Technology

My access to technology is through my iPhone.  I  control my phone with an on-board accessibility feature called Switch Control. With Switch Control, I can navigate through all the apps on my phone using four buttons.  Each button has a different function: Home, Select, Previous, and Next. In this picture you can see the console and the four buttons I use to control my device. The four wires plug into a switch interface that tells the phone to let the buttons be the control center.

My console that controls my phone. It's about the size of a wristwatch.

My console was made by Ezra Reynolds, an engineer at Signal Centers in Chattanooga, TN, that specializes in assistive technology.

In this picture you can see how small my console is that I use to control my phone, which I keep in a bag on the back of my chair.

Me using my console to attached to my wheelchair.

My phone speaks the name of each app as I navigate through with the Next or Previous buttons. When I get to the app I want, I hit my select button and the app opens.  The phone continues to speak the content in the app out loud as I navigate through the  app.  In general, Switch Control works better with the apps that came with my phone.  Third party apps can be glitchy.  I hope they will improve over time.

When I first started using Switch Control, my tech team and I spent a lot of time learning about how the WorkFlow app could make things easier for me. WorkFlow allowed the tech team to create custom apps that combine several steps into one click for me. I have folders on my phone that are full of WorkFlow apps for texting my friends, family, and colleagues faster.  You can watch how I use the WorkFlow App in this YouTube video posted by the developer of WorkFlow.

It has taken a while to develop this level of skill.  Here is a video from when I first started using Switch Control to control my phone.

I have really come a long way with my technology, and Switch Control has been improved a lot just in the three and a half years since I have started using it. My team and I continue to look for ways to improve my access to technology and when something good comes up, I’ll write a blog about it.