Assistive technology (AT) expands the avenues for enhancing students’ learning and development. AT might involve adapting an off-the-shelf toy or figuring out how a student can most efficiently operate her state-of-the-art communication device.
Assistive technology is embedded in the school day of every student. HMS has a large assistive technology inventory that offers a wide range of low and high-tech access equipment, alternative and augmentative communication devices, power wheelchairs, and software to help students with their academic, communication, mobility, and daily living needs. The assistive technology inventory is overseen by a RESNA-certified Assistive Technology Professional (ATP), and knowledgeable professionals who can provide guidance and training on the use of this technology, while maintaining, repairing, and upgrading the equipment as needed. HMS continually expands this inventory as new technologies emerge.
Alternative and Augmentative Communication (AAC) refers to any communication method used to supplement or replace traditional speech or writing. AAC can be used by individuals who have difficulty communicating through verbal means due to physical, sensory, or cognitive impairments. There are several types of AAC, including low-tech solutions such as picture boards or communication books, and high-tech solutions such as speech-generating devices or specialized software. AAC can be customized to meet the unique needs of each individual, and can help to promote independence, social interaction, and academic success. HMS’s goal is to identify a way for every student to communicate.
HMS maintains an inventory of AAC equipment, mounting systems, switch and switch-mounting equipment, computer interfaces, and software, all available for student evaluation, trials and training, both at school and at home. Our therapists are knowledgeable and specialized in a variety of access methods for all types of assistive technology and stay current on the latest equipment. We have a library of devices and equipment for student use; this is especially beneficial if their primary equipment or device needs repair, or if a change in medical status warrants exploration of new equipment.
HMS has a close relationship with vendors who bring in the latest equipment and provide demonstrations and information to our staff, along with trial equipment for our students. Staff also attend and present at local, state, national, and international Assistive Technology conferences to stay informed on what is happening in the Assistive Technology field.