Assistive Technology (AT) is any item, piece of equipment, software, or product system that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities.
Several resources are available for finding and funding assistive technology. AgrAbility can help navigate these programs, assist clients through the eligibility process, provide agricultural specific advice, assessments and recommendations to ensure farmers and ranchers receive the assistance for which they are eligible.
Examples of Assistive Technology in Agriculture
Farmers get on and off their tractors many times in a day, but this is often not an easy task as the first step on a tractor is typically more than 2 feet off the ground. Adding a step is a common and simple modification that saves the farmer from straining shoulders, hips and knees as he/she gets on and off the tractor, and reduces the likelihood of falling.
Utility Terrain Vehicles (UTV's)
A UTV can greatly reduce the amount of walking and carrying of items that must be done. The UTV has room to carry small items, and is easily maneuverable. A UTV can help reduce wear-and-tear on the joints, and is especially helpful for those with arthritis or that have difficulty walking and/or carrying heavy objects.
Skid Steer Platform
Skid steers can be used for many chores on a farm, but access can be difficult. A platform can help make access to the skid steer easier and safer. Video of platform aiding in skid steer access available here.
More Assistive Technology Ideas
The Toolbox - contains hundreds of ideas, modified equipment and solutions for making big and small jobs on the farm easier.
Potential Sources for Assistive Technology
- Assists eligible individuals in obtaining employment and increasing their independence.
- Houses several programs which help individuals throughout the state acquire, maintain and afford assistive technology devices.
- U.C.A.T. is the statewide resource for Assistive Technology information, equipment review, assessment and modification, and the exploration of assistive technology funding options. Our Visions and Values can be summed up with six words: Teamwork, Innovation, Expertise, Excellence, Respect, and Accountability.
- Are non-residential, community based, disability organizations. Their mission is to serve all disabled persons within each individual's own community. They maintain that all individuals regardless of disability, have the right and responsibility to make their own choices, to live independently as possible in the community, and to participate as full and equal citizens in their community and in society. This mission is promoted through advocacy, services and education. To find a CIL close to you, click on the link above.
- Individual Development Accounts (IDAs) are matched savings accounts that enable lower-income families to build assets and develop skills for financial self-sufficiency. UIDAN creates new cycles of prosperity by providing a 3-to-1 match on the monthly savings of lower-income working families who are trying to buy their first home, pay for post-secondary education, start a small business, or purchase an assistive technology device for work related activities.