Guest blog by Margie Woodward, Scope Empowerment Officer
As part of my consultation work with users of Scope services, I have been using an iPad with disabled people who have had little access to technology before.
New technology has the power, literally, to open doors. I believe it can enable disabled people to exercise more choice and control in their daily lives.
To show what I mean, here are some examples of how an iPad can be tailor-made to an individual’s abilities and interests across a normal day…
7.00am The iPad’s alarm call wakes you up.
7.05am A light bulb moment…
It’s possible to use the iPad to control your light switches using the Wemo app.
8.00am Communicate with your support worker
Grid player is a very exciting application that enables disabled people to use symbols to get the app to speak what has been entered. By personalising the grid player, this has the potential to be a low-cost communication tool.
Speech therapists are enthusiastic about using iPads and have been assisting service users to create boards for their preferences. One person at Drummonds abandoned his much more expensive communications aid for an iPad, which he uses to communicate both in person and on Facebook!
9.00am With assisted technology from Perrero switch open door for support worker
One of our biggest breakthroughs was the discovery of a scanning switch to operate the iPad apps that uses voice over. Quite a lot of apps including music and media are accessible using the device. It is called the Perrero developed by RSL Steeper. The device is used with a single switch button.
12 people at Drummonds are using the iPad to search the internet for history about Scope’s service and the artist John Constable’s relationship with the old rectory.
12.00pm Play chess
A game like Pool offers the chance to play a game that might be inaccessible otherwise. One person is playing chess independently in his own room and doesn’t need to go to the computer room to do this now!
1.00pm Order a taxi to go into town for shopping, a trip to the cinema or a doctor’s appointment
Someone used the Pages app to read GP’s handouts and prepare for a medical appointment. It also helped them create a one-page profile detailing their support needs and preferences.
2.00pm Shop online
The ladies at Laverneo needed new curtains for their bungalow and have been able to see what is available and what it looks like in the room. It would not be possible for all the ladies to go out together to choose but by using the iPad they are all involved in the decision of what to have.
4.00pm Skype family or friends
People in Scope services are now able to stay in touch with friends using Skype. Being able to see each other’s faces really helps those with speech impairments and people who use signing like Makaton.
5.00pm Bake a cake
An iPad can help with sequencing a task such as baking a cake. You can use switches to operate food processors too (very messy but quite fun!)
6.00pm Play Catchphrase!
At Sully day service, people are using the iPad and Apple TV for group activities like playing Catchphrase in teams. They are also experimenting with blue tooth technology for switches.
7.00pm Catch up on the news
Apps used by the news group are:
- BBC Sport app
- Coronation Street Spoiler
- BBC Weather app
- BBC News app
- Stock Tracker
- BBC Radio 1 app
- Trading 212
9.00pm Watch a film
People can choose from a variety of online movie and TV services.
11.00pm Time for sleep…
• As part of BT’s Connected Society programme Scope, BT and the RCA’s Helen Hamlyn Centre for Inclusive Design wrote a report, Enabling Technology. The report found that the key to creating enabling technology is, wherever possible, to support disabled people to create their own solutions.