Marcella Nelson

Marcella Nelson

Mission Minded

June 2020

Assistive Technology for People with Disabilities

Digital solutions helping people with intellectual & developmental disabilities are becoming more readily available. These new assistive technologies are creating more affordable & accessible options that enrich the lives of people with disabilities & help create a greater degree of independence. The solutions are advancing across everyday platforms, including Android & Apple mobile environments.

There’s an App for that

Whether your loved one faces challenges due to the loss of hearing or vision, difficulty in speaking or trouble with mobility issues, chances are you can find a mobile app that can help you manage life despite your challenge. Assistive technologies not only benefit the individual with the disability, they also help those who interact with that person by making it easier to communicate, convey a point & become more independent. Your loved one’s care team can help identify the right technologies for his/her personal situation. Below are examples of applications that you may find helpful.


Petralex – A sound-amplification app that helps people who struggle to hear by automatically adjusting sound to your preferences. (Apple & Android)

Dragon Dictation (Apple) & Live Transcribe (Android) – Uses speech recognition software to help people with difficulty in hearing participate in a conversation.

Subtitles Viewer – Supporting more than 20 languages, this app enables a user to view subtitles on your iOS device while at the movies or watching TV. (Apple; costs $9.99)


Be My Eyes – Using a live video call, this app connects an individual who is visually impaired with a volunteer who can describe what they see & assist the individual. (Apple, Android)

Voice Dream Reader  For individuals having trouble with their sight or learning differences, this app features Dyslexic-friendly fonts, audio synchronization & full VoiceOver support making it easier to follow text. (Apple, Android)

Supervision + Magnifier – This app uses a smartphone’s camera to zoom-in on printed books, documents & images. It also includes an image stabilizer to assist those with shaky hands.


Avaz – Uses picture symbols & high-quality voice synthesis to help non-verbal users create messages, improve language skills & transition to text. (Apple & Android)

Spoken – Simplifies communications for people with speech & language disorders using predictive technology to learn your patterns & quickly build complete sentences. (Apple, Android)

Speak for Yourself – Designed by speech pathologists, this app allows people to use their tablet as a communication device, giving a voice to those unable to speak or who have limited ability to express themselves verbally.


Accessible Places – Google Maps now features a wheelchair icon to denote an accessible entrance. Google now includes accessibility information for more than 15 million places around the world. (Apple, Android)

Wheelmap & Wheelmate – Free apps designed to mark places on maps for their accessibility, including locating wheelchair-accessible bathrooms & parking spots. (Apple, Android)


Assistive Touch – Helps people with physical disabilities operate a smartphone by allowing a user to virtually perform regular tasks, such as go to the home screen, take a screenshot, control the volume & power on/off the device. (Apple, Android)

Perfect Keyboard – With raised key height, increased text size and additional space between rows, this app makes keying easier for those with dexterity issues or visual challenges. (Android)

Action Blocks – Designed for making routine smartphone tasks less cumbersome, this app creates one-touch buttons for items that usually require multiple steps. (Android)



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