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Assistive Tech: A way toward Rehabilitation for Person With Disability

Assistive technology continues to be a segment distant to many, even within the technology, startup, and corporate ecosystems. India is home to over 21 million people with disability, 2.1% of the country’s population. The government under its Sambhav scheme endeavours to avail the technology to the beneficiaries by setting up an additional resource centre, in each city of the country to collate and collect the aids, software and other forms of assistive devices developed with a provision of display and demonstration of the devices.

Sambhav Scheme and its aims:

This scheme aims at setting up one Sambhav Centre in each city of India. The Registered Organization (RO) should provide the minimum facilities in each Sambhav Centre as mentioned below:

I. Sambhav Resource Centre

These centres aim to provide information and easy access to devices, appliances, aids, software etc. for betterment and empowerment of PwDs of the National Trust disabilities. The provision governs the centre to construct a bedroom, kitchen, bathroom set up which is disabled friendly and uses the assistive devices which are useful and improve the quality of life of the people.

II. Aids and assistive devices

 The list of assistive devices should also include learning kits, aids related to mobility and communication etc. The cost of any new aids or assistive devices added to the centre (even if it has been imported) will be reimbursed to the centre as per the financial limit determined by the National Trust.

In the latest, a total of 6225 aids and assistive devices valued at Rs. 3.57 crore will be distributed free of cost to 3805 Divyangjan at Block/Panchayat levels by following the SOP for COVID-19 Pandemic at the ‘Samajik Adhikarita Shivir’ in Jamnagar, Gujarat tomorrow.

The Shivir has been organised by the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD) in association with ALIMCO and District Administration for distribution of aids and assistive devices to ‘Divyangjan’ under the ADIP Scheme of the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India.

The aids and assistive devices are the supporting equipment used by persons with disabilities in improving their quality of life in terms of mobility, communication and for performing their daily activities. 

Read more here: The Gap Between Tech And The Disabled Community

One of the numerous ways a person with a disability can be rehabilitated to society and in wake of inclusivity, there is a wide range of assistive devices available to meet the needs of the person with disabilities. By use of these aids & assistive devices, people with disabilities become independent and their participation in society increases.

Following are some examples of aids & assistive devices given below:

  • Aids for Daily Living: Which covers self-help aids for use in activities such as eating, bathing, cooking, dressing, toileting, home maintenance, etc. These include modified eating utensils, adapted books, pencil holders, page-turners, dressing aids, adapted personal hygiene aids.
  • Mobility Aids: Devices that help people move within their environment, electric or manual wheelchairs, modifications of vehicles for travel, scooters, crutches, canes and walkers.
  • Home/workplace modifications: structural adaptations that remove or reduce physical barriers such as ramps, lifts, modification in the bathroom to make it accessible, automatic door openers and expanded doorways etc.
  • Seating and Positioning: Adapted seating, cushions, standing tables, positioning belts, braces and wedges to maintain posture, and devices that provide body support to help people perform a range of daily tasks.
  • Alternative and augmentative communication devices (AAC): These devices help people with speech impairments or person having low vocal volume to communicate such as speech generating devices, voice amplification aids and communication software. For a visually impaired person, devices as a magnifier, Braille or speech output devices, large print screens, closed-circuit television for magnifying documents, etc.
  • Prosthetics and Orthotics: Replacement or augmentation of body parts with artificial limbs or other orthotic aids such as splints or braces. There are also prosthetics to assist with cognitive limitations or deficits, including audio tapes or pagers (that function as s or reminders).
  • Vehicle Modifications: Adaptive driving aids, hand controls, wheelchair and other lifts, modified vans, or other motor vehicles used for personal transportation.
  • Sensory aids for vision/hearing impaired: such as magnifiers, large print screens, hearing aids, visual ing systems, Braille and speech/telecommunication output devices.
  • Computer Access Aids: Headsticks, light pointers, modified or alternate keyboards, switches activated by pressure, sound or voice, touch screens, special software, voice to text software that enable persons with disabilities to use a computer. This category includes speech recognition software.
  • Recreational aids to enable participation in social/cultural events and sports: Devices to enable participation in sports, social, cultural events which include an audio design for movies, adaptive controls for video games etc
  • Environmental Controls: Electronic systems that help people control various appliances, switches for telephone, TV, or other appliances which are activated by pressure, eyebrows or breath

But there is a huge gap between assistive technology and its beneficiary. The government should campaign such drives often for the technology to reach its stakeholder in an ecosystem of prodigal advancement of technology. 

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