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Assistive Technology

What is Assistive Technology (AT)?

The mission of The HSC Pediatric Center's AT team is to maximize the functional independence of children with disabilities through the use of technology. Assistive Technology enables children with disabilities to communicate, learn, play, interact, access, and control their environment.

Who is on the Assistive Technology Team?

The Assistive Technology Team works with children and their families to identify technologies to improve independence in the home, school and community. Depending on these needs, the team may consist of two or more of the following professionals: Occupational Therapist, Physical Therapist and Speech-Language Pathologist. Many of our team members are certified as Assistive Technology Professionals.

What services does the AT Team provide?

  • Evaluations (may include any or all of the following)
    • Augmentative and Alternative Communication – We match your child’s skills with the best communication device to maximize her/her functional communication. [Examples include voice output devices, picture communication symbols]
    • Computer Access – We determine appropriate devices and software for access to communication, learning and fun. [Examples include adaptive keyboards and mice, touch screens, and switches to replace mouse controls]
    • Electronic Aids to Daily Living – We assess and determine the best-suited EADL to enable your child to have more independent access in his/her environment. [Examples include intercom systems, infrared controls, and controls for lights, remotes, phones]
    • Power Mobility – We match your child with the most functional power mobility for his/her needs. [Examples include powered wheelchairs, power assist wheels]
    • Recreation – We find alternative ways for children to play using low-tech and high-tech means. [Examples include computer software and switch activated toys]
    • Seating and Positioning – We evaluate your child and improve seating and positioning for greater comfort and functional access.
    • Switch Access Assessment – We determine the optimal site(s) and type of switch that will permit your child’s access to a range of devices.
  • Training
    • Communication Training – In order to identify the most appropriate communication system, our team offers training sessions with clinicians who specialize in Augmentative and Alternative Communication and Assistive Technology. Children are referred for training sessions after potential for using a communication device is identified in a team evaluation. During the training sessions the child is provided with the opportunity to experiment with various access methods and communication systems (low and high tech devices). At the conclusion of the training the team, child, and family determine what communication system or recommendations are appropriate. If it is determined that the child is ready for a communication device, the team initiates the ordering process.
    • Power Mobility Training – If a child exhibits potential for learning to use power mobility as the result of a team evaluation, he/she will be referred for Power Mobility Training. These training sessions are designed to allow the child the opportunity to experiment with various access methods while seated in his/her personal seating system through the assistance of a power wheelchair simulator. Through the training sessions the team is able to determine if the client has the skills to safely and independently utilize power mobility.
  • Collaboration – In order to ensure that continuity of care and successful implementation, our team is happy to collaborate with your child’s treatment and/or school team.
  • Follow-up Services - We provide follow-up support services and guidance in obtaining recommended technology.
  • Child and Family Training – We train your child and family to use, program and maintain AT equipment.

How are our children served?

The AT team can serve children in several ways. They may be seen during their inpatient stay or for a team assessment through our outpatient department.

Assistive Technology Resources

Assistive Technology Industry Association (ATIA) –
Assistive Technology Program for the District of Columbia –
Maryland Technology Assistance Program –
Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America (RESNA) –
Virginia Assistive Technology System –

For more information, (202) 635-4490 or (202) 635-4496

To schedule an appointment for call (202) 635-6167 or (202) 461-3701.