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An Overview of Electronic Aids to Daily Living

An Overview of Electronic Aids to Daily Living
Michelle Lange, OTR, ABDA, ATP/SMS
October 20, 2015
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Electronic Aids to Daily Living

EADLs provide independent control of electrical devices within the environment. A more official definition is any electronic technology used for the specific purpose of providing independent operation of appliances. That can include many different things that can be controlled.

 

Figure 1. Examples of electrical devices.

This area of technology used to be referred to as environmental control units, or ECUs, or environmental control systems, or ECSs. You might have heard some of those terms, so why are we now using this term EADL? EADL defines the task that is being completed rather than putting the focus on what is being controlled.

Funding

In terms of funding this area of equipment is still quite challenging. By using the terminology ECU, the focus was on what was being controlled in the environment and that was a real hindrance in terms of funding. Also, technically in the engineering world, ECU refers to HVAC technology. HVAC is heating and air conditioning, so this would refer to your furnace and your central air in your home. It is possible to use this technology to control the temperature in the room, but it certainly does much more than that. ECU is not technically a correct term and that is why the term was changed a number of years ago.

Alternative Control of Devices

EADLs provide alternative control of devices in the environment. There are all sorts of things in the environment that we control every day that we take for granted. We control our audiovisual equipment, i.e. T.V. DVDs, cable box, etc. We control our doors, our telephones, our lights, and simple appliances. We turn up the heat or turn on the air conditioning. There are all sorts of things that we control. These items might be out of control for clients who have physical disabilities in particular, but those with sensory and cognitive disabilities as well. For some of our clients this might also mean control of an electric hospital bed, a power door opener, and some adaptive telephones.

Classification of EADLs

EADLs are classified into two main categories. The first category is general function EADLs. The second category is specific function EADLs, meaning this piece of assistive technology is designed to control one specific thing. The specific function EADLs include door openers, standalone adaptive telephones, and page turners, though this technology is really quite outdated and is rarely used. The general function EADL category includes limited output or basic EADLs providing control of maybe just a few devices or a few functions, and then multiple output EADLs can control just about anything in our home.

 

michelle lange

Michelle Lange, OTR, ABDA, ATP/SMS

Michelle is an occupational therapist with 25 years of experience and former Clinical Director of The Assistive Technology Clinics of The Children’s Hospital of Denver. She is a well-respected lecturer, both nationally and internationally and has authored 7 book chapters and over 175 articles. She is the editor of Fundamentals in Assistive Technology, 4th ed. Michelle is on the teaching faculty of RESNA and the University of Pittsburgh. She is on the RERC on Wheeled Mobility Advisory Board. Michelle is a credentialed ATP, credentialed SMS and is a Senior Disability Analyst of the ABDA.



Related Courses

Switch Assessment
Presented by Michelle Lange, OTR, ABDA, ATP/SMS
Recorded Webinar
Course: #2818Level: Advanced2 Hours
Assistive technology provides independence in the areas of mobility, communication, education, vocation, and activities of daily living. To benefit from this technology, the client must be able to access it. This course addresses one access method, switches, and how to determine the best switch location and type to match a client’s needs.

Dynamic Seating
Presented by Michelle Lange, OTR, ABDA, ATP/SMS
Recorded Webinar
Course: #3093Level: Intermediate1 Hour
Dynamic seating has four primary functions – to allow movement, to diffuse force, to protect the client, and to protect the seating system and mounting hardware. This course will take a look at the product options, discuss clinical indicators and contra-indicators for dynamic components and present case studies to illustrate these points.

Positioning the Head
Presented by Michelle Lange, OTR, ABDA, ATP/SMS
Recorded Webinar
Course: #3098Level: Intermediate2 Hours
This course will discuss various strategies to optimize head position. First, we will explore strategies beyond the head support, including specific positioning interventions and addressing visual issues. Second, we will explore posterior head supports in depth, matching specific features to client needs. Third, we will explore other options which may be required if posterior support alone is inadequate, including anterior head support.

Service Delivery: Preparing for the ATP Exam
Presented by Michelle Lange, OTR, ABDA, ATP/SMS
Recorded Webinar
Course: #2620Level: Introductory1 Hour
The RESNA Assistive Technology Professional certification examination includes questions from a variety of content areas. One of those areas is Service Delivery. This module will cover the content area including ethics, standards of practice, information resources, service delivery systems and roles, consumer empowerment, quality assurance, outcomes, product development and liability.

Recreational Technologies: Preparing for the ATP Exam
Presented by Michelle Lange, OTR, ABDA, ATP/SMS
Recorded Webinar
Course: #2625Level: Introductory1 Hour
The RESNA Assistive Technology Professional certification examination includes questions from a variety of content areas. One of those areas is Recreational Technologies. This module will cover the content area including recreational technologies for people who have motor, cognitive, and/or sensory impairments. Areas addressed include play, games, sports, and exercise.