Imagine not being able to turn on the lights, reach the
remote, or write your own grocery list. For many people with intellectual and
developmental disabilities, this a day-to-day reality. While most of us take
our independence for granted, people with disabilities face challenges every
day that limit their ability to be independent.
But now, with new smart home technologies like Amazon’s
Alexa, once impossible tasks for people with disabilities are now routine.
Here are three ways Alexa is making life easier for the
people we support at Bethesda. These may seem simple to many of us but for
people with disabilities, this technology is a true game-changer.
Staying organized with ease
Imagine not having the motor skills to hold a pencil, let
alone write your own name. One of the simplest things that we take for granted
is the ability to use our basic motor skills to stay organized. Whether it’s a
grocery list, an idea or a simple reminder you post for yourself on the
refrigerator, our ability to record and organize information with our hands is
one of the most basic functions that keep us organized.
For some people with disabilities, however, these seemingly
simple actions are all but impossible.
Alexa and other smart home technologies give people with
disabilities the unprecedented ability to organize information like lists and
reminders on their own without the assistance of a friend or caregiver. Imagine
the feeling of liberation for people who, until very recently, have had to rely
on others for the seemingly simple task of organizing information.
Mobility not required for simple tasks
Immobility is a reality for many people with developmental
disabilities. Think about what that means for a moment. A person who is unable
to move about on their own cannot turn on the lights. They can’t use a remote
control to watch their favorite TV show, and they certainly cannot get up and
lock the doors before going to bed.
With smart home technology, these tasks become possible for
people who have disabilities that prevent them from moving about freely. That
may seem like a small thing to most of us but for someone with a disability who
is confined to a chair, voice command technologies, like Alexa, offer new and
unprecedented levels of personal independence.
Helpful and friendly reminders
Let’s face it. Many of us could use a reminder here and
there to help us remember things. Alexa can come in handy with that. For people
with developmental disabilities, Alexa can remind them to take their
medications, perform their daily exercise routine or anything else they need to
be reminded of to stay on track.
Smart home technology is revolutionizing the way people with
disabilities go about their daily lives. Tasks that were once impossible are
now routine. But most of all, smart home technology provides people with
disabilities a level of independence that was impossible only a short period of
At Bethesda, we are committed to expanding the use of smart home technology to help people with disabilities attain new levels of empowerment and independence. Barb Silver-Thorn, technologist with Bethesda, recently joined “The Coffee Hour” to talk about the use of assistive smart home technology, how we are starting to implement in our homes, and how this technology assists those with developmental and intellectual disabilities.
The Coffee Hour – Smart Home Technology Serves