Life-Changing Apps for People with Disabilities
What makes an app life-changing? We often have these aha moments at BridgingApps, as we hear from an excited father who just discovered the “perfect” calendar app to help his daughter manage her day. Or a recreational therapist shares a success with helping a teen reach his goal of navigating the community more independently. Extensive planning, sweat, problem-solving (not to mention persistence) and skill assessing has gone into achieving these goals. Will that calendar app work for all kids? Is the way finding tool the perfect app? No! But, it may be the perfect app for that individual. And that can be life changing.
Technology is not a silver bullet. Technology does not solve all problems. It is just a tool (a powerful one) in your toolbox. However, technology can help a person solve a small challenge that in turn, has a huge impact in his or her life. Using a calendar independently in elementary school, can have a big payoff when a teen begins to look for his first job. Understanding directions and how maps work is a life skill that children of all abilities need to master, whether it is going from classroom to classroom or from home to work. We have included some of our favorite life-changing apps, and we would love to hear about your!
Google Maps – GPS Navigation By Google, Inc.
Use this app to get where you need to go with ease, including street view and offline maps to search and navigate without an internet connection. The app offers walking maps and indoor imagery and maps for restaurants, shops, museums, airports, malls and stadiums. It also includes transit schedules and maps for over 15,000 cities, an incredibly useful tool for those practicing skills of independence.
Proloquo4Text By Assistiveware
Proloquo4Text is a powerful text to speech app for alternative communication designed for those who can read and do not need symbol support. The app is text based, and includes word and sentence prediction. These two features allow much faster communication through the keyboard than simply typing all the words and sentences.
Dragon Anywhere By Nuance
Using Dragon Anywhere, users can dictate sentences, paragraphs and stories without worrying about spelling and handwriting. The user simply speaks into the device loaded with the app and the app types the information dictated. They can then cut and paste the text into any other app. A user can write email messages, use Facebook, Twitter, Pages and practically any other app. A user can produce written work without the limitations of spelling or handwriting challenges.
Price: FREE 1 week trial $14.99 monthly $149.99 annual
Skype By Innovative Mobile Apps
Communication with friends and families, whether they are in your backyard or miles away, is easy using the Skype for voice and video calls. Although Skype is known for its easy video calling, you can also message your friends using Skype for voice calls through VoIP, and set up group video calls with up to 25 people. Skype even has a real-time translator built in, allowing you to hear real-time spoken interpretations
Pictello By Assistiveware
Pictello is visual storytelling app that allows you to create stories using imported images or pictures taken with the iPad or iPhone and add descriptive text to each picture. The story can be recorded in the child’s own voice or it will use text to voice with a selection of voices. The program can be used to make a story for a very young child using pictures for them to watch or with an older child to encourage selfexpression, expressive language, social skills.
Aipoly Vision: Sight for Blind & Visually Impaired! By Aipoly
Designed for the iPad Air iPad Mini 2 or, iPhone 5 or newer, Aipoly Vision is an object and color recognizer that helps users who are blind, visually impaired, low vision and color blind understand their surroundings. It is easy to use by pointing the mobile device at the object of interest and press any of the recognition buttons at the bottom of the screen to turn on the artificial intelligence. It recognizes plants, animals, text, colors, currency and more. Aipoly Vision can recognize 1,000 essential items for free, and many more through a subscription.
Cozi – Shared calendar & lists By Cozi
Cozi is a family organizing app that allows families or individuals to easily manage their calendar, lists, recipes and more all in one place. The color coding feature allows each family member to have their own designated color, making it easy for younger users to follow and add their own events and reminders. Can also create shopping lists and to-do lists within the app. Our favorite feature of the lists is the ability to share them with other users by text message, making it easy to share lists with family members on the go.
If you are interested in searching for more apps, creating your own list of apps and sharing them, please go to BridgingApps.org. BridgingApps, a program of Easter Seals Greater Houston, is a community of parents, therapists, doctors and teachers who share information about using mobile devices with people who have special needs.
Cristen Reat is co-founder of BridgingApps and a mother who found success when using a mobile device with her children who have special needs.
Amy Barry is the Content Manager and Editor at BridgingApps and mother of five children.
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This post originally appeared on our March/April 2018 Magazine