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Technical Report - Assistive Technology Instrument Update and Review (Version 1.0)

Kathy Longenecker Rust, Bobbi Blaser, Kelly Fonner, Roger O. Smith, Abby Brayton, & Melissa Januik


This field scan on Assistive Technology Instrument Update and Review includes two resource documents. First, this technical report describes the process and provides an overview. Second, an interactive database of assistive technology measurement instruments is provided.

For purposes of identifying assistive technology outcomes measurement instruments, this field scan activity compiled a collection of assistive technology related assessments. It ran three phases: 1) search and acquisition of commercially available instruments, 2) search and acquisition of instruments published in peer-reviewed journals, and 3) ongoing update of listings.

Rationale for scan

To knowledgeably study or select AT outcomes, one must be aware of what instruments and approaches exist. Some instruments are commercially available. However, other public domain or research instruments also exist. Some assessments are generic. Others are specific to a device, use, or population. Most importantly, from the perspective of the ATOMS Project, it is essential to identify whether existing instruments are designed for diagnostic or treatment planning purposes or whether they may be used for outcomes measurement. Prior to this compilation, such a classification has not been performed.

Data collection procedure

Phase I

The first phase identified commercially available assessment tools. We searched print references from CSUN, RESNA, Closing the Gap, ISAAC, TAM, the South East Augmentative Communication Conference Proceedings, and the USSAAC Conference Proceedings for these types of assessment tools. We also searched commercial and scholarly web sites. Sources reviewed include the following:

A. Web sites


B. Print references

  1. Closing The Gap Resource Directory 2002 & 2003
  2. Closing The Gap Conference Directory 2001 & 2002
  3. CSUN Assistive Technology Applications Certificate Program participant booklet 2002
  4. CSUN Technology and Disability Conference Proceedings 2001, 2002 & 2003
  5. ISAAC Conference Proceedings 2002
  6. RESNA Conference Directory 2001 & 2002
  7. RESNA Resource Guide for Assistive Technology Outcomes, 1998
  8. South East Augmentative Communication Conference Proceedings 2001 & 2002
  9. TAM Conference Directory 2001, 2002 & 2003
  10. USSAAC Conference Proceedings 2003

C. Clinician input

Following the presentation of the Phase I instruments at the RESNA Conference in 2003, clinicians cited instruments used in their practice. These were reviewed with the established guidelines and added to the scan list as appropriate.

Phase II

The second phase consisted of a literature search to identify a second group of AT assessment tools and instruments that have not progressed to commercial development but have been discussed or used in research that is published in juried publications. A comprehensive review of the literature regarding assistive technology and assessment was performed with searches of three databases: Medline, CINAHL, and PsychINFO for references using the keywords “assistive technology” and “assessment” or “assistive technology” and “outcome/s". If the title or keywords included either of the search terms, the abstracts or tables of contents were reviewed and reference lists of relevant articles were then examined to identify additional instruments. As in Phase I, several instruments were added by clinician input via presentations of the field scan among various forums.

Phase III

The instrument list and the coding descriptions will be updated through Fall of 2006. Please feel free to contribute comments or to nominate additional instruments.


Each of the instruments was coded by at least two members of the ATOMS Project field scan team with the following coding structure.

1. Assistive Technology Area(s) Covered in Tool

  1. AAC
  2. Assistive Listing
  3. Computer Access
  4. Electronic Aids of Daily Living
  5. Organizers
  6. Mobility
  7. Reading Supports
  8. Seating & Positioning
  9. Vision Access
  10. Writing Supports
  11. ADL

2. Disability Population Tool

  1. Behavior
  2. Cognitive
  3. Hearing
  4. Physical
  5. Speech
  6. Vision

3. Age/Program Population Tool

  1. Birth - 5
  2. Elementary
  3. Middle & high school
  4. Vocational
  5. College
  6. Business
  7. Adult Home

4. Tool Format

  1. Checklist
  2. Flow Chart
  3. Online
  4. Questionnaire
  5. Rating Scale
  6. Sample Based Activities
  7. Software Based Activities
  8. Survey

5. Continuum of Assessment Measurements

(Based on the OATS Project work: Silverman, M. K., Stratman, K. F., & Smith, R. O. (2000). Measuring assistive technology outcomes in schools using functional assessment. Diagnostique, 25(4), 307-326.)

  1. Screening
  2. Referral
  3. Comprehensive Assessment
  4. Matching Person & Technology
  5. Acquisition
  6. Implementation
  7. Follow Up
  8. Impact
  9. Outcome

Use of the Interactive Database Resource

Users of this information must consider all aspects of any instrument being considered. No single feature should drive an opinion about an assessment. Importantly, the listing does not indorse any instrument. It is the responsibility of the reader to compare and use this information for their particular needs. Also, we point out the need for an assessment to be used in a reliable and valid fashion. This does not mean that an assessment must reference all types of reliability and validity studies even though ACRM and APA guidelines seem to suggest so. We recognize that this field is new and a given assessment may not have published reliability and validity studies. Consequently, one must consider the breadth of evidence including personal and unique clinical consequences of assessment use. Lastly, the coded attributes must be considered with care. The usefulness of any instrument is highly specific to context. Plus, our coding, while performed by experts, is only opinion and is limited by our unique perspective.

There are multiple ways to use this resource for clinical and research application. You can explore the instrument listings for an overview of what is available in the field. You may search for a specific instrument by title or author. You may also use the interactive database to search for instruments that are population or context specific. For example, you can search for instruments that consider AT for adult mobility, or instruments that are specific to AT use for individuals with vision impairment.

Check back with this site. This is a living list that changes as information accumulates. We hope that this instrument is informative for your use.

The ATOMS Project and this work are supported in part by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR), grant number H133A010403. The opinions contained in this publication are those of the grantee and do not necessarily reflect those of the NIDRR and the U.S. Department of Education.

© 2004 - R2D2 Center at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
Copy and distribute freely, but use in its entirety and do not alter.