We all like to live as independently as possible, and for disabled people, technology and apps are an invaluable aid to achieving this.It seems that everyone nowadays owns a smartphone and tablet, and with that comes a seemingly unlimited world of apps to choose from.But which should youconsider and how could they enhance yourlife?
Here, our writers Carrie Aimes and Emma Purcell round up the top 10 apps for disabled people and why you should try them out, all updated for 2019.
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AccessAble is a UK accessible travel app that takes the chance out of going out for disabled people. The app contains 75,000 detailed access guides telling you how accessible a venue, tourist attraction or public place is for your needs.
You can use the app’s accessibility symbols to filter results and places that suit you. For example, if you enjoy shopping and you’re a wheelchair user, you would search for a shopping centre that has wheelchair access, Blue Badge parking, step-free access, ramps, lifts and accessible toilets.
There is also accessibility information for people with other mobility issues, sensory impairments and intellectual disabilities. Moreover, you can check out photographs of a venue and save access guides for later.
Dragon Anywhere app
This dictation app enables you to create and edit documents of any length on your phone, tablet or laptop, all using your voice. By simply speaking into the device you cancreate text messages, compose emails and edit long documents, and then sync them with your Dropbox or cloud so they can be accessed on your computer.
The Dragon Anywhere app is aimed at busy professionals needing to work while commuting. But it has obvious benefits for disabled people too. Apple iPhone and Andriod users can download it for free, but after a trial, you’ll have to pay (£9.99 a month and £99.99 a year).
Our tech writer Tom Housden has tried out this app, along with some of Dragon’s other dictation apps. See his article on dictation appsfor a full breakdown of how it works and what else is on offer.
Changing Places Toilet Finder app
No matter what your disability, being able to reach an accessible public toilet in good time is a daily challenge. The free Changing Places Toilet Finder app, from the RADAR Key company,lists thousands of accessible toilets across the UK.
It is a comprehensive guide of more than 1,000 Changing Places toilets, which are extra-large toilets with changing facilities. The app shows you how far you are from one of the toilets, how to get there, the opening hours of the toilet, how to open the door, whether it is normally locked and information regarding hoists and slings.
This app is a communication aid for people who are non-verbal or have a speech impairment. You can create a profile containing the spoken actions most useful to any situation, such as a specific event, travelling, working, education, socialising, plus much more, and suited for your day-to-day life. In addition, for people with reduced dexterity, there are a big Yes/No buttons.
This app is available in multiple languages and includes an emergency contact and location request services if you were to be in danger or go missing. HelpTalk can only be downloaded on Google Play.
Disabled Motoring app
Disabled Motoring UK is a campaigning charity and magazine that aims to make life easier for disabled drivers, passengers and Blue Badge holders. Its app allows you to find accredited disabled parking, get help refuelling your vehicle and browse information on Blue Badges, as well as the latest news from the charity.
The app is free to download on iOS and Android devices but, for a fee, there are additional benefits you can sign up for. Becoming an online member will give you access to the members’ area on its website, as well as a monthly newsletter.
Alternatively, you can become a full/associate member and receive the monthly magazine and discounts on everyday goods, from groceries to holidays. It’ll also enable you to get help with motoring-related problems, such as parking tickets and local authority issues.The full/associate membership will cost £24 a year.
The Physiotherapy Exercises app contains more than 1,000 images illustrating 600 exercises suitable for those with spinal cord injury and neurological conditions. Search, select and save exercises for future reference and even suggest others if you wish.
UPDATE 2019: The developer of this app needs to update it to work with iOS 11.
Red Panic button app
To be able to immediately and urgently notify a number of contacts of your whereabouts can be hugely beneficial if you’re disabled. If you’re older, have learning disabilities, or live on your own but rely on others, you might want to consider the Red Panic Button.
One tap of the red button sends alerts to your contacts via text, email, Facebook and Twitter. All you need to do is enter the details of those you wish to alert ahead of using the app, and they will receive a Google Maps link with your location.
Many features are free to both Android and iOS users, though there is the option to upgrade at a fee, which means you can even send a photo attachment and record a 10-second voice message with your alert. Gain more independence and security with this handy and easy to useRed Panic Buttonapp by visitingiTunesor Google Play.
Be My Eyes app
This award-winning app allows people who are blind or visually impaired to request help from a sighted volunteer. You can receive assistance through a live video connection to a global network of volunteers who can assist you with a range of tasks.
The sighted volunteers will receive a notification on their phone when you ask for assistance. As soon as the first volunteer accepts the request, a live video link will be connected to you and the sighted volunteer.
You can then use your rear-facing camera to allow the sighted volunteer to see the item or subject you need assistance with or descriptions of. Support can be as simple as checking expiry dates or more complicated tasks such as navigating a public place.
Have You Heard
Designed for people with hearing impairments, this app will amplify voices around you so that you can better understand conversations with people in busy and loud places, such as with a friendin a restaurant or a colleaguein a meeting.
You can focus on conversations either close by or further away by using the ‘focus near/far’ feature, and adjust the volume to suit you. If you still haven’t quite heard something, you can replay the last 20 seconds of a conversation at the press of a button.
To use it, you’ll need to connect a headphone to your phone. It’s free and only available on iTunes for iPhone users.
UPDATE 2019: The developer of this app needs to update it to work with iOS 11.
Uber taxis app
Having a disability means that public transport often isn’t an option, leaving you to rely on taxis. To stop you getting stranded, you can download the Uber app, allowing you to request a taxi ride from where you are using your phone.
To do so, simply create anaccount with your card or PayPal – no cash required – and select a vehicle to suit your needs. If you do want to plan ahead, the Scheduled Rides feature allows you to book a vehicle up to 30 days in advance.
Uber has two services aimed at helping disabled passengers get around. ItsuberACCESStaxis are equipped with a rear-entry ramp andfour-point restraints, enabling wheelchair users to ride safely and comfortably with one additional passenger. Its other accessible service, uberASSIST, is designed for those who don’t need a wheelchair-accessible vehicle, but require additional assistance on their journey.
All uberACCESS and uberASSIST partners have received Disability Equality Training from Transport for All and Inclusion London,and both cost the same as using uberX, one of Uber’s lowest-cost services.
UberACCESS (previously called uberWAV) is available in London, Manchester and Birmingham, and uberASSIST is available in London, Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds, and Sheffield. There are plans to roll out both into other areas soon.
By Carrie Aimes and Emma Purcell
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Examples of assistive technology include screen readers, braille displays and screen magnifiers. But they can also include equipment like mobility aids, walkers and wheelchairs.What is the most common assistive technology? ›
- talking devices such as a talking thermostat,
- Braille displays,
- screen reading software,
- text-to-speech systems using Optical Character Recognition (OCR),
- large print materials, and.
- phones with large tactile buttons.
- Be My Eyes: Connecting visually impaired travelers.
- Dragon Dictation: Communication for the hearing-impaired.
- NotNav and NowNav GPS Accessibility: GPS for the Blind.
- Wheel Mate : Find wheelchair-accessible toilets and parking space.
Assistive technology (AT) is any item, piece of equipment, software program, or product system that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of persons with disabilities. Assistive Technology most commonly used: Speech/Voice recognition. Text to Speech.How will new technology improve accessibility for people with disabilities? ›
Technology can lower barriers that people with disabilities encounter in their daily lives, such as speaking, travelling, reading, and writing. It can allow them to participate and enjoy the benefits of the digital society, with the same access to information as everyone else.What is digital assistive technology? ›
Digital assistive technologies Frontier technologies and applications of ICTs that support persons with disabilities to live independently and fully participate in society. These include digital technologies that do not require a mobile phone as well as those that rely on mobile.What are the five basic categories of disabilities? ›
Disabilities are usually defined in five basic categories: vision, auditory process, physical ability, cognitive ability, and speech.What is assistive technology for multiple disabilities? ›
What is assistive technology? Assistive technology (AT) is any item, piece of equipment, software program, or product system that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of persons with disabilities. AT can be low-tech: communication boards made of cardboard or fuzzy felt.Who uses assistive technology? ›
Assistive technology is technology used by individuals with disabilities in order to perform functions that might otherwise be difficult or impossible.What is Access Now app? ›
AccessNow is sharing accessibility information about places around the world. Search for specific places like a restaurant, hotel or store, or browse the map to see what is nearby with the accessibility features you require.
Alternative input devices allow individuals to control their computers through means other than a standard keyboard or pointing device. Examples include: Alternative keyboards—featuring larger- or smaller-than-standard keys or keyboards, alternative key configurations, and keyboards for use with one hand.Why is assistive technology important? ›
For many students with disabilities, assistive technology (AT) is critically important in removing barriers to mobility, communication, socialization, and learning.What is an example of assistive media? ›
Assistive Technology (AT) is any device, software or equipment that helps people with disabilities work around challenges so they can learn, communicate and simply function better. For instance, software that reads aloud text from a computer is AT.What are the examples of technology in the special education classroom? ›
- Text-to-Speech Technology. ...
- Voice-recognition software. ...
- Sip-and-Puff Systems. ...
- Virtual reality technology. ...
- Assistive Technology for Writing. ...
- Math Learning Tools. ...
- Touchscreen Technology.
Some examples of Assistive Technology are your home smart devices, doorbell cameras, and automatic door openers. These devices promote greater independence by enabling people with disabilities to perform everyday tasks that might otherwise be a barrier to independent living.What is an example of assistive technology for reading? ›
TTS, audiobooks and digital TTS books all let kids hear text read aloud. Laptops and desktops, mobile devices and Chrome offer built-in assistive technology tools for reading. There are also low-tech assistive technology options, like sticky notes and highlighters.What are accessible technologies? ›
Accessible electronic and information technology is technology that can be used by people with a wide range of abilities and disabilities. It incorporates the principles of universal design. Each user is able to interact with the technology in ways that work best for them.How many types of assistive devices are there? ›
Some examples of assistive technologies are: Mobility aids, such as wheelchairs, scooters, walkers, canes, crutches1, prosthetic devices, and orthotic devices. Hearing aids to help people hear or hear more clearly.How effective is assistive technology? ›
Findings revealed that while some programs saw no improvement in spelling, reading or writing as a result of using the assistive technology, the majority of studies found consistently improved outcomes.Who invented assistive technology? ›
But it was the discovery and development in the early 1800s of a “universal system for reading and writing to be used by people who are blind or visually impaired” by Louis Braille at the age of 15 that is more often viewed as the real beginning of assistive technology.
- Physical Disability. Locomotor Disability. Leprosy Cured Person. Cerebral Palsy. ...
- Intellectual Disability. Specific Learning Disabilities. Autism Spectrum Disorder.
- Mental Behaviour (Mental Illness)
- Disability caused due to- Chronic Neurological Conditions such as- Multiple Sclerosis. Parkinson's Disease. ...
- Multiple Disabilities.
- Locomotor Disability. Leprosy Cured Person. Cerebral Palsy. Dwarfism. Muscular Dystrophy. Acid Attack Victims.
- Visual Impairment. Blindness. Low Vission.
- Hearing Impairment. Deaf. Hard of Hearing.
- Speech and Language Disability.
The majority of IDEA appropriations are allocated to states by formula to carry out activities under Part B, which covers 14 disability categories: (1) autism, (2) deaf-blindness, (3) deafness, (4) emotional disturbance, (5) hearing impairment, (6) intellectual disability, (7) multiple disabilities, (8) orthopedic ...What are examples of low-tech assistive technology? ›
- Slant boards.
- Pencil grips.
- Adapted paper (e.g., colored, raised line, and with portions highlighted)
- Word banks.
- Alternative keyboards.
- Digital recorders.
- Spelling devices, and even computers with word processing software.
Screen readers are types of software used by blind or visually impaired people to read aloud the content of the computer screen. There are many examples of screen reading assistive technology. The most commonly used are NVDA, a free open-source program, and JAWS (Job Access With Speech).What are examples of assistive technology for autism? ›
Examples include battery-operated sensory toys, visual timers, and social skills videos. High-tech AT is digital technology and can include anything from augmentative communication technology for non-verbal people to robots built to increase social skills in children on the spectrum.When did assistive technology start? ›
Assistive technology has a long history; it began before 1900 during the Foundation Period in which AT was discovered. AT is defined as a tool that may assist individuals with disabilities (Labadie, 2019). Around 1988, the Tech Act provides federal funds to AT services and information (Labadie, 2019).What is AccessNow software? ›
Our 24/7 Digital Security Helpline provides comprehensive, real-time technical assistance to users at risk, including civil society groups, activists, journalists, and human rights defenders.Who is Maayan Ziv? ›
Maayan Ziv is an activist, a photographer and an entrepreneur based in Toronto, Canada. From a young age, Maayan challenged norms and worked within her community to increase awareness of disability issues and improve accessibility.Where is access now based? ›
Access Now is an international human rights organization that defends and extends the digital rights of users at risk. It combines innovative policy, user engagement, and direct technical support in order to carry out its duties. Access Now is based in New York, United States.
Assistive products maintain or improve an individual's functioning and independence, thereby promoting their well-being. Hearing aids, wheelchairs, communication aids, spectacles, prostheses, pill organizers and memory aids are all examples of assistive products.Why is technology important for disabled people? ›
Access to technology is an enabling right for people with disability. Access to technology unlocks employment, education and other opportunities for people with disability. Accessible design of new technology benefits everyone—people with disability, business and the whole community.How does assistive technology help elderly? ›
Safety Assistive Technologies
These devices provide health monitoring and around-the-clock emergency response, and can come fitted with a panic button and fall detection. Most systems use a landline and consist of a base unit and wearable help pendant, but there are also GPS-based mobile options for people on the go.
Assistive technology helps in two ways: it can help the student learn how to complete the task and it can help to bypass an area of difficulty. For example, when a student decides to listen to a digital version of a book, they are bypassing an area of difficulty.How does assistive media help individuals with disability? ›
For example, assistive technology enables students with disabilities to compensate for certain impairments. This specialized technology promotes independence and decreases the need for other support. Rehabilitative and assistive technology can enable individuals to: Care for themselves and their families.What is assistive technology for students with physical impairments? ›
Devices intended to help with mobility include wheelchairs, walkers, scooters, crutches, canes, and orthotic devices. Depending on the severity and type of mobility impairment, a different device may be used by an individual.What are the different technology assisted tools in learning? ›
- Audio players and recorders. It may help your child to be able to listen to the words while reading them on the page. ...
- Timers. ...
- Reading guides. ...
- Seat cushions. ...
- FM listening systems. ...
- Calculators. ...
- Writing supports. ...
- Graphic organizers.
- Adapted Books.
- Adapted Piece Book Sets.
- Adapted Work Binders®
- Book Companions.
- Centers, Work Bins and Task Boxes.
- Connected Cooking.
Examples of such equipment include a voice activated software system, an augmentative communication device, and an electric wheelchair.What are four technological devices that assist people or help them adapt to their environment? ›
The four most commonly used technologies were canes or walking sticks, wheelchairs, hearing aids, and walkers.
Accessible electronic and information technology is technology that can be used by people with a wide range of abilities and disabilities. It incorporates the principles of universal design. Each user is able to interact with the technology in ways that work best for them.Is Alexa good for people with disabilities? ›
Using Amazon Alexa for Help
Enabling these Alexa skills on your Amazon Echo device is a great way for people with disabilities to manage their lifestyles and make daily tasks easier to achieve.
Assistive technology enables people to live healthy, productive, independent, and dignified lives, and to participate in education, the labour market and civic life.Why is assistive technology important for students with disabilities? ›
Why is it important? Assistive technology increases a student's opportunities for education, social interactions, and potential for meaningful employment. It also supports a student's participation in learning experiences in the least restrictive environment.How can assistive technology enhance communication? ›
Speech output on a device enables an augmentative communication user to gain attention (for example, "Mrs. T, I need help!") and to communicate more elaborate messages more quickly.How is assistive technology used at home? ›
Some examples of Assistive Technology are your home smart devices, doorbell cameras, and automatic door openers. These devices promote greater independence by enabling people with disabilities to perform everyday tasks that might otherwise be a barrier to independent living.How effective is assistive technology? ›
Findings revealed that while some programs saw no improvement in spelling, reading or writing as a result of using the assistive technology, the majority of studies found consistently improved outcomes.What is an example of assistive media? ›
Audio players and recorders
It may help your child to be able to listen to the words while reading them on the page. Many e-books have audio files, and smartphones and tablet computers come with text-to-speech software that can read aloud anything on your child's screen.
TECHNOLOGICALLY ACCESSIBLE MEANS THE TECHNOLOGY NEEDED TO USE THE RESOURCE MUST BE AVAILABLE SO THAT WE CAN EXTRACT IT AND MAKE PROPER USE OF IT. ECONOMICALLY FEASIBLE MEANS WE MUST HAVE ENOUGH MONEY TO EXTRACT IT AND USE IT.What does digitally accessible mean? ›
Digital accessibility addresses the ability of people with visual, auditory, motor or cognitive disabilities to access electronic resources such as the internet, software, mobile devices, e-readers, etc.
There's a lot of buzz these days about home assistive devices, like Amazon Echo and Google Home. But did you know that these tools can serve as assistive technology (AT)? These devices can help with spelling and sounding out words, solving basic math problems, and staying on schedule.Is Alexa an assistive device? ›
Innovation experts indicate that seniors are among those likely to gain the most by using assistive technology like Amazon's voice-activated Alexa, although they aren't the only ones to benefit.What is Alexa accessibility? ›
Alexa offers many features that can help people of all abilities be more connected, more entertained, and more independent, including Alexa Captioning, Real Time Text, Show and Tell, VoiceView Screen Reader, Tap to Alexa and voice control for smart home devices.