Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Tutorial Eight: Assistive technology

Tutorial Eight: This tutorial is based on a class we had where we were introduced to differnt assistive devices
Definition Assistive Technology

Assistive or Adaptive Technology commonly refers to "...products, devices or equipment, whether acquired commercially, modified or customized, that are used to maintain, increase or improve the functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities."  (Gerard, 2001)


Assistive technology refers to a broad range of devices, services, strategies and practices that are conceived and applied to ameliorate the problems faced by individuals who have disabilities.” (Cook & Hussey, 2000)

Definition in my own words.

Technology that has the ability to improve or increase an individual’s functional abilities.

Describe one piece of equipment introduced in the assistive technology tutorial. 

Jelly bean switch

Jelly bean switches come in a variety of different shapes and sizes; they have different names and are for different needs. I will list three jelly bean switches that are available.
  1. Specs Switch (36mm diameter)
  2. Jelly Bean Switch (64mm diameter)
  3. Big Switch (127mm diameter)
The cost of these devices vary mostly depending on the size
You can buy a Jelly Bean with cords, and four colour choices for $100.00 plus $15.00 postage on the spectronics New Zealand website
The Jelly Bean switch opperates as a switch for someone with limited hand/upper limb function, they provide tactile and audible feedback.
Jelly bean switches increase occupational capacity by allowing people who do not have the muscular strength, control, use or co-ordination for example to turn on any switch, too click a mouse, to turn on a blender, to type, to play computer games and any other reason you would need a switch. If the client previously couldn’t turn on their radio this device will allow the client to do the things we often take for granted.

In the Youtube clip below this post you will see how A jellyBean switch works. ;-)

Wii – Wii-hab – Wiihabilitation
Personally I have found the use of Wii consoles in particular the one which includes the balance board to be of significant interest. I personally love playing video games so a video game with a purpose sounds truly amazing. I was fortunate enough to use a Wii as a therapy when I was on my longitudinal placement in a brain injury rehabilitation centre, so I know firsthand the impact this console had on these clients. I also appreciated the difficulty in which the game was for many of the clients, this however did not put them off. A memorable moment was watching two of the clients have a canoe race and hearing the laughter and enjoyment mixed with puffs and exhaustion made me realize that if for nothing else the exercise that these clients were experiences surpassed a leisurely walk around the block. I am aware that walking in fresh air is very therapeutic and a great source of energy, but couldn’t help but be encouraged by the amount of fun these clients were having and the sense of achievement they all received.

This is a great link to a great website dedicated to Wii-hab

There are multitudes of YouTube clips with clients using Wii as therapy for all different reasons. See the bottom of my page for live streaming YouTube clips around Wii-hab


Danger, C. (n.d.). ablenet jelly bean switch. Retrieved may 8, 2011, from better living through technology:

Gerard, D. (2001, December 17). What is assistive technology. Retrieved May 6, 2011, from rehabtool:

A.M. & Hussey, S.M. (2000). Assistive technologies: principles and practice. Mosby: California.

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