Assistive Technology

What is the Relationship between Universal Design and Assistive Technology?

The social model of Disability suggests disability is a poor fit between the person’s function and the design of the environment or occupation. Universal Design aims to improve design whereas Assistive Technology improves function.

In fact, The convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities recognizes this relationship in the definition of Universal Design and defines Universal Design as “The design of products, environments, programmes and services to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design.

Universal design shall not exclude assistive devices for particular groups of persons with disabilities where this is needed.”

See Article 2 (General Definitions) of CRPD for more information

Both assistive technology and universal design can be used together to make products, spaces, and environments more inclusive and accessible. For example, a building designed with universal design principles may include an elevator with braille buttons and an announcement system for people who are visually impaired, and provide a space for charging electric wheelchairs.


Bridges Canada

Specializing in assistive technology for learning, communication, alternative access, low vision and blindness needs.


Based in Ontario and specializing in Assistive Technology for students with learning disabilities