Monday, December 11, 2006

Special Needs Telephones

Many of our students have IEP goals to use a telephone, but face practical issues in accessing the phone itself. Here are some links to a variety of phones designed for those with special needs

The phone to the left is one of two cell phones being offered with switch access. The first is the ClickToGo by Quintet and the second is the NoHandsCom by ETO Engineering. There is also a cellphone accessibility computer program that can make cell phones easier to use for those with disabilities. Another product, Dock and Talk lets you use any regular phone as your cellphone, but it is a bit bulky and designed for at-home use.

Jitterbug makes a large button cell phone and Easy 5 is a phone that has only six buttons allowing the user to dial any of five pre-programmed numbers, Easy 5 is now only available overseas, but should be arriving here soon.

Available now is the simplified Firefly and the LG Migo phone for children, the LG Migo may be a better choice because it is more age appropriate looking (left). Similar to the Migo is the Wherify, which has built in GPS tracking. All three of these phones allows only calls to pre-programmed numbers on the phone.

In the realm of traditional analogue phones we have more choices for those with disabilities. A couple of phones are available that allow the user to dial by photograph, including the Ameriphone P-300 and P-400.

The Ameriphone ER Phone is a picture dial phone as well as an emergency phone with a body worn remote control that dials pre-programmed emergency numbers if pressed. Clear Sounds makes a similar product without the picture dialing, but with a large keypad.

Ameriphone also makes switch operated, large button and amplified phones. Another switch operated phone available is from Tash used infrared to control a telephone and more. Voice activated phones are another option, such as this one by Ablephone.

For students with hearing impairments you made need to consider amplified phones or TTY. Students who are blind or visually impaired may benefit from large button or braille phones. A new braille text messenger from Samsung has just won the 2006 IDEA prize.

Occupational Therapy Now has an article on choosing accessible phones. Now matter what you chose, you will want to shop around for the best prices.

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