Valley Life For All column: Everyday technology helps people with challenges

Alice Brouhard | Annie Uyehara

Editor’s notice: the Article Impartial, in conjunction with Valley Lifetime For All, publishes a month to month series about fostering inclusion.

How numerous periods have we noticed an ad for Alexa: “Alexa, switch on the lights!” It is these types of a effortless product.

But handful of of us have viewed as how this well-liked home product and other each day engineering can be a sport-changer for people with bodily and cognitive troubles, or for those who want to age independently.

Alice Brouhard has an grownup daughter with cognitive disabilities following a ski accident at age 5 left her partially paralyzed and with important vision decline and no sense of time. Brouhard is a self-professed engineering geek, so when she read about Amazon’s Alexa product, she was intrigued about how it could assist her daughter, Kara, turn into a lot more independent. Simply because of Alexa and personal computer purposes, Kara has lived on her individual for 15 decades.

Brouhard, who gave a TEDX communicate about how apps gave her daughter a voice, says engineering has “changed by gentle yrs in the last couple of decades” to assist those with disabilities and challenges.

With Alexa and Google Home, persons with problems can convert on lights, thermostats, and get responses to issues both of those verbally and visually, for individuals who are unable to examine, like Kara.  Kara also utilizes Apple’s “Pictello” application for cooking and home chores or to make a story that reinforces how impartial she can be, Brouhard said. “Technology guides her everyday living.”

Programs like Apple’s “Reminder with Voice” reminds Kara to take her medicine. People with dementia can use “Reminder” for the exact same objective. Yet another app known as “Nest” by Google Participate in, is a distant digicam technique that connects households. Brouhard makes use of it to verify on Kara, who has seizures. Brouhard believes “Nest” can be helpful for grownup youngsters examining on more mature moms and dads with mobility issues. “It may permit more mature folks to reside on their very own,” Brouhard mentioned.

Technologies provides aid to Brouhard. “A parent’s greatest dread for a kid with a disability is what’s heading to occur to them when we’re long gone. But we had been in a position to established Kara up with the know-how that will allow her independence,” Brouhard claimed.

Know-how is significant as people age in area at their households, she additional. “It’s brain boggling how substantially is out there to age in place gracefully with technological know-how. It can assist, even enrich people’s lives.”

We just have to cross the digital divide, she says. “I taught a technological know-how course at CMC where by I had a college student close to 90 years old he took to it just wonderful. So any person, at any age — really don’t be frightened of technological know-how.”

For a lot more facts about offered technological know-how and applications, speak to Alice Brouhard at [email protected]. Brouhard speaks nationally about the advantages of engineering.

Regional nonprofit Valley Existence For All is functioning to create inclusive communities where persons of all talents belong and lead. Locate us at or on Facebook.