Emma McGrane uses accessible technology to support her independence
Adult Services
Smiling woman in wheelchair
Emma McGrane uses accessible technology to support her independence

Thursday 20th May is Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD). GAAD promotes digital accessibility and encouraged developers to come together and work to bridge the accessibility gap by raising awareness and global standards. In the last year, having access to accessible technology has been more important than ever for people with disabilities. To mark the day, Freedom Tech, a collaboration between Enable Ireland and the DFI, will host their second Community Hub for Accessible Technology (CHAT) Webinar. On the webinar expert AT users will share tips and trick on useful technology for people with disabilities.

One such user is Emma McGrane. Emma has a visual impairment and is a wheelchair user. She lives independently but because of her sight difficulties she struggles to use mobile devices finding the smaller screens on a mobile phone challenging to see and difficult to operate. Supported by staff from Enable Ireland’s Virtual Service, Emma has started to use Amazon’s Alexa to connect devices like her phone and laptop together. With Alexa Emma can now use voice controls to easily turn on and off lights, tune in her favourite radio station (Classic Hits), make and answers calls on her mobile phone and join an MS Teams video call. Amazon’s Alexa is an off the shelf device, not specifically made for a person with a disability but when set up in this way and with the right supports it demonstrates how accessible technology can make greater independence possible for people.

Emma says, "Having my own way to communicate with Mam and Dad, my sister in Australia, my brother in England, my other sister and my friends makes me feel Happy. Since I moved into my apartment, I want to be independent."

Find our more about Enable Ireland's Assistive Technology Service