Adapted Electronics for Children and Adults With Special Needs
Adapted electronics improve quality of life for individuals with special needs as well as their families. With adaptive electronics, those living with disabilities can enjoy surfing the internet, playing music, taking photos and more.
The electronic and digital world offers many opportunities for those living with mobility conditions and other conditions. However, the devices traditionally used to access the life-changing power of music, film and the internet are becoming smaller and smaller. Touchscreens and small wireless devices may not be easy for everyone to navigate, which is where electronics from Enabling Devices can help!
What Are Adapted Electronics?
Adaptive electronics allow devices to be used in different ways by either modifying traditional electronic design or creating electronics with added features. For example, an adaptive boom box may include a switch, pedal or large buttons to allow users to turn music on and off easily using hands, feet or other body parts.
These devices are designed to allow people living with disabilities to access the internet, TV, music, photos and more. An adapted computer mouse, for example, may be activated by head movements or by a large switch. For someone who doesn’t have use of their hands or limited use of their hands, this setup can mean easy use of an otherwise inaccessible computer.
The advancement of technology has paved the way for the development of devices that are more flexible in use. These devices can be used by people living with disability as well as those in the same household. While developing them, engineers consider the technology available and also test the devices to see how they might work for a range of individuals living with different types of disability.
In many cases, these devices are designed to be accessible to a range of users in the community. Someone who is elderly and living with arthritis, for example, may be able to use a boom box with larger buttons, and someone who is visually impaired may be able to use the same device.
Types of Adapted Electronics
Today, customers have more choices than ever before when it comes to adaptive electronics, with options such as:
- CD players and boom boxes: Adaptive technologies for boom boxes and CD players let users activate music, fast forward, change channels on radio stations, skip songs and more. These devices often have switches to let users with visual impairment, limited mobility and other conditions enjoy music. Some switch-activated boom boxes and CD players work with an AC adapter, while others run on batteries. In both cases, they can help users build listening skills and enjoy independence.
- Computer aids: Adaptive computer aids like mice and mouse interfaces allow computer users with limited mobility or vision impairment to surf the internet and use computer programs. These devices have a larger-than-standard size to make it easier for people with limited motor control to use them. There are also interactive mice that can be used with a caregiver or teacher. The teacher moves the mouse, and the user activates a switch at the appropriate moment to make a selection.
- iPad accessories: iPads already have features that allow users to increase text size and more. Adaptive technologies for iPads let users take photos by activating a switch or allow them to dock their iPad easily, even from a distance. There are also devices to help users listen to music through Bluetooth and switch interfaces to access compatible apps through their iPad.
- Remote controls: Remote controls for televisions already offer accessibility for those with reduced mobility. Adapted remotes for people with reduced fine motor skills provide further support by holding traditional remote controls in place, allowing TV watchers to access the buttons more easily. Adaptive remote controls for people with limited mobility are oversized, with larger strike surfaces so that these individuals can flip to their favorite program, adjust the volume, turn the TV on and off, change channels and more.
- Speakers: Speakers that are switch activated allow users to adjust volume independently. Some speakers are specifically for use with Bluetooth players.
The way we all use electronic devices is changing all the time. Wearable electronics and smaller devices are just two options. For people living with disabilities, adaptive technologies offer independence through switch-activated controls and other features. These devices make electronics truly accessible to more users and can be operated in conjunction with the accessibility features found with many electronic devices.
The internet, music, TV and other technologies offer many opportunities. They allow for relaxation and give viewers and listeners a way to connect with the world and stay up to date. Computers allow people to communicate and even work from home. All of these modes of communication are important for people with mobility issues and for those living with other conditions. With adaptable electronic devices, communication, education and entertainment tools become more usable, allowing those living with a disability to enjoy the benefits.
How Do Adapted Electronics Help With Special Needs?
Adaptive electronics help children and adults who are living with disabilities by allowing them to:
- Access information through the news, the internet and communication channels
- Complete work and homework assignments online
- Listen to music to relax
- Pursue music as a hobby
- Connect with others online
- Use guided mice to work with a teacher or caregiver
For years, music and television have provided us with inspiration, education, joy and connection. The internet has provided the ability to work, study and communicate with others. Thanks to adaptive devices, those living with mobility issues, vision impairment and other conditions get to enjoy these benefits of electronics too.
Enabling Devices offers a range of products that will allow you to enjoy music, television and computers easily. If you’re living with a disability or medical condition that prevents you from using electronic devices, or if you have a loved one requiring some help, browse our selection to find solutions engineered for your needs.
With more than 40 years of experience helping people with a range of conditions, Enabling Devices is dedicated to empowering and offering independence to people all over the country. If you’d like a free consultation to discuss your needs, contact us today.