asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether his Department provides any assistance to disabled persons to gain access to the following technological aids: possum, mavis, mac, apple, canon communicator, splink and microwriter.
Both health and social service authorities have powers to provide aids, including high technology aids of the kind described, to disabled persons. Voluntary organisations also provide aids in some cases.Environmental control equipment for severely disabled people is purchased by the Department from central funds for supply through the health services. The Possum PSU3 equipment is currently provided in this way; eligible patients who additionally suffer loss of speech may also be provided with a Possum typewriter for use as a communication aid.The Department is engaged in setting up a limited number of communication aids centres—in conjunction with the Royal Association for Disability and Rehabilitation—where expertise in the application of communication aids for speech-impaired people may be developed and shared.The Department aims to ensure that information about these aids and about the sort of people who might be helped by them is made widely available. Further progress will be encouraged through the designation of 1982 as United Kingdom Information Technology Year and the interest this is arousing in the application of information technology to the disabled.