Although assistive technology provides a promising means to accommodate for barriers to independence and self-determination for people with mental retardation, such devices are underutilized by this population. The Arc conducted a national survey of the use of assistive technology by people with mental retardation. In four of five areas, the percentage of individuals who used a device was under 10%. In two of these areas, the percentage of individuals who might benefit from a device exceeded the percentage who used a device, and in a third area, the percentage using devices was nearly equal to those who did not use but might benefit from a device. Availability and cost were reported as primary barriers. Suggestions were made to address these issues.
This research was funded by The Arc's National Research Committee, Mary Ann Romski, chair. The author acknowledges the efforts of Sue Eades in data entry. A copy of the Assistive Technology Use Survey can be obtained from the author.