Assistive technology: top 10 apps for disabled people (2023)

We all like to live as independently as possible, and for disabled people, technology and apps are an invaluable aid to achieving this.It seems that everyone nowadays owns a smartphone and tablet, and with that comes a seemingly unlimited world of apps to choose from.But which should youconsider and how could they enhance yourlife?

Here, our writers Carrie Aimes and Emma Purcell round up the top 10 apps for disabled people and why you should try them out, all updated for 2019.

Find practical and stylish disability living aids to make your life easier on the Disability Horizons Shop.

AccessAble app

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AccessAble is a UK accessible travel app that takes the chance out of going out for disabled people. The app contains 75,000 detailed access guides telling you how accessible a venue, tourist attraction or public place is for your needs.

You can use the app’s accessibility symbols to filter results and places that suit you. For example, if you enjoy shopping and you’re a wheelchair user, you would search for a shopping centre that has wheelchair access, Blue Badge parking, step-free access, ramps, lifts and accessible toilets.

There is also accessibility information for people with other mobility issues, sensory impairments and intellectual disabilities. Moreover, you can check out photographs of a venue and save access guides for later.

AccessAble is free to download for iOS and Android devices.

Dragon Anywhere app

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This dictation app enables you to create and edit documents of any length on your phone, tablet or laptop, all using your voice. By simply speaking into the device you cancreate text messages, compose emails and edit long documents, and then sync them with your Dropbox or cloud so they can be accessed on your computer.

(Video) Top 6 Assistive Technology For People With Disabilities

The Dragon Anywhere app is aimed at busy professionals needing to work while commuting. But it has obvious benefits for disabled people too. Apple iPhone and Andriod users can download it for free, but after a trial, you’ll have to pay (£9.99 a month and £99.99 a year).

Our tech writer Tom Housden has tried out this app, along with some of Dragon’s other dictation apps. See his article on dictation appsfor a full breakdown of how it works and what else is on offer.

Changing Places Toilet Finder app

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No matter what your disability, being able to reach an accessible public toilet in good time is a daily challenge. The free Changing Places Toilet Finder app, from the RADAR Key company,lists thousands of accessible toilets across the UK.

It is a comprehensive guide of more than 1,000 Changing Places toilets, which are extra-large toilets with changing facilities. The app shows you how far you are from one of the toilets, how to get there, the opening hours of the toilet, how to open the door, whether it is normally locked and information regarding hoists and slings.

The app is free and available on iTunesfor iPhone users and Google Play for Android users. You can also visit the Changing Placeswebsite to learn more about Changing Places toilets.

HelpTalk app

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This app is a communication aid for people who are non-verbal or have a speech impairment. You can create a profile containing the spoken actions most useful to any situation, such as a specific event, travelling, working, education, socialising, plus much more, and suited for your day-to-day life. In addition, for people with reduced dexterity, there are a big Yes/No buttons.

This app is available in multiple languages and includes an emergency contact and location request services if you were to be in danger or go missing. HelpTalk can only be downloaded on Google Play.

Disabled Motoring app

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Assistive technology: top 10 apps for disabled people (5)

Disabled Motoring UK is a campaigning charity and magazine that aims to make life easier for disabled drivers, passengers and Blue Badge holders. Its app allows you to find accredited disabled parking, get help refuelling your vehicle and browse information on Blue Badges, as well as the latest news from the charity.

The app is free to download on iOS and Android devices but, for a fee, there are additional benefits you can sign up for. Becoming an online member will give you access to the members’ area on its website, as well as a monthly newsletter.

Alternatively, you can become a full/associate member and receive the monthly magazine and discounts on everyday goods, from groceries to holidays. It’ll also enable you to get help with motoring-related problems, such as parking tickets and local authority issues.The full/associate membership will cost £24 a year.

To find out more about Disabled Mobility UK, visit its website, and download the app on Google Play.

Physiotherapy Exercises

The Physiotherapy Exercises app contains more than 1,000 images illustrating 600 exercises suitable for those with spinal cord injury and neurological conditions. Search, select and save exercises for future reference and even suggest others if you wish.

Developed by physiotherapists, this is an invaluable source that does not require an internet connection once downloaded. Get the Physiotherapy Exercisesapp for free on iTunes.

UPDATE 2019: The developer of this app needs to update it to work with iOS 11.

Red Panic button app

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To be able to immediately and urgently notify a number of contacts of your whereabouts can be hugely beneficial if you’re disabled. If you’re older, have learning disabilities, or live on your own but rely on others, you might want to consider the Red Panic Button.

One tap of the red button sends alerts to your contacts via text, email, Facebook and Twitter. All you need to do is enter the details of those you wish to alert ahead of using the app, and they will receive a Google Maps link with your location.

