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Assistive Technology for Wheelchairs Users


Device What it is How it is used Who would use it – diagnoses Examples Videos
Head control

A device that allows switches to be mounted on or near the headrest of a wheelchair. Switches are activated by moving the head to press the switch. Quadriplegia due to:
-spinal cord injury C4-C5
-cerebral palsy
-advanced multiple sclerosis
-advanced muscular dystrophy
A man with quadriplegic cerebral palsy turns on his radio by tilting his head to the side to press a switch mounted to the side of his headrest.
Head pointer

A pointing device that is mounted to head gear. The head gear for the device is worn on top of the head. The head is moved to maneuver the pointer. Quadriplegia due to:
-spinal cord injury C4-C5
-advanced multiple sclerosis
-advanced muscular dystrophy
A woman with advanced multiple sclerosis uses her head pointer to turn the pages of her book.
Sip ‘n’ Puff switch

A switch that is activated by blowing or sucking on a tube. The mouth is used to blow through the tube for some functions or suck on the tube for other functions. Quadriplegia due to:
-spinal cord injury C1-C3
-advanced amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
A man with a C3 spinal cord injury uses a sip n puff interface to operate his computer.
Track ball

A computer mouse that incorporates a ball held in by a socket. The ball is connected to sensors within the mouse that detect its movement The thumb or fingers are used to roll the ball to move the pointer on the computer screen. -spinal cord injury C7-C8
-multiple sclerosis
Muscular dystrophy
-cerebral palsy
-advanced seizure disorder
-severe traumatic brain injury (TBI)
A boy with a severe TBI uses a track ball to move the computer cursor while doing his homework.
Dual-handed keyboard

A keyboard with keys placed in several ergonomic positions to allow easy access to all keys. Both hands are used to type on the keyboard. The keys are placed to allow for minimal hand and wrist movement while typing. -spinal cord injury C7-C8
-multiple sclerosis
-muscular dystrophy
-severe rheumatoid arthritis
A secretary with severe rheumatoid arthritis uses a dual-handed keyboard on her computer at work.
Reading Pen

A pen sized text scanner. A pen sized text scanner. -traumatic brain injury
-cognitive disorders
-learning disabilities
A high school student with a learning disability scans the large words of her science book into the reading pen and listens to the pronunciation of the words through the text to speech function.
Prone stander

A standing table that tilts forward.

Assistive devices are placed on the front of the stander.

The person is placed in the stander with the front of his or her torso on the supporting devices. The stander is leaned forward to facilitate extension of the body. -cerebral palsy
-traumatic brain injury
-severe seizure disorder
-muscular dystrophy
-spina bifida
A teenager with severe cerebral palsy uses a prone stander to participate in a group project with his classmates.