AT for Daily Living

What Assistive Technology Can Help with Daily Living Activities and Control of the Environment?

Aids for Activities of Daily Living are the many devices that help us with routine daily activities such as eating, cooking, and dressing. Most of these are "low tech" devices that are very inexpensive. But they can make a big difference in a student's independence. Here is a list:

Assistive Technology for Activities of Daily Living

  • Non-slip materials to hold things in place
  • Universal cuff/strap to hold items in a hand
  • Color-coded items for easier locating and identifying
  • Adaptive eating utensils (e.g. foam handles, deep sides)
  • Adaptive drinking devices (e.g. cup with cut out rim)
  • Adaptive dressing equipment (e.g. button hook, elastic shoe laces, Velcro™ instead of buttons, etc.)
  • Adaptive devices for hygiene (e.g. adapted toothbrushes, raised toilet seat, etc.)
  • Adaptive bathing devices
  • Adaptive equipment for cooking
  • Adaptive driving equipment

Items to help with Control of the Environment are devices that allow a person to turn on and off electronic devices with a special switch or tool. These are sometimes called "Electronic Aids for Daily Living" or EADLs. They are, in general, more "high tech" than the items mentioned above.

Control of the Environment (or Electronic Aids for Daily Living)

  • Light switch extension
  • Use of interface and switch to activate battery operated devices
  • Use of interface and switch to turn on electrical appliances (e.g. radio, fan, blender, etc.)
  • Radio/ultrasound to remotely control appliances
  • Use of electronic aid to daily living to control environment in connection with an augmentative communication device

When are they appropriate?

If a student is not able to complete important tasks like dressing or eating independently or to turn on and off various electric appliances, these types of tools should be tried.

Where can I go for help?

Occupational Therapists are the most knowledgeable person about both low-tech aids for daily living and electronic aids. An Assistive Technology Consultant may also be helpful. The IEP team can work with them to identify helpful tools.

Other Helpful Websites

Comprehensive list of assistive technology devices for activities of daily living