Achieving Independence with Smartphone Technology

People with disabilities are using smartphones as assistive technology devices.

People with disabilities are using smartphones as assistive technology devices.

Smartphones strive to make life easier. Once reserved for tech-savvy individuals, these devices now offer turn-by-turn directions, shopping lists, and Internet access at the touch of a finger. But have you ever thought of your smartphone as an assistive technology device?

For Android and iPhone users, a phone represents much more than a communication tool; these new-age devices have changed the way people live. And now, thanks to new technology from experts across the world, independent living is even more possible – with a phone. These applications and features can dramatically increase the quality of life for individuals with a disability.

Explore-by-Touch Mode

Available on: Android

By dragging a finger across an Android phone in “explore-by-touch” mode, users can hear audible commands of content. This “virtual cursor” allows individuals with a visual impairment to hear descriptions of content without seeing the screen. This feature also eliminates the need for physical buttons, which can present problems for individuals with limited dexterity.


Available On: Android, iPhone

Text-to-speech applications have developed popularity on smartphones and personal computers. By typing a phrase into the “dictate” box, users can hear words spoken aloud through their smartphone’s speaker. This communication tool enables individuals with limited speech or non-verbal individuals to effectively communicate with their peers.

BIG Launcher

Available On: Android

Providing an oversized, simplistic presentation style, BIG Launcher increases the size of text and places applications on the Home Screen in colorful square boxes. This application also supplies a large “S.O.S.” button which allows the user to call a pre-determined phone number or send an emergency text message with G.P.S. coordinates. All functions can be customized for ideal visibility and use.

Parking Mobility

Available on: iPhone

Parking Mobility provides a do-it-all method for locating accessible parking. Enter the map function to view accessible parking spots, share accessible spots not listed on the map, and suggest locations that would benefit from accessible parking. Users can even report abusers of accessible parking to the authorities, sending ticket revenues to charities across the country.


Available on: iPhone

SoundAMP instantly turns any iPhone into a listening device. By plugging in headphones and launching the application, individuals who are hard of hearing can experience a world of increased sound. Users benefit from “boost” mode, which amplifies higher frequency sounds, and a “zoom” mode, which reduces background sound levels.

For individuals with a disability, independent living can be made possible through the advancement of smartphone technology. These devices present more than an entertainment alternative; they enable consumers to live well.

Do you have other smartphone apps for people with disabilities that we didn’t mention? Comment below or share them with us on Facebook!

Interested in learning more about living well with today’s technology? Visit or call the Living Well With A Disability hotline at 1-877-865-4893.


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