Assistive Technologies

ICT as Assistive Technologies

Digital aids (assistive technologies) refers to hardware and software that can be used to help students with sensory or motor impairments, or with certain specificities, to obtain and process information, or even to communicate.

These assistive technologies make it possible to compensate for the function that is reached (for example sight, hearing, fine motor skills) and are generally adapted individually. They allow their users to participate in teaching; this is why their use, including during examinations, is the subject of legal provisions (see under Legal Provisions and Compensation for Disadvantages ).

Assistive technologies can intervene in the following areas:

  • Access to information and information processing
  • Communication
  • Control of devices, including computers
  • Support for daily activities, especially in case of reduced mobility
  • Specific technologies to promote learning, including didactic software

As an illustration, the Support Technology Examples document provides a brief description of a tool for each of the above areas.

Modern technologies can enable people in need of assistance to autonomously organize their day-to-day lives. The Living Lab “Active & Assisted Living” examines the effectiveness of assistive systems for everyday use.

Assistive technologies form a large market. The following list brings together some of the providers on the market in Switzerland and abroad.

Technology Aid Providers

  • Accesstech offers computer solutions for people with visual impairments, as well as computer support in the form of remote maintenance.
  • AccessIbility is a non-profit foundation with a service mandate with the Swiss Federation of Visually Impaired FSA and Schweizerische Blidenbund SBb and has developed a dense network of helpers and users with low vision assistive technologies.
  • The association Sehbehinderten Hilfe Basel specializes in consulting and training in IT tools for people with visual impairments.
  • The Swiss Foundation for Tele Theses, the FST provides electronic tools to people with disabilities throughout Switzerland and helps them to use them. It focuses on the areas of improved and alternative communication, computer adaptation, environmental control and learning software. The foundation also offers consulting and continuing education services. To ensure the availability of electronic aids to people with disabilities, the Swiss Foundation for Tele Theses (FST) and Active Communication AG merged in late December 2016.
  • Active Communication (in German) – an organization with extensive experience in providing tools adapted to people with different disabilities, particularly in the areas of motor / movement and language / communication. It offers comprehensive consulting and monitoring services.
  • Easy Reader App for iOS provides reading support for people with visual impairments.