Important definitions you should familiarise yourself with.




Assistive Technology (AT) is defined as any product or service designed to enable independence for persons with disabilities. An AT device refers to “any item, piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired commercially, modified, or customised, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities”. The term does not include a medical device that is surgically implanted, or the replacement of such device.

The term “AT service” refers to any service that directly assists a person with disability in the selection, acquisition and use of an AT device.


Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) is the supplementation or replacement of natural speech and/or writing. The field or area of clinical/educational practice to improve the communicative skills of individuals with little or no functional speech.


Control Site is the most efficient and effective anatomical part of the body used to activate a switch or button (e.g. tongue, eyes, breath, head, chin, finger).


Core vocabulary are words, and/or messages with universal utility across individuals, includes commonly used structure words.


Scanning is an indirect selection technique.


Switch is a component used to either open or close the path for electron flow in a circuit. Adapted switches can be placed at control sites so that individuals with disabilities are able to control devices such as electronic appliances, the computer or AAC devices.