Independent living for a person with disability does not only bring autonomy but also gives them the power of self-determination and a sense of dignity.
A big chunk of disabled individuals around the world are forced to live in sub-human conditions because they are dependent on others and can’t live independently. A dependent person with a disability rarely has control over their own lives. They seldom make decisions or pursue personal goals.
Assistive devices and aids are certainly helpful in improving the lives of persons with disabilities by making them a little more self-reliant. But, we are lucky to be living in a time when we have much more than just assistive devices. AI-powered software and technological advancements like smart home automation are now providing PwDs greater control not only over their body but also over the environment.
In this article we have brought you information about a bunch of mobile apps that can empower persons with disabilities to live relatively more independently.
Access Now – Provides Information about the Accessibility of a Place
One of the biggest challenges faced by Persons with Disabilities is the issue of inaccessibility. We need to know about the accessibility status of a place even before we step out of our house because we don’t want to get stuck in an awkwardly inaccessible place. It becomes even more crucial when a PwD has to travel alone to the place. ‘Access Now’ mobile app aims at solving exactly this issue.
It is just like any other digital map but with the added feature of color-coded pins to explain the accessibility or inaccessibility of a given place. This application is available for both Android and iOS users. We can also take benefit of it through its website (https://accessnow.com/). This is currently serving more than 10K cities across 107 countries.
fuelService – Helping Disabled Drivers Find Assistance for Filling Fuel in their Vehicle
The fuel stations of countries like India have working staff to fill people’s vehicles with petrol/diesel/compressed gas but many developed nations like the US and UK have this concept of self-service where drivers have to fill their vehicle tank themselves. What will a disabled driver do in that case?
A frustrated disabled driver found a solution and started this app service called ‘fuelService’. If you are a disabled driver who needs assistance filling your tank you can download this app to help you find assistance. You no more need to have someone with you or wait at a gas station for someone kind-hearted to come and help you. The service is currently available in a few countries; you can download the app and check whether it is available for your country or region.
Curable – A Buddy for Managing Chronic Pain and Stress
People dealing with chronic pain and stress are often misunderstood because people can’t ‘see’ their disabilities. Invisible disabilities bring a whole bunch of extra challenges for the person dealing with them. Sometimes all a person wants is someone who can understand and empathize with their struggle.
Curable is an app that brings a buddy called ‘Clara’ who asks questions, understands a person’s problem, and then helps them manage chronic pain and stress. The AI-powered assistant in the app interacts and makes the user feel good at the same time providing practical pain and stress management advice like meditations, visualizations, and other activities.
Roger Voice – Phone Call Buddy for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Person
A simple task like making a phone call doesn’t seem simple when the person is deaf or hard of hearing. When a person who can’t listen wants to live independently, she must find a way around to phone calls because one can’t always rely on text; that’s not practical.
With Roger Voice when need not worry about the issue. The app transcribes whatever is being spoken in real time. This means whatever the other person is speaking will reflect in text format and the deaf person can read it and reply to it. The best thing is that the other party need not have the app; and for them, this will be a regular call.
Be My Eyes – A Community that Help You See
Be My Eyes is a mobile application of its own kind. This is a community-based application designed for blind people. A blind person may live independently but sometimes they may need the help of a sighted person. What if a blind person needs to read a food label? What if they need to match colors while buying new clothes?
The answer is made simple by the app – Be My Eyes! The blind user can simply video call with the app and notification will be sent to sighted people who have registered themselves on the app. A sighted person will receive the call and fulfill the request. Task completed!
SuperVision + Magnifier – Assistant to Read out Printed Text
A person with low vision might be completely self-dependent but they would feel the need for help whenever they have to read a printed text. Unlike mobile screens, the text on paper cannot be zoomed out to make them more visible.
SuperVision + Magnifier is an app that is built as a solution to this issue only. It uses the smartphone camera to magnify the text so that a person with low vision can read. It also has the feature of an image stabilizer for those whose hands might be shaky.
