A disability is a physical or mental impairment that limits someone's ability to complete regular, everyday tasks and activities. While a person who is physically handicapped may have trouble getting from one place to another, someone with vision and hearing problems cannot see or hear what is going on around them. Numerous pieces of equipment and supplies are available that provide individuals with the capability to overcome their disability. For example, people who need assistance traveling can use automated wheelchairs, motor scooters or walkers. Also, showers come with special devices and equipment that allow those with a disability to get in and out without assistance and bathe. Accessories are also available that supply a disabled person with the opportunity to watch television or use computers.
Barriers - Barriers are the obstacles that prevent someone living with a disability to fully participate in society. These may include attitudinal barriers, based on others' fears and assumptions, or physical barriers that hinder disabled individuals from getting from one place to another.
Captioning - Captioning supplies text to video broadcasts and presentations that allow those with hearing impairments to understand what is being said.
Adaptive Technology - Adaptive technology is when hardware and software products are specially designed to provide access to someone with a disability that would be otherwise inaccessible.
Refreshable Braille Display - A refreshable Braille display is hardware that is connected to a computer that will supply Braille characters in relation to the text on a screen for people with vision problems.
Screen Reader - A screen reader is software that reads the text to a user who can't see the screen.
Disabled persons suffering from a handicap, require a lot of specialty equipment and supplies. Individuals may be disabled temporarily or permanently. Short term disability may last a matter of a few days or a few months.
The strongest image most have when it comes to equipment for disabled persons is the wheelchair. Both manual and powered wheelchairs are important, but there are other items of equal value. Some blind individuals sometimes use a white cane or a service dog to get around easier. The mobility impaired often use power scooters or electric carts to get around.
Disability access also requires special motor vehicles. Commonly a small van or a larger station wagon is used. Such vehicles are fitted with power steering and hand controls. Hand controls may be detachable. In some cases, vehicles may be designed to allow a wheelchair to simply roll into the driver's position. Vans also have lifts to get a wheelchair into the vehicle. These types of equipment help many individuals stay mobile.
In the home, various special equipment is used. For example, a disabled access bathroom may have a bench in the shower or a sunken bath. Toilet seats may be raised and sinks lowered. Some handicapped individuals require a lower or higher bed and may require bed railings to ensure that they do not fall out of bed. Stair lifts are another standard piece of equipment. Ramps or platform lifts may also be used at the entry to a house.
Supplies include batteries and nursing products. A shopping bag or backpack is a common wheelchair accessory. Cup holders and cell phone clips are also often used. Daily living aids and devices can include very simple items such as large zipper pulls or utensils with wider handles.