Sunday, 3 April 2011

Tutorial 8 - Assistive technology

Cook & Hussey, (1993) states that the definition of assistive technology is: "Any item, piece of equipment or product system whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified or customised that is used to increase or improve functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities".

Important components of this definition are: Commercial, modified and customised devices which provides many applications. Emphasises functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities. Emphasis on individual persons with disabilities underscores the importance of treating each application of technology as a unique circumstance (Cook & Hussey, 1993).

My personal definition of assistive technology is: "Equipment or a helpful device which can accommodate a disabled individuals functioning".

A piece of assistive technology equipment introduced in our participation in occupation tutorial with Trev was the big step by step. This is a communication tool which gives children the ability to have a conversation with others through sequential recorded messages and improves occupational capacity. More than one message can be recorded which you play back and forward. To make a voice message you push the record button to speak then push down the big green button on the top which will then replay the message to the person. This piece of equipment has a 130mm bright button and is run on 9 vault battery's. It is very common in schools and at places such as idea services with high needs adults. It is an expensive piece of equipment - $340 approximately. It is worth paying this price as it can allow the child to feel 'normal' and be able to communicate in a way in which others can understand.

BIG Step-by-Step is perfect for recording:
• Verses of song or poem
• Steps in a recipe
• Short social scripts to encourage conversational turn-taking
• Giving a series of instructions
• Asking a series of questions

• Interchangeable switch tops in Red, Yellow, Green and Blue
• Two minutes recording time
• Crystal clear voice quality at all volumes
• 130mm diameter button
• Volume control and ON/OFF switch with sleep mode
• Plays entire message regardless of repetitive switch hits
• External switch jack for specialty switch operations
• Message repeat feature to replay one message in the series
• Includes Snap Switch Cap, makes placing, protecting, viewing and changing symbols a snap
• Toy/Appliance cable included

Here is a photograph of the big step by step

I have chosen to use a different peice of assistive technology for my technology application report.


Cook, A & Hussey, S. (1993). Assistive Technologies: Principles and Practice. Mosby, Year book - inc: St Louis, Missouri.

Star Educational LTD Special Technology and Resources. (n.d). Big step-by-step communicator. Retrieved April, 13 2011 from