The first article I wrote for Disability Horizons lists my choice of the top ten apps for disabled people.
No matter what your disability, there’s an app out there that can assist you in some way. With the help of such technology, we the disabled community can make our lives that little bit easier.
My recommendations :
Dragon Speech Recognition Software app
This app enables you to turn your tablet or phone into a wireless microphone. By simply speaking into the device you can create messages, compose emails and documents, search the web and even control your computer. You can also go hands-free with a headset and carry out any number of activities wherever you are.
iOS users can download Dragon Dictation, while for Android users it’s called the Dragon Remote Microphone, both of which are free. There is also a version intended more for professional use, the Dragon Anywhere app, which is compatible with all devices. While you can try this for free, there is a charge thereafter.
It’s Accessible app
It’s Accessible supports those with mobility issues find and share accessible places including bars, restaurants, hotels and car parks. This app is community dependent and so the more people use it, the more information will be available. It’s free to use and compatible with all Android and Apple devices. I urge you to check this one out as not only will it help you get out and about, it will enable you to help others too!
Find out more about the app on the It’s Accessible app website.
Changing Places Toilet Finder app
No matter what your disability, being able to reach an accessible public toilet in good time is a daily challenge. The Changing Places Toilet Finder app, which can be used on Android devices and is free, lists all of the accessible toilets in the UK.
It is a comprehensive and up-to-date guide of more than 700 toilets and changing facilities nationwide. Find out how far you are from one, how to get there, opening hours, how to open the door, whether it is normally locked and information regarding hoists and slings.
Visit the Changing Places website to learn more about the app. For iOS and Android users, a similar alternative available is Toilet Finder.
If you live with any form of disability, you will appreciate how challenging it can be to plan an accessible yet enjoyable holiday, or even just a day out. But help is at hand. The TripTripHurray app is a travel platform for people with specific needs that lets you quickly and easily search for accommodation, public transport, places of interest, shops, restaurants and services. It’s effectively a personalised trip adviser.
TripTripHurray is free on Android and iOS devices and displays relevant options both locally and worldwide.
Uber taxis app
Being disabled makes travel much more of a challenge, and can make relying on public transport stressful and unnerving. Being a wheelchair user myself, I often turn to taxis instead of the bus. But, I’m reluctant to use black taxis or regular companies as you can never be sure when they’ll arrive or if the vehicle will be accessible when it does turn up.
To ease my worries, and yours, use Uber, a taxi app that allows you to select a suitable vehicle for you. Simply create an account with card or PayPal and request a ride from where you are to any number of locations around the UK.
It gives you information about your vehicle, its arrival time and even the name of your driver, so it’s much more safe and reliable. You can also view your route and estimate the fare before you travel. Furthermore, there’s no need to struggle handling cash as your account will automatically be charged and an e-receipt sent to you. Uber is free to download to Android and iOS devices.
Similarly, the Hailo app enables users to book an accessible ride and prepay by card to avoid the anxiety and physical challenge of handing over cash. Currently available in London, Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool and Ireland.
Both Uber and Hailo are free to download to Android and iOS.
Just Eat app
Sometimes it’s just easier to order in! Whether you struggle to cook independently, are ill, tired or rely on a carer who can’t cook (surely not!), Just Eat could be the answer. Simply enter your postcode to view your nearest takeaway restaurants, pay by card or cash, and have your food delivered to your door at a time to suit you.
Just Eat is compatible with all devices and is free to use.
Guide Dots app
Guide Dots is a free Android app for people who are visually impaired. By combining Google maps, Facebook and powerful crowdsourcing technology, Guide Dots creates a broader and richer sense of the world around you.
You can experience an audio journey of your surroundings by easily instructing the app to give you building and route information through voice commands. It’ll also give you alerts when friends are nearby.
This is another community driven program, so as more people use it, more information and detail will be available. Get involved by visiting the Guide Dots website.
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 Exercises app for free on iOS.
Red Panic button app
To be able to immediately and urgently notify a number of contacts of your whereabouts can be hugely beneficial to 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 send 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.
You can even send a photo attachment and record a 10 second voice message. Many features are free to both Android and iOS users, though there is the option to upgrade at a fee. Gain more independence and security with this handy and easy to use Red Panic Button app.
Skype, Facebook and Facebook Messenger
OK, so that’s three apps, and yes, they’re some of the most popular available and most well-known. However, I feel they’re worth mentioning as it’s just as important for disabled people to be able to socialise as those who are able-bodied.
Being physically disabled myself, I am all too aware of the obstacles faced in going out to see friends and family for a number of reasons. Maybe that club they’re all meeting at is inaccessible, maybe you can’t get there or perhaps you’re just feeling too fatigued to leave the house. In which case, you needn’t miss out on catching up with loved ones. Instantly message, talk face-to-face over the internet and share memories with any or all of these apps.
You can also find a few of my articles on the MDUK Trailblazers website. Find out all about my life with Ullrich congenital muscular dystrophy here. http://www.musculardystrophyuk.org/blog/my-life-with-ullrich-congenital-muscular-dystrophy/
The Channel 4 show The Undateables has proved highly controversial and divisive, particularly within the disabled community. Read my take on the debate here.http://www.musculardystrophyuk.org/blog/my-life-with-ullrich-congenital-muscular-dystrophy/