What is a MAT Evaluation?

September 8, 2022 by Julian Jimenez

Within the world of Assistive Technology, the evaluation is of great importance, since at the time of choosing technology, it will allow us to have the necessary information to make the correct selection.

What is a MAT Evaluation? Before answering this question, we must define evaluation, which is a process where a set of criteria is determined in an orderly and systematic manner, which will help us functionally to select equipment which complies with the requirements of the user. This type of evaluation should be done by professionals who are trained, since the equipment chosen will aid in the users’ activities of daily living.

There are two types of assistive technology called simple or complex; the latter refers to equipment that is more expensive, difficult to acquire, has more complex electronic components and they require specialized training for its use, for example: electronic wheelchairs, computers with sensors, electronic communication boards, among other equipment. The simple assistive technology refers to equipment with lower costs, easy to use and obtain, and that require a simpler process to manufacture, for example: grip adapters, pencils, paper communication boards, or tools for personal hygiene or feeding made of different materials.

The evaluation can be divided according to the needs being solved, among them we find: augmentative and alternatives for communication, technology for personal mobility, technology for manipulation and control of a person’s environment, sensory aids for people with visual, hearing, or tactile disabilities. These evaluations are also divided into more specific categories, for example for mobility you can divide it into gait training or seated mobility and so on in all these areas in general.

Procedures

Complying with these parameters the principal objective is to search for the most suitable equipment that guarantees the improvement of the user, assessing elements such as the place of use, environment, accessibility, time of use as well as elements of the physical abilities of the user. It’s important that these evaluations be done in person as that allows the professional to observe in detail different factors that could not be captured in a virtual medium.

The process starts from the moment we enter through the door as some basic details can be known from that first moment that can be complemented with technological tools that are available today, because of that, we can proceed to carry out an interview which will give us a large amount of information and details, finally we move onto the physical evaluation to determine the specifications of the assistive technology.

Benefits

All types of evaluations yield results and in this case there’s no exception, with these we can prepare a report that will allow us to choose the assistive technology that is most suited to the needs of the user and will have used the evaluation to improve the user’s quality of life.

The different types of assistive technology represent a medium to facilitate mobility as well as maintenance of the capabilities the user already has, to take on challenges in the environment, improve skills, independence, a guarantee of autonomy and participation. Adequate prescription and training of assistive technology makes the difference in the relationship between physical and mental health, and quality of life.

All assistive technology is a complement in the user’s functionality, so the benefits vary from user to user and quality is found in the context of improving skills and social interactions, seeking quality of health hand in hand with quality of life.

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