Terminology: ‘telecare’ v ‘assistive technology’

If you know anyone who persists in using the generic term ‘assistive technology’ (AT) when they mean something as specific as ‘telecare’, then direct them to the following excellent list of examples of AT from the British Assistive Technology Association. It is interesting that they have adopted the US term ‘PERS’ for telecare alarms, but we can live with that! Further Information on What Assistive Technology Is. Heads-up thanks to Guy Dewsbury.

UPDATE Fri 17th: A reader has reminded me (Ed. Steve) that I did not put the above into the context of the Foundation For Assistive Technology’s (FAST) definition, as supported by the AT Alliance. As I was involved in the development of the FAST definition in 2001 I fully support the AT Alliance’s comment that “to define the term too closely using illustrative lists of equipment ran the risk that any associated legislation, funding or regulatory measures failed to cover emerging technologies not included in the listing.” However, there are still people who refer to ‘telecare’ as if it were the whole of, and not a subset of, ‘assistive technology’ and one wonders why the message still has not got through. That’s the reason why I liked the BATA page for giving so many examples.

Categories: Terminology.


  1. Just a note that the BATA definition identifies another anomoly – that the education field uses ‘assistive technology’to mean the cluster of assistive technology devices currently being used to support education and learning objectives. This is again, a sub-set or cluster of AT devices, AT being any device or system designed to enable independence – nice and broad. :)