Cell Phone Accessibility

I want to raise an issue with the Easter Seals community. Cell phones! Any phone beyond the flip phone is difficult to either access for people with mobility issues or presents visual issues for others. I have athetoid Cerebral Palsy meaning my tone fluxgates constantly and I can’t use touch screens without a plastic key guard because of my multiple movement disorders. So, for now I have a prehistoric Motorola RAZR flip phone. Granted, it’s pink which helps a little but in all honesty, I would like an iPhone.

The problem is that I could not work one. The iPhone has such a dynamic screen that a key guard would not work. I’m on Facebook, I text like a “normal” 22 year old, I have an extremely busy work and social calendar and I take pictures like crazy. I am the perfect candidate for the iPhone but I can’t use it. That is a paradox if I have ever heard one!

So, what do we do as a community? We have to write to Apple, Motorola and all cell phone companies (because we can’t call them) and tell them to make adaptive equipment for current cell phones. To contact Apple, go to: http://www.apple.com/support/. To contact Motorola, go to: https://motorola-global-portal.custhelp.com/app/home/. We love people who help us and care for us but we should be able to be independent on our cell phones!

In the meantime, we have to acknowledge the fact that these companies are making assistive technology such as text to speech programs on their tablets and phones.  Apple has been making augmentative communication apps since 2009. Their first app was Proloquo2Go which is nearly identical to the DynaVox which is a communication device that uses text to speech software.  This opened the world up to people with speech impairments and changed the lives of many who have been diagnosed with autism.

So, the world—in particular, the technological world is becoming aware of people with disabilities. They just need to take it one step further in recognizing that many users have limited use of their hands and need adaptive tools to make modern communication accessible to everyone.

2 thoughts on “Cell Phone Accessibility

    1. Personally, I would love to see an iPhone that has everything a “normal” iPhone has but have a less dynamic screen so I could put a hard plastic keyguard over it. Ideally, it would be great if Apple or any cell phone company could form a R&D team with people that have disabilities to help create a phone that maximizes our independence.

      – Hannah

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