Many features are free to both Android and iOS users, though there is the option to upgrade at a fee, which means you can even send a photo attachment and record a 10-second voice message with your alert. Gain more independence and security with this handy and easy to useRed Panic Buttonapp by visitingiTunesor Google Play.

Be My Eyes app

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This award-winning app allows people who are blind or visually impaired to request help from a sighted volunteer. You can receive assistance through a live video connection to a global network of volunteers who can assist you with a range of tasks.

The sighted volunteers will receive a notification on their phone when you ask for assistance. As soon as the first volunteer accepts the request, a live video link will be connected to you and the sighted volunteer.

You can then use your rear-facing camera to allow the sighted volunteer to see the item or subject you need assistance with or descriptions of. Support can be as simple as checking expiry dates or more complicated tasks such as navigating a public place.

The app can be used at any time of the day, anywhere in the world and is available in more than 180 languages. It is free to download on iTunes and Google Play.

Have You Heard

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Designed for people with hearing impairments, this app will amplify voices around you so that you can better understand conversations with people in busy and loud places, such as with a friendin a restaurant or a colleaguein a meeting.

(Video) Visually impaired can ‘see’ with this assistive technology

You can focus on conversations either close by or further away by using the ‘focus near/far’ feature, and adjust the volume to suit you. If you still haven’t quite heard something, you can replay the last 20 seconds of a conversation at the press of a button.

To use it, you’ll need to connect a headphone to your phone. It’s free and only available on iTunes for iPhone users.

UPDATE 2019: The developer of this app needs to update it to work with iOS 11.

Uber taxis app

Having a disability means that public transport often isn’t an option, leaving you to rely on taxis. To stop you getting stranded, you can download the Uber app, allowing you to request a taxi ride from where you are using your phone.

To do so, simply create anaccount with your card or PayPal – no cash required – and select a vehicle to suit your needs. If you do want to plan ahead, the Scheduled Rides feature allows you to book a vehicle up to 30 days in advance.

Uber has two services aimed at helping disabled passengers get around. ItsuberACCESStaxis are equipped with a rear-entry ramp andfour-point restraints, enabling wheelchair users to ride safely and comfortably with one additional passenger. Its other accessible service, uberASSIST, is designed for those who don’t need a wheelchair-accessible vehicle, but require additional assistance on their journey.

All uberACCESS and uberASSIST partners have received Disability Equality Training from Transport for All and Inclusion London,and both cost the same as using uberX, one of Uber’s lowest-cost services.

UberACCESS (previously called uberWAV) is available in London, Manchester and Birmingham, and uberASSIST is available in London, Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds, and Sheffield. There are plans to roll out both into other areas soon.

Uberis free to download to Android and iOS phones, from Google Play or iTunes.

By Carrie Aimes and Emma Purcell

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Find out more about Emma on her blog, Rock For Disability, and Carrie by visitingwww.lifeontheslowlane.co.uk.

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Get in touch by messaging us on Facebook, tweeting us @DHorizons, emailing us at editor@disabilityhorizons.com or leaving your comments below.

FAQs

Is there an app for people with disabilities? ›

Assistive Touch: Operating a smartphone with physical disabilities. For some smartphone users with certain physical disabilities, even the seemingly simple task of operating that phone can be difficult. However, with the Assistive Touch mobile app, activating smartphone operations are much easier.

What platform could help persons with disability? ›

Five Assistive Tech for People With Disabilities
  • Sesame phone. Mobile phones may have become a common need for everyone, including persons with disabilities. ...
  • Be My Eyes. By My Eyes is a super-cool application that helps blind people "see" the world. ...
  • AXS map. ...
  • Transcence. ...
  • Liftware.
7 Aug 2022

What activities can a disable person do? ›

Most people can engage in an active lifestyle through walking—including people with disabilities who are able to walk or move with the use of assistive devices, such as wheelchairs or walkers. In fact, walking is the most common form of physical activity reported among active adults with mobility disability.

How do you make something more accessible for the disabled? ›

Signs
  1. Be designed according to best practice guidelines.
  2. Have Braille or raised lettering wherever possible.
  3. Have writing that is large enough for your customers to read.
  4. Use appropriate symbols.
  5. Not be ”home made“
  6. Be placed where your customers will: Be able to see them easily. Not walk into them.

How do smartphones help disabled people? ›

Visual or vibrating alerts, relay services and hearing aid compatibility devices make mobile phones accessible for the deaf and hard of hearing, while features such as voice recognition and auto text are needed by those with physical disabilities.

