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Shirley Ryan AbilityLab
355 East Erie
Chicago, IL 60611
United States

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Shirley Ryan AbilityLab’s Assistive Technology Program offers a variety of services to enhance your independence, comfort and quality of life. At AbilityLab, you have access to experts who can assist you with state-of-the-art devices, technology (software and hardware), assistive robots and other adaptive technology and equipment. 

In addition to the wide range of assistive devices we can offer, the Center’s occupational therapists (OTs) and speech-language pathologists (SLPs) specialize in use of and training with these devices as part of your rehabilitation plan.

Plus, AbilityLab is one of few hospitals in the nation that is able to customize your device right in our lab — avoiding the hassle of having to make multiple appointments and get to multiple locations.

The Assistive Technology program is made up of 3 specialties (Technology, Engineering, Custom Seating), and also offers access to the Lester B. Knight Lending Library through which patients can use assistive devices on short-term loan. Advanced training and rehabilitation using these unique tools is part of achieving your best outcome.

AbilityLab Technology Center


Assistive Technology advances skills that perhaps you once thought impossible — from commonplace tasks such as turning on the TV, using a telephone or computer, and operating lights and appliances to essentials like communicating with the world. 

The Shirley Ryan AbilityLab is unique in its clinician-based approach to incorporating these high-tech tools into treatment plans. Specially trained therapists will assess, identify and recommend appropriate assistive devices for you. Together we will work as a team to make sure you’re comfortable with the equipment and able to use it to its full potential. 

We have a large selection of state-of-the-art, commercially available devices on hand to assist in assessing the best equipment for you. When you choose a device, we’ll work directly with vendors to ensure a hassle-free experience. In addition, the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab’s rehabilitation engineers can modify equipment or fabricate custom-made tools to meet your particular needs.

Augmentative and alternative communication devices help you express yourself if you have difficulty speaking. They range in complexity from low-tech tools, such as a manual communication board that allows you to point to letters or pictures to high-tech, voice-generating computers that speak aloud what you input. 

If your manual dexterity is limited, these tools can be controlled by a joystick, alternative keyboard, switches or even your eyes. In addition, specialized software and hardware make it possible to use all features of a computer. Adaptations include keyboard modifications, alternative mouse devices, head- or voice-controlled, hands-free options, and specialized systems that respond to a nod of the head or the blink of an eye.

Rehabilitation Engineering Center


In the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab’s Rehabilitation Engineering Center, engineers, designers, roboticists and wheelchair technicians provide the expertise — including modifying commercial products and fabricating custom equipment — to find the best solution for you, be it customizing a wheelchair, creating adaptive telephone buttons, or designing a work station so you can go back to work.

Our Technology

From improving your gait or manual dexterity, AbilityLab has state-of-the-art technology to help you achieve your rehabilitation goals. Check out these example of the latest devices employed by our expert teams.