Happy Apps: Seven new apps for people with disabilities

Image of app icon

Remember when there were no apps? When everything we wanted to know and do wasn’t literally at your fingertips? In today’s world, there’s an app for everything and new ones are being developed all the time. Apps have transformed life for everyone, but perhaps they have improved quality of life for people with disabilities the most. We’ve scoured the Internet to find the newest, most innovative and most useful apps for people with disabilities. Our findings are below. Happy apping!

1. Access Earth

Created by Matt McCann, an Irishman with cerebral palsy, Access Earth is an app and web platform that uses crowd sourcing to gather information from users on accessible hotels, restaurants, stores and attractions. McCann, a software engineer, decided to start his business after having one too many experiences with sites that called themselves “accessible” though they really were far from it. Though Access Earth is just getting off the ground, McCann hopes that in time, the app will become a “Trip Advisor” for people with disabilities.

2. Blappy

This new smartphone app helps people with visual and auditory disabilities to communicate by turning voice messages into text messages for people who are deaf or hard of hearing and vice versa for people who are blind or visually impaired. Blappy, which was invented by a team of computer scientists at the University Carlos III of Madrid, also enables users to include high contrast images in their texts and to zoom in on their messages.

3.Marlee Signs

Learn American sign language from Academy Award winning actress Marlee Matlin with the newest version of this popular app! While this app won’t take the place of a live ASL class, it’s a great introduction or supplement to a class.

4. Look at Me

This Android app, created for children with autism helps them to improve eye contact, read social cues, recognize faces and communicate with others. According to parents whose children underwent eight weeks of testing Look at Me, 60 percent of the children’s eye contact improved.

5. Jooay

Developed by a team of occupational therapists at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, this new app will improve mental and physical health of children with disabilities by helping their families to locate opportunities for leisure, recreational and creative arts activities that are accessible for children with particular disabilities.

“More than a location device, “Jooay” is intended to encourage social interaction among children with disabilities, and to enhance their quality of life,” according to the Montreal Gazette.

6. Kid in Storybook Maker

When gaming developer, Sooinn Lee, gave birth to a son with developmental disabilities, she and her husband, a computer scientist, decided to create apps to help him learn. Kids in Storybook Maker is one of these. The app enables users to create digital storybooks starring their own sons or daughters. “’Kid in Story’ came about because kids with autism can have a hard time adjusting to new situations, like getting a haircut, going to the movies, or visiting a friend’s house,” writes Daniella Hernandez, a writer for Fusion . Parents of autistic children often tell them a story that spells out what an experience will be like, so the kids have a play-by-play road map of what to expect.”

7. Listening Power Preschool HD

Speech pathologist, Patti Hamaguchi,developed this app to help children with their listening skills, and educators were duly impressed.  So impressed in fact, that the app won the 2016 Academics’ Choice Award for Smart Media!

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