Recreation Assistive Technology - the What, When, Who and Why
What is Recreation Assistive Technology? Assistive technology for recreation and leisure provides a way for people with disabilities to participate in preferred activities that they might not otherwise be able to do. Assistive technology for this category can include items for billiards, bowling, crafts, cycling, fishing, card games, board games, gardening, sports, and passive activities such as reading, listening to music, and watching television.
When and where do I need to use them? Everyone has opportunities every day to participate in recreation and leisure activities, at school, at home, and at work. If those activities cannot be completed in a typical manner due to a disability, assistive technology may assist the person to participate.
Who needs Recreation AT? Assistive technology for recreation and leisure can benefit people with a wide range of disabilities including blindness/low vision, deafness/hearing loss, and physical impairments.
Why is Recreation AT important? Participation in recreation and leisure activities is important for physical, mental, and emotional well-being. When someone is not able to participate in a desired activity, assistive technology may be the avenue by which someone regains the ability to participate or is introduced to a new activity.
Information on this page addresses Assistive Technology for people with Recreation disabilities in...
For more information, please contact Dina Anderson, Occupational Therapist Specialist,
at firstname.lastname@example.org or 800-257-1705
Talking Points for Recreation Assistive Technology in Education
The category of Education encompasses children - young and old - who are participating as a student whether at the pre-school, elementary, middle/junior/high school levels as well as institutions for higher education. The following talking points are most applicable to students grades preschool through high school.
For children transitioning into the public school at age 3 - To ensure successful AT transitions for children turning 3 years old, it is important for any AT the child is currently using or may need to use in school, whether written into the child's Individual Family Service Plan (IFSP) or not, be incorporated into the child's Individualized Education Program (IEP). You'll find this information in the Community section below.
For students transitioning into the community or employment settings upon high school graduation - To ensure successful AT transitions for students aging out of school services, it is important for any AT the student is currently using or may need to pursue employment outcomes, whether written into the child's Individualized Education Program (IEP) or not, be incorporated into the student's Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE). IPEs are developed through collaboration with the Department of Rehabilitation Services (DRS) using a Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Counselor. You'll find this information in the Employment section below.
Situations where a child might need assistive technology for Recreation:
- Operating toys
- Playing on the playground
- Inside recess
- Field trips
- Playing games
- Playing sports
Family / Home Environment
- Operating toys
- Playing family games
- Playing with friends
Commonly Asked Question for a Student Who Needs AT for Recreation
Q - Shouldn’t I just find another activity for my child? After all, we can’t all be good at everything we want to do.
A - While it’s absolutely true that many people are not adept at things they wish they were, they still have the opportunity to participate if they so desire. For someone with a disability, assistive technology may be the only way he or she is able to even try the activity.
Solutions for Students with Needs for Recreation
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|Video: AT Assessment Made Easy|
|Video: Using the SETT Framework|
|Video: Free to Low-Cost Assistive Technology Solutions|
Talking Points for Recreation Assistive Technology in Employment
The category of Employment encompasses those people of working-age who are currently employed or who are seeking employment. The following talking points may be applicable to individuals with disabilities as well as employers. When matching a person to a piece of assistive technology, one can use the Human Activity Assistive Technology (HAAT) model. This model has been used below in the sample case studies.
For students transitioning into the community or employment settings upon high school graduation - To ensure successful AT transitions for students aging out of school services, it is important for any AT the student is currently using or may need to pursue employment outcomes, whether written into the child's Individualized Education Program (IEP) or not, be incorporated into the student's Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE). IPEs are developed through collaboration with the Department of Rehabilitation Services (DRS) using a Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Counselor.
Situations where an individual might need assistive technology for Recreation
Workplace recreation is increasingly gaining popularity as a strategy for improving the well-being and performance of employees in the workplace. Studies have shown that employees that are healthy (physically, mentally, and emotionally) are more satisfied with their jobs and more productive. However, employees with disabilities may find participating in workplace recreation to be challenging.
A workplace that encourages employees to participate in recreational and wellness/fitness activities should keep in mind any physical limitations that employees may have and work to make activities accessible for all employees. Some examples of workplace recreational activities that may or may not be accessible include sports teams (volleyball, basketball, softball, etc.), fitness classes, and game rooms. Off-site activities such as team-building activities, group lunches, employee socials, and department outings should also be considered in terms of accessibility. Considerations should include, but are not limited to, transportation needs (see AT Discovery Vehicle Modifications page), building accessibility, appropriateness of activities for all employees.
Commonly Asked Questions for an Individual Who Has AT Needs in Recreation
Q - What laws allow me to ask my employer for assistive technology?
A - There are several laws that require employers to accommodate and provide assistive technology as a reasonable accommodation, including the Americans with Disability Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.
Q - I am a qualified person with a disability under the ADA. I need assistive technology to do my job. May I ask my employer to provide it?
A - Yes. The ADA says that one of the ways your employer can provide a reasonable accommodation to you is by providing new equipment or modifying existing office equipment or assistive technology to perform the essential functions of your job (core duties). 29 C.F.R. § 1630.2(o)(2)(ii). On the other hand, tasks that are marginal (non-essential functions) to the work you do, do not require that your employer provide you with a reasonable accommodation. 29 C.F.R. 1630(n)(1). Your request must not impose an undue hardship on the employer. 29 C.F.R. §§ 1630.2(p), 1630.15(d).
Q - When can I ask for an assistive device?
A - Your right to assistive technology is available at all stages of a job including application and employment. 29 C.F.R. § 1630.2(o)(1).
Q - What types of assistive technology can I ask for?
A - The ADA does not limit the type of equipment you can ask for. Anything that helps you do your work may be a reasonable accommodation. It may be a simple tool such as a one-handed typewriter for a person who can only use one hand or a high-tech device such as specially manufactured communication equipment that allows a person with a speech impairment to communicate.
Q - What do I need to do to get the right assistive device for work?
A - The process begins with letting your employer know that you have a disability and need an assistive technology to do your work. Next, you should ask for a meeting to discuss your specific needs. If you or your employer know enough about assistive technology, you can agree upon what meets your needs. You should document the contents of your discussion and the terms of your agreement.
Your employer is not required to purchase the most expensive or the most recently developed equipment. In fact, your employer does not have to purchase anything if your needs can be met some other way. Your employer cannot rely on the cost of an item as a reason to do nothing unless there are no other alternatives and the employer can show the cost will be an undue hardship. Instead, when one option is ruled out, the employer should consider other reasonable alternatives. If there is no reasonable choice because devices are all too costly for example, you should be given the chance to provide it yourself.
Q - What can I do if my employer denies my request for assistive technology?
A - You may file a complaint with an agency and a lawsuit in court. In most situations you must file a complaint first before you can go to court. For more information please see our publication, Employment Rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act, available at:
Solutions for Individuals with Recreation Impairment or Needs
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Funding Sources for Adults with Recreation Needs
The following resources are from ABLE Tech's listing of OK Funding for AT and specifically give guidance on providing assistive technology for hearing devices to those with disabilities in Oklahoma: