People with disabilities have been struggling for decades in a world designed for able people. Over recent years, there has a lot of effort to make lives easier for differently-abled people. From wheelchair access ramps to braille markings on ATM machines, the world is gradually shifting to make public and private spaces more accessible. One of the most important elements in this shift is assistive technology, which we discuss in this blog.
4 Assistive Technologies Helping People with Disabilities
When people hear the words “assistive technology”, they immediately think of things like electric wheelchairs and hearing implants. In reality, the term is an umbrella that includes even basic technology like special handgrips to advanced tech like sophisticated smartphones.
Most of the technology that we take for granted in our daily lives can help people with disabilities. From voice commands on cable online to specially designed tablets, this technology is assisting people to compensate for their limitations.
As more people begin to understand the need to empower people with disabilities, there is a new direction that tech companies are taking. Many have started to adapt to existing technologies that we use in our everyday lives to alleviate disabilities.
A lot of them aren’t even that groundbreaking as technology goes, but are still effective at what they do. Below follows a list of 4 everyday technologies assisting differently-abled people in their daily lives:
- Assistive Touch Technology
- Autism Communication Technology
- Voice Commands
- Speaking Through Tablets
Let’s examine these in more detail below.
Assistive Touch Technology
Apple has been working for differently-abled people since it released its first Macintosh computer in the 1980s. The corporation has done consistent work in making technology accessible to people with visual or auditory impairments.
Apple’s assistive touch technology comes on its iPads and iPhones and aims to help people with motor function disabilities. This technology displays an on-screen guide that people can use to operate their smartphones.
The guide executes functions like zooming in, controlling volume, and even multi-finger gestures in one tap. This makes it much easier to operate smartphones or tablets for people who have problems with motor control.
Autism Communication Technology
Autism affects over 1 in every 68 people in the United States, which makes it a relatively common disability. However, thanks to more advanced smartphones and apps, parents of autistic children have a new way to encourage their kids to communicate.
Plenty of apps available on the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store are designed to make communication easier for autistic children. Parents can download these apps to their iPad or Android tablet and let their kids use them. Many of these apps help autistic children communicate, grow their vocabulary, and maintain eye contact.
For many of us, voice-activated technology is a novelty. But it has very real and practical uses for people with dyslexia or visual impairments. Nuance is one of the best voice-controlled systems for smartphones and computers.
It allows you to dictate messages to the device which then transcribes them into texts, emails, or documents. This allows people with dyslexia or visual disabilities to forego the anguish of having to write manually.
Speaking Through Tablets
Another aspect of the voice-controlled system is its ability to read the text in an intelligible audio format. That means people can listen to their emails, texts, and important documents even if they aren’t able to read them. You can also command the system to execute tasks such as taking screenshots etc without having to rely on sight.
Assistive technologies help to rehabilitate people with disabilities. They go a long way toward improving or restoring the quality of life that they enjoy.
The right technology can help differently-abled people compensate in some measure for their disabilities. Assistive technology helps people to care for themselves and their families without taxing anyone with the effort.
It also allows them to work and earn the same as people with no disabilities. Most importantly, it helps with learning new things, enjoying the little things, and participating as a useful member of the community.
All of this helps make life much easier for people with disabilities and allows them access to spheres of life their limitations make difficult.