AbleData is a website that provides data for users to find information about a very wide variety of assistive technology. AbleData is sponsored by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR), which is part of the US Department of Education.
The Products Page
The Products page is the heart of this site. Users can search for assistive technology resources that can help students based on a particular need. This site provides 20 broad categories like daily living, walking, communication, or mobility. After selecting a major category, sub categories appear with various assistive technology options. The options are links to learn more information about the assistive technology. For example, let’s say you have a student who is having difficulty moving around the room. You can select mobility as the main category and then see a variety of options like carts, manual wheel chairs, scooters, powered wheel chairs, sport wheel chairs, and accessories. When you select a link, there will be a brief synopsis of the assistive technology device, the approximate cost, and vendors for the specific product. This information can then be used to make suggestions to the IEP team, administrators, or even the parents.
The Products page also has a classified section where users can post either re-sales of assistive technology or want ads for needed assistive technology. All of the process is screened through AbleData.
The Resources Page
The Resources page includes information such as information centers, conferences and companies that can help users to learn more about assistive technology. This information can provide teachers with a wealth of resources for various disabilities, services, technology, professional development, and other resources. You could use this page to find out information about the largest Assistive Technology Conference (ATIA) that is being held this week in Orlando.
The Library Page
The library contains three sections: publications, literature and news. The Publications page includes fact sheets and consumer guides about the various products that they provide information for on their products page. This page also contains links with recent articles written from the National Institute for Rehabilitation Engineering. The Literature page includes a search box and list to find recent articles, books, and publications about assistive technology. I found this information very useful to learn more about the current trends of assistive technology. The News You Can Use page is very similar to a blog about assistive technology. Posts are made every few weeks including links to various resources, surveys, conferences, or other hot topics about disabilities and assistive technology.
My AbleData Account
If you create a free AbleData account, you are able to save the assistive technology devices that you would need to access again either to share with school staff members or parents, or for your future review.
AbleData is a great resource for all individuals who are involved in working with individuals with disabilities. It can help to provide you with the most current assistive technology trends and application information.
Article By Laura Ketcham