Do you work with a student who is visually impaired and in a wheelchair? Here are five must-have apps recommended for people who use a wheelchair followed by some O&M considerations.
5 Apps for People who use Wheelchairs
- WheelMap - categorizes buildings and public spaces as fully accessible, partially accessible or not accessible for wheelchairs users.
- WheelMate - lists if toilets and parking spaces are wheelchair accessible.
- Skype - hands-free method of video calls.
- Uber - book a wheelchair accessible "taxi" ride.
- Tecla Access - device that enables users to control their devices, electric wheelchair, and smart home through motions, eye blinks and puffing.
For details about these apps, read Assistive Technology Blog, 5 Top Apps for People with Limited Mobility.
Orientation and Mobility Specialists
Consider previewing destinations using Wheelmap and Wheelmate apps to check environmental accessibility and teaching your students to preview environmental accessibility! As an COMS working primarily with school-age students, I had not thought about the need to take a phone call while traveling. Attaching a device to the wheelchair (hands-free) and then using Skype while traveling, will be incorporated into future O&M lessons with appropriate students. Obviously, safety is a priority; students must be mentally and physically able to manuever a wheelchair, pay attention to safety while moving/navigating with a wheelchair and possibly listen to a call/text message. Using Skype (or the speaker phone setting) on a mounted device might be feasible with some students in a very familiar, safe (no steps) indoor environment as a precursor to taking a quick business call while traveling in a familiar building in a work situation. Possibly taking a phone call through a mounted phone/tablet vs. using a bone conducting headphone might be a safer option for some users, as the student will have unblocked hearing and can turn his/her head in order to access environmental sounds better.
Note: These apps have not been checked for accessibility with a screen reader.
iOS and Android App Links