The Benefits of Technology for Disabled People
‘Technology is only beneficial if it is accessible to the user’. Over the years, companies have worked harder than ever to ensure that anyone can use their products. In the past, the elderly and disabled have had reason to believe that technology was out of their reach. For some, it was because there weren’t features that could assist them. For others, it was because there was a lack of understanding as to how the use of technology could benefit them. Fortunately, there are now some admirable pieces of technology for disabled people that are easier to use than ever.
When talking about using technology to assist disabled people, there’s a whole range of products to consider. There are mobile phones on the market that can help people with a variety of disabilities and there are computer keyboards that anyone can use. Vast advancements have been made to ensure that no member of society feels unable to use technology.
There are so many pieces of technology that benefit people with completely different requirements. The key to success is having the right technology for each individual. Here are just some ways disabled people can benefit from technology.
There has been an increased use of digital assistants in homes throughout the UK. These ‘assistants’ answer to the names of Siri, Alexa, and Cortana. They are voice controlled devices that have been designed to lighten the workload of an individual. They are programmed to become more intuitive over time as they become used to different commands that they are presented with. By being voice activated, users with physical disabilities can find themselves some ease. These devices can control lights, televisions, and more. According to Helping Hands, they will never be able to replace the human touch of carer but they can be a very valuable home assistant.
Communication is incredibly important regardless of the level of disability. Everyone needs to feel connected. There are so many different platforms available for staying in touch. Mobile phones allow people to speak to each other but laptops and computers enable users to stay in touch over email or video calls. For some, however, typing proves to be an impossibility. Suffers with Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) have been excluded from using an accessible keyboard. Fortunately, there are fantastic alternatives. PCD Maltron have available a brilliant ergonomic keyboard that allow users to feel relief while on the computer.
There are enormous amounts of apps available to use on mobile phones. With mobile phones that are accessible to people with disabilities, there is an array of assistance available. There are apps that can be used to remind people to take their medication or to highlight when their next doctor’s appointment it. Wheelmap shows all of the wheelchair accessible places in the world and HearYouNow amplifies sounds so that conversations can be heard more clearly. Perhaps even more impressive, there is an app called MagicCarpet, enabling users with the counterpart software to engage with interactive displays and learn in unique ways. BEMyEyes is an app that connects visually impaired users to volunteer helpers who can aid with everyday tasks. The magnitude of apps available to use ensures that there is something for everyone.
When the everyday life of someone is made easier, it’s hard to argue against the benefits of technology. Computers, for example, have enabled users with limited mobility to shop online. They can now reorder medication and medical supplies and have it delivered directly to their door. If users have limited eyesight, there are fantastic products that can ensure that they have the same experiences. VisionAid have created desktop magnifiers and extendable monitor arms to combat the issue. There is software that reads text from the screen for people who suffer with dyslexia. Technology can give disabled people greater autonomy over daily life because online technologies are more accessible than the real-world alternatives.
Technology is pivotal in modern times to assist with medical issues. There are many practical reasons for someone with recurring health problems to get used to a mobile phone or laptop. Connecting with health professionals via email enables people with disabilities lessen their dependence on others. Most mobile phones come with health trackers (Google Fit and Apple Health). However, there are more sophisticated apps that can help with harder to manage illnesses. Qardio have created a smart blood pressure monitor that connects to your mobile phone. For disabled people with limited movement, this technological advancement ensures independence and gives the option to take charge of a difficult situation.
People with a disability should not feel excluded or left behind when it comes to technology. Find the most suitable options and with practice, the benefits can be bountiful.
This is a guest post written by Leanne White.
You might also like our ‘Call Handling for Technology Enabled Care‘ course.