The transformative impact of the iPad and touch devices on those with disabilities is plateauing, and will soon be fading. These devices have seen very little innovation since 2012-2013 with the introduction of the Mini and the Air. They are still excellent devices, but their sales have declined for these reasons.
I believe social stories must move from physical to digital, so we can take advantage of the treasure trove of rich media accessible through digital devices. Developing dynamic digital social stories is an essential key to a future with successful inclusion.
I was fortunate enough to attend Google I/O 2014. There are two things which captured my attention. The first was Project Tango, which was on my radar prior to Google I/O. Project Tango is the work of Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP) and is lead by Johnny Lee. The work they are doing with new high powered tablets holds great promise for those with special needs.
The most interesting question for me is how this advance in tablet technology might help those with special needs?
Mobile technology and the in-the-garage development of apps for those with disabilities has brought Apple, Google, and Samsung into competition with DynaVox and Tobii. Individuals with disabilities limited to a few companies willing to meet their needs suddenly have significant choice. For the first time, those with disabilities are purchasing the same cutting edge technologies coveted by the general public. They are benefiting from the purchasing power of the majority, which creates ever decreasing prices combined with constantly improving features.
I believe wearable technology has huge implications for those with disabilities. In fact, I believe wearable technology will do more for children and adults with disabilities than tablets.