What are some Helpful Smartphone Apps for People with Disabilities?
There are a number of Smartphone Apps that can be helpful for those with disabilities.
Author Attorney Lloyd Bemis:
Most people think nothing of picking up their phone to call a friend, discuss a business matter, or make an appointment, but for people with a disability, those daily tasks are not always so easy. A person with a hearing or speech impairment may have difficulty conversing on the phone – or may not be able communicate at all. Daily routines can be further complicated for people with disabilities if they have mobility issues. They need to know how they can travel to work, appointments, and social events and if they will have access to public buildings and other locations. Smartphones are more than a convenience for people with a disabling impairment; they are a necessary tool for navigating life. Fortunately, new technologies are helping people with disabilities live independent lives. Below is a list of apps which some may find useful.
- ICE (In Case of Emergency).
- Tap to Talk.
- Roger Voice.
- Be My Eyes.
- The Sesame Phone
There are a few different versions of this app which allows you to create a profile listing friends and family to be contacted in case of emergency and other important information on your phone. One version called Medical ID allows you to input important medical information such as blood type, allergies, medical conditions and medical contacts that are absolutely essential to emergency medical staff and first responders. Your location can also be shared even if the app is closed for up to 24 hours. This app is not just for people with disabilities; it is useful for anyone and can save a person’s life. It is available for free from the App Store.
This is an app that verbalizes words for a person who has difficulty speaking by turning an iPhone or iPad into an alternate communication device. A user can tap a word or phrase from an album of pictures on their smartphone and the word or phrase will play on the phone’s speakers. The user can choose words or phrases like “Can I have,” “Water,” “Yes”, “No,” “Thanks,” “Hello,” or “Bye.” The app can be downloaded for free and includes a starter album. For an added fee, albums can also be designed according to individual need. This app can make a significant difference in the daily life of people who have trouble communicating. It is available from the App store for free.
If you have been denied disability don’t give up! Contact a Disability lawyer at 512-454-4000 for a free consultation and get the benefits you deserve.
This application is a map of wheelchair accessible locations and includes a website, an iPhone app, and an Android app. Created by a German non-profit organization, WheelMap allows the user to find public restrooms, restaurants, theaters, parking lots and bus stops that are accessible for wheelchair users. Users can search for a location and WheelMAP will display all the accessible places nearby. Additionally, users can contribute information about public access and rate different locations. Reviews of more than 2 million places are available and growing daily. The app is free and is available in 32 languages, including English, German, Spanish, French, Italian, Islandic, Japanese and Greek.
The idea for Roger Voice came from a man who became deaf at the age of two. The premise behind the app is that deaf and hearing-impaired people should be able to make appointments, reserve a table at a restaurant or conduct business over the phone. Roger Voice is automatic. The app uses real-time speech translation to translate what a person says on the phone into text on the user’s screen and can enable phone conversations even if one or both people can’t hear. The person being called doesn’t need to have the app installed and doesn’t need to use a smartphone. Even if a deaf person speaks clearly, they can choose to type text instead. Text will be spoken to the person on the other end using realistic synthetic speech. The app also has a library of stock phrases for quick response. Roger Voice is available at the App Store. The basic app is free, but additional features can be purchased by subscription which can be canceled at any time and reinstalled as needed.
Blind and visually impaired people can live independently very successfully but may still need help when trying to find things, reading instructions or expiration dates, distinguishing colors or navigating a room. Be My Eyes connects blind and visually impaired people with volunteers for visual assistance through a live video call. The blind person can request assistance through the app and the first available volunteer is connected, receiving live video feed from the rear-facing camera of the user’s smartphone. A user might need help with choosing something to wear, preparing food, or checking if the lights are on. Be My Eyes is made up of a community of blind, vision impaired and sighted volunteers. The app is free and available on the App Store for iPhone and iPad.
Apps are wonderful tools for people with many types of disabilities, but what if your disability prevents you from using a smartphone? The Sesame phone is a Google Nexus 5 phone that was designed specifically for people who are mobility impaired and allows the user to control their phone without using their fingers. Small head movements are tracked by a built-in front-facing camera on the phone. These movements are then combined with computer vision algorithms to create a cursor that appears on the phone’s screen. This cursor is controlled by the position and movements of a user’s head – even tiny movements. Features like touch, swipe, browse, are all possible without using your finger on the Sesame smartphone. Additionally, voice control enables the phone to be turned on simply by saying “Open Sesame.” Because the phone is expensive, Sesame Enable, the designer of the phone, also created hands free, head control access for smartphones, tablets and computers to make life easier for people living with ALS, spinal cord injuries, and other conditions that lead to paralysis.
There are a wide range of apps available, and their usefulness will depend on an individual’s need.
Be sure to check the requirements of an app before downloading, and remember if an app doesn’t work for you, there may be a similar app available that will serve the same purpose. Living independently is a challenge for people with disabilities, but new technologies are making it possible to manage daily tasks that were once difficult or even impossible simply by using a phone.
Disability benefits are an important source of income for those who are unable to work. If you are not able to work due to accident or illness, you may be eligible for Social Security Disability or Long Term Disability benefits. If you have applied for benefits and been denied, contact the attorneys at Bemis, Roach and Reed for a free consultation. Call 512-454-4000 and get help NOW.
Author: Attorney Lloyd Bemis has been practicing law for over 35 years. He is Superlawyers rated by Thomson Reuters and is Top AV Preeminent® and Client Champion Gold rated by Martindale Hubbell. Through his extensive litigation Mr. Bemis obtained dual board certifications from the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Lloyd is admitted to practice in the United States District Court - all Texas Districts and has argued before the U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit. Mr. Bemis is a member of the Travis County Bar Association. He has been active in the American Association for Justice and is a past Director of the Capital Area Trial Lawyers Association. Mr. Bemis and all the members of Bemis, Roach & Reed have been active participants in the Travis County Lawyer referral service.
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