In the simplest terms, an adaptive device is any device, gadget, or object that can help a person with a disability perform mundane, everyday tasks just like everybody else. These activities are called activities of daily living (ADL) and include walking, reading, typing, hearing, eating, and so on.
Some Examples of Adaptive Devices
Adaptive devices - also known as adaptive or assistive devices or technologies - include sign language interpreters, subtitles, hearing aid, spelling and grammar correction software, and much more.
They include any object or device that can help an otherwise impaired person perform a basic task easily. For instance, a sign language interpreter, during meetings and even on recorded videos, tutorials, and training materials, can make it easy for those in your workforce who are deaf and mute to understand everything almost as easily as others in the organization.
As a consequence, the act incorporates a lot of clauses that grant certain special rights and protections to those with disabilities. For instance, those with disabilities can request certain special accommodative gestures from employers, such as the provision of adaptive devices, and employers are bound by law to provide them.
However, the cost that employers have to bear in the provision of such equipment is somewhat subsidized by the government. For instance, employers can acquire adaptive devices at heavily discounted prices and sometimes even at no cost through local and federal programs. On top of that, employers can claim the cost to accommodate disabled employees as a tax-deductible expense.
Are Adaptive Devices and Assistive Devices the Same?
Some say that adaptive and assistive devices both refer to the same thing, and they have a point. Both describe similar equipment; the only difference is that adaptive devices are more commonly used to describe equipment suited for more specific use.
For instance, accessible walkways and staircases can be better described as assistive devices, whereas hearing aids and sign language interpreters may be better described as adaptive technologies.
Since adaptive gadgets are geared toward the more specialized needs of a generally smaller cohort of people, they tend to be a bit more expensive and are usually required to accommodate the needs of a small group of people within the organization. But it is as crucial as assistive devices and must be provided, as per the ADA, provided that the cost of providing them is not prohibitive.