Assistive Technology Program
OCTC's Assistive Technology Program provides specialized technology services for children and youth up to age 19, across our region.
We support clients and families in obtaining and using technology to meet communication, writing, seating/mobility and educational/recreational needs, so that clients can become more independent, develop their potential, and participate actively in daily life.
The Assistive Technology Program includes three key teams:
The Clinic for Augmentative Communication – provides equipment and support to children and youth who have severe difficulty speaking or writing and who require augmentative and alternative methods of communication (AAC).
Seating & Mobility – serves children and youth who require support in sitting and/or assistance with moving around their environment.
Technical Services – promotes and facilitates the use of computers, adaptive equipment, and adapted toys to enhance learning and play for children and youth with special needs.
The Clinic for Augmentative Communication (CAC)
Provides equipment and support to children and youth who have severe difficulty speaking or writing and who require augmentative and alternative methods of communication (AAC).
For example, children who are unable to speak or whose speech is very difficult to understand may learn to communicate their needs and ideas through picture boards or voice output devices.
Children who are physically unable to write may learn to use adapted computers to complete their homework or to compose emails to their friends.
The CAC team assesses the client's communication needs and abilities, recommends appropriate AAC systems, assists the client and family to obtain the recommended equipment through the Assistive Devices Program, and provides some initial training to help the client and family learn to use the AAC system.
Please note that clients may not be eligible for CAC services if they are at the early stages of using AAC or if their AAC needs can be met by their own therapists. We strongly recommend that you discuss your AAC needs with your Speech-Language Pathologist or Occupational Therapist before making a referral to CAC.
The CAC team also runs The Warrick Lending Library, a small library of books adapted for AAC users and simple communication devices that can be used during reading activities. The Warrick Lending Library is open to anyone using AAC, without the need for a referral. To find out more, please contact Bethany Gray, Program Assistant, at 613-688-2126, ext. 4935 or email email@example.com
In addition, the CAC team offers support to Speech-Language Pathologists and Occupational Therapists working with children and youth who use or who may need AAC, though our All About AAC service.
Parents and other service providers may attend All About AAC sessions with the Speech-Language Pathologist or Occupational Therapist.
Please note that effective May 1 2013, referrals to CAC must be made directly by the client/family. We will no longer accept referrals from service providers. Some exceptions may apply (eg: client/family does not speak English or French, client is an inpatient at CHEO).
For referrals to the Clinic for Augmentative Communication, please contact Anne Lukey at 613-737-0871 ext. 4425 to request the required referral form.
Are you thinking of getting an iPad to help your child communicate? Please read this first.
For more information about CAC, please contact Josée Séguin, Clinical Coordinator:
613-688-2126, ext. 4346
Seating & Mobility
OCTC's Seating & Mobility team serves children and youth who require support in sitting and/or assistance with moving around their environment.
We work with the family, client, caregivers and community therapists to provide comfortable, supportive and functional equipment to meet the child's unique and complex medical, seating and mobility needs.
For example, an infant who is well-supported and comfortable in a specialized stroller will tolerate long walks and outings and have an optimal position for play, feeding and interaction with others.
As well, clients who are able to self-propel a manual wheelchair or control a power wheelchair can go where they want to go and fully participate in home, school, and community activities.
The Seating & Mobility team can follow the client from the time of referral to OCTC until transition to adult services.
Appointments can be held in the client's local community, home, school, vendor's store or workshop.
Seating & Mobility services include:
- Assessment of sitting position and functional mobility — abilities, needs and goals;
- Prescription of equipment such as specialized strollers and car seats, manual and power wheelchairs, as well as commercial and custom-made cushions;
- Training and consultation about the use of seating and mobility equipment for clients, families and community service providers;
- Education about safe transportation for infants, children and youth with special needs;
- Assistance with the funding process for any equipment that is recommended;
- 'Pressure Mapping' assessment when pain, skin breakdown or asymmetry are a concern; and
- Power Mobility Training for clients developing the skills to be independent in using a power wheelchair.
For more information about Seating & Mobility, please contact Susan Mendelsohn, Program Administrator:
613-688-2126, ext. 4319
OCTC's Technical Services team promotes and facilitates the use of computers, adaptive equipment, and adapted toys to enhance learning and play for children and youth with special needs.
Technical Services offered include the OCTC Lending Library, Technology Consultation, and Toy Adaptations.
The OCTC Lending Library
The lending library features both switch-adapted and regular toys, toys that help develop fine-motor and gross-motor skills, educational software, computer peripherals such as specialized keyboards, books, resource DVDs, as well as simple communication devices, switches, games and puzzles.
OCTC clients and families who wish to use this service must first register with the library, and can then borrow up to three items at a time for a period of one month, free of charge. Items can be reserved if they are already out on loan, and items may be picked up and returned to any OCTC site.
Clients and families can browse and borrow items in person during Lending Library drop-in hours at our 395 Smyth or Kanata sites, at other times and sites by appointment, or by using this site's Online Lending Library.
For more information or to register for the Lending Library, please contact:
613-737-0871, poste 2943 or
The OCTC Technical Services team offers technology consultation for OCTC clients with physical and/or developmental disabilities up to age 19. Through this service, we support the client’s use of technology to meet their learning and recreational needs, by:
- Suggesting appropriate computer adaptations or tablet adaptations or apps for working towards goals established by the client’s school/therapy team
- Suggesting alternate methods to access leisure, recreational and environmental control activities such as reading, listening to music, telephone and remote control functions
- Demonstrating the use of technology for the client’s family, school staff and/or therapists
- Providing initial practice sessions so that the client can begin using the suggested equipment
Consultation sessions may be provided at our different OCTC sites if required. In some cases, consultation may also be provided at the client’s home or school.
For more information, or to request technology consultation, please contact: Kim Ferguson, Occupational Therapist:
613-688-2126, ext. 4351
OCTC's Electronics Technician can adapt toys to better suit your child's needs.
Let our experts help increase your child's use and enjoyment of a particular toy — families provide the toy and pay the cost of any materials that may be needed to make the appropriate adaptations. We can also adapt small devices such as a computer mouse.
To request an adaptation, please contact Eduardo Guerra, Electronics Technologist:
How to Access the Assistive Technology Program
- First, please review the descriptions on this page of the various types of support that OCTC offers through the Assistive Technology Program.
- Next, check out Intake Services to find out the steps for registering for the services that interest you or your family member.
- Once you have an idea of which areas of the Assistive Technology Program might best match your needs, call the person listed at the bottom of the area description (if applicable) or call Intake Services at 613-737-0871, ext. 4425, to register.
*Please note that clients of OCTC may access services delivered through more than one Program team, please contact Intake for information.