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This Education in Motion resource is also available as a printable PDF.
Whatever you’re looking to do, you can be sure there’s an app to help you. Whether it’s finding your way around a new city or locating the nearest wheelchair accessible toilet, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most useful accessibility apps around to enable you to live without limits.
Access Earth is more than just an app; it’s a global community of travellers, tourists, foodies and adventurers who share their experiences of the places they have been, so that others can see at a glance what a particular place has to offer. In fact, although the Access Earth website offers a wealth of information across a number of global cities, the app itself is still in its testing phase. They are currently looking for volunteers to participate in field tests to further develop it, so it’s a great time to become part of the team.
Flush - Toilet Finder & Map
Although not exclusively designed for wheelchair users, the Flush app is a quick and easy way to find public toilets wherever you are. It lists those that have wheelchair access and shows you which ones charge a fee. The app can also be used offline, which is ideal if you don’t happen to have an internet signal where you are.
Wheelmap is a free app that provides users with maps of global locations and highlights wheelchair friendly facilities. Users are able to upload their own photos, comments and reviews, contributing to an ever-growing database by sharing their own experiences of cities, attractions, transport and facilities in a number of languages.
Android Vs Apple
Although many apps are available on more than one platform, some are currently only open to users of either Android or Apple devices specifically, such as:
TalkBack is an accessibility feature that is installed, as standard, on most Android devices. It helps blind and visually impaired users get the most out of their devices by making them easy to navigate through the use of spoken, audible and vibration cues. It’s completely free and can be accessed and activated through the settings menu. If your device does not already have it, you can simply download it via the Google Play Store.
JABtalk is a communication application that can turn the user’s mobile or tablet into an effective AAC (Augmentative and Alternative Communication) device. Originally designed as a means for children with special needs to communicate, JABtalk’s practical use has been developed so that it can also be used by adults with conditions that affect their capacity for verbal communication, such as stroke patients. Using a combination of custom voice and image prompts with a simple interface, JABtalk is a really easy app to use.
The Tecla Access app allows the user to manually, or verbally, operate various devices from their wheelchair, including smartphones, televisions and even the central heating controls of the house via a single switch. The switch itself is an additional purchase (the app itself is free) but once programmed it can be a very useful and empowering tool for wheelchair users. Alternatively, many Quickie powered wheelchairs can offer similar functionality.
The P3 app is a Video Relay Service that has been designed for ease of use by the deaf or hard or hearing. Blending a simple interface with a large visual display, it allows for easy location of contacts and call history whilst still being able to view the other person signing.
TapTapSee - Blind & Visually Impaired Camera
TapTapSee has been designed to help blind and visually impaired users to identify simple objects that they may not be able to recognise from handling alone; for example, the contents of a can of food or the denomination of a note. A quick double tap of the screen allows the user to take a photograph of the object, whilst the app then verbally identifies it. It is also equipped with a handy barcode reader.
BeMyEyes is more than just an app; it’s a service that enlists the help of over 800,000 sighted volunteers who can provide assistance to the blind or visually impaired across a number of languages, helping them with daily tasks that are often taken for granted. The user submits a request for assistance, which is then connected to the first available volunteer, who then responds directly via the app.
Although designed mainly for children, the Choiceworks app can also be a practical tool for carers of children with autism or learning difficulties, allowing their daily routines to be split into colourful, visually stimulating segments that can be used to engage them in undertaking activities. It is simple to use and can be fun for both carers and users alike.
At Sunrise Medical we believe that with the right attitude, the right wheelchair, whether manual or electric, and maybe the right app – you can truly live life without limits.