Posted by: Patricia Hysong | February 12, 2014

There’s an App For That! Part 2

Handicap parking sign

Apps that make life easier

Due to being aware of the needs of those with disabilities and those who are technology challenged, manufactures of mobile phones, tablets, electronic books, and most electronic gadgets in general build in device features that have the ability to make them more user-friendly. Android, Apple, Blackberry, and other mobile devices all have some level of built-in accessibility. They may vary slightly in form and function but they are there and can usually be found under the setting>accessibility feature of the device. In addition the those features, there are many other apps that can be added depending on the specific needs of the user.

Incorporating the use of some of these apps when living with a disability may increase the enjoyment and ease of use otherwise not so available to them. That one click on the mouse or tap on the screen can make daily interaction for those individuals with disabilities more convenient and less cumbersome to navigate.  Let’s look into a few that are out there, keeping in mind that those below are by no means all that are available and individuals should investigate and use those that work best for their unique situation and type of mobile\electronic device. Another thing to keep in mind is there may be a fee involved in downloading and using some apps.

Big Launcher– Android interface that magnifies screen items for those with vision problems

Vlingo– a voice powered Virtual Assistant by Android

Text to Speech Toy– allows your Android device to dictate text to you and can reach far past the “toy” aspect of the title

Tecla– software and hardware tools to make phones accessible via external switches or through the controls on powered wheelchairs

ViBe– those with vision problems can choose to assign vibration patterns to identify callers

Gesture Search– allows you to search many items on your phone by drawing letters or numbers on the screen

iComm– developed as an aid to help very young children communicate using pictures and sounds, it can be very useful for those with other communication barriers

Parking Mobility– share, find and suggest handicap parking throughout the world and report violations with in minutes via this app

soundAMP Lite– amplifies the world around you by acting like a hearing aid through ear buds

Originally the development of many of these apps were based on the “fun” ideas of very creative people who questioned, experimented and developed toys to stretch imagination and technology boundaries but with the introduction of “fun” came the everyday functionality and practical uses for those in need and want of assistive technology. As with any fast paced industry, technology changes on what seems like a daily basis and what is up to date today may be old news tomorrow. It is a good idea to keep that in mind and to continually seek out the apps that are newer, better, and more productive for your specific needs.

This information is provided courtesy of the Wyoming AgrAbility Project. For more information, visit our website or call toll-free at 866-395-4986.

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