Symbo Talk – Communication partner for people with speech difficulty
Symbo Talk is an excellent Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) tool designed to make communication possible for people with difficulty in communication. There are customizable boards with images that a person can click to express themselves and the tool will speak that word or sentence. It is useful for kids and adults as well. The tool is used by speech therapists all over the world.
Avaz AAC, LetMeTalk, TouchChat, and Proloquo2Go are some such similar apps. One can try and see which interface resonates with them the most.
Voice Access –Allows handling mobile devices with voice
Today our mobile phones serve multiple purposes and if you can’t handle a mobile you might feel missing out on so many things. Voice Access is a helpful tool for people with visual impairment or those who cannot use their hands properly to manipulate the device. With Voice Access one can fully use their mobile devices with voice control. Instead of clicking the back button, one can simply say ‘go back’ or say ‘open Gmail’ to open Gmail.
TapTapSee – Object identifier tool for visually impaired people
TapTapSee is an interesting and very useful tool for people with visual impairment. It is a specifically designed camera app to recognize objects of daily use. A person has to simply double tap on their phone screen and the app will take the picture of the object and name the object loud so that the user knows what is in front of them. That’s a great help for visually impaired individuals living independently.
Cash reader – Money Identifier
This is an app similar to the TapTapSee but here it recognizes only money and no other object. But, this will not simply tell that you are holding money; it will give the exact denomination of the cash. Handling cash on their own is a challenging task for a person with visual impairment and this app makes it very easy thus aiding independent living for people with visual impairment.
FidgetToy – A self-regulation assistant for people with ADHD
FidgetToy is an app that does exactly what it sounds. It offers a virtual collection of fidget toys to help people with ADHD relax and focus. An adult with ADHD living independently must learn to self-regulate their behavior and tolerate feelings of boredom, anxiety, or excitement. The app provides a collection of fidget toys to help individuals with ADHD self-regulate and live independently.
Red Panic Button – The Messenger for emergency situations
If you are a person with a disability, you may want to live independently but at the same time, you might want people to reach you in times of emergency. The Red Panic Button app is made for such situations only. You can feed your emergency contact details in the app and stay relaxed. In any case of emergency you just have to tap that panic button and your trusted people will be notified through SMS and emails and your GPS location will be shared so that you receive the required assistance.
Medical ID is a similar app that contains all the medical information about the person required in situations of emergency. Applications like this allow PwDs to live an independent life without the constant fear of emergency situations where they might need help.
We have listed some of the useful mobile apps that are made specifically keeping persons with disabilities in mind. But, these aren’t the only ones that can support independent living for persons with disabilities. Reminder apps are very good aids for people who struggle with weak memories or brain fog. Meditation apps are helpful for taking care of our mental health. There are a number of medicine reminder apps like MediSafe that not only remind you to take medicine but also send reminders for restocking the medicines.
Sleep tracking apps are important for everyone including people with sleep apnea. Then there are apps like Flaredown where one can keep track of symptoms, medications, treatments, etc., and connect with people living with the same condition. There are also apps like Happify that aim at keeping you happy and positive which is very important for persons with disabilities whose every day comes with new challenges. In fact, audiobook apps like Audible can help people with visual impairment and people with learning disability who struggle with texts to read books, without actually reading them.
This list is in no way an exhaustive one. If you are a person with disability and if you use an app to keep you more independent then please do share it with us. Let’s start this practical discussion.
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"Useful Mobile Apps for Persons with Disabilities to Live a More Independent Life." Wecapable.com. Web. February 23, 2024. <https://wecapable.com/useful-mobile-apps-for-persons-with-disabilities/>
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"Useful Mobile Apps for Persons with Disabilities to Live a More Independent Life." (n.d.). Wecapable.com. Retrieved February 23, 2024 from https://wecapable.com/useful-mobile-apps-for-persons-with-disabilities/