Assistive vs Adaptive Tech - Tech: What's the diff? ✨

When it comes to technology that empowers people with disabilities, you may have come across terms like "assistive technology" and "adaptive technology." While these terms are often used interchangeably, there are subtle differences between the two.

Assistive technology:

Assistive technology refers to any device, software, or equipment that helps individuals with disabilities perform tasks that they would otherwise find challenging or impossible. It is designed to assist and support individuals in their daily lives, enabling them to overcome barriers and achieve greater independence.

Assistive technology can take many forms, depending on the specific needs of the individual. For example, screen readers are assistive technology tools that read aloud the text on a computer screen for individuals with visual impairments. Speech-to-text software, on the other hand, allows individuals with mobility impairments to dictate their thoughts and have them converted into written text.

The key characteristic of assistive technology is that it provides direct support to individuals with disabilities, compensating for their limitations and enabling them to participate fully in various activities.

Adaptive technology:

Adaptive technology, on the other hand, refers to technology that is designed to adapt or modify existing devices or environments to make them more accessible to individuals with disabilities. It focuses on making changes to the environment or the technology itself, rather than providing direct support to the individual.

Adaptive technology often involves making modifications to physical objects or spaces to accommodate the needs of individuals with disabilities. For example, a one-handed keyboard is an adaptive technology that allows individuals with limited hand mobility to type using only one hand. Another example is a wheelchair ramp, which is an adaptive technology that makes buildings accessible to individuals using wheelchairs.

Adaptive technology aims to remove barriers and create inclusive environments by modifying existing technology or spaces to meet the needs of individuals with disabilities.


In summary, while assistive technology provides direct support to individuals with disabilities, adaptive technology focuses on modifying the environment or technology itself to make it more accessible. Both types of technology play a crucial role in empowering individuals with disabilities and promoting inclusivity.

At Savy Assist, we are committed to providing information on the best assistive and adaptive technology available. Whether you are looking for screen readers for visually impaired individuals, one-handed keyboards for people with limited mobility, or accessible web design tips, we have you covered. Our goal is to help you discover the latest technology and resources that can enhance your independence and improve your quality of life.

Peter Gorczany
Michael enjoys playing guitar, practicing martial arts, and cooking.

Peter is a committed product manager, specializing in the development of technology designed to aid individuals with disabilities. His portfolio boasts a range of projects that leverage AI and machine learning to enhance accessibility. Peter continually seeks innovative methods to make technology more inclusive and accessible.