Adventures with Rio: Communication Devices


Liz Hacker, junior, shares her experiences with handicap accessibility.

Welcome back to my blog!

Before having a iPad, I thought they were just for entertainment purposes, but now the iPad means so much more.

Let’s back track to before I got my iPad. I had a bulky device that was only for communication when I was physically with people , not to connect with them through social media. If I wanted to check my email or use the internet, I had to ask someone to set up a keyboard that connected to the computer. Both of these assistive technology devices were not compact. The communication device didn’t have a good battery, so it died before I was done doing my homework.

In March 2012 , my dad got an iPad and he let me play on it to improve my dexterity. Fruit Ninja was the perfect game for me because it was easy to manipulate. In my occupational therapy, I slowly got better with the iPad.

In July 2013, I got my own iPad! Excitement filled my whole body to have a new way to interact with people around me. Everything I needed was  right in front of me.  

Texting people who had iPhones was so much easier than emailing them because they could respond quicker.

Starting high school gave me a fresh start for being more independent with my homework . Before, in middle school, I had to borrow a school laptop to bring home every night to do my homework.

Also, Google Docs has been a huge step towards being more independent with schoolwork. When there is a long assignment on a smartboard, I can take a picture of it instead of having someone write it down.

As I got more confident with texting people, I gained some amazing relationships. Relationships that are so meaningful and are open to the tough times that I face.

Another thing that I love about my iPad is being able to take pictures independently. Before having the proper technology to take pictures, I had to ask a peer or an adult to take pictures for me. But now, I can sometimes take pictures of things that I want without help.
You are probably wondering “How does Rio relate to Liz’s iPad?” Well, let me tell you! When I first got a power chair, I had a metal post that could hold my communication device upright. Unfortunately, it could only move out of the way but could not fold up. My speech therapist went to a conference that had new assistive technology. She found a better mount that could fold up. When I got my iPad , we had to get another attachment to the mount. It has worked pretty well.

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