Most of us take for granted the ability to do simple tasks such as taking a walk on campus, reading a good book, listening to music, watching a movie or using a computer. When the ability to perform everyday tasks has been limited by injury, aging, illness, or any other condition – assistive technologies can often help. Assistive technologies (or AT) may be defined as any product, system, or service that is used by an individual to increase, enhance, or maintain functional capabilities. The most common example of AT is eyeglasses which are used by millions of Americans to maintain or enhance vision for reading or driving a car. However, accessible technologies, such as screen magnification for visual difficulties, synthetic speech for assisted reading, voice recognition products for writing, and adaptive or ergonomic workstations to prevent injury, may also be defined as assistive technologies.
The primary mission of Assistive Technologies is to ensure that students, employees, and the general public with disabilities have appropriate technologies needed to access programs and services of the university. To achieve this goal, Assistive Technologies works with University ADA Services and Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD Office) to educate and supply assistive technologies to individuals with a documented need for disability accommodations at Virginia Tech.
A unit of Technology-enhanced Learning and Online Strategies (TLOS), Assistive Technologies is operationally responsible for AT Services in Newman Library, the AT Research Lab (AT Lab) in Torgersen Hall, Braille Services, Teaching and Outreach activities, and Web accessibility consulting and testing services. Assistive Technologies encourages members of the Virginia Tech community to become involved with accessible technologies by participating in research to create advanced technologies, finding better ways to use existing AT for the disabled, or just by learning about the benefits of assistive technologies. For more information about Assistive Technologies, please contact us.