Doernbecher Children's Hospital

Assistive Technology at CDRC

A smiling wooden toy bear sits inside a toy sailboat at OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital.

The assistive technology team at OHSU’s Child Development and Rehabilitation Center can help improve your child's and family’s quality of life. Our team:

  • Helps children with chronic conditions or complex needs that affect daily living.
  • Offers ways to support your child’s communication, mobility and learning.
  • Tailors the latest equipment, services and therapies to your child’s needs.
  • Provides expert care by experienced pediatric specialists.

What makes us different

Families come to CDRC, part of OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital, from throughout Oregon and beyond. Our care includes:

Help for the youngest children: We have extensive training and experience with babies and toddlers. Our partnership with Go Baby Go Oregon offers modified ride-on cars, switch-adapted toys and board books.

A team approach: Specialists can help your child fully take part in life at home and school.

Access to experts: If we find more health concerns, we can refer you for care elsewhere at CDRC or Doernbecher.

Expertise in complex needs: We can treat multiple conditions at once, with complete care in one setting.

Research that advances care: Our research focuses on tools and ways to help children grow and participate.

What is assistive technology?

Assistive technology gives children tools to reach their full potential. Tools can be high-tech, like a power wheelchair or a speech-generating device. Or they can be low-tech, like custom utensils for eating or writing.

Assistive technology encourages a “can-do” attitude. It eases children’s stress and anxiety about their ability to take part in daily life.

Our team can recommend tools that help your child:

  • Communicate
  • Move around
  • Maintain body positions
  • Do activities like eating or writing
  • Control their surroundings with light switches and other household controls
  • Play and socialize

For patients

Call 503-346-0640 to:

  • Schedule a visit
  • Seek a second opinion
  • Ask questions


Doernbecher Children's Hospital, seventh floor
700 S.W. Campus Drive
Portland, OR 97239

Eugene Child Development and Rehabilitation Center
74B Centennial Loop, Suite 100
Eugene, OR 97401

Free parking for patients and visitors

Refer a patient

Conditions we treat

We offer services for patients with chronic conditions and complex needs including:

Our approach

We focus on what your child can and wants to do. We listen to your concerns and ask questions to learn about challenges, including at school. We coordinate care with your child’s regular doctor to make sure your child makes progress.

Our team includes:

We create a custom plan for each child to increase their skills in:

  • Written expression
  • Control of their surroundings
  • Leisure activities, including games and socializing

Referral and evaluation


We require a doctor’s referral. We also ask that you sign a release form so we can talk with your child’s providers at school or in the community.

You may have to wait several months for your first appointment. We know this is frustrating; we are working to reduce wait times.


At your first visit, you’ll find:

  • A floor mat
  • Seating options including, if available, options that match what your child uses at home or school
  • Toys and books
  • Switches and tools to adapt toys and books
  • Picture symbols and other tools for communication

We will invite your child to play and read so we can see what interests them. We will also look at how they move and interact with surroundings.

The visit typically includes a speech-language pathologist and an occupational or physical therapist. Other specialists join as needed. Our team will get your child’s history, including any assistive technology your child has used.

If your child uses communication technology, please bring it or know what it’s called.

Our team will:

  • Give you specific ideas and strategies for your child.
  • Tell you if we plan to order any tool or if your child needs more assessment.
  • Schedule any follow-up visits.
  • Provide you with a copy of our report.

Follow-up care

Some children need only one visit and can return to care with their provider or at school. Others come back for care that often includes:

  • A short series of in-person therapy visits to teach the use of any new tools.
  • Virtual visits, to respect your family’s time and to help us see how tools fit into your surroundings and daily routine.
  • A re-evaluation, to make sure the technology is meeting your child’s needs.

Equipment and services

Equipment and services might include:

  • Keyboards, joysticks and other tools that help your child use a computer
  • Power wheelchairs
  • Communication devices, including speech-generating devices
  • iPads, with training
  • Adapted toys and books
  • Switches and other tools for adapting toys and books
  • Mounts that place devices where your child can use them
  • Occupational therapy
  • Physical therapy
  • Speech-language pathology

Paying for assistive technology

If you have health insurance: Your plan may cover equipment such as a power wheelchair or speech-generating device. Check with your insurer.

If insurance doesn’t cover the technology we recommend, or you don’t have insurance:

Research and innovations

Our experts are also researchers who work to improve our understanding of assistive technology. They are exploring topics including:

  • Communication tools and ways to replace or support speech.
  • Brain-computer interfaces for those who can’t use keyboards.
  • Communication assistance for children with autism, Down syndrome or physical challenges.
  • Training for parents and teachers on using assistive technology.

Learn more

Our team

Questions? Call 503-346-0640