to control?
  3. How are you going to access the device - direct, external switch(es)?
  4. Does the device and/or external switches need to be mounted?
  5. Do you need accessories for sound output, recording, or protection while on the go?



Learning Technology

Learning technology for the disabled Whether you're a parent or caregiver looking for fun and engaging activities you can do at home, or an educator looking for classroom tools that motivate students with physical and cognitive disabilities to participate in a variety of activities, we offer a selection of tried and true activity starters. Best of all, AbleNet also offers the access products to ensure all students can participate in the fun!

Learn More:
Learning Technology

  1. What types of games or activities are you planning?
  2. Does the activity device need to be switch accessible?
  3. Does the device (or switches) need to be positioned for proper use?




Mounting Solutions

Mounting solutions for the disabledOften overlooked, proper mounting can mean the difference between success and failure, comfort and fatigue, efficiency and wasted effort. At AbleNet, we take proper positioning of switches, communication devices, and environmental controls seriously. We've assembled a complete line of mounting solutions ranging from simple Velcro® and tapes, to suction table mounts, to highly customizable clamps, arms, and plates. Use the method below to help you select the correct system for your needs.

Learn More:
Mounting Products

  1. What do you need to mount—switch(es), communication devices, etc?
  2. What can you mount to—flat surface, table top, wheel chair, bed?
  3. How strong of a system is needed—device weight, impact from activations, motion?
  4. What is the ideal position of the product for repeatable activation or viewing?
  5. Will the product or position of the product change often?
  6. Are there cords that need to be managed?





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