Tablet apps helping people with disabilities
For many, the tablet computer is simply used for media consumption or as a tool for getting the job done. But increasingly the mobile devices are also proving beneficial to people with disabilities.
In October 2011, CBS' 60 Minutes ran a feature about tablet computers helping non-verbal autistic children to communicate. The keyboard of traditional computers is often a barrier for these children, but the touchscreen capabilities of the tablet allow them to sort through pages of pictures and other information that can help them express themselves.
The tablets also help with other social skills, as applications can allow children with autism to be more engaged in learning activities, making interaction with classmates and teachers easier. Conversely, if an environment becomes too overwhelming, the tablet can be used to withdraw from the situation.
People with vision impairments are also finding tablets beneficial. For example, researchers from the United States have developed an app that allows blind people to type on their tablets. Rather than requiring the user to find the keys, the application lets the keys find the fingers, enabling easier typing than traditional keyboards or voice recognition software.
The tablet's potential for helping people with disabilities is far-reaching. As the technology develops, doors are constantly opening to new possibilities.