The Key Benefits of Assistive Technology and How They Improve Outcomes

To understand more about the benefits of Assistive Technology (AT) and how it can impact you, your company, or your students, we’ll share 5 key benefits in this post. Before then, let’s get up to speed on what Assistive Technology is and who it’s designed for.

The benefits of Assistive Technology run far and wide. From boosting cognitive function to closing learning and language gaps, Assistive Technology is an effective method for increasing workplace equity, boosting learning, and improving your bottom line.

What Is Assistive Technology and Who Uses It?

Assistive Technology is an umbrella term for physical tools, products, and digital systems that help people with disabilities to carry out tasks. AT helps people overcome disabilities and neurodivergent conditions including dyslexia, dyspraxia, hearing and vision loss, reduced cognitive functioning, and movement problems.

People from every walk of life need AT to increase their engagement at work or in education. The WHO suggests 2.5 billion people currently need support from AT which will rise to 3.5 billion by 2050. This figure includes children and adults with disabilities or neurodivergence but also older people and individuals with long-term health conditions like dementia.

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In 2020, almost 50% of students reported a disability in the UK. Many students depend on AT tools like captioning software or ergonomic devices to access learning. But the use of captioning isn’t limited to people with disabilities since data suggests 80% of 18-24-year-olds turn on subtitles to absorb information faster.

Types of Assistive Technology include:

  • Voice-To-Text: Captioning, note-taking, voice recognition, and dictation software
  • Text-To-Speech: Optical Character Recognition systems, plug-ins
  • Reading and Writing Tools: Screen readers, mind maps
  • Communication Devices: Assistive Listening Devices (ALDs), Augmentation and Alternative Communication (AACs)
  • Ergonomic Devices: Specialised keyboards and mouse technology
Jane sitting at her desk looking at her computer screen, explaining something to the team.

What are the key benefits of Assistive Technology?

With such a range of assistive technologies available to meet a variety of needs, what are the key takeaways from AT as a general intervention? We’ve handpicked the most notable benefits of Assistive Technology below:

1. Increased productivity, retention, and innovation

In workplace settings, Assistive Technology allows staff to become more engaged and productive.  In ‘The Great Big Workplace Adjustments Survey 2023’ from the Business Disability Forum, statistics showed 75% of managers said making adjustments helped their employees be more productive.

Our research also revealed that 50% of employees stay with an organisation that offers tailored adjustments to their needs. And this makes AT a viable tool to leverage higher staff retention rates.

AT also unlocks higher rates of innovation since 70% of neurodiverse staff say creativity, innovative thinking, and detail processing are key workplace strengths. And they’re more likely to unlock these talents at work once they receive appropriate forms of AT.

2. Improved academic and learning performance

AT impacts learning at all levels, from primary education to Higher Education and University settings.

Studies show that the benefits of Assistive Technology in education bridges communication gaps and enables better academic participation. But it can also be psychologically transformative for students with disabilities.

AT can also make a life-changing difference for preschool children who have deafness or hearing loss. A survey of AT use within these groups reported improvements in the following areas:

  • Academic performance
  • Speech and language development
  • Behaviours
  • Classroom attention

The survey also reported that 77% of teachers would recommend a soundfield system and 71% would recommend a personal FM system as an effective form of preschool AT for children with hearing loss.

3. Higher levels of inclusion, participation, and employer branding

People with disabilities and neurodivergence can experience higher rates of exclusion in the workplace and HE settings. For instance, a UK report found that 50% of hiring managers won’t consider neurodivergent talent when making hiring decisions. This not only limits their access to this talent but prevents any existing staff from sharing their diagnosis.

The same report also suggests around 60% of people with ASD, 55% of people with dyspraxia, and 53% of people with dyscalculia say colleagues behave in a way that excludes them.

Screenshot of the key benefits of AT for the inclusion of students with disabilities.

For students, AT unlocks their potential by adapting or fitting to their level, providing instant access to improvements in learning and support to carry out tasks they would otherwise struggle with.

A study from 2022 suggests AT provides a long list of benefits to students with key benefits of better accessibility and inclusion scoring over 20% each. But AT in academic settings can also improve autonomy and independence, and promote better social skills.

4. Narrowed language and communication gaps

AT can enhance communication in the workplace and educational settings by bridging gaps, reducing errors, and minimising language barriers.

For instance, reading is a complex task that draws from many skills including decoding, comprehension, and a strong vocabulary. And while these are all areas that people with dyslexia can have trouble with, AT captioning software like Caption.Ed can help them overcome such challenges. By providing a dual approach to word coding and boosting comprehension, captioning software can boost understanding and retention.

And over 100 studies suggest adding captions improves understanding of what someone sees or hears.

A great example of this is Daniel Wheeler of Dimensions UK, who was born deaf and accesses his hearing using a cochlear implant. But when Daniel found himself managing a large number of phone calls in his work–and dealing with people with unfamiliar accents–he found Caption.Ed helped to clarify words in real-time.

And with around 11 million people experiencing hearing loss, Caption.Ed is an effective way to help them overcome challenges and access parity with their peers.

5. Fewer challenges with short-term or working memory

Problems with short-term or working memory are common for people with ADHD. A 2020 report sampled 172 children with ADHD and found over 80% had impairments to central executive working memory.

One of the key benefits of Assistive Technology for people with ADHD is boosting cognitive functioning. This is often referred to as Assistive Technology for Cognition (ATC). Reports show ATC can support improvements to memory but also emotion, attention, calculation, and planning in people with ADHD.

One example of improving working memory with AT is when advertisers added captioning to video ads and measured an 8% increase in ad recall and a 10% increase in ad memory quality using captioning.

The benefits of Assistive Technology reach far and wide

Providing access to AT is life-changing. And the benefits of Assistive Technology are vast. By offering equity to users and normalising usage in education and workplace settings, AT can boost disclosure rates and improve employee retention.

When they give people with disabilities and neurodivergence a chance to bridge gaps and overcome challenges, the benefits of Assistive Technology far outweigh any negatives.

Contact our team to find out more about the benefits of AT and our products including Caption.Ed and TalkType – our dictation software. All our AT products are designed to support your staff, your business, or your academic setting in improving outcomes for all.

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A game changer in
accessibility and productivity.

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