How can disabled people make life easier? ›

10 Things to Help Disabled People Make Life Easier
  1. Reachers. ...
  2. Get an Ex N' Flex. ...
  3. Have a Handicapped Transportation Service on Speed Dial. ...
  4. Certified Home Health Care Aide. ...
  5. Invest in an e-Reader. ...
  6. Subscribe to a Medical Alert/Alarm Service. ...
  7. Specialized Mattresses. ...
  8. Adjust Your Home.
7 Dec 2013

What is the most common assistive technology? ›

Examples include:
  • magnifiers,
  • talking devices such as a talking thermostat,
  • Braille displays,
  • screen reading software,
  • text-to-speech systems using Optical Character Recognition (OCR),
  • large print materials, and.
  • phones with large tactile buttons.

What equipment helps with mobility? ›

If you or someone you know has difficulty walking or getting around (mobility), a wheelchair, scooter or walking aid might help.

What do disabled people need? ›

The 12 Basic Needs/Rights
  • Full access to the Environment (towns, countryside & buildings)
  • An accessible Transport system.
  • Technical aids and equipment.
  • Accessible/adapted housing.
  • Personal Assistance and support.
  • Inclusive Education and Training.
  • An adequate Income.
  • Equal opportunities for Employment.

What are the 5 barriers for persons with disabilities? ›

According to the Government of Ontario, there are five identified barriers to accessibility for persons with disabilities. These barriers are attitudinal, organizational or systemic, architectural or physical, information or communications, and technology.

What are some sensory activities for adults? ›

Sensory Stimulation Activities for Adults:
  • Interacting with reminiscent objects that the resident doesn't usually have access to.
  • Giving a gentle hand massage.
  • Taking a short walk outdoors to provide a change of scenery.
  • Talking or reading aloud to the resident.
  • Organizing pets to come for visits.
5 May 2020

How do you engage people with intellectual disabilities? ›

Let people know they are entitled to their opinion. Allow time for people to have their say, and listen to them carefully. Check your understanding of what people have said. Ask questions to clarify your understanding, or get people to repeat what they have said so that you are sure you understand.

What is disabled friendly infrastructure? ›

The guidelines for construction of building insists on colleges to ensure creation of special facilities such as ramps, rails, and special toilets and make other necessary changes to suit the special needs of differently abled persons. These facilities are mandatory.

How do you communicate with a disabled customer? ›

Communicating with people with disabilities

Some general tips for successful communication: use a normal tone of voice—do not raise your voice unless asked to. be polite and patient—do not rush the conversation. speak directly to the person rather than the person with them.

What is the best phone for a disabled person? ›

5 Top Cell Phones for People Who are Blind or Visually Impaired...
  • MINIVISION2+ CELL PHONE.
  • Synapptic.
  • Jitterbug Flip2.
  • Google Pixel.
  • Apple iPhone.
17 Jun 2022

How do people with disabilities use phones? ›

Eye-tracking systems enable users to open apps, navigate the web, and type by looking at different parts of the screen. Sip-and-puff (SNP) devices enable people to “sip" or “blow" air into a wand to activate commands on their computers or mobile devices.

How much does a sesame phone cost? ›

The company bundles its software with a Google Nexus 5 for $700. Ben-Dov says about 1 million of the 6 million people paralyzed in the U.S. have the range of head motion needed to use Sesame. Sesame is working on a tablet version and a downloadable app that will work with other phones.

What are the 5 psychological adjustment to physical disability? ›

The stages of adjusting to a new form of disability include four basic ones. These stages include shock, denial, anger/depression, and adjustment/acceptance. People progress through these stages at their own pace.

What challenges do the disabled face everyday? ›

Discrimination/Social Exclusion:

Negative attitudes held by the families of the disabled, and often the disabled themselves, hinder disabled persons from taking an active part in the family, community or workforce. Differently-abled people face discrimination in everyday life.

What is Access Now app? ›

AccessNow is sharing accessibility information about places around the world. Search for specific places like a restaurant, hotel or store, or browse the map to see what is nearby with the accessibility features you require.

What is hardware and software for people with disabilities? ›

Assistive technology (AT) describes the devices, equipment and software that help disabled people live more independently. Whether it's in their education, work or daily lives. Examples of assistive technology include screen readers, braille displays and screen magnifiers.

What are all the types of disabilities? ›

Common Disabilities
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
  • Learning Disabilities.
  • Mobility Disabilities.
  • Medical Disabilities.
  • Psychiatric Disabilities.
  • Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Visual Impairments.
  • Deaf and Hard of Hearing.

Are apps accessible? ›

Most apps are not adapted to those with some form of disability. Whilst many development teams see accessibility as a 'nice-to-have', it is crucial in today's mobile world. Building your mobile application with accessibility in mind will drastically improve user experience as well as maximize revenue.

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