Assistive Technology Spotlight

Woman with disabilities uses a special assistive technology computer in the home

The ever-changing and improving landscape of technological advancements offers more opportunities for individuals with disabilities to live independently. At NorthEast Independent Living Services, we help individuals learn about assistive technology and the services being made available from a variety of sources.

What is Assistive Technology? 

Assistive technology, or AT, refers to any device, equipment, software, or system that helps individuals with disabilities perform tasks they would otherwise find challenging or impossible to do. Assistive technology can build independence, autonomy, and a better quality of life for people with disabilities by enabling them to participate more fully in various aspects of daily living, including education, employment, communication, mobility, and recreation.

AT plays a crucial role in breaking down barriers and promoting inclusion for those with disabilities, empowering them to lead more independent and fulfilling lives. It helps to level the playing field by providing access to the same opportunities and experiences as their peers without disabilities.

AT encompasses a wide range of devices and solutions, including mobility aids like wheelchairs and walkers, hearing aids, speech-to-text software, screen readers, communication devices, adaptive keyboards, environmental control systems, assistive listening devices, Braille displays, and adaptive software and apps, all designed to enhance independence and accessibility

Spotlight on Specific AT Devices 

Missouri TAP for Telephone

TAP for Telephone provides basic voice telephone calling (both sending and receiving) and telephone alerting devices for individuals with disabilities through the delivery of adaptive telephone equipment. The program provides such equipment as text phones, voice carryover phones, phones for hearing carryover, amplified phones, Braille phones, hands-free phones, and photo phones.

NEILS is a demonstration site, meaning you can come to our office to try out different types of phones and select the phone that best matches your needs. If you are unable to come to our office but already have a land-line phone at your home, NEILS can bring some display telephones to demonstrate to you in your own home. 

Low-Vision Library 

In partnership with Missouri Rehabilitation Services for the Blind, our Low-Vision Library provides individuals with visual impairments the ability to try different magnifiers and other pieces of low-vision equipment. Low-vision equipment is available by loan, or NEILS staff can assist you with locating the equipment you need and researching funding options.

Speech communication

Products for people with speech disabilities who need assistance with speaking, including face-to-face communication, are widespread. Some of the speech communication examples available to individuals with disabilities include, but are not limited to: Voice amplification systems, fluency assistance devices, artificial larynx, communication boards, speech output software, symbol-making software, and speech generating devices. 

NEILS Can Help 

NEILS is contracted with Missouri Assistive Technology to provide technology demonstrations to individuals with disabilities in Northeast Missouri. NEILS staff can assist with obtaining anything from lifts to vehicle hand controls, to assistive computer devices, and much more. Our expert staff are ready to provide recommendations for technology choices and assist with locating and applying for financial assistance. 

People also have an option of trying out items such as adaptive equipment. NEILS has adaptive computer programs, keyboards, joysticks, home technology, and so much more.  We also have catalogs of various technologies and update our inventory twice per year with new, alternative technology.

You Can Help NEILS

We are continuously accepting disability assistance devices and medical equipment as donations. The following is a list of items we can accept:

  • Motorized wheelchairs
  • Manual wheelchairs
  • Mobility scooters
  • Hospital beds – electric only
  • Lift chairs
  • Walkers
  • Canes
  • Wheelchair vans
  • Shower/bath chairs – with or without back
  • Transfer boards
  • Portable commodes
  • Other new or used medical equipment

If you don’t see your item on the list and are wondering if your medical equipment can be donated, please call (573) 221-8282.


The wide variety of assistive technology can meet the needs of any individual with disabilities by introducing them to enhanced telephone and communication devices, vision improvement, and mobility assistance.

Experience NEILS assistive technology demonstrations to learn more about the wide array of support to gain a better understanding of what is available. Contact NEILS at (573) 221-8282 to discuss a time to learn more about assistive technology.

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