International Encyclopedia of Rehabilitation


  1. The help given by a person.
  2. Any of various objects that help a person with a disability in a given activity.

Here are some important types of aids.

hearing aid : Any apparatus that aims to correct an impairment to the auditory system, to compensate an auditory disability, to prevent or reduce a handicap situation.

low-vision aid: Any device that helps persons with low vision make better use of their residual eyesight. There are a great variety of optical, mechanical, electric, and electronic low-vision aids. Examples: magnifiers, special lights, strong reading glasses, handheld and eyeglass telescopes, video-magnifiers (closed-circuit television monitors adapted for reading).

mobility aid for the blind: One of several devices that help a blind person to move about. Also called travel aid. Examples: long cane, laser cane, various sensoring devices.

mobility aid used in locomotor deficiencies:

  1. A walking aid.
  2. A wheelchair, movable lifter, or other vehicle for persons with disabilities.

self-help aid: Any various objects that make it possible or easier for a person with a physical disability to perform certain activities such as eating, washing, dressing, writing, picking up an object, using a telephone, without help by another person. Examples: button hook, long-handle brush or shoe-horn, combination knife and fork, typing stick, etc.

sensory aid: Any device worn or held by the user to improve a sensory deficiency, usually visual or auditory. Examples: a hearing aid, magnifying glass, eyeglasses, etc.

ultrasonic mobility aid: A sensoring device for the blind. It emits a high-frequency, inaudible vibration, similar to radar, that strikes objects in the user's path and is reflected to a pair of earphones. The signals warn of objects that cannot be detected by the long cane.

walking aid: Products to aid people with disabilities who are able to walk or stand with assistance. Major Categories: Canes, Crutches, Standing, Walkers. U.S. Dept. of Education, National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research, ABLEDATA, [online]


Eisenberg MG. 1995. Dictionary of Rehabilitation. New York: Springer Publishing Company. 375 p. Used with permission.

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