As the world heard recently, Steve Jobs the Co-founder and CEO of Apple Inc., passed away of pancreatic cancer.  He was an innovator, an entrepreneur and a genius.  Few could argue about his contributions to the technological world of computers.  I wonder if he ever truly imagined the impact Apple would have on so many.  Did he know what kind of doors it opened for people with disabilities? IPads are now being used to facilitate learning and communication for adults and children with Autism and other disabilities.   The world of touch screens, text messaging, apps and video has opened doors for people with physical or developmental disabilities, hearing impaired, vision impaired, non-verbal, etc.  People without vocal ability can now walk into a Tim Horton’s and order a Double Double or Tim Bits using Apps like MyVoice.  Children with low-vision can now learn how to spell and read with magnified, high contrast, customizable programs.  All of this was made possible simply because Steve Jobs and his team created a product that would support and inspire other creative minds.

 

Recently my daughter was using an IPad.  Clearly it was engaging to her.  It kept her attention and allowed her to show us so many things.  As I watched how one device and a few interesting apps captivated my child, I couldn’t help but think about how much potential it has for children like Callie. 

 

In a recent conversation with a Speech and Language therapist, I learned how this little device was replacing the cumbersome, outdated, augmentative communication devices.  Though the IPad still renders some challenges as a communication device, I was struck by one analogy that I hadn’t thought of.  The SLP noted that where a communication device usually stands out like a sore thumb and draws attention to a disability, the IPad is considered “cool” and widely accepted even amongst children.  Could this really create a more inclusive environment?  Do you think Steve saw that one coming?

 

We can’t predict the full impact of Steve Jobs on the disability community but what we can see, is that he has brought possibility, hope and ability to many.  Whether he knew it or not, he was wheelistic.  Thanks Steve.

 

If you have had positive success with an Apple product in relation to your disability, I would love to hear about it.

 

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(Wheel-ist-ic) Adj: awareness or acceptance of actual fact, real existence, or truth with relation to inclusion, accessibility and/or persons with disabilities.

Let’s Be Wheelisitic is a blog designed to open communication, share and create change through parenting, awareness, inclusion and advocacy. Over the years people have encouraged me to use my voice and experiences with my daughter to help others with or without disabilities, or parents of children with disabilities. This blog is my way of doing just that. I hope you will find this site enjoyable, educational, helpful, and rewarding.
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“I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.” — E. B. White

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