As a person living with Cerebral Palsy, assistive technology plays a vital role in my ability to live a fulfilling life. I use my iPad daily to check emails, do online banking, write, read, and watch movies. I also use my Amazon Alexa to make grocery lists and order household essentials. I also use Siri on my iPhone to send text messages and emails. I also benefit from an iPad app called Grammarly when composing a blog post or an email. Grammarly helps me strengthen my writing because of features such as spell-check and tone detection.
Apple’s accessibility features allow me to access more of my technology. In the past, I have used Dragon Naturally Speaking as well. Speech-to-text software is often hard to use in noisy environments such as a classroom, which is why I used it very sparingly.
I have used a software called Bookshare since I was in grade school. I have access to thousands of books at the click of a button. I can read everything from cookbooks to murder mysteries. I can read material without physical barriers. In school, Bookshare allowed me to read the same books as my peers. E-books have allowed me to read so much more than traditional print books. I no longer have to worry about inaccessible reading materials and I am more independent. I don’t have to manage heavy textbooks and have someone photocopy sections for me.
In school, I also used Google Docs and other Google software. In high school and college, Google Docs was my main note-taking software. I no longer had to rely solely on handwritten notes from someone else. I used highlighting and other built-in features to organize my notes. One of the most helpful features of Google Docs for me was the fact that I could share my documents with teachers and receive feedback quickly. I didn’t have to wait weeks for feedback from my teachers.
Assistive technology has played a vital role in my life. Without it, my ability to access the world would be much more limited. I am grateful that technology is advancing every day so disabled people can live more independent lives.