I know, iAp isn’t really a word, but it’s the only thing I could think of to call them. Since Apple’s Ipod touch and iPhone have come out, there has been thousands of applications developed for these portable devices. These aps can do many things, from telling you what song is playing and its details, to interpreting a baby’s cry. Some aps are free, others you pay for through iTunes. Apple has also put a lot of time into making these devices accessible with its VoiceOver program and in some cases offering the ability to control some features via voice. I discussed my very first impressions of the iPhone here a few months ago, but not having spent much time with the iPhone or iPod touch, I can’t give them my fair evaluation as to how accessible and easy they are for me to use. There are many blind users out there who are happy with the iPhone and iPod touch and are able to use them very well with the accessibility features Apple has implemented. I personally would like to see a non-touch version of the iPhone, that could utilize all of the iPhone’s great features and applications.
With all of the aps out there, are there any made specifically for people with disabilities? I ran across an article about one particular application for Autistic children, which helps track their behavior patterns so that solutions can be determined. Since the iDevices are so portable, tracking behaviors on the go and not having to write on paper and later transfer to a computer program for interpretation has made this method very easy and accessible to people who are involved with children who have a behavioral disability. There is also Proloquo2Go, an iAp that helps people with speech disabilities communicate by functioning as a portable augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) device. By using their iPhone, a person with a speech impairment is now able to efficiently communicate with those they are around, anywhere, anytime! Another one is iPrompts, which helps children with special needs remember daily activities through picture prompts and step by step instructions. There are many more available for various types of disabilities and all of these are on the go in iPod or iPhone!
We are in a very exciting world of portable technology. The idea of a little device you can hold in your hand and put into your pocket that offers so many things is revolutionary! Add to that the options available for users with disabilities that make their lives easier and more enjoyable, it’s a win win situation for all. I have always said that technology has impacted my life in far too many ways to count, from computers, to Braille technology, and finally to accessible portable hand held devices. Technology has become more than just fun, it is a necessity in our lives. No one should be left behind, no matter the device. There should be something good in it for all!