Dare I say that even we who lived many years prior to the use of smart phones have seen our world change before our very eyes and fingertips. Do you remember using a rubber band wrapped around one canister to distinguish baking soda from baking powder or paper clips attached on a bag of barbecue chips to keep it separate from the sour cream and onion flavored ones? Yes, those were the good ol’ days when folks encouraged us who are blind to wear sunglasses when in public> (I never figured that one out.)
Well, times have a-changed quite a bit for the better and while we still do pay a thousands of dollars to make some things adapt for our use such as refreshable braille displays, many smart phone apps work well for us as they do for people who are fully sighted and they don’t cost much money at all.
So here’s an article showing one of the most comprehensive lists of apps geared for everyday use around the home.
No, they’re not just for senior citizens. As total blindness and low-vision affects millions who are younger, they’ve begun to catch the wave of smart technology and surf alongside their peers in the classroom, on the bus, or at work.
As I have often pointed out to both people who are blind and those who are sighted, this kind of technology has the potential to bridge the unfamiliarity gap in ways that legal statutes such as the Americans With Disabilities Act (1990) could only dream of accomplishing. That’s because apps for IOS and Android are usually low-cost solutions compared to the adaptations we’ve made in the past. On a smart phone, you can tell the time, set alarms, check the temperature, and other tasks we used to do on separate appliances like a talking clock, talking thermometer, and talking calculator. The key, of course, is buying the smart phone and keeping it updated so that you can use the latest apps on the market.
When our family and friends see us using these apps over time, they no doubt will begin to shed the notion that we always have to do things “the blind way” or take them from an assumed comfort zone to help us with the simplest tasks.
This wide array of apps and smart technology helps us who are professional or freelance advocates propose legislation like the Web Accessibility Act and the Communications and Video Accessibility Act which, we hope will gain traction in the U.S. Congress this year. Apps that help us navigate a smart phone’s flat surface and also make exercise equipment’s flat screens navigable just by the slide and tap of our fingers on any given icon.
Of course, progress will continue to appear glacial at times. But, as we use this technology at home and in public, we will change the people’s perception of blind people being helpless to that of seeing us as capable contributors to society along side themselves. How can this not affect the bloated unemployment rate that is so characteristic of the disabilities community? The sooner we incorporate apps and smart technology like what’s discussed in the linked article, the more we will navigate life’s contours with others who man learn with us.