Assistive technologies can promote greater independence and function for individuals with a variety of cognitive and neurological impairments, including people with brain injury, learning disabilities, speech and language impairments, mental retardation, chronic conditions such as Alzheimer’s, and stroke survivors. “Low-tech” devices such as highlighters, templates for writing checks, talking clocks, and tape recorders can dramatically help a person with a cognitive disability process and remember information. Personal digital assistants (PDAs), reading comprehension programs, smart phones, speech synthesizers (often referred to as text-to-speech (TTS) systems), and speech recognition systems are among the higher technology devices that can assist individuals with cognitive and neurological disabilities in their community, educational and work opportunities and interactions. These devices are also often essential for individuals with cognitive disabilities to live independently, by helping them to remember such information as when to take medications or attend doctor appointments.
- Smart Phones. Smart phones are computerized phones that enable individuals with cognitive and neurological impairments to interact with, monitor, and control their surroundings and other remote resources and services. Some examples of smart phone applications include: a location tracker, a security or emergency alert, the ability to lock or unlock doors, medication reminders and bookkeeper of health measurements, a mapmaker and direction finder, a switch function (lights, stereo, etc.), mail notification, grocery assistant, and dictation for the individual. Smart phone technology has endless possible applications, including interface and coordination with environmental control units (ECUs), which are often stationary in the home or work environment.