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How Technology Makes Greater Independence Possible

Technology Boosts Independence for People with Disabilities

The last 150 years have been the most exciting, in terms of technological inventions, in the history of the human race (the discovery of fire and controlling it notwithstanding). The most important and far-reaching inventions have been those that make electricity available to everyone. One group of people who have benefited a great deal are those with disabilities.

Thanks to electricity, individuals with disabilities are more able to accomplish activities of daily living (both ADLs and IADLs) with less need for help from other people. Technology makes greater independence possible. Here are some inventions that make life easier and better for people with disabilities:

Motorized Mobility Devices

The most common motorized mobility devices are:

  • Scooters
  • Wheelchairs
  • Stairlifts

They all get a person, who could not otherwise manage it without a lot of help, from Point A to Point B. Some devices – stairlifts, shopping-cart scooters – are specifically designed to do one thing. Other devices – scooters, wheelchairs – have more general uses. Individuals with even more severe disabilities, such as quadriplegia, can now go places on their own, instead of being dependent on someone else.

Remote Controls

These handy little devices allow an individual to operate something from a distance. When properly set up, remote controls eliminate the need to reach the machine in question, for example, TVs, stereos, CD players, alarm clocks and alarm systems, electric or gas fireplaces. With remotes, another person does not need to be near to hand. The person with the disability can manage on their own.


This little machine is a combination of telephone, computer, and Internet-accessing device. In fact, according to engineers, there is more technological power in a smartphone than was available when the U.S. sent men to the moon in the 1960s (Wow!). For people with disabilities, smartphones keep them completely and continually connected to their world and potentially to help, which for them can be a life-or-death necessity.

Apps for Computers, Tablets, Smartphones, and all kinds of Electronic Gadgets

Apps are mobile computer programs for productivity, gaming, word processing, note-taking, personal, financial, and work organization, social media and more. “There’s an app for that” means that almost anything a regular computer can do, a mobile device can do.


Prosthetic devices (artificial limbs, pacemakers, artificial internal organs, etc.) allow some folks to return to or continue living their lives. Technology has improved prosthetic devices so much, an individual who has lost one or both legs, for example, can run a marathon, all else being equal. It is now possible to combine robotics, computers, and artificial intelligence to end up with a prosthetic for a human that is virtually custom-made.


When thinking about how to add technology to the life of someone with a disability, it always helps to have expert input throughout the entire process. An expert may bring up points a layperson may not even know about or think to include. Consulting with an expert at RISE will get everything done.

RISE is an innovative human services network originally established in 1987 for the purpose of moving individuals living in institutions into family settings, i.e., increasing independence. Since that time, services have grown to support children, adults, and families with a variety of needs across multiple states. To begin the process, simply fill out a contact form, located on the website ( and the most appropriate person will reach out.