Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Technology and disability: another win

Max's Apple Watch has been game-changing since the day he got it, when he immediately figured out how to call me and Dave. He progressed to texting, which he is also pretty adept at. The watch could understand simple voice requests such as "Hi!" If Max typed the first couple of letters or word of a phrase (like "on")  the watch would fill in the rest ("my way"). 

But Max's next tech breakthrough has seriously blown me away. He is now spelling words by tracing letters on the watch's pad. This is a major feat of fine-motor skills, not to mention, spelling. Max is regularly able to tell us stuff that he can't with preloaded phrases, such as "I want to eat steak" and "I want to go to baseball game please" regarding a field trip at school and "It's cold here and it snows" regarding his making a case for moving to Los Angeles.

Technology has long been motivating to Max. I knew it back when the speech therapist at his first school said that Max wasn't yet ready for an augmentative communication device, and I basically told her she was 110 percent wrong and had our district test him (he got one almost immediately, we ended up switching schools). The Dynavox and then the iPad opened up a communication world for him where he could finally express thoughts in his brain that his mouth couldn't. And now, communication is even more accessible because a gadget is right there on his hand. I hope that the Apple Watch and iPad are someday able to perceive speech patterns of all kinds (Talkitt is currently testing voice-recognition technology). 

You can see Max in action in this video, where he is once again telling me that he doesn't enjoy living where we do. He lets out a little giggle at the end because he takes great satisfaction in telling me that—and in being able to literally speak his mind, just like anyone.

1 comment:

Thanks for sharing!

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