Universal Design and Assistive Technology are both about participation and inclusion. At one end of the inclusion continuum, universal design takes a community perspective and tackles the design of environments, products, services, and ICT. At the other end of the continuum is assistive technology, which is about the individual. Somewhere in the middle the two overlap where both UD and AT are needed. For example, a person with paraplegia needs both a wheelchair (AT) and an accessible path of travel (UD).
Universal design cannot improve sight, replace a limb, or reverse dementia, but there are all kinds of gadgets, devices and aids that can assist individuals to get around and participate in everyday activities. Two new initiatives were launched recently to assist individuals to work out what is best for them. They are the “AskNED” website and the free “Equip Myself” app.
You can read more in the Australian Ageing Agenda newsletter about Equip Myself.
Equip Myself was developed by the Independent Living Centre WA and aims to support older people and people with disability to navigate the growing market of assistive devices. The app links to the national equipment database (NED), which contains impartial information on more than 11,000 AT products available nationwide.