Assistive Technology for People with Disability
The growth of assistive technology for people with disability has been life changing for many. These technologies help them be more independent with daily living tasks, navigating their environments, communicating, working and living independently. Innovations range from small improvements in existing products to cutting-edge developments in frontier technologies and can greatly improve the lives of people with functional limitations. But it can be hard to keep up with the rapid rate of technological options and advances. So here are some of our favorite assistive technology for people with disability:
Assistive Technology for Communication:
Text to Speech Apps – Murf, Speak4Me, Synthesys
For people who have difficulty talking clearly enough for others to understand, Text-to-speech (TTS) apps can help. TTS apps use speech synthesis to translate text into voice that sounds just like human voices. Many text to speech apps can translate text into another language and offer OCR (Optical Character Recognition) technology to read text from images.
Speech to Text or Dictation Apps – Converse Smartly, Microsoft Dictate, Otter
Some people can talk well but don’t have fine motor skills for texting or keyboarding. For them, Speech to Text (STT) is a great option. It can not only make communication easier but can improve efficiency at work as well.
Messaging Apps – Facebook Messenger, What's App, Skype
Messaging apps allow users to send and receive messages in real-time. While traditional text messages require a mobile network, instant messaging apps function over the internet. These apps are available across iPhone, Android, PCs, often don't require a phone number, and support some standout features beyond simple emojis.
Assistive Technology for Organization:
Budgeting Apps – YNAB, Mint, Goodbudget
Budgeting apps connect with your financial accounts and let you track spending and categorize expenses so you can see where your money is going.
List Apps – TodDoist, TickToc, Microsoft ToDo
There are a ton of to-do list apps. Which makes you wonder, what is the appeal of using an app for a task that is easily done on sticky notes? The big benefit is that apps can help you organize and prioritize your tasks. This helps make sure you accomplish what is most important and reduces the chances of being distracted.
Time Management Apps – Google Calendar, Click Up, Any.do
Just like to-do list apps help organize and prioritize tasks, time management apps help keep you on task and reduce the chance of missing important meetings or events.
Assistive Technology for Mobility
Walking Devices – Bioness, Myolyn, ReWalk
Neuromuscular electrical muscle stimulation (NEMS) delivers an external stimulus to trigger muscle contraction. It can be useful for moving weak or paralyzed muscles. And although NEMS has been around for decades, devices like Bioness and Myolyn have taken it to a new level. While these devices use NMES to trigger muscle contraction, ReWalk is an exoskeleton that provides support and powered leg motion to people who are paralyzed.
Devices for getting in and out of a car – Handybar, Braunability, Adapt Solutions
Weakness, paralysis, or spasticity can make it hard to get in and out of a car. These devices help decrease stress on you and your caregiver and reduce the risk of fall during car transfers.
Navigating Apps – Google Maps, Waze, CityMapper
How did we get anywhere before these apps? They tell the best route to take, how long it will take to get there, what the traffic is like, and if we should take a detour.
Every day seems to bring improvements to assistive technology for people with disability. And new applications to help manage our lives. Sometimes the learning curve needed to use this technology is difficult. But the improvements in quality of life this technology brings is worth the effort.