Using Smart Devices with Assistive Technology

When it comes to technology, almost every 13-year-old kid is obsessed. What most 13-year-olds don’t have to worry about, however, is trying to access certain features on a phone, iPad, or any piece of technology while having limited mobility.

Throughout my childhood, I used an iPad. With the help of an iPad mount and voice recognition, I can easily navigate my iPad. Another thing that helped me use my iPad is Bluetooth. Once I connect a device, such as my iPad, to my power chair, I can use switch control to access any feature. It was great because I could use my device without needing anyone to help me push buttons.

Using Phones with Assistive Technology

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When I turned 12, my parents and I started searching for the perfect phone that I could use with ease. The most important factor we had to look for was the weight of the phone itself. If it was too heavy, there was no way I could hold it. If it was too light, it would slip right out of my hands. We finally came across an iPod Touch. Although it’s commonly used for music, it has all the same features a phone would except that it runs on Wi-Fi and doesn’t have the iPhone call feature. Since I would never be in a situation alone where I had to call someone, the iPod Touch was a done deal.

Fast forward to this past year when I got my first real phone and Nintendo Switch. I love all the accessibility features on my new phone and use voice control to swipe and open apps. I also use assistive touch on my power wheelchair to control my phone while it sits in the power chair phone mount.

Setting Up the Nintendo Switch

While the phone settings are similar to my iPod Touch, my Nintendo Switch was a bit of a struggle. Even though the controllers are small enough and lightweight for me to hold, setting it up to play using only one controller was a challenge. After watching several YouTube videos, my mom and I successfully discovered a way for me to play Animal Crossing New Horizons by myself instead of having to play with two controllers. We change the button mapping and everything was good to go.

When it comes to school, I use a Microsoft Surface Pro that is set up with switch control. It also has several accessibility features that make it easy for me to navigate. I use the onscreen keyboard instead of the actual keyboard and Voice to Text to do my assignments.

Assistive Technology in the Home

Finally, the best assistive device that I love is my Google Home device. I can use it to turn on the lights, turn on the TV, and pretty much anything that needs to be controlled with a remote or switch. Assistive technology devices have come a long way and help me to live my best independent life.

About Sakina Shamsi: Sakina lives in New Jersey with her parents and brother. Although she has spinal muscular atrophy type II, Sakina lives a full and independent lifestyle. She is active in the disability community and enjoys horseback riding, baking and crafting. Click here to learn more about Sakina.

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